Programming note: Stars-Sharks coverage begins tonight at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
SAN JOSE – Adam Burish wasn’t pleased with his first season in San Jose, and was hungry to make amends in training camp. Unfortunately for the forward, he was hurt in the very first preseason game on Sep. 16 in Vancouver, suffering a back injury that required surgery.
He’ll finally make his season debut on Wednesday night against Dallas.
“I wasn’t happy with the way the year went last year,” Burish said. “I wanted to bring more. Going into this year, I had some hunger, and getting injured in the first preseason game and having to sit and watch now for 50-some games, yeah, there’s a lot of hunger there. A little anger, a little hunger.”
Burish, who had three points and 25 penalty minutes in 46 games last year, will likely line up alongside Mike Brown and Andrew Desjardins on the fourth line. He has 26 goals in 343 career NHL games, so he’s not expected to be a cure for the Sharks’ scoring woes, but the affable 31-year-old was acquired as much for his character and tenacity as his skill level.
He knows his role.
“Just the stuff that I guess that I’ve always brought, some contagious energy and some passion, Burish said. “I’m not going to come in here and light the world on fire and be somebody I’m not. I’m just going to do the things that I’ve always kind of done here, what the guys expect of me, and give them some life and some energy.”
All along, Burish wanted to return before the league shuts down for the Olympics. He's accomplished that goal.
“That was kind of on my mind from the start. I guess that kind of gives you a peace of mind,” he said.
“I put the work in. I put a lot of time in, and I took it real seriously. For me, it’s almost a feel-good for me. I put the work in, I’m ready, and I want to get a couple games in under my belt. … Once the break is over, boom, it’s go-time, it’s 100 percent, It’s all out.”
In typical hockey player fashion, Burish described what he’s missed the most while watching the season unfold from the press box.
“One thing I always kind of miss is hurting. You miss that after a game, when your foot hurts from blocking a shot, you have a cut on your face, you know that you just did something to help the guy next to you,” Burish said, later humorously clarifying that he actually doesn’t want to get cut in the face.
He also took a good-natured jab at Raffi Torres, himself trying to return from an injury that has kept him out for the season.
“I like Raffi, but I’m getting a little sick of sitting with him and watching hockey games every night,” Burish said. “I feel bad leaving him, but he’ll be with me soon.”
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Along with Torres, the Sharks still have several walking wounded in Tyler Kennedy, who experienced a setback in his recovery from a lower body injury and won’t play against the Stars; Jason Demers, who will miss another game with a minor groin pull; Logan Couture, who will be out until after the Olympic break with a right hand injury; and Tomas Hertl, who has been sidelined since December after a major knee operation.
All but Hertl are expected to return in time for the first game after the break, and Todd McLellan spoke of integrating players back into the Sharks’ lineup.
“Two ways it can go. It can give you a boost, and guys fit right in and away you go. Or, it can disrupt things sometimes, when you bring a lot of players back from injury, especially when they arrive at a similar time. We’ll have to manage that heading into the post-Olympic situation.
“We expect Raffi back soon, we expect [Couture] back soon. As those players start coming back in, the Demers, the Kennedys, all come back in, we’ve got to put everything together and find a way to make it work.”