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SAN JOSE – The Sharks’ calendar since the end of the Olympic break could be used as Exhibit A when it comes to proving the difficultly of a Western Conference schedule.
Including Saturday's loss to Washington, San Jose played 13 games in the 24 days after the season resumed on Feb. 26, including two separate cross-country trips to the East Coast. They are in the middle of a three-games-in-four nights stretch, playing back-to-back in Calgary and Edmonton on Monday and Tuesday, returning home to host Winnipeg on Thursday, and then flying to Denver on Friday for an afternoon game with the Avalanche on Saturday afternoon.
“We’re right in the middle of maybe our toughest stretch of the season, as far as fatigue, travel and the amount of games,” Todd McLellan said. “We’ve got to get through this week, and then we’ll find some time to breathe in early April and get ready for the playoffs.”
On Sunday, the Sharks stayed off of the ice, opting for a workout instead.
McLellan said: “We’re giving the players a bit of time to recover. An off ice workout, which is real important to maintain the strength part of their game, but also to clean the legs out.”
“I think we’re doing a good job of managing it,” Patrick Marleau said. “Playing three in four, you’ve got to take care of yourselves, get the right rest. That’s up to our schedule, but also up to the guys to take care of themselves.”
The Sharks won’t get to enjoy another two-day break between games until after the Avalanche game. They’ll get a three-day respite from April 6-8, and then play another three games in four nights to close out the regular season.
For now, McLellan can only hope his entire roster feels as good as defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
“I’m doing great. Couldn’t be better,” Vlasic quipped.
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Brad Stuart will accompany the Sharks on their road trip. The defenseman has yet to play after the Olympic break with an upper body injury, but is nearing a return.
Raffi Torres skated on Sunday, but his travel plans were not yet determined, according to McLellan.