Demers, Burish Could be Options for Lineup
SAN JOSE, California -- The San Jose Sharks began scrambling to adjust their forward lines early in the first period of Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinals series against the Vancouver Canucks when Martin Havlat suffered an injury.
The Sharks are still scrambling.
When practice began Monday, injured defenseman Jason Demers (left ankle) was skating with the forwards, and injured forward Adam Burish was practicing for the first time since breaking his right hand in Game 4 against Vancouver.
Demers and Burish are just two potential options for coach Todd McLellan's lineup Tuesday night when the Sharks face the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of their semifinals series at HP Pavilion (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).
Center Logan Couture didn't practice, but McLellan said he'll definitely play in Game 4. Couture suffered an apparent injury to his left leg early in the second period Saturday night in the Sharks' 2-1 overtime win in Game 3 against the Kings. He returned by the end of the second period and wound up scoring the game-winning goal.
"Just gave him some time off the ice," McLellan said. "He'll be playing."
Havlat and fellow top-six forward Raffi Torres definitely won't. In his first game back since being injured against Vancouver, Havlat lasted less than two periods Saturday before being injured again. He's been ruled out for Game 4. Torres was suspended by the NHL after his hit on the Kings' Jarret Stoll in Game 1 and won't be available the rest of this series.
Burish said he's still "day to day," but is recovering faster than expected.
"Hopefully one of these days when I beg the doctors hard enough, they'll say OK," Burish said. "If the doctors let me, I'd play tomorrow if I could. My goal is to get back in this series sometime. When that is, I don't know. It will be between us and the coaches and the doctors to see when that is. But I'll be ready whenever it is.
"They're just encouraged where everything is, the way everything looks," he said of his doctors. "Everything's good, everything's fine. They're surprised how fast it's gone. That's good news. No real surprises, though. Everything's moving along the way it should."
Burish took part in the entire practice. He was able to grip the stick well enough to handle the puck and take wrist shots, and even scored during a two-on-one rush.
"He was excited, obviously," McLellan said of Burish. "He had a lot of energy, and actually moved the puck fairly well. Maybe he's closer than we originally thought. It's a good sign for us."
Demers missed the final four regular season games and hasn't appeared in the playoffs, although he has been practicing for over a week. Demers played some forward while growing up and also as a rookie with the Sharks in 2009-2010. He played a handful of games at forward late in the regular season and in the playoffs on the fourth line.
"I play a simple game when I'm a forward, nothing too fancy," Demers said. "It's for sure different when you have the play in front of you as a D-man than when you're kind of right in the middle of it."
McLellan said the Sharks might dress seven defensemen and give Demers an occasional shift at forward.
"It's an option as he gets healthier and times go on," McLellan said.
Demers just wants to get back in the lineup at any position and make his 2013 playoff debut. He said he's physically ready to play.
"I feel good," Demers said. "It's just a question of getting back into game shape. As soon as you do a couple of shifts, especially in this kind of series, you'll be in shape real quick. I'm just helping out wherever I can and going where they tell me to go.
"It's a great series right now. We could easily be up 2-1. It could easily be the other way around, for sure, but it's been a great series, good rivalry. Both teams are playing great, at a top level. Just watching from the stands, you're anxious to get out on the ice. For sure, I'm chomping at the bit a little bit."
Author: Eric Gilmore | NHL.com Correspondent