Things are trending up for the resumption of the San Jose Sharks’ schedule this Saturday.
On Wednesday, Sharks’ practice was abruptly canceled because of Tomas Hertl’s addition to the NHL’s COVID Protocol. Thursday’s scheduled tilt versus the Golden Knights was postponed, and we waited with bated breath for more Sharks to be added to the list.
It was good news for San Jose yesterday though, as no other Sharks players entered the league’s COVID Protocol. Practice was scheduled for today and Saturday’s game against the Blues remained on the schedule.
The San Jose Sharks hit the ice for a closed practice at Solar4America Ice at San Jose this morning.
Bob Boughner, Logan Couture, Dylan Gambrell, and Radim Simek addressed the media this afternoon, and we got updates on how Hertl is doing and injury updates from Gambrell and Simek. Also, we got surprisingly good news about Erik Karlsson’s groin injury.
How Goes Hertl
How is Tomas Hertl doing?
“He’s doing very well,” Boughner said. Logan Couture added, “He’s in good spirits.” As far as the San Jose Sharks head coach knows, Hertl is asymptomatic.
Reading between the lines, however, the bad news is that Hertl indeed has COVID-19 — he wasn’t flagged for a false positive. This means, because of Protocol, Hertl will be out at least 14 days. Assuming all goes well, Hertl might be available to return, if my calculations are correct, on Mar. 12 at Anaheim.
Boughner says that Hertl has been careful as can be, so they have no idea at moment where he was exposed.
Karlsson Back Soon?
With all eyes on Hertl and the NHL’s COVID Protocol list, we forgot about Erik Karlsson’s groin a little bit.
On Tuesday, Boughner said that Karlsson was unlikely to skate this week:
Erik Karlsson is not likely to skate this week — yesterday, Boughner had hoped he might hit the ice mid-week. Another setback for EK65
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) February 23, 2021
It looked like another setback for the oft-injured Karlsson. So imagine our surprise when Boughner dropped this nugget:
Boughner says Karlsson got through a full practice today — that's big, considering he couldn't finish practice last week. They'll monitor how he's feeling tomorrow, but are optimistic he can return very soon
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) February 26, 2021
“He felt better than expected,” Boughner said. “He’ll skate tomorrow morning.”
So when’s the timeline for Karlsson’s return?
“He knows when he’s ready. We don’t want to put him in a situation where he would hurt himself. He’s got to be cleared; he’s got to be close to 100 percent before we put him back in. Who knows when that looks like?” he offered.
There’s a chance, however, that Karlsson could be back very soon.
“It could be as close as the next day or two. But I don’t want to be too optimistic,” Boughner shared. “He got through full practice today. We had some battle. We had some contact. The big thing is we’re going to see how he feels tomorrow. He looked like he was in good spirits. Felt pretty good. And he was moving well out there.”
Speaking of happy returns, both Dylan Gambrell and Radim Simek should re-enter the San Jose Sharks line-up tomorrow. Simek was hurt on Feb. 13 versus Vegas and Gambrell was hurt on Feb. 20 at St. Louis; both practiced at apparent full tilt today.
Simek actually had some fascinating comments about the Jonathan Marchessault hits that landed him on the IR. Meanwhile, Gambrell will slide up into an elevated role, taking Hertl’s spot between Timo Meier and Rudolfs Balcers. Gambrell might even see some power play time.
“The opportunity’s kind of here,” Gambrell said. “I’m going to take advantage of it, best I can.”
Meanwhile, Simek gave his side of the Marchessault incident: “I think he was a little mad after I hit Smith. It was a clean hit from me on Smith.
“I was hurt on the first [hit by Marchessault]. I didn’t see him. I just saw the guy in the corner, but I didn’t see Marchessault. I wasn’t ready.”
Fascinating #SJSharks/#VegasBorn quote from Simek about Marchessault: "Marchessault showed us how we should play other teams. We have to play strong — I don't want to say hurt — but they should know we're going to play hard & they should be scared."
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) February 26, 2021
Also, it looks like Sasha Chmelevski will draw into the line-up tomorrow night, per Boughner. This will be Chmelevski’s first game since Feb. 5.
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