Brent Burns is back.
Burns, the defenseman-turned-forward, will likely play for the first time in 13 games tonight as the Sharks host Tampa Bay in San Jose.
“He’s going to come off of [injured reserve], so there’s a real good chance that he will play,” Sharks head coach Todd McLellan told CSN Bay Area. “We’ll see how he is when he comes to the rink, but he’s telling me now that he’s ready.
“He looks ready, and right now he is.”
Burns’ return to the lineup should be a huge boost for the Sharks. He had eight points in eight games prior to getting hurt and was a dynamic presence on a line with Joe Thornton and rookie Tomas Hertl, providing exceptional skating given his size (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) and ability to punish defensemen on the forecheck.
“He just adds so much for the forwards up front,” Thornton said of Burns. “He’s a big body that moves very well, gets in on the forecheck real well, [and] makes our lineup that much better.”
The Sharks are coming off an extended layoff — they haven’t played since Sunday’s 5-1 loss to Chicago — and should be very well-rested for a Lightning team that’s lost two straight to start its four-game Western road swing, dropping games in Phoenix and Los Angeles.
Last night, we passed along news that veteran d-man James Wisniewski — acquired from Carolina at the draft — suffered what looked to be a serious injury just 47 seconds into his ‘Canes debut, and was ruled out for the remainder of the night.
Now, he’s been ruled out for a lot longer than that.
From the club:
Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that defenseman James Wisniewski will undergo surgery on his left knee after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during Thursday night’s game in Nashville.
Recovery time for the injury is estimated at six months.
This is, obviously, a tough development for both player and club. The ‘Canes were counting on Wisniewski to be a regular contributor on defense this year, and help improve last year’s middle-of-the-pack power play.
Wisniewski, meanwhile, was looking to bounce back from a disappointing ’14-15 campaign. He was shipped out of Columbus at the deadline to Anaheim but never made an impact for the Ducks, failing to see any playoff action as Anaheim made it all the way to the Western Conference final.
Two days after an uninspiring performance versus San Jose, the Los Angeles Kings will be getting an injection of youthful enthusiasm tonight versus Arizona.
Coach Darryl Sutter confirmed today that Jordan Weal will make his NHL debut at Staples Center.
A 23-year-old center, Weal is expected to replace Andy Andreoff and skate between Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan on the fourth line.
“It’s really exciting,” Weal told LA Kings Insider. “A lot of work has gone into getting to this part of my career, and the hard work’s just going to continue. It’s going to keep going, and I’m trying to do as much as I can in this game and keep improving from this game moving forward in trying to solidify a solid spot in the lineup.”
The 70th overall pick in 2010, Weal had 69 points in 73 games last season for AHL Manchester.
Related: Jordan Weal is looking to make the leap