LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 19: Tomas Hertl #48 of the San Jose Sharks skates during warm-up prior to the NHL game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on December 19, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings defeated the Sharks 4-1. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

Hertl practices without no-contact jersey


Tomas Hertl’s exciting rookie campaign came to a screeching halt when he suffered a knee injury due to a knee-on-knee collision with Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown on Dec. 19.

He won’t be back before the end of the regular season, but he still might join the Sharks during the playoffs. Even that isn’t guaranteed, but he took another step in that direction when he practiced on Wednesday without a no-contact jersey. Instead he skated as a top-six forward.

“You can read into progress, certainly. You can see it,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan told CSN Bay Area. “If you’ve been around our team for awhile and have watched him skate, he’s progressed along very nicely.”

McLellan added that he remains “a little ways away.”

If Hertl is able to play before the end of the first round, it would make for an interesting storyline. As things stand, the Sharks’ probable opponent is Brown and the Kings. So if he’s able to play again, the 20-year-old might be able to shape the latest chapter between the California rivals while getting some measure of revenge.

In a preview of that potential series, the Kings and Sharks will play tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?