For the last several games before Olympic break, the San Jose Sharks’ line combinations were all discombobulated, with Patrick Marleau playing on the first line, Joe Pavleski centering the second line and playing alongside Martin Havlat (!), and John McCarthy up on the third line.
Needless to say, injuries have taken their toll on the Sharks, who were nowhere near full strength as they neared the halfway mark.
However, better days are ahead. According to Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area, Logan Couture, Raffi Torres, Matt Nieto and Tyler Kennedy are all set to return from their respective injuries once the season re-commences on Feb. 27.
Of these four, Torres has missed the most time, having not played a single game this season since suffering a torn ACL in his right knee. Couture needed hand surgery and missed the last 16 games of the season before the break. Nieto (foot) has missed the last two games, and Kennedy (lower body) the last five.
The Sharks should definitely be bolstered by the return of Torres, who provides the physicalness and energy that any team desires. He showed glimpses of his value to the team last season when he was acquired before the trade deadline. Adam Burish, another energy player who has missed the entire season, returned from injury a few games before the break.
Even with all the returnees, the Sharks will still be without rookie phenom Tomas Hertl, who was injured in a knee-on-knee collision with Dustin Brown of the Kings back in December.