Jason Demers gets rocked by Cory Emmerton
Jason Demers' injury is forcing Brent Burns back to the blue line. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
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SAN JOSE – Sharks defenseman Jason Demers won’t play on Saturday against Phoenix, possibly suffering from the effects of an apparent hit to the head from Detroit’s Cory Emmerton on Thursday.
Demers was not at the Sharks’ morning skate.
“Not feeling good today, won’t play tonight,” head coach Todd McLellan said.
Demers stayed in the game after getting hit by Emmerton in the first period, playing almost 18 minutes in the 2-0 win over the Red Wings. His absence means that Brent Burns will likely go back to playing defense for the first time since Feb. 23, when he was hurt in a game against Dallas.
[RECAP: Sharks 2, Red Wings 0]
Since returning from that injury on March 12, Burns has 10 points in nine games as a forward (5g, 5a), including a current three-game goal-scoring streak playing on a line with Joe Thornton and Marty Havlat.
McLellan doesn’t anticipate Burns having any difficulty going back to the blue line, and may still use him as a forward at times.
“He spent the majority of his seven or eight years back there. I’m assuming it’s probably easier for him to go back than it is to go up,” McLellan said. “That doesn’t mean we’ll use him back there all night. He’ll allow us to have six there tonight, and we may even play him up front for awhile.”
Whether or not the hit from Emmerton was within the rules is debatable. The forward was not given a penalty on the play.
Dan Boyle said: “I think the way they’re calling it, it’s something that needs to be looked at, but I think that’s a hockey play. There’s two sides to the story. That’s where I’m at.
“The reputation has a lot to do with it. Is his intent to really hurt Jason there? Knowing the player, I don’t think so. A couple games ago I got suckered to the head (by Corey Perry) and it’s not even talked about. We’ve got to clear up the definitions, I guess.”
Up front, Adam Burish will make his return after sitting for the last two games. Burish skated in Burns’ place on the Thornton line on Saturday morning, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where he’ll be for the game.
McLellan said: “We’ll spend some time thinking about our lines and how we want to play them. You can anticipate we go that way, it might not go that way.”
Burish had played in every game this season before he was pulled from the lineup before Wednesday’s game against the Ducks.
“Adam and I talked about his play and the impact that he has on the game and on our team,” McLellan said. “He’s had some very good games for us throughout the year. I just think that there’s more in certain areas that he can bring. We had a good talk, and I think he’ll get an opportunity to play and show us.”
The Sharks have recalled an as-of-yet unnamed defenseman from Worcester, but that player will not arrive in time for Saturday’s game.