NEWARK, NJ Martin Havlat will make his Sharks debut on Friday in New Jersey when the team opens its long road trip against the Devils.
Marty is playing tomorrow, said McLellan. The doctors cleared him. If anything changes between now and then, it will be a surprise to everyone.
Havlat has been unable to partake in any preseason or regular season games since undergoing left shoulder surgery in May. He is slotted to play on the right wing on the Sharks second line with Logan Couture and Ryane Clowe.
McLellan likes what he has seen of that combination in practice, but cautions that it may take some time for them to mesh during game play.
There is some chemistry there already, said the coach. Marty has been involved since training camp. There were some drills he couldnt do, but lately hes been a lot more involved in practice. Theyll have to find their rhythm with each other.
I think instincts are so important on lines, theyll have to read off of each other instinctively. That makes us faster. That may take a little while.
Havlat was being coy with reporters about his status since he spoke before McLellan did, but mentioned he is fortunate in that hes been able to practice with the team for so long.
I spent basically the whole camp on the ice with the guys, and that helps big time when youre on the ice and you can see what the coach wants, he said. During a regular season game its going to be a little different for me, but at least I know the basics of what we have to do.
"Just skating with him for a month and a half, you get to see his high end skill level, his speed, and things he can do with the puck," said Patrick Marleau. "Im looking forward to seeing that on the ice and in games."
One thing the Sharks could use is offense, especially during five-on-five, as they have just five even strength goals in four games. McLellan mentioned after the most recent loss on Monday against Anaheim that hed like to see his team "get the tempo going a bit more."
Can Havlat help in that regard?
He can, yes. Hes got a skill level thats very high. Hes played a fast game throughout his career. Will he be there in Game 1? I hope so. I dont know for sure. A lot of guys have had 10 games under their belt already.
When he does find his game, he should make us faster, and certainly more of a skilled team up front.