SAN JOSE Marty Havlat is looking forward to rejoining his team for its weeklong road trip that begins on Thursday in Dallas.
That doesnt necessarily mean hes going to play in any of the four games against the Stars, Coyotes, Oilers or Flames, but the winger is getting stronger and stronger as he nears a return from his partially torn right hamstring suffered in December.
Its been awhile since Ive been on a trip, and it will be nice to be around the team a little bit and nice to just have a change of scenery a little bit, Havlat said. Its been too much San Jose for me right now.
The shifty winger is still trying to build strength in his leg, and cannot stop and start as hed like to just yet an aspect to his game that is of utmost importance.
The stops and starts are still not the way I want them to be. It was better today, but its not perfect yet, he said.
Havlat skated on the teams fifth line, if you will, in an orange practice jersey with Brad Winchester and Benn Ferriero. He began practicing with the team in the middle of last week.
Today was much better than last week. Its progressing and getting better every day.
The Sharks are notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to injury rehab and return dates, but Todd McLellan admitted that Havlat is getting closer after Mondays long skate.
Hell play when he and the trainers decide that hes healthy to play, and then hes got some work to do in practice. Just him being part of it is a step in the right direction, McLellan said.
He handled himself well, and most of the concepts are familiar to him now, so he should be handling himself appropriately.
Odds and ends: Jim Vandermeer skated as a defenseman in practice, paired with Jason Demers. Vandermeer has been playing as a forward lately. The line combinations featured Joe Thornton with Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski; Logan Couture between Ryane Clowe and Tommy Wingels; Dominic Moore with Torrey Mitchell and Daniel Winnik; and Michal Handzus between TJ Galiardi and Andrew Desjardins.