Kennedy, Desjardins could fill void left by Burish

Sharks lose Burish for Western Conference semifinal

Kennedy, Desjardins could fill void left by Burish
May 10, 2013, 3:15 pm
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He played well in Vancouver, and that’s not easy for a guy that didn’t play a lot down the stretch.
—Todd McLellan on Tim Kennedy

SAN JOSE – The Sharks’ second round opponent hasn’t yet been determined, but Adam Burish’s former teammate on the Blackhawks couldn't resist taking a jab at the winger, who will miss the entire second round with an apparent hand injury.

“It figures. He probably thought he was playing Chicago and comes down with an injury. Chicago flu, I guess.” Patrick Kane said, presumably tongue-in-cheek, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Whether the Sharks do face the Blackhawks, Kings or Blues, San Jose will be without its fourth line winger, agitator and penalty killer in Burish. Against Vancouver, Burish averaged 10 minutes and 46 seconds of ice time, without a point. He took regular shorthanded shifts, too.

Replacing Burish in the active lineup will probably be Tim Kennedy, who played in Game 2 against the Canucks with Marty Havlat and Scott Gomez both out with injuries. For Kennedy, it was just his second game since March 10.

Kennedy played in six playoff games with Buffalo in 2010 in the only previous playoff experience of his career prior to Game 2. He had a goal and two assists for the Sabres.

“I know what to expect. This time of year the game gets harder and mistakes cost that much more,” Kennedy said. “You just try to play well in your own zone.”

If Havlat remains out, and it’s looking more and more like the winger will not be ready for the start of the second round, Kennedy will probably play on the fourth line wing with Gomez.

Todd McLellan said: “He played well in Vancouver, and that’s not easy for a guy that didn’t play a lot down the stretch. He’s remained sharp, he’s a veteran of a lot of games in the league, so he had been through some of those nervous situations that maybe others haven’t. So, we feel pretty good about him.”

While the Sharks will miss Burish’s ability to annoy and exasperate the opposition, as he did at times during the Vancouver series and in the second half of the season, Andrew Desjardins could help to fill that role – when he’s not taking ill-advised penalties, that is.

The Canucks scored two power play goals against the Sharks, both coming on avoidable penalties to Desjardins. His trip away from the play resulted in Ryan Kesler’s game-tying third period power play goal in Game 2. In Game 4, Desjardins was whistled for roughing Dan Hamhuis well after the whistle, and the Canucks again scored an equalizing goal in the third period.

Burish’s absence should not change Desjardins’ approach, however, McLellan said.

“If Desi approaches the game and tries to change his role, we’ll be disappointed. He’s got a penalty-killing role, he’s got a physical role, he can skate and get under people’s skin, he has the ability to take faceoffs, block shots…”

And the bad penalties?

“We want him to play extremely hard and push the envelope, but not be in the box.”

Burish and Desjardins have had a number of off-ice discussions about being an effective NHL agitator, without taking it too far.

“We’ve sat down and talked a few times about our role, and what we have to bring to the table,” Desjardins said. “Whether it’s bringing that – I want to say rat factor, or intensity – it’s just doing the right things where we’re not putting our team in a bad situation.”

Perhaps Desjardins can start with Kane, if the Blackhawks end up being next on the schedule.