Sharks' McLellan back vs. Oilers

Sharks' McLellan back vs. Oilers
March 5, 2012, 9:15 pm
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SAN JOSE -- Sharks head coach Todd McLellan intends to return to the bench for the first time on Tuesday since getting whacked in the head by a stick Feb. 26 in Minnesota.

McLellan, who has missed the last three games, ran his second practice on Monday at Sharks Ice since suffering a concussion. He also ran Fridays practice at HP Pavilion, but did not feel well after it was through, consequently missing Saturdays 3-1 loss to the Blues.

Asked if he was ready to return for the home game against the Oilers, McLellan said: The way I feel right now, yeah. Ive got a day to finish here ahead of me, but I feel much better after practice today than I did a couple days ago when I ran a practice, came off the ice, and didnt feel good at all. If I keep going the way Im going now, yeah, I will be. Im looking forward to it.

At this point, the plummeting Sharks will take any good news they can get, with eight losses in their last 10 games (2-7-1). San Jose is in eighth place in the Western Conference.

Hopefully the guys will rally around him. He seems a lot clearer today, and hopefully we can grab some wins for him, captain Joe Thornton said.

The Sharks are 1-2-0 with assistant coaches Jay Woodcroft and Matt Shaw behind the bench, and have scored just two goals in that span.

How are things different with McLellan behind the bench?

Its tough to kind of pinpoint one thing, but he has a presence back there, Thornton said. He has a good feeling for this team and a good feeling for the game. He knows whos going and whos not, and he can adjust things on the fly. I thought Matt and Woody did a good job behind there, but when he comes back, hell be welcomed back.

McLellan, who watched portions of the loss to St. Louis on a television in his office and then live from the press box, said: I hope Im not the boost. I hope the boost comes from within the locker room.

Watching the team play against St. Louis from a distance, it looked like we lacked a lot of energy and drive. Thats got to be back in the teams toolbox, if you will, come this Edmonton game. I expect that everybodys refreshed and ready to go. Whether Im part of it or not, shouldnt make a difference. They should have that and be prepared to apply it.

He also went into greater detail about his own symptoms.

For me, and I dont know if its the same as everybody else, you just dont feel right. Its the best way of putting it. You dont feel yourself. Things happen around you and it takes you awhile to catch up with everything. Everything thats still and not moving is fine. When you get into a situation where theres a lot of motion and noise and whatnot around you, its harder to focus.

He likened it to a childhood memory of driving with his father and stopping at the train tracks.

Wed get to a railway crossing and the train would be there, and eventually youd be watching the cars, and pretty soon you werent feeling very good."