Burns 100 percent, Clowe questionable for Tuesday


Burns 100 percent, Clowe questionable for Tuesday

On Monday, Brent Burns said he was 100 percent healthy, and ready to be in the Sharks lineup Tuesday night.

It was just good timing I guess, Burns told me today.

Thanks to the All-Star Break, Burns will miss only one game, after suffering a knee-on-knee hit with Edmontons Ales Hemsky seven days ago. He credits the efforts of San Joses training staff, as well as unique treatments that have got his right knee back to playing shape.

Weve got some tools that most people don't have, and that Ive never used before. I was shocked by how quick I got better, Burns revealed.

League wide, there's a lot of players that needed the time, said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. Five days of mental and physical healing does wonders for a lot of people. It's going to take a little while to get the engine going may be sloppy initially but the rest is valuable it's something that we needed to take advantage of.

The other Sharks player we kept an eye on in practice today was Ryane Clowe. He participated for the full duration, without a cage or a visor attached to his helmet. Clowe has missed the last 5 games and spent the past 15 days recovering from a facial fracture.

After practice, Clowe declined to comment on his status, but McLellan was generally optimistic.

I think the break did him wonders, Todd said. I asked him how that facial area felt. He said it's improving a lot, and he can breathe a lot better. So I think he's making real good strides right now.

But will those strides be enough to have San Joses best power forward back in the lineup, in less than 24 hours? After all, it was certainly uncharacteristic of Clowe to avoid addressing the topic publicly today.

We'll see how he is in the morning, McLellan told me. We know we have a lot of hockey left, we won't put him in a situation where he can't succeed, and he'll have a huge play in that himself. He'll be able to make the call.

That call will be made shortly after the Sharks practice tomorrow morning, in their game day skate.

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Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

The Sharks have issued qualifying offers to restricted free agent forwards Chris Tierney, Marcus Sorensen and Barclay Goodrow, while cutting ties with three players in the system.

Tierney, 22, posted 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points in 80 games last season, serving primarily as the fourth line center. He has 64 points (24g, 40a) in 202 career games over three NHL seasons, all with the Sharks.

Sorensen posted one goal and three assists in 19 games with the Sharks last season, his first in the NHL. The 25-year-old played in all six playoff games against Edmonton, scoring one goal and one assist.

Goodrow, 24, skated in three games for the Sharks last season with one assist. He has 16 points (4g, 12a) in 77 games over three seasons with the Sharks, although has played in just 17 NHL games since the start of the 2015-16 season.

Forward Nikita Jevpalovs, defenseman Patrick McNally and goalie Mantas Armalis - also known for his career as a male model - were left unqualified and are now unrestricted free agents.

Earlier in the offseason, the Sharks signed pending restricted free agents Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson. Donskoi received a two-year deal at a salary cap hit of $1.9 million, while Karlsson was signed to a three-year deal at $2 million annually.

Thornton, Marleau now permitted to speak with other teams

Thornton, Marleau now permitted to speak with other teams

Their futures with the Sharks more uncertain than ever, pending unrestricted free agents Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are now free to take calls from other teams to gauge their potential interest.

Nothing can be signed with a new team before July 1, and there is a ban on discussing terms of any potential deal. Teams have already reached out to Marleau, per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, while Thornton is also reportedly receiving interest around the league.

While they could still return to the Sharks, it’s new territory for both, as neither Thornton nor Marleau has ever tested the unrestricted free agent waters. Most recently, they agreed to three-year contract extensions with the Sharks on the same day – Jan. 24, 2014 – in what was the final year of their current deals.

Whether they return to the Sharks could depend on the length of the deal. If other teams are willing to offer multiple-year deals to Thornton and Marleau, it makes their return to the Sharks less likely – particularly in Marleau’s case. Earlier in the offseason, NBC Sports California confirmed that Thornton was seeking a three-year deal, while Marleau preferred a deal of at least three years.

General manager Doug Wilson’s top priority this offseason is to re-sign goalie Martin Jones and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to long term extensions. Those contracts would likely cost the team a combined $12-14 million, and would begin in the 2018-19 season.

There is an added risk to any team that signs a player over the age of 35, as it would be on the hook for the entire salary cap hit regardless of whether that player is active (unless that player is on long-term injured reserve). 

Thornton turns 38 on Sunday, while Marleau turns 38 on Sep. 15.