SAN JOSE – Raffi Torres has stepped up the intensity on the ice, as he tries to get back into the Sharks’ lineup (again).
On Friday at Sharks Ice, Torres was one of only a handful of players skating. He took part in a battle drill along the wall, with, of all people, rookie Tomas Hertl, who himself appears to be getting closer to a return.
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Torres won’t play on Saturday vs. Nashville, but the Sharks will have three days off following their home game with the Predators. They visit Anaheim on Wednesday.
“After tomorrow, we're looking at a three-day rest and practice period. … We'll see where we're at next week,” Todd McLellan said.
"I think [Anaheim] would be a good first game if we were going to play him. Raffi's proven earlier that he can come back and play, and play well. … We want him in our lineup and as soon as he's capable of playing without re-injuring and maintaining that, he's going in. It doesn't matter who we're playing."
Torres has played in five games this season, all of them coming shortly after the Olympic break. He has three goals and two assists.
"The ultimate goal is to have him 100 percent ready to go for playoffs,” McLellan said.
As for Hertl, the 20-year-old won’t play any regular season games, but it’s looking more and more like he could be an option in the playoffs if the Sharks advance to the second round.
Is he getting better?
“Yes. I hope,” Hertl said, shrugging his shoulders.