Programming note: Stars-Sharks coverage begins Wednesday at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
SAN JOSE – Sharks forward Adam Burish is likely to make his season debut this week, after missing the first four months of the season with a back injury.
Burish suffered a herniated disc in the Sharks’ first preseason game in Vancouver on September 16, after a confrontation with the Canucks’ Tom Sestito. He tried to play through it, but eventually surgery was required.
The 31-year-old forward missed practice on Tuesday to visit with doctors, presumably to get cleared to return.
“He needs to be cleared. He’s worked really hard,” Todd McLellan said.
Burish was signed to a four-year, $7.4 million contract in 2012. In his first season with the Sharks, he had one goal and two assists for three points and 25 penalty minutes in 46 games, playing as a fourth line wing and penalty-killer.
“I don’t think his year last year was the best that he’s had, and I think he’s extremely hungry,” McLellan said. “I’ve seen it in his work ethic and commitment level to come back from this injury. I think he can give us an energetic boost.
“I think he gives us a right-handed faceoff guy, another penalty-killer, an element of grit and tenacity when he’s playing well. There’s a lot of things that Burr can bring.”
Defenseman Jason Demers could also return from a two-game absence with a minor groin pull, skating for the first time since then on Tuesday. The 25-year-old was hurt late in the game against Calgary on Jan. 30, but it had been bothering him even before then.
“It was nagging me for a couple games, and just kind of did me in a little bit in Calgary near the end of the game,” said Demers, who is the Sharks’ leading scorer among defensemen with 24 points (3g, 21a).
“I just told them I’m ready to go. Whenever they need me, I’ll be ready to jump in.”
Tyler Kennedy is likely to play after missing the last three games with a lower body injury. It appeared he would be in on Monday against the Flyers based on the morning skate, but that wasn’t the case.
Defenseman Dan Boyle took a maintenance day on Tuesday, but should be good to go when the Sharks host Dallas on Wednesday in the penultimate game before the league shuts down for the Olympics.
Center Logan Couture, out with a hand injury, confirmed he would not play at all before the break. He’ll return on Feb. 27 in Philadelphia.
Forward Eriah Hayes was reassigned to Worcester.