Sharks d-man Vlasic's status for Game 6 in question

Sharks d-man Vlasic's status for Game 6 in question
April 26, 2014, 9:15 pm
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SAN JOSE - Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic was hurt at 14:09 of the first period of Game 5 against Los Angeles on Saturday, and did not return. His status is in question for Game 6 on Monday in Los Angeles.

Vlasic was on the receiving end of a roughing penalty by Jarret Stoll at 14:09. Stoll's elbow appeared to make contact with Vlasic's head, twice.

"He didn't return after the blow he took to the head from Stoll," Todd McLellan said after the 3-0 Sharks loss. "He's got an upper body injury. You can call it that."

McLellan didn't seem to have any problem with Stoll getting just two minutes for the play.

"[The referees] have a tough job. They can't determine the extent of an injury on the spot. I don't hold them accountable for that. They made the call that they thought was appropriate. Unfortunately, he's injured. We want to get that [hit] out of the game, if we can."

When asked if Vlasic would play in Game 6, McLellan said: "I don't know."

Dan Boyle talked about the Sharks going down to five defenseman after Vlasic's departure, as the Sharks lost their second straight playoff game.

“Playing five D is not something you’re used to. The problem was playing five D when you’re down 3-0. That’s where it gets a little bit difficult," Boyle said. "Five D when you’re up you can kind of keep it simple and play a certain way. But, you’re down three goals, five d-men pushing the puck, rushing up, it definitely got a little difficult, but I thought we handled it well.”

Vlasic is unquestionably the Sharks' best defenseman at even strength and on the penalty kill, and his loss would be a significant one. The 27-year-old finished tied for the ninth in the NHL with a +31 rating while playing in 81 games, and was third on the team in ice time at 20 minutes and 42 seconds per game. He helped Canada to a gold medal in February's Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The likeliest candidate to replace Vlasic if necessary is Matt Irwin, who has been a healthy scratch for the first five games.