SAN JOSE – Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart could be ready by opening night, he said after practice at Sharks Ice on Friday.
Stuart has yet to play in a preseason game with a lower body injury, and won’t play in either of the final two games this weekend, but could still be ready to go for Oct. 3 when San Jose hosts the Vancouver Canucks in its season opener.
“I’m feeling optimistic about it,” Stuart said. “I feel if I have another four or five good days skating, I think I should be available. Obviously, final say is up to the coach, but I think if I have a good weekend and week leading up to the first game, I think I should at least be available and it will be up to the coach. I feel good about it.”
Stuart, who did not miss a game last season, has been practicing with the Sharks for about a week now, and has been putting in extra time on the ice for conditioning purposes. He was unable to skate over the summer and missed the start of camp, and is not quite back to 100 percent from the unspecified injury, although he said he’s “pretty close.”
“It’s been a rough week skating after practice and all that, but it’s also necessary, and good to be back out there,” he said. “The fact I’m able to do that, I’m happy about that. I knew at some point I was going to have to put in a little more work just because of the summer I had.”
The Sharks have eight defensemen remaining in camp other than Stuart, including youngsters Matt Tennyson and Taylor Doherty. Jason Demers has been skating in Stuart’s place with Scott Hannan, and that would be San Jose’s third pair if Stuart does not play.
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Adam Burish remains out with a lower body injury, and will not play in either of the final two preseason games. Earlier in the week, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said Burish is expected to be ready for opening night.