SAN JOSE Sharks defenseman Jim Vandermeer took to the ice on Friday morning about 45 minutes before his teammates, skating with fellow injured blueliner Douglas Murray.
Murray left, but Vandermeer felt good enough to stay on and practice with his teammates as he battles through a broken left hand.
It felt not too bad, so I stayed out. I knew it was going to be a shorter practice today, he said. There wasnt too much puck handling out there by the D today.
Vandermeer said hes still experiencing some pain in his hand, on which hes wearing a type of protective pad around the injury that occurred late in the Sharks 2-1 loss against Minnesota on Dec. 6 when he was struck by a shot.
It was a tough break in more ways than one for the defenseman, who, after being in and out of the lineup for most of the first seven weeks of the season, was in the lineup and playing effectively in five of the previous six games before getting hurt.
I think its frustrating any time you get hurt, but especially after being in and out of the lineup for the first 20 games, and finally getting in and playing four in a row, he said. Its definitely disappointing, but when Im all better hopefully I can step back in and be playing well enough to get back in there and be playing all the time.
Todd McLellan said that Vandermeer is getting closer to a return, which will help the Sharks physical presence around the net something they have been lacking lately with both Vandermeer and Murray out of action.
The physical part, the net play without him and Murray in the lineup, they occupy a lot of that blue paint. Both of them have a nasty streak. You lose both of them it makes it a little thinner in that area, said the coach.
Vandermeer was settling in pretty good. He was getting comfortable, and we played him in a lot of games, but the injury is out of his control and ours. Hell have to find his game again when he gets back.
Vandermeer will miss his first opportunity to play against his former teammates from last season, the Edmonton Oilers, who visit HP Pavilion on Saturday night.
That sucks, but I have six former teams, he said, wryly.