Tomas Hertl leaves game after hard hit
SAN JOSE – Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl is expected to play on Tuesday in St. Louis, after an injury forced him to leave San Jose’s 3-2 win over Ottawa on Saturday night.
Hertl, who leads the NHL in goals with seven, received a blow to the shoulder/head area from Ottawa’s Clarke MacArthur with 2:14 to go in the second period. He skated immediately to the dressing room, did not play in the third period, and missed practice on Sunday.
Brent Burns, who was hit in the face with a high stick from goalie Robin Lehner, also did not practice Sunday. Like Hertl, he’s not expected to miss any games.
“Just a day off for maintenance. They’re both fine, and we expect both of them to play in St. Louis,” McLellan said.
Hertl has been the victim of a high hit in each of his last two games, including Thursday in Vancouver, when Canucks defenseman Alex Edler checked him in the head. Edler was suspended three games for the play, on which Hertl’s helmet popped off his noggin.
McLellan was asked if he’s concerned that his rising 19-year-old star has been on the receiving end of head hits in each of the last two games.
“The one in Vancouver concerned me a lot more than the one yesterday,” McLellan said. “It’s an upper body area that’s sore, I don’t know if it’s the head. That makes me feel a lot better than what could have been.”
Does Hertl need to learn how to keep his head up?
“Well, one was an illegal hit. The other one he fell into [MacArthur]. I don’t know if that had anything to do with his head being down. He stumbled into a player. If he didn’t lose his balance, I think he would have handled himself well,” McLellan said.
“He’s learning how to play in the NHL, and he’s doing a pretty good job of it, too. It will take some trial and error and he’ll keep getting better as the days go on.”
Dan Boyle also suggested it’s a learning process, as Hertl adapts to the smaller rinks of North American pro hockey after two years in the Czech League.
“He’ll learn. Obviously, it’s nothing too serious, but you learn trial by fire,” Boyle said. “There are different areas on a rink during a game where you just have to protect yourself. You want guys to sacrifice themselves, but it won’t do anybody any good if you’re in the stands with concussions, and stuff like that. You definitely have to be aware on the ice, and hopefully he’ll get better with that.”
As for Hertl himself, he made a brief appearance in the Sharks dressing room on Sunday, and said he felt "good."
The 5-0-0 Sharks meet the 4-0-0 Blues at Scottrade Center on Tuesday at 5 p.m. PST. They represent two of the three remaining NHL teams without a loss.
More injury news
Adam Burish continues to fight a lower body injury, and had not skated since the Sharks’ preseason opener on Sep. 16. McLellan said he continues to experience setbacks in his recovery.
“He just about gets there, and the next time he gets there, it’s just about keeping it there,” McLellan said.
Marty Havlat (offseason pelvic surgery) continues to skate on his own, and McLellan said he could join the team for full practices shortly.
“Marty is making good progress,” said the coach. “I think you’ll see Marty be able to join our team in the near future as far as practicing all out, and doing those types of things. He’s worked really hard on his rehab.”