Programming note: Sharks-Maple Leafs coverage tips off Tuesday at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
SAN JOSE – Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart continues to skate on his own, but suggestions are he’s still not close to returning due to an upper body injury.
Stuart has not played since the season resumed after the Olympic break.
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“Hasn’t been involved in contact, so the conditioning part we’re trying to maintain,” Todd McLellan said on Monday. “The banging, the plays, the read of the game hasn’t happened yet. So, it will be a little while yet.”
“Stuey has worked hard. It’s the contact and everything else that goes with it.”
McLellan also clarified the status of Marty Havlat, who was pulled from the lineup for the last two games. The Sharks’ head coach said Havlat should not be considered a healthy scratch, and indicated the winger could still be feeling the affects of off-season pelvic surgery.
“Working on his strength and mobility on the nights that he’s not playing. Strength and flexibility,” McLellan said.
“To this point, he’ll stay ready. He’s worked on some of the things we’ve asked him to work on while he hasn’t played.”
Mike Brown has also been out lately, but the agitating forward could return against Toronto on Tuesday. Brown had one goal and four shots against the Maple Leafs on Dec. 3, and was part of a very effective fourth line, with Andrew Desjardins and James Sheppard, that McLellan called a “the difference in the game” in the 4-2 Sharks win at Air Canada Center.
Brown has been out the past four games.
“Brownie is ready to go,” McLellan said. “He’s worked hard. He’s prepared to go. We choose our lineup nightly based on what we think we need, and what the other team has, how the lines have performed. Brownie will stay ready.”
Antti Niemi is likely to start his third straight game in goal, as Alex Stalock stayed on the ice for extra work after Monday’s practice at SAP Center.