CALGARY -- After suffering an injury to his leg last night, the San Jose Sharks will be without defenseman Brent Burns tonight against the Calgary Flames.
Burns suffered the injury after taking a hit from Ales Hemsky in the Sharks' 2-1 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Hemsky was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct for kneeing.
Though Burns won't be playing, there is a silver lining.
"The injury is not as severe as we originally thought," said Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "The good news is it isn't a knee, it's more of a charley horse situation. He'll need some treatment beginning today and hopefully when we get through the All-Star break he'll be ready to play."
McLellan has some options to replace Burns. The team has been carrying eight defensemen since activating Jim Vandermeer off injured reserve; Vandermeer had missed 20 games with an upper-body injury.
"We do have some options," McLellan said. "We'll make some decisions at game-time."
However, it will be tough for the Sharks to replace Burns, who has averaged 22:25 of ice time per game while playing in all 46 games.
"There is a large portion of our back end that we rely on that comes through Brent Burns," McLellan said. "He plays a lot of minutes in every situation. He can be physical and skate the puck out of trouble. There are a lot of assets he has that we need on a nightly basis.
"That being said, we aren't the only team with bumps and bruises this time of year."
Without Burns, here's the lineup the Sharks likely will use tonight:
Andrew Desjardins - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Benn Ferriero
Jamie McGinn - Michal Handzus - Torrey Mitchell
Brad Winchester - John McCarthy - Andrew Murray
Dan Boyle - Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Douglas Murray - Justin Braun
Colin White - Jason Demers
Antti Niemi will start in goal, with Thomas Greiss the backup.