Burish was injured in the second period of the Sharks' series-clinching 4-3 overtime victory Tuesday against the Vancouver Canucks. He left at the 16:35 mark after drawing a slashing penalty on Vancouver's Alexander Edler and didn't return to the game. Afterward, Burish had a large wrap on his right hand.
"He's a big part of our team," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "He has been since he arrived. He brings an element of experience, grit, some tenacity, so we're going to miss him. But we've been able to recover from other injuries so far throughout the playoffs. The players who have adjusted and adapted their game and come into the lineup did a tremendous job, and we're going to ask them to do that again."
Burish has played in 343 regular-season NHL games and 36 Stanley Cup Playoff games in his career. He won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.
"It's a tough loss," Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. "He's one of those guys who doesn't necessarily end up on the score sheet, but having played against him, he gets under other guys' skin. He certainly got under mine when he was in Chicago. You kind of need that going forward. When the top guys are thinking about certain players versus what they have to do on the ice, that's a bonus for us. I'm not sure exactly what his situation is or how long [he'll be out], but that definitely is a piece of the puzzle that's going to be missed."
Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart said the Sharks will miss Burish's vocal leadership.
"He'll still be around, but to have him not in the room in the moments before the game or in between periods, somebody else is going to have to step up a little bit," Stuart said. "He was great at being a bit of a vocal leader for us. Somebody else will have to do that a little bit more. He'll still be around. He'll still be part of the team and doing what he can without playing."
Martin Havlat is an obvious candidate to replace Burish in the lineup, but he's recovering from an injury he sustained in the first period of Game 1 against Vancouver. He skated Thursday for the first time since being injured, working on his own and taking a few shots during a brief stint on the ice.
Havlat declined to put a percentage on his chance of playing in Game 1 of the second round, but said he understands there's an opening because of Burish's injury and is trying to "get back as soon as possible."
"No percentages," Havlat said. "Just trying to get better every day. It's progressing."
The Sharks likely won't open their next series until Tuesday at the earliest.
"That’s a big step for him and for us," McLellan said of Havlat skating. "The longer it goes, the better opportunity he has for returning."
If Havlat can't play, Tim Kennedy likely would be in the lineup for Game 1. He played in Game 2 against Vancouver, getting 10:40 of ice time, but was a healthy scratch the past two games after Scott Gomez returned from an injury. Kennedy played 13 games in the regular season, scoring two goals and averaging 13:35 of ice time.
In Game 1, Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa delivered a low blow to Havlat with his stick, but Havlat said that's not why he's sidelined.
"I think it was my last shift, but it wasn't from that," Havlat said. "It was perfectly clean."
Sharks defenseman Jason Demers also is making progress from a sprained left ankle that forced him to miss the final four regular-season games and the entire first round of the playoffs. Demers skated on his own Thursday.
"I've been out a couple times the last few days, slowly working my way up to where I feel comfortable and ready to play," Demers said. "I'm excited to try to get back in and help the guys. Obviously doing it the right way. It was good the last few days. Just day-to-day right now, just seeing how it goes, how it feels every day."
Demers said he's not sure if he'll be ready for the start of San Jose's second-round series.
"Hopefully," he said. "Right now it's just every day to see if I can do a little bit more, a little bit more, until I'm comfortable. Because I don't want to come back in and say I'm ready to play if I'm not going to help the team and not going to be at my best. I'm just taking it day by day and slowly building on each day."
Most of the Sharks stayed off the ice Thursday, using the time to rest or work out briefly on their own. The team will practice Friday as it waits to learn who it will face in the semifinals. McLellan's task will be to keep his team sharp and make sure it doesn't lose its edge during the long break.
"That conundrum that we're talking about is something we spoke to after the win the other night," McLellan said. "We would whine … if we only had one day. Now when we have five people are looking for reasons for why it might not work. It's our job to make it work. It's our job to get prepared and be ready to play."
Goaltender Antti Niemi worked out off the ice one day after being named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.
"It feels great, obviously," Niemi said. "It means I did a good job and played well. But it's not that huge right now in the middle of the playoffs."
Stuart said, "He deserves it. He's had a great year, a big, big part of our success and probably a big reason why we didn't slip further down the standings than we did. We were struggling there for a while to score goals. He was keeping the puck out of the net for us and giving us a chance to win at least when we were struggling to score two goals a game. He deserves it, and I think he should win it. Obviously I don't have any control on that, but it's good recognition for a guy who had a great year."
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