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San Jose's Desjardins scratched in Chicago

by Brian Hedger
CHICAGO – San Jose Sharks rookie center Andrew Desjardins was scratched
Sunday night at the United Center against the Chicago
Blackhawks after taking an illegal hit to the head on Saturday night
in Columbus.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan said before the game that Desjardins still
needs to undergo further testing, and that his long-term status might not be
fully determined until the team returns to San Jose on Monday.

“He’s in that stage -- that next-day stage -- where he’s got to come in
and we’ve got to re-evaluate him and get him to take his baseline
test,” McLellan said. “That’s where he is right now.”

Desjardins spoke with San Jose Mercury News reporter David Pollak
after Saturday nights’ game and said he felt fine, but McLellan warned
that, often, the symptoms of a concussion don’t fully start until the
following days after an injury occurs.

Desjardins, whom McLellan was happy with centering the Sharks’ fourth
line, was hit with a headshot by Columbus Blue Jackets rookie Dane
Byers early in the second period and didn’t return. McLellan expressed
his strong objection to the kind of hit that knocked Desjardins out of
the game and said it will be reviewed by the League for a possible
punishment -- on top of Byers’ major penalty and ejection from the game.

“I know it’s going to be reviewed,” McLellan said. “What will come out
of it? I don’t know. They have their guidelines and their protocol for
dealing with it. It’s completely out of our hands right now. Our
concern goes to our player and to making sure that we do everything we
can to make him comfortable and get him healthy.”

As for replacing Desjarding, Tommy Wingels is the answer short-term –
as he replaced Desjardins in the lineup against the Blackhawks –
getting the nod over forward Frazer McLaren. If Desjardins needs to
miss more games, McLellan will mix and match until his young center is
ready to return.

“Desi will still be a very important player for our team,” McLellan
said. “He’s really felt comfortable over the last month in his
environment here. We’ve used him on the penalty kill a lot. He’s
anchored that fourth line for us and they’ve given us good minutes on
a daily basis, so I really feel for him right now because he was just
starting to feel good about being a National Hockey League player.”
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