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Sharks' Couture 50-50 for game vs. Jets

by Eric Gilmore

SAN JOSE -- Center Logan Couture was on the ice for a portion of the San Jose Sharks' morning skate and said his odds are 50-50 for being available to play Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets.

Couture injured a foot blocking a shot Monday against the Calgary Flames and missed the Sharks' game Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers.

"It feels better [Thursday] than it did [Wednesday]," Couture said. "So we'll see. I'm going to take warmup, I think -- at least that's my plan -- and see how it feels then."

Couture did not take part in line rushes and said he wasn't skating at 100 percent, despite his improvement. Patrick Marleau centered the second line, between Matt Nieto and Tyler Kennedy.

"I haven't visited with the trainers or Logan," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "If Logan is good to play he's obviously going to play. If he's still a little bit sore he won't, and he'll be ready for the next game. Logan is not injured long term or anything like that. He blocked a shot and he's a little bit sore. When he can play, he will."

The injury news on fourth-line forward Adam Burish wasn't nearly as upbeat. Burish had surgery to repair two broken fingers on his left hand Wednesday, and according to McLellan will miss the rest of the regular season. He said Burish might have a chance to return during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"It's not even 24 hours since he's finished the surgery," McLellan said. "We've got to wait for a few days to find out where he's really at."

Burish was injured Tuesday against the Calgary Flames blocking a shot on the penalty kill.

Burish proved to be a quick healer last season after breaking a hand May 7 in Game 4 of the Sharks' Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Vancouver Canucks. He returned May 20 for Game 6 against the Los Angeles Kings in the conference semifinals.

With Burish out and Couture recovering from an injury, the Sharks recalled forward Freddie Hamilton from Worcester of the American Hockey League. Hamilton skated on the fourth line with center Andrew Desjardins and forward Mike Brown.

Hamilton has played 11 games for the Sharks this season. He has no points and 13 shots on goal. His most recent NHL game was Jan. 7 against the Nashville Predators.

"It's been a while since we've seen him," McLellan said. "The NHL game has changed a little bit. It's gotten a little more intense, a little quicker, a little harder. He's going back into the testing field, if you will. If he does play, he'll get that opportunity and then we'll get a read on where he's at. I don't want him to get into the game with a whole bunch of clutter in his head. I want him to do what he's been doing [in the AHL] and we'll adjust as it goes."

The Sharks have 103 points after their 5-2 victory against the Oilers, and they lead the Anaheim Ducks by two points in the Pacific Division, but the Ducks have played two fewer games.

Winnipeg top-line forward Andrew Ladd will return to the lineup after missing the Jets' game Monday against the Dallas Stars to be with his wife and newborn baby girl.

"It's nice to get back with the guys and see them and have a game [Thursday] and just get back in the swing of things," Ladd said.

Former Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi will be a healthy scratch Thursday. He has no points in eight career games against San Jose.

"Coach's decision," Jets coach Paul Maurice said of Setoguchi.

Matt Halischuk will move up to take Setoguchi's spot on a line with center Eric O'Dell and forward Evander Kane.

"He's got a real good sense of the defensive part of the game," Maurice said of Halischuk. "There's no quit in it. He'll get pucks deep, he'll get on the forecheck and there's quite a bit of quickness in his game. When on that line that can help the other two."

Here are the projected lineups:


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Michael Frolik

Evander Kane - Eric O'Dell - Matt Halischuk

Dustin Byfuglien - Olli Jokinen - Blake Wheeler

Eric Tangradi - Jim Slater - Anthony Peluso

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Tobias Enstrom - Keaton Ellerby

Adam Pardy - Paul Postma

Al Montoya

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Patrice Cormier, Devin Setoguchi

Injured: Zach Bogosian (upper body), Ondrej Pavelec (lower body), Mark Scheifele (knee), James Wright (ankle), Chris Thorburn (ankle), Grant Clitsome (back)


Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns

Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Tyler Kennedy

Marty Havlat - James Sheppard - Tommy Wingels

Freddie Hamilton - Andrew Desjardins - Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Jason Demers

Brad Stuart - Justin Braun

Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Scott Hannan, Raffi Torres

Injured: Tomas Hertl (knee), Adam Burish (hand), Logan Couture (foot)

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