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Sharks' White close to returning

by Rick Sadowski
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- San Jose Sharks defenseman Ian White is recovering from his head injury, planning to take part in a full practice session Monday and optimistic about playing Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinal playoff series, tied at one game each.

"I feel outstanding today, actually," White said after an off-ice workout Sunday at Shark Ice, the team's practice facility. "There's an old adage, time heals everything, so I had a couple days off here and I feel really good."

White still has a cut above his mouth from the hit into the glass he absorbed from Kings forward Jarret Stoll late in the first period of Game 1, but he passed all the neurological and psychological tests Sunday morning that are mandatory after a player suffers a head injury.

"Everything was fine, so I should be good to go," he said. "I did a workout today and everything went well."

This was encouraging news for Sharks coach Todd McLellan, whose team will be looking to rebound from Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Kings.

"Oh, it is," McLellan said. "He's been an important part of our team since he’s arrived here. We've played much better in a lot of areas and we'd certainly like to have him back in the lineup.

"I just got a good report on him. There's some protocol with head injuries that training staffs and organizations have to follow now and we're very sensitive about it. The good news is that he passed his tests and he'll get an opportunity to get back on the ice tomorrow. That'll be the final test and we’ll see how he does from there."

White, 26, had two goals, eight assists and a plus-9 rating in 23 games while averaging 19:55 in ice time with the Sharks following his Feb. 18 acquisition from Carolina in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft.

"He's done a great job since he got here," Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray said. "Hopefully he can get back in the lineup soon."

White, a six-year NHL veteran, played in 401 regular-season games before finally getting the chance to suit up for his initial Stanley Cup playoff game on Thursday. He collected an assist on Dany Heatley's goal 28 seconds after the opening faceoff but was injured with 25.2 seconds remaining in the first period.

Stoll checked White behind the Sharks net and drove him into the boards. White's head struck the glass and he fell to the ice. He struggled to rise, needed help to the dressing room, and didn't return.

The NHL suspended Stoll for Saturday’s game, which White missed because of his injury.

"I saw it (on replays) the same night it happened," White said. "It's pretty ugly. Obviously it wasn't intentional, but my head hit the glass pretty hard. It's a sensitive thing, your brain, so you want to make sure (it has recovered)."

The Sharks won the game 3-2 in overtime, but White's playoff debut won't go down as a memorable moment from a personal standpoint.

"Yeah, it was tough," he said. "I got a period of playoff hockey and it was everything I thought it would be. It was a lot of fun to play in, so it was a terrible shame to not be able to finish it, but playoffs are tough and you're going to get banged up. You're going to get bumps and bruises, it's just that some are at different parts of your body and take different amounts of time to heal."

White said he holds no malice towards Stoll, who sent White an apologetic text message. The two also corresponded over the phone.

White added that he didn't gain any satisfaction from Stoll's suspension.

"I guess the basic thing is you'd just rather the play not happen," he said. "You'd rather him not be suspended and I'd rather not be hurt. That would be the ultimate goal. If you do a play that's deemed irresponsible or whatever by the League, supplemental discipline comes in. It didn't obviously help us by him sitting out of the lineup, but I guess it's the old eye-for-an-eye thing."

White said it was "excruciating" having to sit out Saturday's game, especially since the Sharks played so poorly.

"One of the hardest things I've had to do," he said. "You just want to be there with the guys and help battle. It was really difficult to sit and watch that game."
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