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Torres' status uncertain, Sharks prepare for Game 2

by Staff

The San Jose Sharks won't know if they'll have forward Raffi Torres available to play Thursday night until earlier in the day.

But the team is prepared to face the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals with or without him.

"Well, we've got other players if Raffi can't play," coach Todd McLellan told the team's website Wednesday. "We've got other people that we can put in. We'll look at our lines, we'll look at how we can best use those people.

"There's been a number of players that have been skating, and I've been waiting for this opportunity. So if it does come to that, we feel confident."

Torres has an in-person hearing scheduled Thursday in New York with the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit he delivered to Kings center Jarret Stoll late in the second period of Game 1 on Tuesday.

Without a suspension, Torres would have to fly cross-country in order to play Thursday night.

McLellan would not address who might take Torres' place.

"I'm assuming he is going to play," McLellan said. "Until all the work is done, we have to assume that."

San Jose has been fortunate in that its lineup has remained consistent for much of the latter part of the season and start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Forward Martin Havlat sustained a lower-body injury in Game 1 of the quarterfinal sweep of the Vancouver Canucks, and forward Adam Burish is out for this series with a right-hand injury.

McLellan said Wednesday he did not expect Havlat to be available for Game 2.

Forward Bracken Kearns played his second NHL game of the season in Game 1, which was won by the Kings 2-0. Tim Kennedy, who played twice since March 10, could be added Thursday.

Torres received a minor penalty for charging at 19:02 of the second period. Stoll did not return to the game and is expected to be replaced in the Kings lineup by Brad Richardson.

Torres was suspended 25 games (later reduced to 21) for a hit he delivered to Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa in the first round last year, when Torres was with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Torres joined the Sharks in a trade April 3. His new teammates backed him Wednesday.

"It's unfortunate Jarret was hurt, but we just thought it was a clean hit," captain Joe Thornton said. "We've even seen it again today and we thought it was a clean hit, he was just hurt. I think when players get hurt, [the NHL is] just probably going to review things and just have a talk with him, and hopefully he'll be back in the lineup tomorrow night for us."

Linemate Logan Couture said, "We're going to support Raffi; whatever happens, happens.

"I was on the ice, basically right beside it, and I thought it was shoulder to shoulder, clean hit. Obviously he was injured on the play, so you hope the other guy's OK, but from what I saw it was a clean hit, and we'll see what happens."

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