Striker Tomas Hertl returned to training today after studying the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol for the past two weeks and could be an option to play Friday when the Haie face the Anaheim Ducks.
Shark trainer Bob Boughner said Hertl would skate in line with Timo Meier and Rudolfs Balcers. Meier has missed the last two games with a lower body injury and is considered commonplace, but he, too, could be an option to play on Friday when the Sharks start a four-game road trip.
“I want to see how he feels here in the next few days,” said Boughner Hertl. “I’m glad we have a little two-day break in our schedule in which he can get some practice time.”
Hertl has not played since February 22, when the Sharks faced the Minnesota Wild. He appeared on the NHL’s COVID list two days later when his positive test caused the Sharks to close their practice facility for two days and postpone a scheduled game with the Vegas Golden Knights on February 25th.
Boughner said Hertl was tired after doing some off-ice conditioning on Tuesday, adding that it had nothing to do with COVID. The sharks are due to train again Thursday morning before leaving for Anaheim. Hertl has a small window in which to build up his stamina before possibly playing in a game.
Before he was no longer available, Hertl had an average of more than 19 minutes of ice time per game. Used in all situations, including power play and penalty shootouts, he is the leader of the Sharks.
“He was training yesterday, doing off-ice stuff and I know he was feeling extremely tired,” said Boughner. “He’s deconditioned so we have to use our heads here and when he plays it can be a situation where we have to hold back his Ice Age a bit to see how he feels.”
The Sharks went 2-3-1 without Hertl and finished eighth in the West Division on Wednesday with a 9-11-3 record.
Please try again for updates on this story.