San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said he’s ready to come back to the lineup when the Sharks host the Phoenix Coyotes Saturday night.
Boyle has missed seven games since being knocked unconscious by a vicious hit from behind by Maxim Lapierre of the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 15.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Boyle will need medical clearance before he’s allowed back in uniform.
“The medical staff, I’ve got to check with them now just to make sure we’re on the same page,” Boyle said Friday. “Hopefully, I’ll be out there tomorrow.”
Coach Todd McLellan said forward Matt Nieto, who has missed the last two games, should be back in the lineup as well.
Nieto was back on the third line in practice Friday with Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels. Martin Havlat was skating with Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau and Tyler Kennedy was with Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl.
Boyle knows he’s going to have some trepidation about returning to action. He remembers coming back after a concussion in 2003.
“Last time this happened, I kind of got hit early,” Boyle said. “That was probably the best thing to happen. Hopefully, the first shift I get a hit or get hit. Hopefully I’ll get some of that nervousness and bad energy away.”
The Sharks were also informed of a couple of honors for the first month of the season, as goalie Antti Niemi was one of the league’s “Three Stars” for October and Hertl was named the Rookie of the Month.
Niemi put together a 9-1-2 record with a 1.72 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage in October, along with two shutouts. Also recognized were Alexander Steen of the Blues and Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Hertl leads all rookies in scoring with eight goals and 11 points and had a four-goal outburst against the New York Rangers on Oct. 8.