SAN JOSE — Defenseman Jason Demers won't be in the lineup Saturday night when the Sharks face the Phoenix Coyotes and that means Brent Burns will spend most of the game back on the blue line.
Burns, who has helped spark San Jose's renewed offense with five goals and five assists in nine games since he was moved to right wing, may still see some shifts at forward, however, according to Coach Todd McLellan who was asked about the difficulty Burns might have moving back to defense.
"He spent the majority of his seven or eight years back there. I'm assuming it's probably easier for him to go back then it is to go up," McLellan said. "And that doesn't mean we'll use him back there all night. He'll allow us to have six there tonight and we may even play him up front for a while."
McLellan did not provide any details on the injury to Demers — "He's not going to play tonight and he's not feeling good today" — but a first-period hit by Detroit Red Wing center Cory Emmerton caught the defenseman on the jaw. Though Demers continued to play in San Jose's 2-0 victory, it apparently did some damage.
A lineup replacement from Worcester was on the way, McLellan said, but would not arrive by game time. Adam Burish, a healthy scratch the past two games, will take Burns's place among the team's forwards.