DETROIT -- Rugged forward Brent Burns will sit out Monday night's game against the Detroit Red Wings after taking a hit to the mouth in Saturday night's win over the Calgary Flames.
Burns' absence means that prospect Freddie Hamilton will play in his first NHL game and be on a line with Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl.
The injury to Burns aggravated an area that has been sore since a stray goalie stick knocked out several teeth in the Oct. 12 game against the Ottawa Senators.
"He got hit in the teeth — well, he doesn't have teeth so I guess in the gums -- the other night and they're bothering him right now," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "He'll be out tonight and hopefully he's ready to go when we get to Boston."
Hamilton, 21, was on San Jose's opening day NHL roster, but was sent to Worcester before the Sharks' first game two nights later. He acknowledged some disappointment in that development, but said he was excited about the opportunity tonight.
"There's definitely been a lot of ups-and-downs this year," Hamilton said. "I'm just trying to keep my emotions pretty even. It was tough but it's a good learning experience and in the end I think it'll just make me stronger."
Hamilton, who has one goal in two games with Worcester, is the older brother of Boston Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton.
"I think it's been a little tough for him — being the little brother and making it in the NHL first," Freddie Hamilton said. "I've been proud watching him and I think he feels the same about me now."
McLellan said there wouldn't be any special one-on-one sessions with Hamilton before the game.
"There's enough stress right now on a young man coming up right now and playing his first game. We don't want to over-burden him with tactics or anything like that," McLellan said. "He knows how to play. He's familiar with our group."