Sharks place Burns on IR to make room for Gomez

January 23, 2013, 9:45 am
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SAN JOSE – Scott Gomez is officially a member of the San Jose Sharks, signing a one-year contract on Wednesday for $700,000 (pro-rated) after a four-day courting period between the player and the organization.

“I want to come here, help out, and I want to win another Stanley Cup,” said Gomez, a two-time champion with the New Jersey Devils. “I just feel that this group and this organization is a great group of guys, and they know how to win. Hopefully, I can come in here and help them out.”

It’s unclear when Gomez, who will wear uniform number 23, will make his debut. The 2-0-0 Sharks host the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday in their home opener, but Todd McLellan didn’t say one way or another if Gomez would be playing. If Gomez doesn’t play Thursday, he’ll almost certainly play by this weekend when the Sharks host Colorado and Vancouver on Saturday and Sunday.

McLellan hinted that Gomez, known as a playmaking center before he fell on rough times, will be in the middle on one of the Sharks’ bottom two lines. That could be as a replacement to Michal Handzus on the third line between Tommy Wingels or TJ Galiardi, or McLellan could opt to reshuffle the deck entirely among his bottom six forwards. He'll also get power play time.

Of the Sharks’ 10 goals this season, five have come from the top power play unit. The even-strength markers have all come from the top two lines, except for Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s goal against Edmonton, in which Wingels and Galiardi assisted.

“The line combinations after two games have done a fairly good job,” McLellan said. “A lot of the offense has come from the top two, though, so we’d like to look for a little more offense from lines three and four, and maybe he [Gomez] can provide an opportunity for that to happen.”

Gomez joined the Sharks on Saturday, and remained throughout their five-day, two-game road trip through Calgary and Edmonton. Although he was encouraged by what he saw in those two Sharks victories, he spoke more about the organization as a whole after he skated on Wednesday morning at HP Pavilion.

“Besides the first two games, it’s just a great organization and they’ve got guys in here that know how to win,” he said. “You look every year, and playing against San Jose, it’s a tough group.”

He also prefers the Sharks’ style of play over his previous team in Montreal, which bought him out of the final two years of his contract shortly after the new CBA was signed.

In Montreal, “they just grab the puck and dump it in, and go chase a guy and try and hit him. I think this is a little more puck possession, and more fast-paced,” Gomez said.

Burns to IR, Demers update

In order to make room for Gomez on the 23-man roster, the Sharks placed defenseman Brent Burns on injured reserve. Burns was spotted in the Sharks’ locker room and seemed to be walking just fine.

McLellan gave a little bit more detail – a very little bit – on the big defenseman’s absence from the lineup. Burns has not skated since the days leading up to training camp.

“From what I’m told, he’s improving every day. Obviously when you go on IR you’re not playing tomorrow, or we would have never done that. After that, it’s a day-by-day thing,” McLellan said.

Could he return by, say, Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14?

“I hope it’s earlier than that. But, when Brent’s ready and he’s healthy and there’s no risk to further injury, and we think he can help the team because he’s physically capable of doing that, there’s absolutely no doubt we’ll have him in the lineup.”

Jason Demers, recovering from a fractured right wrist, is still skating but unable to take full slap shots. He’s out through at least the weekend.

He’s “taking care of his legs and lungs,” McLellan said.