DALLAS -- The Sharks didn't practice Wednesday as scheduled, coach Todd McLellan choosing to cancel the session in the aftermath of Dan Boyle's injury.
"It was an emotional day," McLellan said, adding that the players also were physically taxed after skating short-handed for much of Tuesday night's 6-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
Boyle was checked into the boards, illegally, by Blues forward Maxim Lapierre early in the first period and left the game on a stretcher. Retaliating for the hit, Matt Pelech earned a game misconduct and Andrew Desjardins drew 17 minutes in penalties, putting the Sharks down three skaters.
Boyle was hospitalized overnight in St. Louis. He returned to San Jose on Wednesday for further medical evaluation.
"I'm OK," he wrote in a text to this reporter. "That was scary. Hopefully the symptoms will be very minor, if any, going forward."
The Sharks said it was too soon to know the status of the 37-year-old defenseman.
"We are getting him back to San Jose to be with his family and to continue his medical care with our staff," general manager Doug Wilson said. "The evaluation will continue from there."
Lapierre, who was given a game misconduct in addition to five-minute majors for an illegal check from behind and fighting, has been suspended pending the outcome of an in-person hearing, the NHL announced. Under the new bargaining agreement, an in-person hearing is required for any suspension of six games or more, but the NHL still has the option of five or fewer.
Lapierre, a ninth-year NHL veteran in his first season with the Blues, told reporters in St. Louis that he tried to phone Boyle to apologize, but there was no answer.
"Obviously, it's a tough day for him and his family, and it's tough for him to answer a guy who just hit him," Lapierre said. "But I'm going to try to call him back later in the year when it's a better point."
Lapierre said he understood the reaction from the Sharks. Joe Pavelski, referring to the Blues forward, said after the game that "idiots will be idiots." Logan Couture said Lapierre had talked about "coming after us" before the hit.
"It's tough to separate a guy that's yapping from a guy who tries to hurt people," said Lapierre. "I know I'm the type of guy who talks a lot on the ice, but it's really not my intention to hurt anybody."
Boyle's absence coincides with the return of Brad Stuart from a three-game suspension for a hit to the head of New York Rangers forward Rick Nash, so McLellan has a sixth defenseman for Thursday night's game against Dallas.
To minimize the disruption on the blue line, McLellan said Stuart would be paired with Matt Irwin, Boyle's traditional partner.
"It's a good opportunity for Brad to get back," the coach said. "He's had a tough season as far as injury and then the suspension. He'll get a lot of playing time now and get his feet underneath him."
The Sharks, unbeaten through six games, are seeking a 7-0 start for the second straight season. Their impressive performance has been overshadowed by a series of side issues -- the fuss over rookie sensation Tomas Hertl's fourth goal against the Rangers, the commotion caused by Joe Thornton's off-color remarks in Vancouver, the Stuart suspension and now the injury to Boyle.
"A lot has happened in our first five weeks," McLellan said. "And I think that's a good thing for our team. We've been able to stay focused, we've been able to come to the rink and play for each other. But it can be taxing emotionally. Hence the recharge day."
Sharks (6-0-0) at Dallas (2-3-0),
5:30 p.m. CSNCA