BOSTON — Dan Boyle skated Thursday morning for the first time since being knocked unconscious Oct. 15 by a nasty hit from St. Louis Blues forward Maxim Lapierre.
He stayed on the ice a good 30 minutes after his teammates had left, then talked about what it was like practicing and the hit that has kept him away from the game the past nine days.
"Good, I guess. I mean, obviously not great," the 37-year-old defenseman said "I've been off so I could definitely feel it — regardless of the hit or not — definitely a week can take its toll on you. It was a good start, though. Hopefully, I'll just get better and better quickly and every day."
Boyle wasn't ready to forgive Lapierre, who received a five-game suspension for the hit from behind that drove Boyle face-first into the top of the boards and knocked him unconscious.
"He left a message. I think it's been documented that I didn't take the call." Boyle said. "I'll leave it at that for now."
Neither the Sharks nor Boyle would set a timetable for his return to the lineup, though Boyle said he hoped to play on San Jose's current road trip, which continues with games in Montreal and Ottawa this weekend, then wraps up Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
The Sharks have only identified the injury to Boyle as upper body. At one point, he talked about his experience with concussions, then backtracked.
"With concussions, you just have to be careful. And when I say concussion, I haven't actually been told that I've officially had one," Boyle said. "Still kind of waiting on more results from the doctors and more feedback on what they saw."
Boyle did say he received a concussion earlier in his career with the Tampa Bay Lightning, when he also was knocked out and had to miss four games. The symptoms were similar, he said. The Boston game is the fourth the Sharks will play without him.
The Sharks defenseman said he had no memory of the play in which he was injured.
"I remember stuff that happened before and starting the game and a couple things that happened in warmup," Boyle said. "I remember being in the ambulance, so I don't remember being carried off the ice."
Sharks coach Todd McLellan said it was good to have Boyle back with the team, but didn't see using that as any extra motivation against the Bruins.
And while the coach acknowledged the Sharks have the rare situation where the visiting team is better rested than the home team because Boston beat Buffalo 5-2 on Wednesday night in Buffalo, McLellan didn't put much weight in that edge.
"The rested part certainly goes to the Sharks," McLellan said, "but the prep part, the commitment part, the speed part -- which are the most important parts -- are still up for grabs."
In that game, Boston forward Loui Eriksson had to leave early in the third period after absorbing a head hit from Sabres enforcer John Scott. Eriksson stayed behind at the team hotel and will not be in the lineup tonight.
McLellan was asked his thoughts on the rash of illegal hits such as the ones that sidelined Boyle and Erikkson.
"Sometimes when you get up here and answer those questions, you come across as having a group of saints," the Sharks coach said. "We're not saints by any means. We have guys that have problems with finished checks and suspensions, too. It's happening around the league.
"But when you talk about it as a whole," he continued, "there's no need for it. There are players that can avoid certain situations that haven't. And I don't know how we're going to stop it. I just hope that it does stop."