NHL on NBCSN: Sharks continue road trip by visiting Flyers

Sean Leahy
NBC Sports

NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Tuesday night’s matchup between the San Jose Sharks and Philadelphia Flyers at 7:30 p.m. ET. You can watch that game online by clicking here.

The San Jose Sharks’ update on Joe Thornton provided some good news, but has the cloud of bad news hovering over it.

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The good news is that the swelling in Thornton’s right knee is due to an infection. “Nothing structurally. It looks like an infection, put him on antibiotics,” Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said Monday. “He should be fine.”

Good to hear for the 39-year-old Thornton, who was placed on injured reserve on Sunday. Of course, a knee infection was what eventually led to the end of Raffi Torres’ NHL career, and considering Jumbo’s recent health history, hopefully he’s able to come back at full strength.

[WATCH LIVE – 7:30 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

As the Sharks await Thornton’s return, they face a Philadelphia Flyers team that got the news they’ll be without James van Riemsdyk for the next 5-6 weeks due to a lower-body injury. They split their opening two games on the road and have three of their next four at Wells Fargo Center. Dave Hakstol’s group is of the mind some home cooking might get them going on a roll.

In JVR’s place on the third line with Wayne Simmonds and Mikhail Vorobyev will be Jordan Weal, who recorded 21 points in 69 games last season while averaging just under 13 minutes a night. 

Weal, a natural center, got experience on the wing last season and appears up for the challenge of performing there when needed.

“I think every part of my game got a little more comfortable coming into this year. It’s a year-to-year thing as you get more comfortable with a team, with the guys and with the league and the do’s and don’ts,” Weal said on Monday. “I think from last year to this year, I kept working hard during the summer, trying to get better at the little things in my game that I think I need to work on and get ready to go.”

Gritty’s home debut

With all the pre-season buzz about the Flyers’ new mascot, as part of their home opener Gritty will be making its first regular season game appearance. According to the team, Gritty will make a “dramatic grand entrance” and will “participate in many stunts and games on the ice and in the seats.”

The Flyers should really just place Gritty inside the visiting team’s penalty box all night just to see what happens.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

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Sean Leahy is a writer forPro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line atphtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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