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Posted On Saturday, 01.25.2014 / 9:06 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sharks' Niemi back in net vs. Wild

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks backup goaltender Alex Stalock has shutouts in two straight starts after a 1-0 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, but he'll have to wait to make back-to-back starts for the first time in his career.

No. 1 goaltender Antti Niemi will be back in net Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild at SAP Center.

Even though Stalock has returned to the bench after each of his first two career shutouts, which came one week apart, Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Stalock has made his goaltending decisions more difficult throughout the season.

"In September when he made the team, he made it difficult because he had a very good skill level there," McLellan said. "We were very confident. We don't take making goaltender decisions lightly. We talk about it. We consult the goaltending coaches. We look at the lineup. And believe it or not, we do have a plan. We're executing it as we move forward."


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Posted On Thursday, 01.23.2014 / 5:06 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stalock starts as Sharks, Jets match four-game runs

SAN JOSE -- One week after recording his first NHL shutout, backup goaltender Alex Stalock will make his ninth start of the season Thursday for the San Jose Sharks against the Winnipeg Jets at SAP Center in a battle between teams on four-game winning streaks.

Stalock made 24 saves in the Sharks' 3-0 victory against the Florida Panthers in his previous start, improving to 6-2-0 while lowering his goals-against average to 1.80 and raising his save percentage to .938.

"Obviously the goal for me is to stay sharp all the time," Stalock said. "You never know when you're going to get a chance. When you do you want to give the team a chance to win. That's my plan every night going into the game, trying to get two points every single game."

Stalock has had limited action this season but his numbers are better than No. 1 goaltender Antti Niemi's. Niemi is 26-10-6 with a 2.38 GAA and .913 save percentage.

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Posted On Monday, 01.20.2014 / 5:28 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Russell, Jones return for Flames

SAN JOSE -- The Calgary Flames will have defenseman Kris Russell and forward David Jones back in the lineup Monday night against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.

Russell has missed 13 games with a knee injury while Jones was out for eight with an eye injury.

"Anytime you get hurt it's brutal," Jones said after the Flames' morning skate. "I think this one just lagged on. I think we were a little too optimistic about how quickly it was going to turn around. That's the most frustrating part about it. I was thinking I'd be able to play the next day. My vision just wasn't getting any better. It was a little scary there for a while. I was worried that it was going to be worse than it was. Fortunately now it's 100 percent. It's nice to be back."

To make room for Russell on the active roster, the Flames placed forward Mike Cammalleri on injured reserve. He has missed the past four games with a concussion.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.11.2014 / 4:27 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Bruins' Eriksson, Thornton returning against Sharks

SAN JOSE -- Shawn Thornton and Loui Eriksson will be in the lineup Saturday night for the first time in more than a month when the Boston Bruins face the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.

Eriksson sustained a concussion on a hit from the Pittsburgh Penguins' Brooks Orpik early in the first period of a Dec. 7 game in Boston. Later in that game, Thornton retaliated against Orpik, tripping him from behind and then punching him in the face twice while Orpik was on the ice. Orpik also ended up with a concussion, and Thornton was suspended 15 games by the NHL.

Thornton served the final game of his suspension Thursday night when the Bruins lost 4-2 against the Los Angeles Kings.

"I'm excited to be back, obviously," Thornton said after the Bruins' morning skate. "It was a tough night to sleep, for other reasons this time, which is good. I was a little excited. It's been a long time. I can't wait to get it going."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.09.2014 / 5:46 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Wingels, Kennedy back in Sharks' lineup

SAN JOSE -- Forwards Tommy Wingels and Tyler Kennedy will return to the lineup Thursday night for the San Jose Sharks against the Detroit Wings in a battle between injury-depleted teams at SAP Center.

Wingels missed five games with an upper-body injury and Kennedy was out four games with the flu. They will provide reinforcements to a team that is without five injured forwards. Logan Couture underwent surgery Wednesday on his right hand. Tomas Hertl (knee surgery), Raffi Torres (knee surgery), Adam Burish (back surgery) and Martin Havlat (lower body) are also sidelined.

"They look good and ready to go," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of Kennedy and Wingels. "That's a nice thing to have them back, and now they have to produce."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 5:03 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Dubnyk starts for Oilers, Yakupov back in lineup

SAN JOSE -- The last time Edmonton Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk started a game was Friday, when he had a 27-save shutout against the Calgary Flames at ScotiaBank Saddledome.

Six days and three games later, Dubnyk will try to continue that momentum Thursday against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.

"You're not going to have that feeling rolling off like we played last night, obviously," Dubnyk said after the Oilers' morning skate. "It's not going to have that. But at the same time that's the last game I played. When the puck drops [Thursday], I'll just be working off that good feeling. I had some good days in practice. Just continue that confidence. You can't think too much because every game's different. You don't know how the game's going to go. Anytime you can use any sort of advantage to your favor, and this is an opportunity to do that, I'll certainly try."

Ilya Bryzgalov started the past two games for Edmonton, a 4-3 shootout loss against the Philadelphia Flyers and a 4-3 overtime road loss against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Dubnyk will face a Sharks team that is 14-1-3 at home and will be trying to get back on track after a 6-3 road loss against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.29.2013 / 5:08 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kearns to get his chance with Sharks

SAN JOSE -- One day after being recalled from Worcester of the American Hockey League, Bracken Kearns will center the third line Sunday night at SAP Center for the San Jose Sharks when they face an Anaheim Ducks team that has won a franchise record 10 straight games.

Kearns has played one game for San Jose this season, Oct. 17 against the Dallas Stars, but he had 18 points and 13 assists (each team highs) at Worcester. Last season, Kearns played in one regular-season game for San Jose but was in the lineup for all seven against the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference semifinals.

"He was a very important player in that series, considering the injuries we were going through and suspensions," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said after the morning skate. "He was very capable of playing against a very good hockey club, and he's thrown into the fire again tonight that way against maybe the best team in the League right now."

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Posted On Monday, 12.23.2013 / 4:34 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sharks' Hertl to undergo knee surgery

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks rookie forward Tomas Hertl will undergo surgery on his right knee next week, the team announced Monday.

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson initially said that Hertl would miss at least a month. Now that surgery has been scheduled, the Sharks expect Hertl to be sidelined for more than a month. They'll have a more definitive timetable after Hertl undergoes surgery.

Hertl was injured Thursday night in the first period against the Los Angeles Kings during a knee-on-knee collision with Kings captain Dustin Brown at Staples Center.

In the wake of Hertl's injury, the Sharks unveiled new-look lines Saturday night against the Dallas Stars.

The Sharks beat the Stars 3-2 in a shootout, but coach Todd McLellan has made more changes for his team's game Monday night against the Colorado Avalanche at SAP Center.


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Posted On Saturday, 12.21.2013 / 4:51 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sharks rookie Hertl out month, maybe longer

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks rookie forward Tomas Hertl will miss at least a month and possibly longer with an injury to his right knee, general manager Doug Wilson said Saturday morning.

“There is still some swelling in the knee," Wilson said. "Preliminary report is he’ll be out at least a month, and then we’ll have some more tests that will be ongoing, and see what the extent is and go from there. That will take a little bit of time for that evaluation to take place.”

Hertl was injured Thursday in the first period against the Los Angeles Kings during a knee-on-knee collision with Kings captain Dustin Brown. Brown received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct but no supplementary discipline from the NHL.

Wilson said it's too early to tell whether Hertl's injury could be season-ending.

"Ask me in a week, or two or three," Wilson said. "I think right now the prognosis is a month but we are prepared that it could be longer. How much longer, I don’t know.”

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Posted On Thursday, 12.12.2013 / 4:56 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Bulmer could get next crack on Wild's second line

SAN JOSE -- Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo has been searching for someone to step up and add some punch to his second line.

Brett Bulmer, a second-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, might get the next chance to audition for that job.

Minnesota recalled Bulmer from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League, and he is expected to be in the lineup Thursday night against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.

Yeo said he hasn't finalized his lines, but he has an opening at right wing on his second line. Jason Zucker, who played that spot Wednesday night in a 2-1 loss against the Anaheim Ducks, will be a healthy scratch Thursday.

Yeo said "there's been talk" of dropping first-line right wing Jason Pominville to the second line, but he'd like to avoid that if possible.

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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic