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Posted On Sunday, 12.29.2013 / 5:08 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 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."

Posted On Monday, 12.23.2013 / 4:34 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 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.

Posted On Saturday, 12.21.2013 / 4:51 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 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.”

Posted On Thursday, 12.12.2013 / 4:56 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 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.

Posted On Tuesday, 12.10.2013 / 5:10 PM

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

Sharks return home determined to fix power play

SAN JOSE -- After losing the final three games on their four-game road trip, the San Jose Sharks will try to get back on track Tuesday night at SAP Center against the New York Islanders, a team winless in 10 consecutive games and 10 straight on the road.

The Sharks led the powerful Pacific Division when they hit the road. Now they trail the Anaheim Ducks (47 points) by four points, and are just one point ahead of the Los Angeles Kings and two points ahead of the Vancouver Canucks.

"You look at it and everybody's right there now," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said after his team's morning skate. "Last week we were ahead of everybody. Now we're right with the pack. It's a big game for us to put us back where we want to be. These guys, they've been struggling, but they're really dangerous. I like how they played against [the Pittsburgh Penguins] last year in the playoffs. They looked fast. It should be a good test for us tonight."

Job No. 1 for the Sharks is to fix their broken power play. They went 0-for-4 Sunday in a 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild and were 1-for-13 on the road trip. The Sharks' only power-play goal came during a 4-2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In the Sharks' past 10 games, they've gone 3-for-35 with the man advantage.

Posted On Saturday, 11.30.2013 / 4:39 PM

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

Sharks, Ducks ready for first-place showdown

SAN JOSE -- When San Jose Sharks forward Brent Burns arrived home Friday night after his first career hat trick in a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues, his driveway was lined with hats and there was a 35-foot congratulatory banner hanging near his house, the work of some young neighbors.

"It was pretty crazy," Burns said. "Twitter was crazy, text messages."

One of those text messages was from former Minnesota Wild teammate Marian Gaborik, now with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Gaborik congratulated Burns on his hat trick then reminded him, "'You got 13 more to catch me,'" Burns said. "I said, 'Oh my God.'"

Less than 20 hours after scoring his third goal against St. Louis, Burns was back on the ice during an optional skate Saturday morning, working on his shot as the Sharks prepared for their first game of the season against the Anaheim Ducks, their Pacific Division rival.

"Got to work on it all the time," Burns said.

Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 4:52 PM

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

Irwin returns to Sharks lineup, determined to stay

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin was a near constant in the lineup last season as a rookie, skating with veteran Dan Boyle. Irwin scored six goals, had six assists and earned a two-year contract for his impressive play.

This season Irwin hit the first nasty speed bump of his young career. After going without a goal in the Sharks' first 13 games, he was a healthy scratch for three straight, returned for one game, then sat the past six.

Irwin will return to the lineup Wednesday when the Sharks face the Los Angeles Kings at SAP Center and will be paired with Boyle.

"It's been a while since I've played," Irwin said after the Sharks' morning skate. "I've been chomping at the bit the get back out there, obviously, and help the team. Now that I've got my opportunity, I've got to seize the moment and keep it simple and play my game."

Posted On Saturday, 11.23.2013 / 5:08 PM

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

Sharks' Hertl excited to face idol Jagr

SAN JOSE -- While growing up in the Czech Republic, San Jose Sharks rookie forward Tomas Hertl had a poster of his countryman and hockey idol Jaromir Jagr on his bedroom wall.

Hertl, who turned 20 on Nov. 12, played two games against Jagr in the Czech Extraliga last year during the NHL lockout. But he'll face the 41-year-old Jagr for the first time in the NHL on Saturday night when the Sharks face the New Jersey Devils.

"I'm very excited," Hertl said after the Sharks morning skate at SAP Center. "He's a very, very strong guy."

Hertl said he's never talked to Jagr, but Jagr is well aware of the rookie after facing him twice during the lockout and following his fast start in the NHL.

"He's a good player, no question about it, for the age he is," Jagr said of Hertl, who has a team-high 12 goals. "There's a lot of guys in Europe who've got a lot of talent, but when they come here in the U.S. they might have a tough time because they don't know how to play on the boards and in the corners. That's not his problem. He was playing that kind of style in Europe. You knew it was just a matter of time of when he was going to be good in the NHL. Some guys they have a problem. They come in the League, the rink is smaller. And his advantage is he was playing at the arena where there was smaller ice. He didn't have to get used to it. That's the only arena [in the Czech Republic] that has small ice. They did it for the NHL games and they kind of liked it so they kept it."

While growing up, Hertl would watch highlights on television of Jagr's NHL exploits and an occasional game during the playoffs. He emulated Jagr's style of play, using his big body to protect the puck and also to get to the net.

Posted On Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 4:48 PM

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

Burns expected to return for Sharks against Lightning

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks forward Brent Burns was activated from injured reserve and is expected to be in the lineup Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning at SAP Center in San Jose.

"He's going to come off of IR, so there's a real good chance that he will play," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said after the morning skate. "We'll see how he is when he comes to the rink, but he's telling me now that he's ready. He looks ready, and right now he is."

Burns has missed 13 games with an unspecified facial injury and hasn't played since Oct. 19 against the Calgary Flames. He took a high-stick in the mouth on Oct. 12 from Ottawa Senators goaltender Robyn Lehner, but played three more games before missing more than a month of action.

The Sharks started 7-0-1 with Burns in the lineup and averaged 4.88 goals per game. Without him, they've gone 6-3-4 and averaged 2.5 goals per game.

Posted On Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 4:53 PM

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

Wingels retains spot on Sharks' top line

SAN JOSE -- It was midway through the second period of the San Jose Sharks' 5-4 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night when coach Todd McLellan began shuffling lines, looking for a spark.

Tommy Wingels jumped from the third line to the top line, trading places with Tyler Kennedy. Wingels joined center Joe Thornton and rookie forward Tomas Hertl. Wingels went on to score a third-period goal, as did Hertl and Kennedy.

Not surprisingly, McLellan will stick with the new-look lines that worked so well Tuesday when the Sharks play the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday at SAP Center at San Jose.

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Well, for me this one's concerning, the way we performed. Because three games in, playing a desperate team on the road, I was expecting something else than this. Right now, I'm just disappointed. The other games, I thought we did some things that you can build off your game. There wasn't a lot accomplished in tonight's game.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards after a 4-2 loss to the Sabres on Monday dropped Columbus to 0-3-0
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