On Saturday night, Sharks former first-round draft pick, Steve Bernier, scored his first NHL-career goal. Bernier’s first tally of his career shifted the momentum to the Sharks, after they had been trailing the visiting Dallas Stars 2-0. The night ended in a frustrating overtime shoot-out loss for Team Teal, but Bernier succeeded in scoring the first of two back-to-back Sharks goals in the second period that knotted the game until the decisive shootout crowned Dallas the winner.
The Quebec City native was recalled from the Cleveland Barons on November 3. While playing nine games for the Barons, Bernier led the team this season in points (10), goals (four), including two game-winning goals, and assists (six).
Bernier, though disappointed by his team’s loss, was relieved to get his first NHL goal out of the way.
“I didn’t think about it very much,” said Bernier. “But to score your first NHL goal, it was fun. That’s just one goal though, so I have to keep doing what I’m doing.”
The goal couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Sharks were trailing 2-0 midway through the second period.
“Stuart made a great play at the blue line to keep the puck in,” said Bernier. “‘Smitty’ tried to shoot the puck and the rebound went to my blade. I just threw the puck in and found a hole. It wasn’t the prettiest goal, but I’m going to take it anyway.”
The play of the rookie has impressed both his teammates and the coaching staff.
“He’s playing well and that’s what we were hoping for,” said Head Coach Ron Wilson. “We saw him in the preseason and he played real well for us.”
THORNTON GETTING BETTER, ROSTER MOVES IMMINENT Scott Thornton skated for the full hour and a half practice on Monday at Logitech Ice. Something that the Sharks veteran has had trouble doing since he went down five games ago with a groin injury.
“If this was the NFL, I’d say he’s questionable,” said Wilson. “He’s one step closer it appears. The fact that he was out there at the end when we were skating the hardest is a good sign. We just have to see how he responds tomorrow.”
The left wing’s eventual return, coupled with the return of Scott Parker in the next couple of weeks will create a bit of a log jam on the Sharks roster. Several roster moves may be imminent.
“‘Parks’ practiced the first half of practice and we’re hoping that he can get back within a week,” said Wilson. “He’ll make our job difficult as far as decisions go. There will be roster moves, changing guys in and out, the type of competition you need. You shouldn’t have that, but some guys have played themselves into that position, where I’m going to have to act desperate to make some moves I don’t want to make, but it’s just how it is.”
Getting Thornton and Parker’s veteran presence back on the ice should only help the Sharks who have struggled keeping a focus in the earlier part of games this season.
“If we’ve got one or two guys not going, it throws us off,” added Wilson. “We’re the type of team that has to have everybody with their hand on the rope pulling in the same direction and if we’ve got somebody who keeps letting go of the rope, we’re in trouble.”
NHL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK Atlanta Thrashers left wing Ilya Kovalchuk, who posted eight points (six goals, two assists) in three games, has been named the NHL’s Offensive Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday, November 13. Dallas Stars goaltender Marty Turco, who backstopped the Stars to three victories in four games with a 1.97 goals-against average, .932 save percentage and one shutout, has been named the League’s Defensive Player of the Week.
SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANK HOLIDAY FOOD DRIVE The Second Harvest Food Bank, The Sharks Foundation and hockey fans throughout the Bay Area will team-up to do their part in the fight against hunger this holiday season.
Hockey fans can make canned food donations at the North and South entrances of HP Pavilion as they enter the building for the San Jose Sharks home game on Wednesday, Nov. 16 (vs. Vancouver).
With each generous donation, fans will be provided with a raffle ticket for a prize drawing of team memorabilia to be held that night and a coupon for the Sharks team store.
NEXT GAME The Sharks will play host to the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday, Nov. 16 at HP Pavilion at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the HP Pavilion box office and all Ticketmaster locations. The game will be aired on FSN Plus, on the Sharks Radio Network and on sjsharks.com