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Carle, Bernier Both Look To Turn Game Around In Worcester

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
The Sharks took New Year’s Day off and caught up on a few things with an extended practice on Tuesday. The big news on the day however was the reassignment of right wing Steve Bernier and defenseman Matt Carle to Worcester.
 
Those could be short term changes depending on how the youngsters react to the move, but one call up may not necessitate another.
 
“They are two different cases,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson. “I have all the confidence in both guys and am sure they will turn their games around.”
 
Both were recently scratched for San Jose’s most recent contest against Dallas on Sunday night, but Wilson has different agenda’s for each youngster.
 
“Bernie hadn’t done the things that made him effective early in the season,” said Wilson. “Getting the puck out of our zone. Winning every battle. Competing and working every shift.”
 
Bernier is not the first Sharks player to go through the up and downs of the NHL and AHL, and he is definitely not alone when looking at the Sharks roster.
 
“It happens to a lot of young players,” said Wilson. “They lose focus and get caught up in the attention. It even happened to Cheech (Jonathan Cheechoo).”
 
Wilson knows that Carle is facing a different challenge having played less than 40 regular season games during his three-year college run.
 
“He was squeezing the stick,” said Wilson. “We openly talked about him being mentally tired. Maybe he hit the wall. His numbers over the last 15 or 20 games haven’t been there. At the end of the day, you look at where the trend is going. He’s never played this volume of games and we don’t think sitting him out is the way to fix it.”
 
Wilson knows Carle’s roll is extremely valuable to Team Teal.
 
“He is a great player who is still learning and we have to make sure he is ready for what matters most, the playoffs,” said Wilson. “He has to get his confidence back and use his instincts. We anticipated this (could happen).”
 
Carle has a terrific understanding of the game and thinks it as well as most NHL players.
 
“He has to get back to just playing and letting the game flow,” said Wilson. “He is thinking too much. I think this way it releases the pressure and, if he does those things, in a few games, he can come right back.”
 
Minus the two bodies, Wilson may have some addition reinforcements as the Sharks mend some injuries.
 
Ryane Clowe is ready for next game and Ville Nieminen is a possibility. On the down side, Scott Parker could end up back on the injured reserve list after suffering a lower body injury Sunday night in Dallas.
 
ROOKIE RUNNER-UP
On Tuesday, Joe Pavelski was named a runner-up for the NHL’s rookie of the month award. Top billing went to Colorado’s Wojtek Wolski, who tallied 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 13 games. Pavelski’s totals were five goals and five assists in 14 contests.
 
U-S-A, U-S-A
Behind four, third period power-play goals, the United States defeated Finland 6-3 in quarterfinal action at the 31st annual International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship tonight at FM Mattsson Arena in Mora, Sweden. The win propelled the United States into the medal round where they will face Canada, a rematch of the preliminary round contest in which the Canadians defeated the Americans, 6-3.
 
“We’re obviously very happy,” said U.S. Head Coach Ron Rolston (Fenton, Mich.). “I didn’t think we necessarily played our best game, but we got the job done. We have an extremely short turnaround now to get prepared for Canada, but we’ll be ready.”
 
Opening faceoff for tomorrow’s (Jan. 3) semifinal match is set for 4 p.m. (7 a.m. Pacific) at Ejendals Arena in Leksand, Sweden.
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