With the success in the last few Sharks games, it would have been a surprise if any lineup changes occurred. However, an injury has forced Todd McLellan’s hand. Dan Boyle
is out day-to-day with an upper body injury and could miss two contests.
“I’m just taking a night off,” joked Boyle when asked for the specifics of the injury. “I’m probably out the next two games.”
Boyle was injured in the third period of the recent victory in Los Angeles.
With Boyle’s absence, San Jose has recalled Jason Demers
from Worcester and juggled the blueline groups a bit. Demers’ history this season has been playing with Kent Huskins, but he will instead play with Marc-Edouard Vlasic
to form a French Connection pairing. It may not be the famed forward line form Buffalo, but who knows done the road.
“They put the two (French) guys together and we’ll see what we can do,” said Demers. “We played a game or two in training camp together. We played together in Anaheim (preseason) once. It was a comfortable morning skate.”
That should bode well for tonight’s contest against the Ducks.
“He’s a good player, so I’ll let him do most of the work and I’ll chip in where I can,” said Demers of Vlasic.
Vlasic said communication will be key, but it’s not like he’ll be having a heart-to-heart with Demers prior to the game.
“I don’t think I need to talk to him (before),” said Vlasic. “We just need to talk on the ice. We need to communicate. Communication is the most important thing.”
While he has played many more games, Vlasic had a chuckle at being considered the grizzled veteran of the group.
“I guess you could say that, but I’m just one year older,” said Vlasic.
The other pairing created by the injury is Rob Blake and Douglas Murray
. The duo hasn’t played together much either, but they don’t see it as a problem moving forward.
“When you play, you pay attention to others on the ice and I know his tendencies,” said Murray. “I know the spots he like to hang out.”
If he chooses to match lines in such a way, the pairing will provide McLellan with a six-foot-three and a six-foot-four grouping to try and combat Anaheim’s big first unit.
“Just key on the top line,” said Blake about the battle plan when out there against Anaheim’s dangerous scorers. “They are very talented and we’ll have to always be focused.”
Demers isn’t pretending he alone will fill in for the Sharks Olympic defender as it will be a team effort.
“They are some big shoes to fill and we’re going to miss him,” said Demers.
Defensively, not having Boyle will be a challenge as his “compete” level is as high as anyone on the team, but there is no question his talents will be missed on the power play where he is usually the only defender out there with four forwards.
“The big area we’ll miss Danny on is the power play,” said McLellan.
Dealing without Boyle could have a long term benefit for San Jose as others will gain some useful experience in different situations.
“It could (benefit) the hockey club to have to deal without him,” said McLellan.
The Sharks were part of a special premier of the move Tooth Fairy Wednesday night. Scott Nichol, Brad Staubitz, Jody Shelley and Mike Ricci spoke to a crowd of deserving youth prior to the show starting. The movie is based on a minor league hockey player, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who has an affinity for knocking out opponent’s teeth with vicious hits. Because of his cavalier attitude toward a little girl losing her tooth, he is sentenced to two weeks as an actual tooth fairy.
“It was a cute movie,” said Scott Nichol. “It had a little hockey, a little silliness and some funny parts. Our kids certainly enjoyed it.”
Demers should be well rested as he was in Worcester for the recent All-Star break. Actually he was in New York City for the time away from the office.
“When we played there I didn’t get a chance to visit the city,” said Demers. “I saw the naked cowboy.”
The Sharks will host Anaheim at 7:30 p.m. at HP Pavilion and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office or at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.