Following a single day away from practice, Scott Hannan hit the ice with his teammates for Tuesday’s practice. Fans who witnessed Saturday night’s Dallas contest can understand why Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson gave his minutes-leader a day off.
Saturday night Hannan was given a mouth full of stitches, only to return to the ice and take two more direct hits to the area.
“My head was not feeling too good after the last game,” laughed Hannan on Tuesday.
The only saving grace for Hannan was that after taking a puck in the mouth off a deflection and receiving the butt end of Jason Arnott’s stick, Hannan’s face was numb for his next contact – when he was driven face first into the boards.
Hannan had already lost part of a tooth and basically been administered a root canal. That proved to be the saving grace for the direct hit into the boards.
“I couldn’t feel my face,” said Hannan. “I think they used up all the Novocain. I had four people looking at me.”
The game seemed to be par for the season for Hannan.
“I feel like Primeau the year before when it seemed he got highsticked every game,” said Hannan. “Now it’s me. It’s the fourth time I’ve been cut this year.”
THORNTON CLOSE Winger Scott Thornton could be close to a return. He suffered a groin injury on October 29 versus Calgary, but participated in his first full practice.
“I was wish-boned in the corner on the last play of the game and pulled the groin,” said Thornton. “I think it’s a coach’s decision now.”
“We’ll cross that bridge after the pregame skate,” said Wilson. “You have to be careful.”
Rugged winger Scott Parker is also closing in on a return, skating for a second consecutive practice.
BIG DIFFERENCE Nolan Schaefer has learned a lot about the NHL during his recent stint in the league. He learned how to win, going on an amazing five-game winning streak. He learned how to lose, suffering his first loss in his sixth contest.
On Tuesday he learned the difference between a two-week NHL paycheck and a two-week AHL paycheck. Schaefer is on a two-way deal and his salary when playing in Cleveland is slightly lower than his NHL pay rate.
“Today is the first big one,” said Schaefer. “I had a partial NHL check earlier. “I think it is ten times larger up here.”
Schaefer doesn’t need four years of college to figure out the NHL benefits, but his Providence College time has come in useful as it has helped with his goalie mask design.
“I designed it and had it painted on,” said Schaefer. “Being an art major in college, I’m pretty picky about my mask. This is the first one I’m really happy with.”
NUMBER CHANGE Rookie winger Steve Bernier has selected the number 26 after being assigned the number 46 initially when he was called up. Bernier traditionally wore 96 during his standout junior career. He decided to go a more traditional route in the NHL.
“I used to wear 96 in juniors,” said Bernier. “Here, all the numbers are really low. I didn’t like 46, but I wanted to keep a number with a six.”
So, why 96?
My two favorite players were Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux and I combined their numbers,” said Bernier.