Since Dany Heatley’s suspended for two games, the Sharks have an open lineup spot and will have to adjust the forwards for tonight’s game against Minnesota.
|Calgary Flames' Robyn Regehr, right, and San Jose Sharks' John McCarthy fight for the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) |
San Jose has recalled forward John McCarthy from their American Hockey League affiliate in Worcester to fill the spot. “That will give us the extra forward we need,” Coach Todd McLellan said in the post-morning skate presser. “We’ll have to juggle our lines around a little bit.”
McLellan also said defenseman Niclas Wallin will miss the contest. Wallin took a hard hit by Jamie Langenbrunner in Tuesday at Dallas.
Heatley’s absence will have an affect on the power play, but the Sharks deep lineup provides McLellan with options.
“We’re comfortable with Kyle Wellwood,” McLellan said. “He’s very capable and should probably play more than he has, so he’ll get an opportunity to play there. Others have to pick up the slack when you have injuries or suspensions.”
McLellan noted that with the recent attention surrounding hits, he was expecting Heatley to miss a few games.
“Yeah, I did,” McLellan said. “You knew it was going to be reviewable. I wasn’t happy that he took the penalty at the time. After getting the win and sitting back and looking at it, I thought it would be reviewable. Did he clearly get him on the chin? That’s up for debate. He’s got a two-game suspension, let’s move on.”
Heatley didn’t over react to the suspension. He might’ve not entirely agreed with how things were viewed, but he will deal with two missed games.
“It was a bad penalty at a bad time of the game,” Heatley said of the hit going to the chest and shoulder. “I didn’t hit him in the head. I disagree with the two games, but that’s the decision they made and we’ll live it. It wasn’t premeditated or anything like that, just finishing the check.”
Heatley will make the best possible use of the time away from game action.
“I’ll get some skates in here this week, get in the weight room and get ready for the last nine games,” Heatley said. “It’s tough. I don’t like missing games, especially at this time of year.”
Heatley did note the irony that known agitator Steve Ott was unhappy with the play.
“I’m not going to get in a war of words with him,” Heatley said. “Obviously, he’s taken his fair share of suspensions in the League. For him to all of a sudden have a halo on his head is kind of funny.”
Even though it’s the rival winter sport and college basketball isn’t the biggest event for Canadians, many in the Sharks locker room have enjoyed filling out their NCAA brackets.
“I’ve got Duke all the way,” soccer fanatic and now bracketologist Torrey Mitchell
said. “I think Duke is going to repeat.”
CONGRATS TO COYLE
Forward Charlie Coyle, San Jose’s first round pick in the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft, was named to Hockey East’s All-Rookie Team. Coyle, who’s in his freshman year at Boston University, is tied for fourth on the team in scoring with 26 points (seven goals) in 37 games.
BACK IN SILICON VALLEY
|San Jose Sharks' Marc-Edouard Vlasic, right, checks Phoenix Coyotes' Scottie Upshall into the boards during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) |
Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic
was back with the Sharks on Thursday. Vlasic stayed behind after the win in Dallas. He took a deflected puck in the throat during the game and stayed in Dallas overnight for precautionary reasons. Vlasic will be ready to play tonight against the Wild.
“I didn’t think it was that bad,” Vlasic said of the shot from Stars defenseman Alex Goglioski. “It wasn’t a slap shot, it kind of slowed down. You’ve got to be in the lanes and pay the price.
“I was able to breathe as soon as I got hit, just my voice changed,” Vlasic said. “It’s a little sore right now, but nothing serious.”
Vlasic also had some company on his return flight. Besides Massage Therapist Arnulfo Aguirre, who stayed overnight with Vlasic, one of his fellow passengers was San Jose Mercury News Sharks Beat Writer David Pollak.
“When we fly private, I’ve got the edge on David,” Vlasic said. “David’s got the edge on me when I fly commercial. He’s got priority plus or whatever and he walked right on.”
MINNESOTA ON A MISSION
The Wild enters the game against San Jose as losers of their last three, all of which have come on their four-game road trip which concludes tonight. During the trip, Minnesota has been outscored 12-2 and started the journey being shutout by identical 4-0 scores in Nashville and Dallas. The Wild is 11th in the Western Conference and trails Calgary and Anaheim by four points for that eighth and final playoff spot.
“They’re a desperate club, days and games are running out on a lot of teams,” McLellan said. “They’re going to give us their best. They’re going to be very committed to doing the little things well. When they do that, they’re a very effective team.”
San Jose plays hosts to Minnesota tonight at 7:30. Tickets can be found at www.ticketmaster.com and at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office. The contest will be on CSN California, 98.5/102.1 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.