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Minor League Assignment Benefit Long Run

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
Sometimes a bump in the road can be good for a pro sports team.  Even Shark’s Coach Ron Wilson is saying the Sharks 8-0 loss at Phoenix in late December has turned into a positive.  The same bumps can be helpful for individuals as well.  A few weeks ago, Matt Carle went from one of the NHL’s top rookie defensemen to riding the buses of the American Hockey League.
 
While many viewed Carle’s demotion as a major detriment to his development, it may end up being the best thing for him.
 
“I wasn’t happy about it, but I knew pouting wouldn’t make the situation any better,” said Carle.  “It was a mental break. 
 
And maybe that’s what Carle needed.  The Anchorage, Alaska native posted two assists in three games and was quickly recalled to San Jose .
 
Since his return three games ago, Carle is riding a three-game point streak, registering two goals and one assist.
 
Carle is not the only member of the current Sharks roster who has bounced between the AHL and the NHL.  Unfortunately what ends up being a public punishment is a regular occurrence in the development of an NHLer.
 
“It is part of hockey and the development process,” said Carle.  “A lot of people here benefited from it.”
 
Some of the Sharks to go from charter planes to charter buses include Jonathan Cheechoo, Vesa Toskala, Scott Hannan, Mark Smith, Ryane Clowe, and Christian Ehrhoff.
 
It may not be the desired way to find a permanent home in the League, but it has produced results.
 
“I wanted to play here, but it keeps your game sharp if you’re not playing,” said Ehrhoff.  “You have to use it as a positive.”
 
A player sitting too much at the NHL level may be earning a larger paycheck, but it won’t help their future.
 
“Last year, I lost some confidence,” said Clowe, who didn’t score a goal in his first 21 NHL games. “It let me get my edge and confidence back and get into game shape.  You have to know it’s in your best interest.”
 
BROADCASTING NOTE
Jamie Baker will fill in for Marty McSorley on FSN Bay Area’s telecast of the Sharks-Blues game Saturday night.  McSorley will be attending ex-teammate Luc Robataille’s jersey retirement ceremony in Los Angeles .
 
Dave Maley will provide analysis for Dan Rusanowsky on 98.5 KFOX and the Sharks Radio Network.
 
McSorley will be back for the Sharks Feb. 26 game at Edmonton , the team’s first game after the all-star break.
 
MONK
Tonight’s episode of “Monk”, on USA Network, will feature footage and scenes from HP Pavilion.  Showtime is at 9 p.m. PST.
 
NEXT GAME
The Sharks will host St. Louis Saturday night at HP Pavilion in their final pre All-Star contest.  Limited tickets are still available at the HP Pavilion Box Office and at www.ticketmaster.com.  The 7:30 p.m. game will be available on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.
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