There were a lot of smiles in the Sharks locker room after Tuesday’s morning skate. Yes the Sharks are hoping to add to their incredible 17-0-2 home mark. Yes, Team Teal is playing their last game before a two-day Christmas break. However, the reasons for the smiles were the extra players on the ice.
and Jeremy Roenick used the morning to skate with their teammates. For Mitchell, it was his first practice with everyone since breaking his leg in training camp. For Roenick, it was his first time skating with his teammates since injuring his shoulder on Dec. 11.
Mitchell’s linemate from last year, Mike Grier, had a smile when talking about Mitchell’s return.
“He’s worked hard to be here,” said Grier.
Mitchell was likely the most excited, if not a bit tired after stepping off the HP Pavilion ice.
“It feels great,” said Mitchell. “It’s been about three and a half months. It’s good to be sweating with all these guys.”
It was a hard practice for Mitchell as nothing could simulate going at the same pace with other NHLers.
“You go a little harder,” said Mitchell. “You want to show them you’ve still got it. The starts and stops are a little harder. I can go with most drills, but I’m limited on contact.”
Mitchell’s speed and penalty killing could make the Sharks even more powerful when he returns to game action.
“As we go on, he will be a big part of it,” said Grier. “He has great speed, is gritty and kills penalties.
Roenick much prefers skating with his teammates instead of riding a stationary bike.
“I hate being away from the guys,” said Roenick. “I was chomping at the bit. We’ll train the way my body allows me to train. So far it’s going really good. I think the body is a tremendous machine and it will tell you what’s going on.”
Like Mitchell, he was limited in what drills he could do.
“No shooting, but I could stickhandle with the puck a little bit,” said Roenick. “I can work the lower body as much as I want.”
Both players will depart with the team on Dec. 26 for a three game trek to St. Louis, Dallas and Minnesota.
“I’m traveling and Torrey is going,” said Roenick. “It’s important now that we’re in the dog days to have everyone together. The next 20 or so are the dog days and the last 20 everyone is pushing for the playoffs.”
“I’ll be with the team and on the same schedule,” said Mitchell.
San Jose will face Vancouver at 7 p.m. on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Limited tickets can be found at www.ticketmaster.com.