The injury bug has struck the San Jose Sharks…again.
Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who’s been suffering from the flu, tweaked his lower body and will miss tonight’s game vs. Minnesota. Thomas Greiss
has been called up from San Jose’s American Hockey League affiliate in Worcester and will back up Brian Boucher.
“’Nabby’ has been fighting through the flu, but the other day at practice, he tweaked his lower body,” Head Coach Todd McLellan said about the injury that happened at the pregame skate on Tuesday. “We didn’t think he would be sore two days later or we would’ve had a backup goalie (for practice).”
San Jose will also be without forward Claude Lemieux for tonight’s game.
“’Pepe’ has an upper body injury that will keep him out,” McLellan said.
“I have an upper body mystery/injury,” Lemieux said with a smile. “Nothing serious.”
McLellan won’t let his team use injuries as an excuse.
“We have a lot of bodies out, but we have to control what we can with the guys putting on the jerseys,” McLellan said. “We need more from the people in the dressing room.”
A benefactor in the rash of injuries has been defenseman Alexei Semenov. He’s been seen on the blue line and has also been used as a forward on different nights.
“I think it’s had an effect on ‘Semi,’” McLellan said. “He’s played his best when he knows when and where he’s going to play. I don’t know if that helps the individual, but it helps the team.”
The questionable headbutting call against center Joe Pavelski
in Tuesday night’s loss to Dallas wasn’t seen as a serious incident by the National Hockey League. As a result, Pavelski wasn’t suspended.
“I was told everything was fine,” McLellan said. “I don’t know if it (game misconduct) has been rescinded. Yesterday, there was a lot of focus on a lot of different things.”
Of course, McLellan was referring to the trading deadline.
NOT IN FIRST
The Sharks have traded first and second place overall in the NHL with Boston during the latter part of the season. Entering tonight’s games, Team Teal woke up to see themselves in second place in the Western Conference. San Jose has been dealing with numerous injuries and still has games in hand, but the team definitely noticed Detroit’s victory in Colorado last night.
“We’ve got to take responsibility and get back to it,” Pavelski said. “We know it’s a long year and NHL teams will leap frog each other. We’ve got a couple of games in hand and have to take care of them.”
“Our goal has been to win (the conference) from the start,” right wing Devin Setoguchi said. “We haven’t won in three games and we know teams are coming. We have to win the games in hand.”
The Sharks have struggled to score over the past few games, but the answer might be a simple fix.
“We’re not getting to the net like we were earlier in the year,” McLellan said. “Whether it’s getting the puck through or bodies to the net, we have to do a better job.”
Trade deadline acquisitions forward Travis Moen and defenseman Kent Huskins will be in San Jose tonight, but won’t play in the game. Huskins, who has missed the last 26 games with Anaheim due to a foot injury, also won’t play Saturday in Vancouver. “Kent will not be ready for Saturday,” McLellan said.
With no backup netminder for today’s morning skate, Tony Zasowski, a former University of Notre Dame goaltender and now director of coaches for the San Jose Jr. Sharks.
“I’ve only played three times since September,” Zasowski said. “I’ve played in the Captain’s practices for the Blackhawks.”
San Jose will play hosts to Minnesota on Thursday. 7:30 p.m. at HP Pavilion and the contest will be on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com.