It appears that defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh’s 2007-08 debut with the Sharks could happen as soon as Friday night.
“If everything is kosher, we’ll see him tonight,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson.
“Hopefully tonight,” said Ozolinsh.
It took a while, but it appears that Ozolinsh could skate through the Sharks head for the first time in 12 years. A contract has been filed with the NHL and San Jose should have their answer by 2 p.m.
The six-foot-three blueliner, who still holds the Sharks single-season mark for points by a blueliner with 64, is glad the process is nearing its end.
“It tested my patience and sanity,” said Ozolinsh. “It was always ‘tomorrow’. In the end, all worked out.”
He has not played in an NHL game since last season, but Ozolinsh feels prepared.
“I played a couple of games in Worcester,” said Ozolinsh. “Even though I haven’t played much, I’ve pushed myself and others have pushed me. Still games are different. There is a little more pressure.”
Ozolinsh wore number six during his first tenure with Team Teal, but will don 24 when he finally takes to the ice.
“I had 24 my first year pro in Lativia with Dynamo Riga,” said Ozolinsh. “When I came here my first year, Doug Wilson had it. The next year, Sergei Makarov had it.”
A grizzled veteran of 15 previous campaigns, Ozolinsh is still excited about his impending opening night.
“It’s a nervous excitement,” said Ozolinsh. “We’ll see what happens.”
OTHER HP DEBUTS
Devin Setoguchi and Lukas Kaspar are scheduled to step onto the HP Pavilion ice for the first time in a regular season game and both are excited after strong road NHL debuts.
For Kaspar, he has long been a fan of the Sharks and their entrance onto the ice.
“When I was a little kid, I dreamed of coming out of the Sharks head,” said Kaspar. “The Sharks were really popular back in Czech.”
Both Kaspar and Setoguchi know the reputation of Sharks fans.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Kaspar. “I know the fans here are unbelievable and it’s going to be great.”
“It’s going to be fun,” said Setoguchi. “Even the exhibition games were fun. It will be a sold out barn and exciting for me.”
Kaspar did not have the statistical debut he wanted and looks to correct that.
“I want to get my first plus,” said Kaspar joking about his -2 night. “I watched with the coaches and it was not as bad as it seemed.”
Setoguchi knows he won’t score twice every night as he did in his first NHL game, but it’s not like he won’t be trying.
“I hope I can score tonight,” said Setoguchi. “If not, I’ll still drive the net.”
Mike Grier skated at the morning skate and is scheduled to play.
“He’s ready to go,” said Wilson.
St. John’s Fog Devils goaltender Timo Pielmeier, a 2007 third round draft pick, was named the QMJHL defensive player of the week for the period extending from October 22 to 28.
In two road games, Pielmeier registered two wins, including one by shutout, while maintaining a 1.00 goals-against-average and .975 save percentage. In the first of his two starts on Thursday, he made 37 saves in a 3-2 win over the Moncton Wildcats. The following evening in Charlottetown, he turned away 42 shots in a 3-0 victory to earn his first career shutout. He was also named the game’s first star. Of note, the Fog Devils earned five out of a possible six points in the standings this week.
Worcester Sharks President and CEO Michael T. Lehr announced that the Sharks No. 1 goaltending prospect and 2006 German Olympian Thomas Greiss
will continue to wear his specially designed Pink Sharks Goalie Mask for the entire month of November to highlight the Sharks involvement with Breast Cancer Awareness. Thomas went 2-0-1-0 while wearing the Pink Mask in October.
The Pink Mask, which is a mirror image of Greiss’ regular mask, is Pink with swimming sharks and has a Pink Ribbon on the front. The back of the mask dawns a Sharks Charities logo with Sharks Charities Chairwoman Mary C. Defeudis’ signature. At the end of November, the Pink Mask will be auctioned off via an online auction with the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in Worcester via Sharks Charities.
The American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge is a home away from home for cancer patients and their families who must travel to gain access to cancer treatment not available where they live. The Lodge is located at 7 Oak St., near Worcester's Elm Park. Lodging and transportation to and from treatment are provided at no cost. Money raised during the Pink Mask auction will help fund the program.
“The Worcester Sharks are very proud to be associated with the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge,” said Sharks President and CEO Michael T. Lehr. “Thomas was very gracious to extend wearing the Pink Mask through the end of November which will generate more interest and awareness.”
The Pink Mask was designed and painted by the Worcester Sharks Manager of Youth Hockey and Community Relations, Michael Myers. Myers has designed and painted several masks, including Conn Smythe Winner Cam Ward of the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers Goaltender Dwayne Roloson.
The Sharks will play Los Angeles at 7:30 p.m. tonight at HP Pavilion with limited tickets available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be available on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.