Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson traded for defenseman Craig Rivet, but did not see the strong blueliner in a Sharks jersey until practice on Thursday.
“When the trade was made, they told me the best case scenario was that I would get out Wednesday,” said Rivet. “They called me Wednesday and I got on a 6:00 pm flight and got to the hotel around 2:30 a.m. this morning. The people in Montreal were fantastic. They kind of rushed me through the airport, had someone waiting for me, and I was out. Customs is tight but it’s something to be expected.”
Rivet, who is one the NHL’s leading ironmen, playing in 80-plus games in each of the past several years, has not played in several weeks thanks to a bout of pneumonia.
“I’m moving towards being totally healthy,” said Rivet. “I can’t say I’m 100 percent just yet. It’s going to take a little bit of time. I’m skating out there, passing the puck well and I feel solid enough to be out there and battle. But to be 100 percent, it’s going to take a little bit of time. I haven’t played in almost a month so it’s going to take some time to get the rust off, get my legs back and get my wind back. But we’re in a great situation with this team, so I’m really looking forward to getting in the line-up.”
Rivet isn’t sure who his blueline partner will be as he has just one practice under his belt. The lines are also a bit off with Hannan still resting his lower body injury.
“I’m not sure what the plans are for tomorrow,” said Rivet, who skated with Matt Carle in his first practice session. “This was probably the first time I’ve practiced with a team in about a week so today was a bit of a battle.”
While the Sharks are still aiming for home ice and a Pacific Division crown, Rivet is not in a panic about not being 100 percent.
“The nice thing about the situation we’re in, is that we’re not exactly fighting for a playoff spot, we’re fighting for position,” said Rivet. “It’s a big, big difference between one and the other. We’ll see what happens in the next couple of days.”
Rivet’s initial game in a Sharks jersey will be a welcome site to the blueline as Team Teal is likely without Scott Hannan for at least another game with his leg injury. Up front, the injury situation is still affecting the Sharks as Captain Patrick Marleau
could be out with an upper body injury.
San Jose will look to move two points closer to the Pacific Division lead when they tackle the Ducks in Anaheim on Friday night. The game will be aired on FSN Bay Area in high-definition, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.