The San Jose Sharks found out Friday they will be without the services of scrappy centerman Scott Nichol for a little while but fortunately, the outlook is not as bleak as it may have appeared on television Thursday night. The good news is Nichol is not expected to be out long-term and should be back in uniform in the seven to 10 days, according to Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan.
“There’s a buzz around the hit,” said McLellan. “A lot of people have called me and asked my opinion. I didn’t think it was a wise move by the Montreal player. You see (Nichol) go in like that and you hold your breath.”
Nichol came up favoring one side of his upper body and did not return to last night’s game against the Canadiens but the club and player are fortunate the ugly incident wasn’t worse.
“He’ll be out a little bit, but we hope (to have him back) in a week to 10 days,” said McLellan. “The nice part was to see him get up.”
The Sharks responded on the scoresheet instead of turning the contest into a turn-back-the-clock night to 1970’s style hockey.
“We’re a team and we stick together and stand up for each other,” said McLellan. “There are two ways. You can pay them back physically or play hard and battle and try to beat them on the scoreboard. It was a 2-1 game at that point.”
Another reason nothing necessarily happened immediately was no players on the ice actually saw what happened.
McLellan again gave his five gold-medal game participants the day off, allowing Joe Pavelski
, Joe Thornton
, Dan Boyle
, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau
a little more recuperation time. The Sharks bench boss is simply following the plan he instituted prior to the Olympics.
“That was decided a long time ago,” said McLellan. “Once Monday rolls around it will be back to normal. We know they are physically and emotionally spent. ”
Jamie McGinn’s stall at Sharks Ice has been moved from its traditional place for most of the season. During the campaign, he has been flanked by Patrick Marleau
on one side and normally had a fellow member of the Worcester shuttle near him.
“They’re not here, they don’t know yet,” said McGinn noting he could catch some grief when other Worcester players are called up.
Now, McGinn has been moved into Jody Shelley’s old spot between Joe Thornton
and Dany Heatley. McGinn noted that he and Marleau enjoyed some good natured ribbing sitting next to each other, but that he may not be prepared to have Heatley and Thornton both flanking him.
“I’m going to have to write down some notes before coming to the rink,” said McGinn.
With Nichol out, the Sharks will have to make a roster move for Saturday’s game.
“Somebody will come up to fill in for Scott,” said McLellan.
With his 39th goal, Patrick Marleau
joins a few other Sharks in setting a new career-high in goals this season. With his next score, he will become just the third 40-goal scorer in Sharks history, joining Jonathan Cheechoo (56, 2005-06) and Owen Nolan (44, 1999-00).
“We’re always proud when someone reaches a new milestone,” said McLellan. “I would hope he pushes that total upward. It’s nice to see him rewarded.”
The Sharks will host Columbus on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be on CSN California in high definition, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.