After wrapping up their brief three-game home stand with a victory over the Northwest Division-leading Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night, the Sharks were right back to work on Wednesday preparing for their upcoming four-game road swing.
While the victory over the Wild saw the Sharks get back on track with their five-on-five play, the team realizes how important it is to not become complacent with the performance, but rather use it as a building block for the upcoming road trip. With the team’s next three games slated against divisional opponents, it will certainly be a critical time.
“We’re not going to alter our game plan, we just need to continue to focus on us,” said forward Patrick Rissmiller
Rissmiller, who has been playing on a line with Marcel Goc for most of this season, was paired with the reigning Rocket Richard trophy winner in Jonathan Cheechoo two games ago, but the three are still getting used to skating together. Cheechoo missed all but 63 seconds of last Saturday’s game against the Penguins after receiving a game misconduct on a questionable boarding call making Tuesday night’s tilt the first time the three had skated together for a substantial amount of time.
Head Coach Ron Wilson started the newly paired Rissmiller-Goc-Cheechoo line on Tuesday night and the three responded instantly with a quality shift to open the game for Wilson’s squad. But on the following shift, the three were again slowed as Cheechoo took a puck just above the right eye and had to retire to the locker room to get some stitches. Cheechoo would return however and the linemates would have a productive night, earning a handful of scoring chances as the game progressed.
Rissmiller acknowledged his line’s solid play from the previous night and was sure to give his linemates plenty of credit.
”Me and Marcel (Goc) are familiar with each other and we were able to keep the puck in their end,” said Rissmiller. “We can play with their defensemen down low and everyone knows Cheech can shoot the heck out of the puck. We were going pretty well.”
The Rissmiller-Goc-Cheechoo line and the rest of the team will certainly look to replicate their solid performance when they face the Los Angeles Kings for the first time of the season on Thursday night.
At practice Wednesday, Cheechoo assured reporters that he had recovered quickly after being struck above the right eye by an errant puck and was doing just fine.
“I got caught up high and needed a couple of stitches to close the cut,” said Cheechoo. “But I’m okay.”
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Doug Raeder, son of Sharks scout Cap Raeder, was recently named a preseason NCAA All-American honorable mention by U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO.com). As a freshman last season, Raeder led the Middlebury Panthers to their third consecutive NCAA Division III National Championship, posting an 11-1-1 record and an impressive 1.54 GAA and 0.935 save percentage. For his accomplishments, Raeder was recognized in the April 10, 2006 issue of Sports Illustrated in their famed “Faces In the Crowd” feature.
Raeder and the Panthers will look to defend their title, opening their season on Nov. 17, 2006 when they play host the Tufts University Jumbos. Making his debut for Tufts will be freshman Dougie Wilson, son of Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson.
PROSPECTS SHINE EARLY IN THE SEASON
After posting a point in each of his first seven collegiate games, Sharks prospect Jay Barriball (7th round, 203rd overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft) was named the CSTV/HCA Division I National Rookie of the Month for October. The five-foot-nine, 155-pound native of Prior Lake, Minnesota is currently leading the No. 2-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers and the entire WCHA with 11 points (six goals, five assists) in seven games.
Also earning recognition for his early season performance was Sharks prospect Steve Zalewski (5th round, 153rd overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft). Zalewski was honorable mention for the CSTV/HCA Division I National Player of the Month. The five-foot-eleven, 190-pound native of New Hartford, New York currently leads the Clarkson Golden Knights and the conference (ECAC) in points with 12 (eight goals, four assists) in eight games.
The Sharks headed to Los Angeles today for their match-up against the Kings on Thursday night. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on FSN+, KFOX 98.5 FM, Sharks Radio Network Affiliates and SJSHARKS.com.