Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Niemi, Stalock on the ice, Wingels on 3rd, who’s on 4th?

When you know someone has been hurt, you watch them differently than you would watch someone you assume to be healthy.  Any little misstep will be cause for doubt.  Considering the gravity of the injury sustained by Alex Stalock last season, I think it’s nothing short of a miracle that I only noticed one misstep this morning.  He wore lower pads only. I’m no expert and I don’t know how his leg feels but it looked like both legs were doing what he told them to. Between exercises, he tossed the puck around, hitting the wall, and shooting at both nets.  Part of me thought “Dude! Don’t even play around with putting the puck in your own net!” But having fun is good for healing, so he should do whatever amuses him for now.

Niemi and Stalock were on the ice at about 10 this morning.  That’s all good news.  I don’t mean Stalock has jumped into contention for a spot on the opening night roster, just “wow, he’s skating” and I think that is pretty exciting.

Nemo stayed long enough to face some shots, as he did yesterday.  Good, good, good.

Frazer McLaren was the first skater out. He hit the ice for skating and shooting drills with Matt Shaw at around 10:30.  I don’t know what his chances of staying in SJ are, but I was applauding the diligence he showed by being there early.  He left again as the other skaters and goalies arrived shortly before 11. I guess he had somewhere to be, but I won’t subtract diligence points.

Stalock really likes to shoot that puck.  It made a loud noise I didn’t expect to hear from the end of the ice where the injured goalies were working.

The last practice I attended was just after the exhibition game against the Ducks.  The first group (there were still two groups back then) to come out that day had the lines identified by jersey color.  When I first saw the orange jerseys come out, and saw three, I remember thinking “what the hell happened in Anaheim?”  Today the forward lines were color-coded again, sort of, but I didn’t panic:

  • In orange: McCarthy-McGinn-MacIntyre (okay, that caused a little bit of panic, but not because I thought anyone was injured.)
  • In white: Havlat(<-see that?!! Not orange!!)-Clowe-Couture, Thornton-Marleau-Pavelski
  • In teal: Mitchell-Handzus-Wingels, Winchester-A. Murray-Desjardins
  • D-men, all in black, morphing pairs: Vandermeer-Moore, Murray-Boyle, Vlasic-Demers, Vandermeer-Braun, Burns-White, Moore-Demers, and so on.  Once I realized they were being swapped on the fly, I stopped making notes.  See anything you like?  Yes?  Pretend it’s permanent.  No?  I probably missed the one you were looking for. I give those combinations an “inconclusive.”

I don’t recall what color Ferriero was wearing.  His situation is such an enigma to me, it has apparently caused temporary blindness.  I suppose he was in white, or teal.  From one of those teal lines and the orange, the fourth line will probably be assembled, not necessarily all one color.

Seeing Wingels practicing on the presumed third line with Mitchell and Handzus certainly reinforces the likelihood that he has usurped McGinn’s spot there.  It’s just preseason, but still. He did impress in the Vancouver game.  There was that one point when he held off three Nucks for several seconds in a board battle.  I thought that was as impressive as scoring one goal.  Scoring two goals I guess has to be ranked higher than the board battle, but it’s close, as close as he is to making the SJ roster now.  That’s assuming merit is the deciding factor, which I’m not quite ready to assume.  There’s that whole waiver thing too.

Among those who have not made the SJ roster are Sean Sullivan, Matt Pelech and Ben Guite, who all passed through waivers and were assigned to Worcester yesterday.  Looks like the Worcester roster is slowly filling up.  They even signed someone directly!  That has to be a relief, since their training camp has started and it is probably good to have the players there for that.

Also in limbo is Justin Braun.  I know it isn’t a matter of choosing Vandermeer over Braun as the 7th D on sheer merit.  It’s a different job, shutdown versus offense.  Seems like you should have one to spare of each, but there is only so much room for spares. Unlike Braun, it seems that Vandermeer is seasoned enough to be able to play infrequently.  So if he sits as the 7th D, I don’t think he’ll lose a step.  But Braun isn’t quite there yet. I think he needs to play.

So what to do with him?  Is he going to learn much more in Worcester?  He’s important to keep around in case of injury, but is he ready to sit?  Would McLellan play him in lieu of, say Demers?  I doubt it, not much anyway.  He’s probably better off in Worcester, until he’s needed.

That’s not a prediction, that’s just a thought. Even if it were a prediction, I don’t think it’s a very far-fetched one.  I would love to see him stay in SJ, I just don’t want to get my hopes up so I’m talking myself out of the possibility.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: alex+stalock, antti+niemi, ben+guite, justin+braun, matt+pelech, sean+sullivan, tommy+wingels

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About Petshark: Talking Stick

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.

I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net