Sharks

Mitchell skates, but no contact

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Mitchell skates, but no contact

NASHVILLE, TN - Sharks forward Torrey Mitchell skated with the team in Nashville on Monday afternoon, but is questionable to play against the Predators on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena.

The 26-year-old forward was hurt on his first shift on Friday night in New Jersey, when he took a high elbow from the Devils Nick Palmieri. He sat out Saturdays game in Boston.

It felt good today. Really close, he said. I dont know, maybe tomorrow, but if not then the next game, hopefully.

The Sharks are being vague with the injury, as they are entitled to do, saying only that its "upper body soreness."

Mitchell mentioned he is still experiencing some of that soreness, and refrained from any contact in Mondays practice.

Todd McLellan was pleasantly surprised with how Mitchell looked, though.

He practiced better than I thought he would, which is a good sign for him," he said. "Obviously, if he can play and be effective and remain healthy, then wed certainly use him. Well decide that Tuesday morning.

McLellan would have an interesting decision to make should Mitchell be cleared. The speedy forward was skating on the teams third line with Michal Handzus and Jamie McGinn when he got hurt, but Benn Ferriero scored the game-winning goal in Saturdays 4-2 win in Boston in Mitchells place on the left wing.

McLellan has said that he likes Ferreiro on one of the top three scoring lines, rather than the fourth line, so its doubtful that he would dress both.

Palmieri, incidentally, did not receive any further discipline from the league, which is trying to crack down on dangerous head hits.

Palmieri told the Newark Star Ledger he didnt think he made contact with Mitchells head.

"I don't think so. I guess it would depend on the angle from which the ref saw it," Palmieri said. "Maybe it looked like it from his vantage point but on the replay I got to watch last night it looked like the initial point (of impact) was his shoulder. Maybe his head hit me after that."

Young Sharks fitting in, not neccessarily standing out

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USATSI

Young Sharks fitting in, not neccessarily standing out

 

The message for the San Jose Sharks’ prospects was quite clear this offseason.

After general manager opted not to re-sign Patrick Marleau, or sign any free agents of consequence, it was readily apparent the Sharks would need to rely on their young players to fill any holes.

Before the quarter mark of the season, that youth movement is underway. Five first or second-year players will suit up at SAP Center Monday night against Anaheim. 

Partially, the infusion is due to injury, as Barclay Goodrow, Melker Karlsson, and Paul Martin are all on the mend. But as the season wears on, the young players’ presence is becoming a necessity. 

Joakim Ryan looks like a natural fit alongside Brent Burns, and the Sharks are a decidedly better puck possession team with him on the ice than when he’s not. Tim Heed leads Sharks defensemen in scoring, and Danny O’Regan assisted San Jose’s lone goal in his season debut on Saturday. 

That assist set up the goal that ended Timo Meier’s drought, and he looks primed to break out: he’s third on the team in five-on-five shots despite playing the ninth-fewest five-on-five minutes this season, according to Corsica Hockey.  Kevin Labanc’s cooled off since his scorching start, but is still tied for sixth on the team in scoring and skated on the top line at Monday’s morning skate, according to the Bay Area News Group’s Curtis Pashelka.

There’s still room for improvement, of course. Labanc and Meier could stand to score more, but the same can be said about most everyone else. Ryan’s made his fair share of mistakes, but Burns has struggled plenty of times alongside him, too. 

So the young players are fitting in, even if all of them aren’t necessarily standing out. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. 

Meier’s the only first-round pick of the lot, but he’s also only been able to legally buy a beer for a month. Ryan and Heed have made the best adjustment, in no small part because they’re the oldest (24 and 26, respectively) of the Barracuda call-ups, and thus have the most professional experience. 

Of course, fitting in isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is, however, far from ideal, when that’s what many other players on the roster are doing. 

Having all of their young players stand out is what will ultimately make the Sharks stand out from the rest of the pack. It hasn’t quite happened yet, and San Jose’s one of 22 teams separated by six points or fewer. 

And if it doesn’t, the middle of the pack is where the Sharks will remain.