Sharks

Ward injury asks more questions of Sharks fourth line looking for answers

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AP

Ward injury asks more questions of Sharks fourth line looking for answers

UPDATE (11:15 AM): Joel Ward's now day-to-day with a shoulder injury, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer told reporters at Saturday's morning skate.  Ward initially feared he separated his shoulder.

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The Sharks lost another veteran leader to injury on Thursday, and will be without him for the foreseeable future. 

Joel Ward suffered an upper-body injury in the second period of Thursday’s loss to the Golden Knights, and like injured teammate Joe Thornton, he’s out indefinitely, head coach Peter DeBoer told reporters on Friday. Ward seemed to injure his right shoulder when Vegas defenseman Nate Schmidt hit him from behind while both players went after a loose puck along the boards midway through the second period, and he did not return. 

It’s clear that age has caught up to the 37-year-old winger, as he’s scored a career-low 0.24 points per game this season. But his absence leaves San Jose’s fourth line, which was already in need of answers, with even more questions. 

DeBoer’s cycled numerous players at the bottom of the lineup, giving looks to any combination of Ward, oft-scratched Jannik Hansen, young forwards Marcus Sorensen, Danny O’Regan, Barclay Goodrow, and the now-departed Ryan Carpenter. Since O’Regan’s call-up earlier this month, he’s had some success with the rookie, Goodrow, and Ward. 

In a hair over 23-and-a-half five-on-five minutes together, the trio has out-attempted their opponents, (56.76 corsi-for percentage), outshot opponents (68.18 shots-for percentage), and also outscored opponents two-to-one, according to Natural Stat Trick. The puck possession edge came primarily from a dominant effort against Carolina on Super Bowl Sunday, but those are still encouraging early returns for a line that’s looked for an identity all season. 

The search continues Saturday night against the Edmonton Oilers, with Hansen set to slide in to Ward’s spot. Hansen’s played in just three games since the calendar flipped to 2018, and only about five minutes alongside O’Regan and Goodrow together.

He’s played with Goodrow and O’Regan individually, seeing far more of the puck with Goodrow (57.89 corsi-for percentage together) than with O’Regan (31.25 percent). This will be their first real look as a trio, and it comes at a critical juncture. 

With Thornton out, the scoring burden is spread throughout the rest of the lineup, and it’s even more important that the Sharks are able to ice a capable fourth line. Plus, the trade deadline is just 16 days away, and San Jose rumored to be looking for help on the fourth line prior to Ward’s injury. 

Goodrow’s largely been a fixture, but there should be a real sense of urgency for his linemates. O’Regan’s appeared overmatched at times, and could find himself back in the AHL if the Sharks make a move. Hansen, meanwhile, is a pending unrestricted free agent, and could find himself out of the organization entirely if San Jose decides to look elsewhere for help. 

Saturday’s not necessarily a last chance, but it may be the beginning of one. 

Sharks pick up first win of homestand as Burns moves back to blueline

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AP

Sharks pick up first win of homestand as Burns moves back to blueline

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE --Brent Burns and Chris Tierney each had a goal and an assist, and the San Jose Sharks beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Thursday for their third win in four games.

Mikkel Boedker and Marcus Sorensen also scored for the Sharks, who improved to 3-0-1 against the Canucks this season. Martin Jones stopped 29 shots.

Daniel Sedin scored for the Canucks, who lost their sixth in seven games. Anders Nilsson made 40 stops.

Boedker scored at 8:41 of the first period, picking up a soft rebound from Tierney's shot.

Burns scored his 10th goal, tops among NHL defensemen, taking a pass from Joakim Ryan and sending a laser shot into the net just under five minutes into the second.

Sorensen scored his first goal since Dec. 23, punching it in with an assist from Justin Braun at 3:06 into the third. Marc-Edouard Vlasic had an assist in his third straight game, getting the second assist on Sorensen's goal.

Sedin scored at 6:43, taking a nice pass from Thomas Vanek that gave him clear shot into the net. It was Sedin's 14th goal, one shy of his total last season.

Tierney made it 4-1 after taking a nice pass from Burns with 7 1/2 minutes remaining.

NOTES:Tim Heed was recalled from the AHL and joined a makeshift Sharks lineup, allowing Burns to play up front at times. ... Sharks C Logan Couture has points in four of his last five games. ... Boedker recorded games in consecutive games for the second time this season, and the first since Jan. 15-16. ... Sedin has five points against the Sharks this season and 45 in 69 games. He's recorded points in three straight.

UP NEXT

Canucks: Host Boston on Saturday.

Sharks: Host Dallas on Sunday.

Sharks co-prez: Original fin logo to 'start showing back up again'

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AP

Sharks co-prez: Original fin logo to 'start showing back up again'

Fans of the original set of San Jose Sharks logos can rejoice: The fin is coming back in a yet-to-be-announced capacity. 

The original secondary logo, a gray fin atop a teal background enclosed by a black circle, "will start showing back up again in a special surprise appearance next year," Sharks co-president Jonathan Becher told NBC Sports California in an interview with Brodie Brazil and alongside co-president John Tortora on Sharks Pregame Live. The logo appeared as a shoulder patch on the team's home and away jerseys from 1991-98, and on its black alternate jersey from 2001-07.

Becher did not elaborate what form that 'special surprise appearance' will take, but it's possible it will appear on an alternate jersey. In Adidas' first season as the league's jersey manufacturer, no teams have alternate jerseys this year, aside from the teams that played in the league's various outdoor games. 

That's reportedly set to change next season. 24-26 teams will have alternate jerseys, the league told Greg Wyshynski in June, and some teams will utilize previous designs. The Sharks wore a version of their original teal jersey as a 25th anniversary alternate during the 2015-16 season -- perhaps it will return next season? 

Becher also told NBC Sports California that the team's newest alternate logo, the 'yelling shark' featured on the shoulders of their current teal jerseys, will begin making more appearances. It will not replace the current logo, Becher said.