SAN JOSE – Kevin Labanc had no idea he’d get back to the show so quickly after the Sharks reassigned him to the Barracuda on Saturday.
The 20-year-old made the most of his time in the AHL, though, posting three assists in two games in San Antonio, TX in a pair of wins for the Sharks’ primary minor league affiliate. He was recalled on Tuesday morning.
“It was fun to be with the guys, work hard, get a couple points out of those two games and help the team in the standings,” Labanc said.
Labanc said he was dealing with a painful left knee that was “killing me” following a cross-check in the Sharks’ win over Montreal on Friday - an injury that forced him to the locker room for a brief stretch - and arrived at the arena in San Antonio on Saturday just a half hour before the team meeting.
“You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, whether it be going on a plane right after a game,” he said. “Just got to do it, don’t ask questions, and just work hard.”
Sharks coach Pete DeBoer decided that a weekend off, which the rest of the team enjoyed without a game for four days, wasn’t ideal for Labanc, who has four points (2g, 2a) in 12 games while averaging nearly 12 minutes of ice time. The result was three games in three days for the Brooklyn native.
“I don’t think any of these young guys have arrived yet where they’re ready for weekends off,” DeBoer said. “If they can play hockey, they’re going to play hockey.”
“I think we’ve gotten great contributions from our American League call-ups. Whether that turns into full time jobs, that’s yet to be seen, but we just go day-by-day here.”
For Tuesday’s practice, Labanc was on a line with Chris Tierney and Joel Ward. Tommy Wingels was with Joonas Donskoi and Mikkel Boedker, while the fourth line was comprised of Melker Karlsson, Micheal Haley and Matt Nieto.
Logan Couture (surgical procedure) and David Schlemko (lower body) missed practice, but both could play on Wednesday against the Senators.