BoT Gameday: Blue Jackets @ Sharks

What? There’s a Sharks game tonight? Hallelujah! And while we enjoyed the All-Star Weekend, now is the time for things to really start to heat up. As we head into the post All Star half of the season, the San Jose Sharks sit atop the Pacific Division with 60 points with at least two games in hand on everyone in the division. It won’t be a cakewalk to the 5th consecutive Pacific Division title, but that wasn’t expected anyways.

Within the last few weeks, there have been massive amounts of rumors through twitter. (Follow me: @Puckguy14 and Blades of Teal @Blades of Teal) Most notable of any Sharks trade rumors have been involving Ryane Clowe. Some unreal amounts of tweets regarding him going to another team. So much so, I tweeted to TSN’s and NHL Network’s hockey insider @DarrenDreger to clarify anything involved with Clowe.

“@Puckguy14 No controlling rumours, but Clowe IS NOT available. Too important to Sharks.” – Darren Dreger January 30, 2012

That being said, let’s talk about the MASH unit taking shape inside the Sharks locker room. The aforementioned Ryane Clowe will decide if he is good to go during the morning skate. (UPDATE: Looks like Clowe is still out as Brodie Brazil tweeted that he is not in the top two lines tonight.) He’s been out with the facial fracture injury. Brent Burns had the nasty charley horse injury which kept him out of the Calgary game before the break. He made significant progress during the break and WILL play (granted going to Hawaii will help relax things a bit!) While Tommy Wingels, Jason Demers, James Sheppard, and Martin Havlat are still nursing injuries. Injuries have become so bad that Jim Vandermeer could be again listed as a 7th defenseman but may take shifts as a forward on the 4th line tonight, something he has been accustomed to in his NHL career.

With these injuries, you have to think some type of move will be coming. However, what will it cost? Last week, San Jose gave up on finding a new team for goaltender Antero Niittymaki via trade and waived him with no one claiming him. There’s a chance he can still be moved but not likely. Team Teal does have a reversal of fortune in the goaltending spot. Last year as you recall, most of the goalies were injured that the Sharks signed a college goalie from the University of British Columbia to a pro tryout to be the backup goalie in Vancouver for a game that night. Now, you have Tyson Sexsmith who has been an amazing prospect coming up from the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, Harri Sateri has been solid in Worcester all year, and Alex Stalock, considered to be the best of the Sharks goalies not named Antti Niemi, is slowly recovering well in the ECHL with the Stockton Thunder. So if I were to venture a slight, unscientific guess, I’d think a goalie in the system might be going in a trade. But we’ll see. There are four weeks before the trade deadline.

Anyhow, back to the game tonight. San Jose has eeked out 2-1 victories in the two meetings so far. No excuse here. Everyone but Logan Couture has been resting so time to light up the scoreboard and get ready for the push for the playoffs. A strong victory tonight could help boost the injury riddled team.

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