Sharks Gameday: Some Changes Are Bruin

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4:00 PST
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2-3-0, 4 points 3-4-0, 6 points
14th in Western Conference 11th in Eastern Conference
Television
CSN-CA (HD)
Radio
98.5 KFOX, Sjsharks.com
Antagonists
Cup of Chowdah
Boston Globe

According to David Pollak of Working The Corners the Sharks made a roster swap today, sending forward Tommy Wingels to Worcester and calling up defenseman Justin Braun. The move is expected to push Jason Demers out of the lineup, with Colin White also being a possible scratch in favor of Jim Vandermeer.

Both Demers and White have struggled this season, making some poor choices with the puck and without it. Demers especially has struggled-- he's had difficulty getting his shots from the point through, made some egregious turnovers that have directly resulted in scores, and just hasn't looked like the player who made leaps and strides defensively during 2010-2011. With all of that being said, Demers and White did have what I feel was their best performance of the year last night-- their reads were good, and despite being on the ice for the Devils third goal (which had a litany of errors in it), both played quite well defensively and jumped into the offensive zone effectively.

Half-baked theory? Colin White's return to New Jersey meant there was "no chance" he would sit that game, and Demers as his partner made sense because they have played together all year. McLellan would have made the switch to Braun-Vandermeer if it hadn't been for that game in New Jersey, so does it on the back to back (especially with Worcester so close). Demers-White have had a lot of issues this year, but it wouldn't make sense to scratch after their best game of the season*.

*Although it's entirely possible McLellan feels like they played poorly last night.

Torrey Mitchell's injury in the first period last night is not nearly as serious as it looked, and it is possible he will play against the Predators on Tuesday. Mitchell has gotten off to a good start to the year for the Sharks and really helps deliver a yin-yang type deal with Michal Handzus-- you have the speedy small guy who is good defensively alongside the slow strong guy who is good defensively. It's been fun to watch.

With Mitchell out of the lineup, and Wingels sent down to Worcester, Desjardins makes sense as the forward who gets tossed back into the lineup. McGinn-Handzus-Ferriero and Winchester-Desjardins-Murray seem like the logical play here if the Sharks dress six defenseman.

Is it just me or does that third line sound so much less dangerous without Mitchell in the lineup? You can insert any of McGinn/Ferriero/Wingels alongside Mitchell-Handzus and it sounds pretty good, but subtract Mitchell from the picture and it loses some of its charm. McGinn has played well this season, and Ferriero is very comfortable at the NHL level, but Mitchell-Handzus are really the two that make things hum.

Niemi will be in net for the Sharks, his first (not his last) back to back start this season.

Prediction: Sharks win 2-0. Goals by Burns and Havlat.

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