[Open Thread] Game Twenty-Two: Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks
5th in Pacific Division
14th in Western Conference
2nd in Pacific Division
5th in Western Conference
Let's see here... open game thread, open game thread... hmm... game... hockey... oh yeah! That game!
Seriously, six days between games is no doubt a nice rest for all parties concerned, but given how the Sharks have struggled this year when they've had more than a day transpire since their last game, tonight's contest leaves me a little leery. Yes, the Kings have been scuffling lately. Young teams do that. And then without warning they get hot.
That said, L.A. has issues, especially on the offensive side of things where they're scored exactly one goal in their past three games. Adding injury to insult, their leading scorer Alexander Frolov (and when your leading scorer has four goals on the year a quarter of the way through the season, your offense offensive) is out tonight and possibly longer due to a groin injury. Ouch in more ways than one. Also probably out tonight for the Kings is Scott Thornton with a bruised sternum. Can you imagine what that must feel like -- "it only hurts when I breathe?" Yeesh. Michael Cammalleri, who leads the team in goals scored with twelve, is going to have to do his best Cammi Granato impersonation (okay, weak pun playing off of the resemblance between last and first name, sorry) and start lighting the lamp like crazy if the Kings hope to do anything other than become an afterthought this year.
As to Los Tiburones de San José, they spent their off time making a few moves. As has been noted, the team is maintaining its business operative of signing players it believes have longterm value to longterm contracts as a couple of days ago it inked defenseman Matt Carle to a four year extension. Now, if only it was as tenacious in its pursuit of free agents during the off-season... ah well. Can't have everything.
In other Sharks news and notes, goaltender Dimitri Patzold probably needed the jaws of life to pry him off his permanent seat on the bench when earlier this week he was assigned to Worchester so that he would actually get to play a few games. Thomas Griess of pink helmet fame has been called up to fill the roster spot reserved for those who get to watch Evgeni Nabokov go for the record (I assume it's been done before, but not by a Shark) of starting every single game in net this season.
The time off has helped heal assorted wounds, or possibly wound assorted heels (thank you, Nick Lowe, or whoever you stole the line from). Jonathan Cheechoo has been nursing a sore groin, but should be ready to go. Craig Rivet might be back from his groin injury, while Marcel Goc will most likely be out with back spasms. Been there, done that. Fun they are not.
Side note: Curtis Brown gets best line of the week for his comment about Thanksgiving:
I’ve got Joe Thornton and the Rivets coming over. With my kids and Craig’s kids, there might be more action than our game Saturday night.
I'll do some liveblogging from the game tonight. Join in the fun!