The Sharks took one of their toughest defeats of the season in terms of possession on New Year’s Eve against the Kings. The scoreboard read just 3-2, a testament to a fine game from Martin Jones, but San Jose took a beating without Marc-Edouard Vlasic in the lineup.
Things might get even tougher for the Sharks on Tuesday when San Jose hosts the Kings in a rematch on NBC Sports at 7 p.m. David Schlemko did not participate in San Jose’s practice on Monday as Mirco Mueller got recalled to the Sharks, perhaps a harbinger of things to come for San Jose.
If San Jose goes without both defenders, we could see a very shorthanded defensive set against Los Angeles. That could spell trouble for a Sharks team that had its fins full while admittedly playing in the second half of a home-road back to back on New Year’s Eve. Looking for a silver lining? The Sharks have had a few days to rest and rarely seem to play two stinkers in a row.
San Jose is well accustomed to playing shorthanded, too. If the Sharks play without Schlemko and Vlasic they’ll do so in addition to going without Tomas Hertl who remains “week to week.” That they’ve done so well without the Czech center speaks to their tremendous depth, but losing three key players is tough for any team to withstand in the salary cap era, no matter how deep.
This is simply preaching a dose of patience while Vlasic and Schlemko are out of the lineup, if in fact they both are. Head coach Pete DeBoer believes Vlasic will return on Saturday, which is good news for San Jose as the squad only plays twice in that span. Dylan DeMelo has played fine in relief of Schlemko the past month and can do so if need be.
While Mueller can’t fill in for Vlasic (which says nothing about the talent level of Mueller) it’ll be nice to get another look at the Swiss defender. Barracuda head coach Roy Sommer believes he’s taken a significant step forward and while some feel he’s been passed over, the first round draft pick is only 21 years old. There’s still plenty of time for him to make his mark in the NHL.
Patience never hurt anybody. Except for that one time. Go Sharks.