As of now, it looks like the Sharks will be getting seven of their players, along with head coach Bob Boughner, back with the team on Saturday ahead of their game against the Colorado Avalanche.
The seven players currently in COVID Protocol are Erik Karlsson, Jake Middleton, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Matt Nieto, Kevin Labanc, Timo Meier and Radim Simek.
With these additions, the Sharks will be getting their bottom-four defensive core, and pieces of their bottom-six back to the line up. But that leaves the harder decisions: who exits the line up?
The Sharks went 3-2-1 during the time since the COVID outbreak, but have struggled offensively and with defensive consistency, especially during the last couple of games.
I think of the seven replacement players, Nick Merkley, Ryan Merkley and Jaycob Megna made the biggest impact during their audition with the Sharks. For the time being, however, Ryan Merkley confirmed he will be heading down to the Barracuda.
#SJSharks defenseman Ryan Merkley confirms he is heading back to the San Jose Barracuda after tonight.— Panagiotis Mavridis (@MavridisNHL) November 12, 2021
"It's been awesome, an unexpected surprise [...]. I felt we played pretty well"
Nick Merkley seems to have impressed the coaching staff, even getting a look on the first line with Logan Couture and Jonathan Dahlen late in last night’s game. It’ll be interesting to see if he keeps a spot with a healthy roster.
One big thing to come from the return of these players is the power play, which has struggled heavily and now ranks 15th in the NHL at 21.1 percent. The team has missed Karlsson and Labanc on the second unit where they were lethal weapons. They’ve also missed Timo Meier on the first line with Couture and Dahlen. The offense should certainly get better for the Sharks going forward.
No matter what happens and who gets sent down or stays up, Sharks fans can breathe a sigh of relief as the core players return and fresh bodies hit the ice for a team that has shown signs of exhaustion lately.
News & Notes
- Sharks lose to Winnipeg Jets, now eagerly await return of players in COVID protocol [East Bay Times]
- Sharks News & Rumors: Eklund, Dahlen, COVID Situation & More [The Hockey Writers]
- Next Wave Report: November 10 [NHL.com]
- Wilson entrance into Hockey Hall of Fame worth the wait [NHL.com]
- Brent Burns’ recent play reminiscent of SJ Sharks veteran’s Norris Trophy-caliber years [East Bay Times]
Blood in the Water
- Senators place Alex Formenton, Matt Murray in NHL’s COVID-19 protocol [Sportsnet]
- Blue Jackets to retire Nash’ No. 61 [TSN]
- Canes’ DeAngelo fined for diving/embellishment [TSN]
- Stars place Blake Comeau, Tanner Kero on waivers [Defending Big D]
- Nashville Predators: Rocco Grimaldi waived, deserves a chance elsewhere [Predlines]
- Red Wings’ Troy Stecher: May require surgery [CBS Sports]
- Zach Fucale becomes first Capitals goaltender in franchise history to pitch a shutout in NHL debut [RMNB]
- NHL All-Star competitions could come to Las Vegas strip [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
Scores & Recaps
- Nashville Predators 4, St. Louis Blues 3 (OT)
- San Jose Sharks 1, Winnipeg Jets 4
- Vancouver Canucks 1, Colorado Avalanche 7
- Edmonton Oilers 5, Boston Bruins 3
- New York Islanders 0, New Jersey Devils 4
- Florida Panthers 2, Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (SO)
- Los Angeles Kings 2, Ottawa Senators 0
- Calgary Flames 2, Montreal Canadiens 4
- Washington Capitals 2, Detroit Red Wings 0
- Anaheim Ducks 7, Seattle Kraken 4
- Minnesota Wild 2, Vegas Golden Knights 3
Click on a team name to find a recap on their SB Nation site!
On the Schedule
- Calgary Flames at Toronto Maple Leafs, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on TSN4, SNW, ESPN+
- Edmonton Oilers at Buffalo Sabres, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on SN1, ESPN+
- Philadelphia Flyers at Carolina Hurricanes, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on BSSO, NBCS-PH, ESPN+
- Washington Capitals at Columbus Blue Jackets, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on BSOH, NBCS-DC, ESPN+