Sharks Acquire James Reimer and Jeremy Morin

By Mary Walsh

photo credit: goaltender James Reimer dealt from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the San Jose Sharks will not be joining the team on Sunday night in Vancouver

The San Jose Sharks have acquired goaltender James Reimer and forward Jeremy Morin from the Toronto Maple Leafs, in exchange for goaltender Alex Stalock, forward Ben Smith, and a conditional fourth round pick in the 2018 NHL draft. The move is a good one for San Jose. It adds depth up front and experience in net that the team needed, in exchange for players who were not getting much ice time with the Sharks.

From today’s press release:

“James is an experienced NHL goaltender who will help add to our depth at that position as we head down the stretch run of the season,” said Wilson. Jeremy gives our group another versatile forward and a player that our coaching staff is familiar with.  We’re excited to add them both to our organization.”

Reimer, 27, has played in 207 NHL games with Toronto, posting a .913 save percentage and 2.83 GAA. He has 11 shutouts and played in seven playoff games in 2013.

Morin, 24, has played this season with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, and previously played 82 NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Chicago Blackhawks. He was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009 and played under Sharks assistant coach Steve Spott with the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL.

Goaltender Al Stalock played in 62 games for the Sharks and posted a .911 save percentage and a 2.37 GAA for a record of 24-19-7.  Ben Smith was acquired last Spring from the Chicago Blackhawks and scored two goals and three assists in 25 games. Of the departing players, the press release said:

“Alex and Ben have both been important members of our team on the ice but even more importantly, they are both tremendous teammates and first-class individuals,” said Wilson. “They will be missed and we want to thank them for everything they have  given to the San Jose Sharks organization and our fans.”

Barracuda Fall 4-2 to Condors

By Mary Walsh

photo credit: San Jose Barracuda–The Barracuda lose to the Bakerfield Condors 4-2 on Valentines day at SAP

SAN JOSE– The San Jose Barracuda fell to the Bakersfield Condors by a score of 4-2 Sunday. The game winner was scored by Ryan Hamilton. Anders Nilsson was in net for the win, making 21 saves on 23 shots. For San Jose, Aaron Dell made 22 saves on 25 shots faced. Both Barracuda goals were scored by Ben Smith.

San Jose and Bakersfield were playing for third place in the division on Sunday. When the game started, the Barracuda had a two point lead over the Condors but had played one more game. With the win, the Condors jumped the Barracuda for third place in the AHL’s Pacific Division.

I remember when the Bakersfield Condors wore grey and burgundy and had the names of local businesses on the tails of their jerseys. That was when they were an ECHL team last year. Now the Condors look pretty much like the Oilers, especially from a distance far enough to not see the emblem. They wear the same colors but they differ in one important respect: they are doing well in their division this season.

The Barracuda were first on the power play, into the first period. Bakersfield was called for too many men on the ice and Anton Slepyshev served the penalty at 11:47. San Jose did not score. Instead, Bakersfield scored at . Barracuda goaltender Aaron Dell stopped the first couple of shots during a Condor attack during which the Barracuda could not clear the puck out. Andrew Miller’s shot went over Dell’s shoulder from the slot to give the visitors the lead. It was Miller’s twelfth of the season. Assists went to Rob Klinkhammer and Jujhar Khaira.

The Condors kept the Barracuda on their heels for the rest of the period. With San Jose defenders stuck in their zone, they were lucky to make it to intermission down by just one.

At the end of the period, the teams were tied on the shot clock but the home team trailed by one.

The second period was marked by a lot of hits and questionable stick use. By the ten minute mark, the Barracuda had added two shots and the Condors just one. Near the eleven minute mark, the game’s first fight broke out behind the Barracuda goal line. The scuffle landed Andrew Miller and Joakim Ryan in the box with roughing minors. Miller got an additional two minutes, so Slepyshev joined him in the box and a Barracuda power play commenced.

San Jose still could not score, but they did keep the Condors on the defensive. And defend they did. The Baracuda had very little time to take the shots they got credit for and many that just missed the net. With six minutes left, Bakersfield still only had one shot in the period but they still had a one goal lead.

The Condors got their first power kay with 4:13 left in the second. San Jose’s Julius Bergman went to the box for slashing. During their power play they finally got a few shots on goal. Half way through the power play, Karl Stollerysent the puck out of play and was called for delay of game. San Jose managed the three on five penalty kill and the minute of four on five that followed.

At the end of the second, the score was still 1-0 Condors and the shots were 17-15 Condors.

The third period started with an early chance for the Condors that hit a post. That seemed to wake the Barracuda up and they responded with several good shifts in the offensive zone. When the Condors pushed back, they were wrapped up in extended board battles and had few chances to score again until the middle of the period.

At, the Condors extended their lead. A neutral zone breakdown gave the Condors a two-then-three on one with Julius Bergman as the one. Jujhar Khaira scored the goal with assists going to Andrew Miller and Griffin Reinhart.

The goal unsettled the Barracuda and inspired the Condors. The orange and blue attack continued with the Barracuda scrambling defensively.

The Barracuda recovered somewhat in the second half of the period. At 12:05 they scored after John McCarthy and Ben Smith combined to win the puck off the boards. McCarthy carried it behind the net and tried a wraparound. That did not work but Smith was on the other side of the crease to catch the puck and put it in. It was his seventh goal of the season in eleven games played with the team. McCarthy received the lone assist.

The Condors did not let that go and stretched their lead back to two with 3:40 left in the game. Entering the zone fast two one two, Ryan Hamilton and Tyler Pitlick gave the Condors their third goal of the game.

The Barracuda made a game of it with just over a minute left. A good four skater rush through the neutral zone and some give and go between Smith and Bryan Lerg resulted in another goal for Smith.

Barracuda coach Sommer opted to pull his goaltender after that and with 26.2 left in the game, the puck escaped the neutral zone and only the Condors’ Klinkhammer was near enough to catch it. He put it in the Barracuda net.

Final score: 4-2 Condors.

John McCarthy led the Barracuda in shots on goal with five. Mirco Mueller, called up to the Sharks briefly after Brenden Dillon’s recent injury, was back with the AHL squad in time for Sunday’s game.

Raffi Torres, still on the Barracuda roster, did not play for the second game in a row. He has played five games with the Barracuda this year.

The Barracuda hit the road next week and will face the Heat on Saturday and Sunday in Stockton.

Couture And Donskoi Out, Goldobin Called Up

By Mary Walsh

San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture will miss four to six weeks due to a broken right fibula. Per Curtis Pashelka of the Mercury News, the injury was sustained during practice in New Jersey on Thursday. In a press release Friday, Sharks GM Doug Wilson said:

Logan was injured in practice on Thursday in New Jersey and suffered a fractured right fibula at the ankle. He will be returning to San Jose to undergo surgery under the direction of Kaiser Permanente’s medical team. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

Forward Joonas Donskoi is also out due to an injury sustained blocking a shot during the game against the Anaheim Ducks.

Rookie forward Nikolay Goldobin has been recalled to fill one of the open spots on the roster. Goldobin was the Sharks’ first round pick in 2014. Last season he played 38 games with HIFK in Finland and nine games with the Worcester Sharks of the AHL. This season he played one game with the San Jose Barracuda.

Forward Ben Smith, who was a scratch for the first three games of the season, will also join the lineup tonight as the team faces the New Jersey Devils. Saturday, the Sharks will play the New York Islanders in Brooklyn.

Playoffs Over For Sharks, World Championships Underway

By Mary Walsh

The dust has settled around the Sharks’ 2014-15 season, Todd McLellan will be choosing another team to coach, Doug Wilson will continue as San Jose general manager. Brent Burns was named a finalist for the NHL Foundation Player Award, for his work with Defending the Blue Line. The Sharks are negotiating an extension with the City of San Jose, so rumors that the team plans to leave town should die down.

The Worcester Sharks played their final game on Friday against the Hershey Bears. The Sharks lost in fairly spectacular fashion, giving up ten goals to the Bears while scoring four. Barclay Goodrow, Nikolay Goldobin, Daniil Tarasov, Brian Lerg and Chris Tierney were all on the playoff roster for Worcester. In the series, Tierney had a goal and two assists, Tarasov had three assists, and Goodrow and Lerg each had one assist. Rookie goaltender Aaron Dell started three of the four games, while Troy Grosenick started one. It was a regrettable final appearance for the Worcester Sharks. Next season, they move to San Jose to play at SAP Center as the San Jose Barracuda.

Sharks owner Hasso Plattner published a statement of confidence in his GM, in which he addressed the fans directly. Plattner also expressed disappointment with the team’s recent failures. The letter came soon after Doug Wilson’s press conference, where he was asked if Plattner would be available to the media. Someone did suggest Plattner might address fans directly, maybe the letter was a response to that. In any case, Plattner continues to have little interest in discussing his decisions with the press.

Offseason changes that Sharks fans can expect will probably include a new starting goaltender. That Niemi was not resigned before the end of the season is strong evidence of that. Hardly any Sharks veteran gets this close to free agency and returns to the team.

In the choice of a new coach, Wilson has said that he will take the time he needs. It is odd that he did not even suggest he would like a new coach before the draft. He might not necessarily need his head coach’s input for drafting prospects. What one would expect the coach to participate in would be trade activity that happens around the draft. Perhaps Wilson has no intention of making any trades for players. Some might consider that an ill omen for next season.

Todd McLellan is currently in the Czech Republic coaching Team Canada at the world championships, with Brent Burns on his roster. For those wondering, Burns is listed as a defenseman for Canada. Canada has played two games so far, winning 6-1 against Latvia and 10-0 against Germany. Burns had an assist in the game against Latvia, and against Germany.

Tomas Hertl and Ben Smith are there too, playing for the Czech Republic and the USA respectively. The Czechs lost 6-5 to Sweden and defeated Latvia 4-2. Hertl had a goal in the game against Sweden.  The USA has won their two games, beating Finland 5-1 and Norway 2-1.

Sharks prospect Nikita Jevpalov was named to the roster for Latvia. Poor Latvia has not won yet, losing to the Czechs and the Canadians as listed above. Jevpalov has not played yet.