The San Jose Sharks will be without Matt Irwin tonight when they play host to the Vancouver Canucks.
Irwin was injured during practice Friday and coach Todd McLellan is hoping its just a day-to-day situation with the defenseman.
“Until we get to tomorrow, we don’t know if that’s the time,” McLellan said per CSNBayArea.com.
The 27-year-old, who was frequently a healthy scratch during the first half of the season, had been playing some of his best hockey of the season prior to the injury. Irwin had at least a point in six of his last eight games, including a four-game streak.
“He’s been really good since he got back into the lineup,” McLellan said. “He worked so hard when he was out of the lineup to improve his footspeed and get quicker. Offensively, he’s contributing in a lot of areas.
“His confidence is at an all-time high. It’s unfortunate for him as an individual to not be able to continue on, but hopefully he’s very short tern and has the opportunity to get back in before he loses anything that he’s gained.”
Taylor Fedun, who was recalled Saturday, will not play against the Canucks. Scott Hannan is expected to take Irwin’s spot in the lineup. Hannan has been a healthy scratch the last two games.
Fedun had five goals and 24 assists to go along with a plus-1 rating in In 56 AHL games with the Worcester Sharks.
Saturday is the first recall of the season for the 26-year-old.
Buffalo Sabres captain Brian Gionta had an eventful game against the New York Islanders. He got two shots on goal, which sadly accounted for 20% of Buffalo’s total, and he was involved in a bizarre incident in the first period.
Gionta’s stick ended up getting caught in Frans Nielsen’s skate, knocking the 30-year-old forward to the ice. Buffalo’s captain continued to skate forward, dragging Nielsen from one end of the ice to the other as he tried to free his stick.
Nielsen, who was playing in his 500th game, was fine and went on to record an assist in the Islanders’ 3-2 victory.
That certainly doesn’t happen every game, but when it does it doesn’t always result in one player dragging the other. For example, Edmonton forward Nail Yakupov got his stick caught in Ryan Ellis’ skate earlier this season and stopped playing to help untangle the Predators’ defenseman:
Scott Hannan also got his stick stuck in Rick Nash’s skate back in March 2014, but in that case Hannan let go of his stick:
There has been bad blood between the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks on Saturday.
Late in the first period, Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell crushed San Jose defenseman Scott Hannan with a heavy hit near the boards, drawing a quick and small melee. There was no call on the play.
Hannan, shaken up on the play, remained in the game.
It got a little testy after that hit, with Joe Thornton and Andrew Shaw going to the box for coincidental slashing minors near the end of the period. The two teams combined for 19 registered hits in the opening period, which saw the Sharks gain a 1-0 lead on what looked to be an own-goal from Duncan Keith.
Wingels had good reason to praise his teammates, as he was the one who took a tripping penalty that put the Sharks two men down in the third. San Jose killed it, thanks to Antti Niemi in net and the shot-blocking of penalty killers like Scott Hannan and Justin Braun.
“Credit to them,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said, “they sacrificed themselves for the team, and we all get rewarded for it with a win.”