Sharks Gameday: Pre-Deadline Jitters

Dallas Stars (29-26-7) at San Jose Sharks (42-10-9)
7:30 PST

Well, if you haven't heard the news, San Jose's forward depth took yet another hit with the news that Mike Grier and Jeremy Roenick will be out about a month -- essentially right before the playoffs start. From TSN:

Forward Mike Grier is out for four-to-six weeks after getting his knee scoped and veteran Jeremy Roenick is also expected to be out for four-to-six weeks with a shoulder injury.
           
Both, however, are expected to return to the Sharks lineup prior to the playoffs.
           
They join forwards Marcel Goc and Torrey Mitchell on the injured list.

That's not good, and it pretty much forces Doug Wilson's hand into making depth moves. The good news is that there seems to be a number of options available, from a gritty veteran like Jon Sim to a Stanley Cup winner that still produces like Mark Recchi.

In the meantime, there is a game tonight, and we'll see if any sort of Jersey Curse is going to rain down upon HP Pavilion as I debut my new black Dan Boyle jersey with real stitching (not the crappy iron-on garbage that NHL.com tricks you into getting -- I'm still bitter about that). Out of necessity, the lines are going to have to be juggled tonight. Who would have guessed that the Sharks would miss Marcel Goc so much?

Splitting Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau makes sense, though I'm really hoping that Todd McLellan tries to re-ignite Jonathan Cheechoo by sticking him with Thornton. The great thing about Cheech is that he's continued to work hard on the boards and has amped up his physical game. He's not quitting, and that's important, especially now. As good as Marleau's been this season, he's not the playmaker that Thornton is. Cheechoo's shown flashes of his old game recently, and if someone can just get him the damn puck in the slot, maybe this will work.

My proposed lines for tonight (based on assumptions of who's getting flown in on emergency, though I haven't seen anything official yet):

Kaspar/Thornton/Cheechoo
Michalek/Pavelski/Clowe
Plihal/Marleau/Setoguchi
Whoever's left + Jody Shelley + Claude Lemieux

On the other end, the Stars have hit a bit of a skid and slid out of the playoffs, though that's not too surprising considering they're pretty much missing every key player from their lineup sans Mike "I like to dive!" Ribiero and the surprising Loui "My name is spelled weird!" Eriksson. Dallas better watch out; one bump in the road can be devastating when the LA Kings are only four points behind you.

Prediction: Sharks 2, Stars 1. Goals by Boyle and Cheechoo.

(That's right, I didn't predict a pizza tonight.)

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