SAN JOSE -- Sharks left wing Ryane Clowe, who's missed six games with a facial fracture, will return tonight to face the Dallas Stars. Goalie Antti Niemi, though, suffered a minor injury in Wednesdays in practice at Sharks Ice and won't suit up.
He took a shot in practice and wont play or backup today. He feels pretty good today, and I think it will be a one-day thing, Todd McLellan said on Thursday morning.
In corresponding moves, defenseman Jason Demers was placed on injured reserve with a lower body injury and the team called up reserve goalie Tyson Sexsmith from Worcester to serve as backup. Thomas Greiss will start.
Clowe is anxious to return, but will have to wear a visor for the time being for added protection.
I think its just probably smart for at least another little bit to keep it on, make sure I dont have anything happen or get smacked there again, he said. It was weird, really weird. Today was the first time I wore a visor in awhile. It was a little better than a cage.
Clowe wore a cage immediately following his injury against Minnesota on Jan. 10, playing in three subsequent games before coming out of the lineup.
He started skating on Monday for the first time in two weeks.
I think the first period will be a bit of a battle tonight; Im sure Ill be sucking wind a little bit, he said. Im sure Ill have spit and snot and everything else on my visor that Ill be trying to battle through. Thats what Ive got to get used to, and the legs come after that. Ive got to be able to see first.
Does he expect to hear any chirping for wearing a visor from the Stars, perhaps from noted agitator Steve Ott?
Maybe. I think they know that theres something going on if Ive got a visor on. Theyve seen my act before, Clowe joked.
Meanwhile, Greiss will start in goal, while Antero Niittymaki, who passed through waivers last week, was reassigned to Worcester.
Sexsmith, who was named to the 2012 AHL All-Star Team, is fifth in the AHL in goals-against average (2.15), and ninth in save percentage at .925.
The Sharks have not allowed a goal in more than two games, dating back to Jan. 23 in Edmonton. Niemi recorded back-to-back shutouts against Calgary on Jan. 24 and Columbus on Tuesday.
Greiss is 6-4-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in 11 games this season.