Goaltender Thomas Greiss has rejoined the Sharks, taking part in a skate with several teammates on Sunday in Anaheim.
The goaltender was still on injured reserve with a sore neck as of Sunday afternoon. He was hurt when he was run over in a game in Calgary on March 6, and has not played since. Greiss remained in the Bay Area during the first four games of the Sharks’ current road trip, getting treatment.
The only Sharks that skated on Sunday were those who did not play on Saturday afternoon in Minnesota, including Michal Handzus, Tim Kennedy, Justin Braun, Ryane Clowe and Alex Stalock, who has acted as Antti Niemi’s backup since Greiss was injured.
All of Greiss’ four starts have come in back-to-back situations, and the Sharks host the Ducks on Wednesday and Red Wings on Thursday at HP Pavilion. Niemi has played in 25 of San Jose’s 30 games, and has started 17 of the last 18. He's struggled a bit lately, and looks like he could use a break.
In four games this season, Greiss is 1-3-0 with a 2.79 goals-against average and .906 save percentage.
Wilson, Holmgren looking to deal?
As frustrating as this season must be for Sharks general manager Doug Wilson, it pales in comparison to what’s going on in Philadelphia.
Thought by many to be a legitimate preseason Stanley Cup contender, the Flyers found themselves in 13th place in the Eastern Conference headed into a Sunday night game against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins.
Perhaps that’s why Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren and Director of Hockey Operations Chris Pryor – the top two decision makers in the organization – were at the Sharks’ game in Minnesota on Saturday. Holmgren and Wilson were seen having a long chat at the second intermission of the Sharks’ 2-0 loss.
The Flyers are believed to be looking at Dan Boyle, who is also drawing interest from the New York Rangers, according to ESPN.com’s Katie Strang. Douglas Murray or Jason Demers could also be an option for the defensively weak Flyers.
Interestingly – or, maybe completely coincidentally – struggling Flyers winger Danny Briere did not make the trip to Pittsburgh with what the team is calling an upper body injury suffered in practice. Briere’s cap hit is $6.5 million, nearly identical to Boyle’s $6.7 million hit. Briere, who has a no-trade clause, has two more seasons on his contract at an actual salary of $3 million in 2013-14 and $2 million in 2014-15, according to CapGeek.com. Boyle has one year left at $6.7 million.
Hypothetically speaking, a Briere-for-Boyle trade doesn’t make much sense for the Sharks, unless they are trying to shed actual dollars from the payroll. Briere has just five goals and eight assists for 13 points in 26 games, and hasn’t scored a goal in more than a month.
No Sharks scouts were listed on the seating chart at the Flyers-Penguins game on Sunday.
Clowe loses a suitor
Speaking of Clowe, several teams are said to be in pursuit of the forward, who has no goals, nine assists and 72 penalty minutes in 25 games.
The Boston Bruins were believed to be one, and they had multiple scouts watching the Sharks in recent weeks. That interest has diminished, though, according to a source.
One reason – other than the fact that Clowe has yet to score this season – could be that he has missed the last three games with a shoulder injury from the first period of the Sharks’ 5-2 loss in Los Angeles on March 16.
Clowe said on Friday in Minneapolis that he hopes to play on Monday against the Ducks, when the Sharks close out their five-game road trip. They are currently 1-3-0 after the loss to the Wild on Saturday.
Scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, Clowe also said Friday that would like to remain in San Jose.
The NHL trade deadline is on April 3.