Havlat close to a return

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Havlat close to a return

A casual observer at Sharks practice on Monday would have no idea that newcomer Martin Havlat is still considered injured.

Havlat was a full participant in the hour-plus long skate today at Sharks Ice, and by the look of things, you would have to think hell be in the lineup when the Sharks visit Anaheim on Friday for their second game of the season.

Marty is involved in everything right now, so hes that close. Really, all were waiting on is the doctor now, said coach Todd McLellan.

Havlat, who had shoulder surgery in May, will have to be cleared by team physicians before the club can say for sure if he will make his Sharks debut against the Ducks.

Were still taking it day-by-day, but its feeling better and better every day and were working on it, said Havlat. Its getting stronger.

Havlat watched from afar as the Sharks hosted the Coyotes in the home opener on Saturday night. Not being out there was frustrating, but hes encouraged by what he saw in the 6-3 win.

Very good, he described his new teams performance. We have another five or six days before Game 2 so its basically like getting ready for Game 1 again. But, the guys played very good.

Its always frustrating if you have to watch your team play. You want to be on the ice and help everybody to win the games. The situation is what it is. Especially coming to a new team, I wanted to get used to a new system and linemates. I wanted to get in some preseason games, but unfortunately I couldnt. Ill have to do it when I get in the lineup.

Niemi update, Marleau sick

Antti Niemi, on the other hand, didnt participate in practice as much as fellow goaltenders Thomas Greiss and Harri Sateri.

From my understanding, hes close, said McLellan, before adding he still hadnt talked to the team trainers or doctors yet about his number one netminder.

Greiss made 26 saves on Saturday to record the win, and regardless of whether Niemi is healthy by the weekend, could conceivably start in one of the back-to-back games. San Jose hosts the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.

Sharks forward Patrick Marleau did not practice as he was home sick.

Sharks sign prospect Noah Rod, an 'agitator who can score'

Sharks sign prospect Noah Rod, an 'agitator who can score'

The Sharks have signed prospect forward Noah Rod to a standard three-year entry-level contract, the club announced on Friday. The Sharks drafted Rod (pronounced like road) in the second round (53rd overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

The 20-year-old has five goals, nine assists and 22 penalty minutes with a plus-five rating in 27 games with Geneve-Servette in Switzerland. In 137 career games in the Swiss league from 2013-17, Rod has 37 points (14g, 23a) and 64 penalty minutes. The native of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland has represented his country in each of the last two World Junior tournaments, playing with fellow Sharks prospects Timo Meier and Mirco Mueller.

"Noah plays with a tenacious, feisty edge which makes him a difficult player for opponents to play against," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "He has continued to grow his overall game the past few seasons, playing against men in Switzerland's top professional league, and we think his combination of grit and skill will translate well in North America. We are excited for him to make the move."

In February, Sharks director of hockey operations Doug Wilson, Jr. told The Hockey News that the six-foot, 200-pound Rod has “taken huge strides this year” and was hopeful that he would join the organization by the end of this season, where he would presumably join the Barracuda.

Wilson, Jr. said: “[Rod] was a 17-year-old shut down guy in a men’s league, that’s crazy. He’s taken huge leaps. They’ve got him playing top six minutes, and he’s producing as an offensive guy now. 

“He’s one of those guys, he would fit perfect in Pete [DeBoer’s] system – pressure all over the ice, agitator who can score. He fits really well for us. We’re excited about him.”

NHL Gameday: Stumbling Sharks likely getting Hansen back for Stars

NHL Gameday: Stumbling Sharks likely getting Hansen back for Stars

Programming note: Sharks-Stars coverage starts today at 5:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 42-24-7, 91 points, 1st Pacific Division
Stars: 29-33-11, 69 points, 6th Central Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***Indications are that Jannik Hansen will return to the lineup after missing the last two games with a head injury, as the Sharks try to end their season-long four-game losing streak in regulation. The forward took part in the team’s optional skate on Friday morning at American Airlines Center, his second straight day on the ice after he was hurt last Saturday against Anaheim.

“You’ve got to go through a couple stages, make sure there are no setbacks, no nothing,” said Hansen, who was whacked in the head by defenseman Brandon Montour.

Coach Pete DeBoer spoke before Hansen, and would only call him a game-time decision. Regardless, the trade deadline acquisition will be welcomed back into the lineup after he seemed to give a boost to the Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski line.

“He’s missed quite a bit of hockey personally this year, which should make him fresh for the playoffs, but we also want to make sure we get him in enough games that he’s comfortable in our system and gets some chemistry going with the guys around him,” DeBoer said. “I think it’s important we get him back. He’s a key piece for us.”

Timo Meier appears to be the forward that will come out for Hansen. Melker Karlsson (lower body) doesn't seem to be ready just yet, but skated again Friday morning.

***Along with getting a key piece back in their lineup, the Sharks will be the more rested team, having not played since Tuesday’s 3-2 loss in Minnesota. Dallas dropped a 3-2 shootout decision in Chicago last night.

DeBoer was quick to point out, though, that the first two of the Sharks’ four straight losses came to St. Louis and Anaheim, both of which was playing in the second of a back-to-back.

“I don’t think that’s a factor at all,” DeBoer said. “We played [the Stars] a couple games ago. We know what they do. We know what we have to do better here tonight in order to find a way to score some goals. We’ve just got to execute.”

Dallas is 2-4-1 in its last seven games, but beat the Sharks on Monday, 1-0, behind 30 saves from Kari Lehtonen. Aaron Dell will start in net for San Jose, while the Stars’ starter is not yet known.

***The Sharks begin the night with just a two-point lead on Anaheim in the Pacific Division. The Ducks are hosting the Jets on Friday.

Have the Sharks discussed the tightening standings?

“No, all we think about it get back to the winning road,” Joonas Donskoi said. “I think we’ve been playing pretty well last games, just haven’t found a way to put the puck in the net. That’s all we concentrate on.”

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Jannik Hansen. Hansen wouldn’t say if he was going to be back up on the top line, but in his first four games there after he was inserted into San Jose’s lineup, they generated one even strength goal in each. The 31-year-old is still looking for his first goal with the Sharks, posting one assist in six games with a minus-one rating.

Stars: Ales Hemsky. Limited to just 11 games this season, and coming off of hip surgery, the 33-year-old veteran forward potted two goals in Chicago on Thursday night. The Czech native has points in four of his last seven games (3g, 2a).

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Jannik Hansen – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi – Tomas Hertl – Mikkel Boedker
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Marcus Sorensen

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Aaron Dell (starter)
Martin Jones

Stars
Jamie Benn – Cody Eakin – Ales Hemsky
Remi Elie – Tyler Seguin – Brett Ritchie
Devin Shore – Radek Faksa – Patrick Sharp
Curtis McKenzie – Adam Cracknell – Jiri Hudler

Esa Lindell – John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis – Greg Pateryn
Patrik Nemeth – Stephen Johns

Kari Lehtonen
Antti Niemi

INJURIES

Sharks: Melker Karlsson (lower body) is doubtful.

Stars: Jason Spezza (back spasms) is day-to-day. Mattias Janmark (knee) and Antoine Roussel (hand) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“Obviously we know where our position is in the standings. We know how tight it is right now. We know how important these last two games on the road trip [are]. But there’s no panic here. We’ve just got to go out and play some good hockey.” – Joe Thornton