Torres: 'What I do on the ice is not who I am off the ice'
New Sharks Raffi Torres and Scott Hannan won't be in action Friday against the Flames. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN JOSE – Sharks fans will have a few more days to decide how to greet newcomer Raffi Torres, as the winger won’t play against the Flames on Friday night as San Jose tries to continue its winning ways. Torres was not feeling well on Thursday night, according to head coach Todd McLellan.
McLellan said on Thursday he wasn’t sure if Torres would play anyway, as the coach is hesitant to make changes to a lineup that has extended the Sharks’ winning streak to six in a row.
“I struggled sleeping last night whether or not we’d put him in,” McLellan said on Friday morning. “The right ting to do for the individual is to put him in and make him feel comfortable right off the bat, but we have to do what’s right for the team. There’s been a lot of guys that have played well lately, and [we] have to continue that reward.”
Torres took a few rushes with the third line, on the right side of Joe Pavelski and TJ Galiardi, a place currently occupied by James Sheppard. That could be his spot on Sunday against Dallas when the Sharks close out their season-long seven-game homestand, depending on what happens on Friday night against Calgary.
“The team is doing well, and it’s almost like I want to fly under the radar until they need me,” Torres said. “They’re going good right now, and that’s all that matters.”
The other newcomer, defenseman Scott Hannan, is also unavailable and isn’t even skating yet due to a neck injury. He hasn’t played since March 17. Neither he nor McLellan put a specific timeframe on his return.
“Getting better. I’m going to get back on the ice here soon and get skating, and see how we feel,” Hannan said.
McLellan said: “He’ll need some time to get healthy.”
Hannan will fill the role of depth defenseman for the Sharks, as Jason Demers is likely to be healthy before Hannan. Demers skated again on Friday morning, but still isn’t ready with a head injury. He could be an option for Sunday.
When Hannan does get in, it will be his first game in a Sharks uniform since 2007. The fact that he played the first eight years of his NHL career here helps with his transition after a trade from Nashville.
“I think it helps out any time, to come in here and see a lot of familiar faces,” Hannan said.
“It feels great, I’ve got a lot of great memories from being here in the past. It’s good get back and come in and start playing some hockey here.”
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The Calgary Flames will be without Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester, both traded, and defenseman Mark Giordano, whose wife just gave birth. They are coming off of an 8-2 loss to Edmonton on Wednesday.
In typical coach-speak, McLellan said he expects a tough battle from the weakened Flames, regardless of who’s in their lineup.
“They still can score goals, and score a lot of them,” McLellan said. “They’re dangerous on the power play. They’ll also be a grumpy group, I expect. I really think we’re going to have our hands full.
“As soon as you start looking at the deletions from lineups and counting on that, your team ends up in a lot of trouble. We won’t be doing that tonight.”
The Sharks are a league-best 13-1-4 at home, including an 8-0-3 mark in the last 11.
Patrick Marleau said: “We’ve kind of got the recipe for success now, it’s just a matter of us keeping with it, working hard and playing the system.”
After Sunday’s home matinee against Dallas, the Sharks have a four-game road trip to Columbus, Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix. San Jose is 6-10-2 away from HP Pavilion.
“Our group doesn’t want to lay any eggs in front of our fans,” McLellan said. “They deserve better than that. If we can keep doing what we’re doing at home and then bottle it up and take it on the road trip, we’ll be okay.”