SAN JOSE – Sharks forward Bracken Kearns has been recalled, and he may be more than just an extra body in case of injury.
The 32-year-old took Tuesday morning line rushes with forwards Mike Brown, Andrew Desjardins and Marty Havlat, so one of those four is likely to sit against Anaheim in the team’s huge game on Wednesday at Honda Center.
Don’t assume it will be Kearns, who last played with the Sharks on Feb. 7 vs. Columbus. In 22 games with San Jose, he has three goals and one assist for four points, six penalty minutes and a +1 rating.
“I think we need to stir the drink a little bit,” Todd McLellan said. “I think guys are comfortable, and some have earned the right to be comfortable. Others have been too comfortable, and haven’t earned it completely yet.
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“I met with a couple of them. It doesn’t matter to us who plays. We just have to put the best team on the ice, and we have to do everything we can to win. It’s that time of year where you have to be honest with each other, you have to have a high level of trust. If there’s players that aren’t giving us that, then there’s no need for them to play. It’s as simple as that.”
McLellan did not play Brown or Desjardins in the third period on Saturday against Nashville, as the team was trying to dig out of a 3-0 deficit after two periods. Havlat took just three shifts in the final frame, and only Brown and Desjardins played less at even strength than Havlat for the game.
As for Kearns, Worcester’s fifth leading scorer with 25 points in 45 games, he’s glad to return just one week before the start of the postseason.
“It’s a great time of year, and it’s just a lot of fun to play here,” he said. “You can’t help to get better just being around these guys. It feels good.”