SAN JOSE – Alex Stalock’s conditioning assignment with the Barracuda got off to a strong start on Sunday night, when the goaltender allowed just one goal in a 5-1 win over Texas. Chris Tierney played admirably, too, posting two assists while skating on a line with former first round pick Nikolay Goldobin, who registered a hat trick.
One will be back on Thursday when the Sharks host the Red Wings, while the other could be with the Barracuda for at least a little while longer. On Monday, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer touched on the organizational plan for the two Sharks players that were reassigned over the weekend.
“With Al, I wanted to get him some full games,” said DeBoer. “The schedule, with the break at Christmas, it’s been a long time between full games with him. I see the schedule coming up, and we’re going to need him. It was an opportunity to get him some full games. Get into a rhythm again so that when he does get in here he’s ready to play.”
“With Tierney, I thought he needed to take a step back. Maybe get a little more confidence and handle the puck a little bit more, get his feet going a little bit more. He was in a little bit of a rut for me up here. Sometimes you need to take a step back to take two steps forward. I’m hoping that’s the case.”
Stalock’s struggles this season have been well documented, as he’s 2-5-0 with a 2.98 goals-against average and .893 save percentage in 10 games. Having the Barracuda in San Jose makes it easy for him to change dressing rooms and get some work, as the 28-year-old has started just one game for the Sharks since Dec. 9. He’ll go again for the Barracuda on Wednesday, and will return to back up Martin Jones against the Red Wings on Thursday as the Sharks enjoy a break in their schedule.
“I want to be fair to him that when we stick him in there, we don’t want to stick him in there without having played in three or four weeks,” said DeBoer, who expects Stalock to return on Thursday morning.
Tierney, though, may be with the Barracuda for a lengthier stretch. The 21-year-old former second round pick seemed to understand the move, as he has just three goals (two of them empty-netters) and five assists in 36 games. He can easily remember last season, when he returned to the club in early February after a stint in Worcester and thrived.
“I just want to get a little confidence back,” Tierney told GackleReport.com. “It wasn’t where it needs to be and just try to find my legs again, and find where my game needs to be. Last year, that helped a lot going down and finding myself, so hopefully the same thing happens.”
At practice on Monday, Dainius Zubrus centered the fourth line in Tierney’s old spot between Mike Brown and Joonas Donskoi. Matt Tennyson was recalled from the Barracuda on Monday morning.
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Stalock’s conditioning assignment means Troy Grosenick has been recalled for the first time to practice with the Sharks this week.
The 26-year-old, who is signed to a one-way contract next season, spoke about his year so far with the Barracuda, where he’s 7-4-2 with a 3.03 goals-against average and .902 save percentage in 16 games.
“Going pretty well. Working on a lot of things with [Evgeni Nabokov], and I think it’s been good to change the pace with a new goalie regime coming in. I think he’s helped me improve my game. Started a little bit slow, but I think part of that is working on a lot of new stuff. I feel like right now I’m starting to come into form.”
Grosenick was one of the better stories last season, when he posted a 45-save shutout in Carolina in his NHL debut on Nov. 16, 2014.
Although the current plan isn’t for him to play any NHL games in the near future, he’s staying patient.
“Obviously you don’t want [the Carolina game] to be your ultimate legacy,” he said. “You bide your time, and eventually keep working hard and things will turn out good for you. … Things change quickly in this profession, so just keep working hard day-by-day and only worry about what you can control.”