The San Jose Sharks are 1-0 on the season. So, for all intents and purposes, they're right where they want to be. A beatdown of the Phoenix Coyotes just under a week ago is still fresh on their minds, and on Friday, they'll head to Anaheim to take on the rival Ducks, with sights set on 2-0 and a good start to the 2011-2012 season.
Antti Niemi made the trip with the team to Anaheim, but his status on Sunday is still in question. He himself said that he's "50/50" to start, and with Antero Niittymaki expected to miss another two months with a groin injury, it could be Thomas Greiss in action again. Niemi is recovering from offseason surgery, in which he had a cyst removed from his knee.
Greiss stopped 26 of 29 against the Coyotes and got his team off to a good start. With the offensive output to back him up, Greiss grew confident and didn't relinquish goals until the Coyotes became desperate. If he keeps up his strong play, that might make the injured Niittymaki expendable, and he's certainly ready to go for Friday's game if need be.
Unfortunately, Martin Havlat is still injured and won't play on Friday Havlat was acquired from the Minnesota Wild in the offseason, and had shoulder surgery in May. He's been practicing lately, but is still pending clearance from a doctor.
Patrick Marleau didn't practice until Thursday, and the team expects him to be in the lineup, but he's likely to be rusty after battling the flu. Todd McLellan expects him to play, so he should be good to go. The Sharks are healthy beyond ... you know, all of those players
The Ducks have played both of their games this season in Europe, playing the Sabres in Helsinki and the Rangers in Stockholm. They lost 4-1 a week ago to the Sabres, but beat the Rangers in a shootout on Saturday. They're a ten-hour time difference, and the team is just working hard on adjusting to it. It's never a simple matter of going, coming back, and resuming things as normal. Players have trouble sleeping, among other problems.
Whatever the case, the Sharks are hurting and the Ducks are disoriented, so this could be a somewhat ugly game. It's set for Friday at 7:00 p.m. pacific.