Hey Barracuda fans! Nick Nollenberger here. It’s another week, which means it’s time for another blog. Not very often do you get an entire week without a game in the middle of the season, but do to some unique scheduling the Barracuda don't play again until Sunday in Bakersfield. The time off has allowed for guys who are dealing with nagging injuries to get healthier, but it also can mess with a team’s rhythm. San Jose played just nine games in November, and seven of the nine were on home ice. The Barracuda went 4-3 at home in November. In December San Jose will play six of its 12 games at SAP Center and will visit Tucson, Manitoba, and Bakersfield for the first time this season.
Head Coach Roy Sommer revealed goaltender Troy Grosenick was going to have minor surgery following Sunday’s game that will hold the goaltender out for the next couple of weeks. With Martin Jones being dinged up as well with the Sharks, San Jose (NHL) recalled Antoine Bibeau following Sunday’s win over San Diego, but Bibeau has since been reassigned back to the AHL, and should start for the Barracuda on Sunday.
Speaking of injuries, Edmonton’s Cam Talbot was placed on the injured reserve today, and Bakersfield’s Nick Ellis was immediately recalled up to Edmonton, which means the Barracuda will most likely get Eddie Pasquale on Sunday. Pasquale holds a 2-4-1 mark in eight games played for the Condors this season. Pasquale won a Calder Cup a season ago, backing up Jared Coreau in Grand Rapids.
Sunday’s matchup will be the first of the season against Bakersfield and a big test for San Jose as they try to climb back into the top four in the Pacific Division.
Last Sunday’s game against the San Diego Gulls was not only filled with plenty of dramatics and excitement, but San Jose awoke a couple of players offensively that could have a huge impact over the next couple of months. Adam Helewka and Rudolfs Balcers snapped 15-game goalless droughts, and San Jose proved it could be a dangerous offensive club when things are clicking.
If you made it to Sunday’s Pucks & Paws game, I’m sure you had a blast. I know I did. The buzz among the coaches and the players on Monday was how fun the environment was. Promotions and off-the-wall ideas are what makes minor league sports so great. I’ve been apart of a Bark in the Park during my summer in minor league baseball, but Sunday blew that atmosphere out of the water. The coolest part of the night for me was the barking audio that was being picked up on the on-ice sound-effects microphone. It was just odd to hear, but it made for a really cool environment.
Looking ahead to Sunday, San Jose takes on Bakersfield, who sits below the Barracuda in the standings. Sunday's tilt is the first of four games between the two clubs in the month of December. San Jose went 8-2-1-1 against the Edmonton Oilers top affiliate a year ago. Coach Sommer sits one win away from 700 for his AHL career. Sommer is in his AHL record 20th season as the Head Coach of the San Jose Sharks top affiliate. He is the all-time leader wins and is two games shy of 1,500 coached in his AHL career.
Don't forget, broadcast coverage in Bakersfield begins at 4:30 p.m. for a 5:00 p.m. puck drop. Listen live on the flagship radio station of the Barracuda AM 1220 KDOW, or at SJBarracuda.com/listen.
That's it from me. Talk to you all next week.