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What a pickle: Vlasic out, Stalock in for San Jose

Apr 28, 2014, 3:19 PM EDT

Some big developments from the Sharks this afternoon — Canadian Olympic defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic will miss his first game of the opening-round series versus L.A. with an injury, and the team is also giving Alex Stalock his first-ever playoff start.

We’ll let that marinate for a moment.

(waits)

Both stories are significant in their own right. Vlasic, who Sharks GM Doug Wilson called “one of the most fundamentally strong defensemen I’ve seen in 20 years,” was averaging over 20 minutes a night and sits second among San Jose’s d-men scorers this postseason.

With Vlasic out, Matt Irwin will make his series debut and play for the first time since Apr. 12.

Stalock’s start, meanwhile, is a huge shift for the Sharks, snapping Antti Niemi‘s consecutive playoff starting streak at 39 games. The Finnish netminder had started every postseason game for the Sharks since coming over from Chicago four years ago, after he backstopped the ‘Hawks to the ’10 Stanley Cup.

That said, Stalock has shown well in limited work this series and apparently shown enough to warrant a start, especially in the wake of Niemi’s recent struggles. The 26-year-old has come on in relief of Niemi twice this series and been perfect, stopping all 26 shots faced in just over 57 minutes of action.

Stalock also performed well against the Kings in the regular season, stopping 20 of 21 shots in a 1-0 loss back in January.

  1. ironmd778 - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    Lol…Great headline.

  2. sjsharks66 - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    Weird, Torres hits Stoll in the body and catches his head. Stoll is hurt and Torres suspended the entire series..

    Stoll throws a forearm to the back of Vlasic’s head, Pickles is hurt. Not a peep about that headshot. So, so strange!

    • tronn25 - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:33 PM

      Do you have any clue what you are saying, or do you simply squat over your keyboard and strain until enough keys are struck by falling debris and then hit submit?

      Watch the play, there was no intent. Stop crying foul and try to rally support for a win. I hate these bs comments about double standards once a team starts losing. Suck it up chump.

      • pirovash88 - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:54 PM

        Get used to it dude.. This guy is one of the biggest whiners in this place.

        SJSharks, you should be more upset about this team letting the Kings get right back in the series, rather than wondering why Stoll wasn’t suspended..

      • sjnanoshark2014 - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:25 PM

        No intent! What a joke, I’m curious as to what you call a deliberate elbow to the back of someone’s head? I call it cheap and chicken s#*+

    • cybernetikghost - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:55 PM

      God, I would hate having to pretend that Torres is innocent just because he is on my team.

      • titansrbeast - Apr 28, 2014 at 5:25 PM

        And once again, bring Raffi Torres into it like you guys always do. What he has done that was so dirty lately?

        Pretty sure no Sharks fan said he’s “innocent” throughout his career. He’s just a completely different player for SJ. Get used to it, and deal with it.

      • hrudey - Apr 28, 2014 at 5:39 PM

        @titansrbeast: The guy literally responds to a comment that starts: “Weird, Torres hits Stoll in the body and catches his head. Stoll is hurt and Torres suspended the entire series..”

        How dare cybernetikghost let sharks66 bring up Torres? I guess that’s what we guys always do.

      • titansrbeast - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:36 PM

        Yeah, I’m saying that his hit was not dirty on Stoll though. Jarrett Stoll even said it was clean when it happened so why do so many fans still talk about that hit lol?

  3. sjsblitz - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    AL!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. sjtorpitt - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    F***.
    Hopefully back for a possible game 7

  5. antkowiak666 - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    antkowiak666 – Apr 27, 2014 at 9:18 AM
    Stalock WILL start game 6 in LA.

    • thesportsjudge - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:17 PM

      Joey?

      • joey4id - Apr 28, 2014 at 5:26 PM

        Here! Ya think re-posting is catching on? 😉

      • skr213 - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:50 PM

        ^ only for dbags.

  6. sharksman - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    Here we go !! Go SHARKS !!

  7. mfinneran - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    Should have happened two game’s ago, good luck Alex.

  8. shutyourfivehole - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    Be a shame if a Kings player or two gets an “injury”. Apparently that’s tolerated by the NHL. Unless you’re Raffi Torres. Then you can’t sneeze in anyone’s direction without a suspension. Stool? Brown? No problem.

    • cybernetikghost - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:58 PM

      You should probably worry about your own Brown, that guy is doing more harm than good.

      • skr213 - Apr 28, 2014 at 5:54 PM

        He’s a fourth liner who’s plus-1 with 2 points and brings a ton of energy and is one of the main reasons Quick was thrown off his game for the first couple of games. So WTF are you talking about?

      • cybernetikghost - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:09 PM

        I’m talking about his late scrumming after the whistle, pest tactics and borderline suspect play. As of right now he is just a little annoying but if he isn’t reeled in a bit, he is going to be the guy to give the sharks’ penalty kill team a workout. Might see what I’m talking about if you take your blinders off.

      • skr213 - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:18 PM

        Who’s wearing blinders – I gave stats to show that he most definitely is NOT doing more harm than good. Now you’ve changed your tune to “he will do more harm than good IF he isn’t reeled in.” You’re just making unsupported IF/THEN statements.

  9. penguins87and71 - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    Kings in 7, as much as I want to see the Sharks win.

  10. qauzaq - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    Ive heard conflicting things about Vlasic’s injury. I know Stolly smacked him in the back of the head(which was totally uncalled for btw) but Ive seen a few people say its a lower body injury for him. Anyone have a reliable info about his injury?

  11. danglesnipecelly88 - Apr 28, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    Kings are starting to scare the remaining Western Conference teams. As a Hawks fan they are the LAST team I would want to play if the Hawks make it out of round 2

    • titansrbeast - Apr 28, 2014 at 5:26 PM

      Making the Sharks a bit nervous, but scaring the whole western conference? Idk about that.

  12. pantherpro - Apr 28, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    Easy LA! You won two games and you would think the series is over. This is a different Sharks team and will wrap it up tonight! LA……………You suck!

    • cybernetikghost - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:13 PM

      From what I have read here, more sharks fans think that the kings are going to take it than actual kings fans. Not to mention, there was nothing but optimism on here for San Jose after the first two games. And now? Crickets.

  13. sjsharks66 - Apr 28, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    Oh sorry guys, I remember how you all reacted when Stoll was injured. Somewhere along the lines of constant complaining. To the point where you guys cried about it during the season.

    Not sure how many times I personally had to say “that hit wasn’t dirty. Even Stoll said so.”

    As for having to defend Torres? I guess we can all ask how you “Kings fans” defend Brown with so much honor. I swear, you guys put your hands over your eyes when the Kings do anything cheap. Then when something happens to one of your guys it’s under a microscope for years. HEY! Remember that time Clowe played the puck from the bench? We still hear about that one all the time.

    The Sharks still have the series lead, they still have a game at home if it does go to 7. I’m not worried just yet. I just wish they would finish off the Kings already. Tired of all these mysterious and random new people clogging up the comments with GKG or “Sheppard is a goon”.
    I understand it’s pretty easy to take shots at me personally because I am one of the more outspoken people who comment on here. That’s just fine. At least I am willing to question things instead of sit around thinking of a witty comeback for someone who is willing to call out the bias/lack of attention the league gives to certain teams. PHT has let itself go from actually having conversations about games.

    • blomfeld - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:20 PM

      ‘You’ Sjsharks66 are one of the scum who shamelessly attacked me after game two while I was in ‘electronic’ mourning. Kicking a man when he’s down is one of the ‘lowest’ forms of human expression and therefore ‘you’ my friend are to be equated with excrement and plankton. The funny part however, is that ‘you’ and the rest of your ‘cowardly’ horde achieved nothing more than to bring your ‘pathetic’ selves to the attention of my gun captains … and I gotta level with you man, I love when that happens ! :)

      GO KINGS GO !!! … LET’S SMASH THESE STUPID FISH INTO PULP !!!!!!!!!!

    • cybernetikghost - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      Brown has thrown some dirty hits, no question about it. The way I see it though, when you are amongst the top hitters in the league most years, the law of averages is going to get you and some of those hits aren’t going to be executed correctly. People hate Brown because they only choose to watch him when one of his hits are being questioned. Every player is more than a 45 second youtube clip.

  14. joey4id - Apr 28, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    Gutsy move! Who starts game seven if Stalock fails to secure the win? I think a coach has to go with his best players when it comes to the playoffs, and especially when you’re going for the final win.

  15. pantherpro - Apr 28, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    Staylo outduels swiss cheese Quick. Sharks win 4-1 Later LA

  16. skr213 - Apr 28, 2014 at 5:51 PM

    I think most people who don’t watch the Sharks regularly will think that the goalie issue is the bigger story of the two. That is definitely not the case. Vlasic is a major key ingredient for the Sharks. I honestly can’t think of anyone on the team that I’d hate to lose more in this series. As for Stalock, he’s been solid all year and I’m happy he’s getting a shot.

  17. reeggss - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    Kings in 6
    Book it
    Lock it up
    Done

    • skr213 - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:52 PM

      You know that’s not mathematically possible, right? (I guess you can’t teach math to people from LA)

  18. jshimota01 - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:24 PM

    I have always been luke warm to Niemi. He’s got a early game focus problem and likes to be too flamboyant. Worse, he’s the worst puck handling goalie in the league! Stalock can hold off the Kings tonite but with Vlasic out, it’ll be a harder task. We need early goals Sharks Fans!

    Go Sharks

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