Humboldt Beacon (http://www.humboldtbeacon.com)

Three things to know: Sharks' DeBoer is ‘disappointed' about Donskoi's injury


By Paul Gackle, Bay Area News Group

Friday, December 1, 2017

SURISE, Fla. — Coach Pete DeBoer isn’t hiding his disappointment over the latest injury to hit the Sharks dressing room.
After Martin Jones and Tim Heed suffered injuries on Nov. 25, the Sharks took a jab on the chin when Joonas Donskoi left Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers with what DeBoer is calling a, “mid-to-lower body injury.”
The good news is that the Sharks (13-8-2) are labelling Donskoi’s ailment as a “day-to-day” injury. The 25-year-old Finn will be sidelined for Friday’s game against the Florida Panthers (10-12-2) in Sunrise, Fla., but DeBoer said the injury “doesn’t look like it’s serious.”
Nevertheless, the timing couldn’t be worse.
After struggling through his second-NHL season last year, Donskoi is delivering on the challenge that DeBoer laid out for him in training camp, putting together a bounce back season with seven goals and 12 points in 23 games. At this point, Donskoi is one of the only forwards producing on a team that ranks 31st in the NHL in five-on-five goals (34).
The last thing the Sharks wanted was for Donskoi to hit a snag after he battled injuries to his shoulder and foot throughout a large chunk of the 2016-17 season.
“You’re disappointed for him because he’s just rolling,” DeBoer said. “He’s had some injuries over the last two years that have derailed him, so you don’t want him to get off the track that he was on.
“I don’t think he will. I think he’s in a different place than he was a year ago.”
2. Ryan Carpenter rejoins lineup for homecoming in Florida. 
Carpenter won’t need any extra inspiration when he rejoins the Sharks lineup Friday. He’ll receive a reminder of the unlikelihood of his journey to the NHL when he suits up for his first home-state game with his parents and sister in the crowd.
The rookie forward didn’t envision NHL hockey in his future when he first started playing hockey in Orlando around the age of seven.
“As a kid, you don’t really think about the path that it would take to get here,” Carpenter said. “When you’re older, you realize it’s a wind about way. It’s definitely not a hot bed.”
Carpenter, who grew up in suburban Orlando, fell in love with the sport by going to see the Orlando Solar Bears play live in the now-defunct International Hockey League. His bantam hockey squad drew kids in from all over the state — Tampa to Jacksonville — because there weren’t enough quality players in Orlando to form a competitive team.
“There were times where we went and played tournaments in Minnesota, Canada or Boston, and you’d get your butt whipped a couple times,” Carpenter said. “You’d realize how good the hockey players out there are that are your age.”
After going as far as he could with the sport in Florida, Carpenter moved north at age 16 to play minor hockey in Michigan. From there, he went on to play junior hockey with the United States Hockey League’s Sioux City Musketeers and NCAA hockey at Bowling Green before signing a contract with the Sharks organization as an undrafted free agent in March 2014.
Carpenter’s NHL dream will come full circle when he takes the ice in Sunrise Friday.
“It’s cool,” he said. “I remember having a Panthers jersey when I was a kid, a little one playing street hockey wearing it.”
3. Dell will start back-to-back games for the first time in his NHL career.
Dell will carve a new hole into his belt Friday when he starts back-to-back games for the first time in his NHL career.
The Sharks backup started Tuesday’s game because Martin Jones suffered a minor injury on Nov. 25, and he’s likely getting the nod against the Panthers because DeBoer wants to save his No.1 goalie for Saturday’s showdown with the NHL’s top team, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“It’s just another game for me,” Dell said. “I had a couple days off in between, so it’s not like it was straight back to backs or anything. I just need to prepare the same way I always do.”
Jones’ return to health is good news for the Sharks as DeBoer declined on Tuesday to guarantee his return to the crease during the team’s four-game road trip. With Jones ready to go, the Sharks reassigned Antoine Bibeau to the AHL Barracuda Thursday.
Kevin Labanc will rejoin the Sharks lineup Friday as Danny O’Regan will serve as a healthy scratch. Heed is still day-to-day with an upper-body injury suffered on Nov. 25.