Jarry ‘Getting Real Close,’ But DeSmith Starting Again
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Tristan Jarry, who has missed the Pittsburgh Penguins’ past six games and 13 of the past 15 because of injuries, will spend another night in street clothes.
Mike Sullivan confirmed after the Penguins’ optional game-day skate that Casey DeSmith will be in goal when his team faces San Jose tonight at 10:38 Eastern at the SAP Center.
“Ultimately, (Jarry) is getting real close,” Sullivan said. “He had a real good practice yesterday. When our medical team deems him ready to play, that’s when the decision will be made. That hasn’t been the case, to this point.”
Jarry was one of 10 players to take part in the optional skate, which provided a clue that he wouldn’t be in uniform tonight: He and Dustin Tokarski shared a net and worked with goaltending coach Andy Chiodo, while DeSmith took shots from their teammates.
He had been a full participant in practice for the first time Monday, after which Sullivan acknowledged that it was “a possibility” that he would play against the Sharks.
The other players who participated in the Penguins’ game-day skate were Chad Ruhwedel, P.O Joseph, Ryan Poehling, Danton Heinen, Drew O’Connor, Jan Rutta and Teddy Blueger, Tokarski and DeSmith.
Defenseman Mark Friedman, who is a regular at the optional skates, did not go on the ice.
He is being evaluated for an unspecified upper-body injury that might have been suffered when he absorbed a big hit from Los Angeles forward Quinton Byfield early in the third period of the Penguins’ 6-0 loss to the Kings Saturday.
Sullivan said “I don’t know the specifics” of how Friedman was hurt.
Something he does know is the challenge that Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson, who is tied for fourth in the NHL scoring race, will pose to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“He’s an elite player and a lot of times, you’re not going to completely neutralize him,” Sullivan said. “You try to limit his ability to have an impact on the game. For me, we have to force him to play defense. The way to do that is, we’ve got onto hang onto the puck. We have to control territory. … We have to force him to expend energy defending us, as opposed to it being the other way around.
“When our team’s at its best, when we talk about dictating the terms, that’s a big aspect of it. When our team’s at its best, we control territory. We spend more time in the offensive zone than we do in any of the other zones. … We have some of the best players in the game at protecting pucks and hanging onto pucks down low and creating offense below the goal line.
“Sid (Crosby) comes to mind when I refer to that strength of our game, but he’s not the only one. I think we have a handful of guys who are really good in that area of the game. The best way to neutralize elite players, especially defensemen, is to force them to defend. Then they don’t have the juice to do what they do best on the offensive side.”