There will be a couple happy returns for the San Jose Sharks tonight.
It won’t be Kevin Labanc, as expected – but instead, it’s Jonathan Dahlen and Mario Ferraro who will come back tonight against the Dallas Stars.
Between Dahlen and Ferraro, it’s Ferraro’s return that is most surprising.
On Feb. 27, Ferraro had surgery “to repair a fracture in his lower left fibula.” He was expected to miss six to eight weeks.
A return tonight means he’s ahead of schedule by a week – it’s been five weeks since Feb. 27.
Ferraro said this morning that after not doing much more than biking since surgery, he started testing his left leg more early last week, and was pleasantly surprised with its response. Then on Monday, he skated seriously for the first time since his injury.
“You make sure that everything’s good structurally and that the doctors feel real confident,” San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner said. “It’s tough to keep a guy like that out when he’s begging to get back in the line-up. The doctors are giving the green light.”
For his part, Ferraro says he’s pain-free.
“Conditioning wasn’t really a factor,” he said about practicing all this week. “It was all just trying to [have] as little pain as possible on the ankle. I was working out a bunch, even when I was hurt, doing the bike because that didn’t cause any issues with my foot.”
Boughner says Ferraro already bugging the coaches to put him back in: "The room's never been more loud than it was today. We closed our coach's door because all you could hear was Mario."
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) March 29, 2022
Boughner is excited to welcome his alternate captain back: “It’s going to create energy, obviously in our room. And on the ice, he brings a lot of intensity to our team.”
Jonathan Dahlen hopes to also bring something to the San Jose Sharks, specifically that scoring touch which saw the rookie take the NHL by storm with seven goals in his first 15 games.
It’s been a little bit of a struggle since then for the 24-year-old winger, just staying on the ice. He’s missed time this season because of COVID, an arm injury, a concussion, and most recently, taking a puck to the face. In and out of the line-up, Dahlen has just five goals in his last 37 appearances.
“I’ve had more injuries this year than I’ve had all my career,” he said this morning. “It hasn’t been ideal, but I got to stay positive.”
This will be Dahlen’s first game action since Mar. 20.
San Jose Sharks (29-30-8)
Ferraro and Dahlen are back!
It's a Big Kahk type of night in net. pic.twitter.com/MaQggNfXAD
— The Content Boyz (@LockedOnSharks) April 2, 2022
Dallas Stars (38-25-3)
Stars morning skate lines in San Jose (4/2):
Robertson — Hintz — Pavelski
Namestnikov — Seguin — Gurianov
Peterson — Benn — Radulov
Raffl — Faksa — Glendening
Harley — Klingberg
Suter — Heiskanen
Sekera — Hakanpaa
— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) April 2, 2022
Where to Watch
Puck drop between the Stars and San Jose Sharks is at 7:30 PM PT at SAP Center. Watch it live on ESPN+ and NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.