Sharks' Rob Blake Joins the Teal Fallen, Injury Tests Blue Line Depth

Jason FigueiredoCorrespondent INovember 6, 2009

WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 15:  Rob Blake #4 of the San Jose Sharks warms up before the game against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on October 15, 2009 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Rob Blake ’s unexpected visit to the injured reserved this week has to send more shivers down the spine of Sharks fans than any of the other injuries that have already hit their team this season.  

While Devin Setoguchi , Joe Pavelski, and to a lesser extent Torrey Mitchell are huge names to be abducted from the Sharks line up, in reality these forwards are only lead-ins for the much bigger headliners playing their same positions.  But when it comes to the blue line, Rob Blake is Paul McCartney to Dan Boyle ’s John Lennon. 

The loss of Blake’s heavy shot and his endless pit of hockey experience, even for a short time, force many to start thinking “what can we do without him?”  He is such an enormous asset to the Sharks' success that losing him for a long period of time would be greatly detrimental to any Stanley Cup aspirations.  

Fortunately, his injury is apparently not too serious and all should be right as rain in a couple of weeks. 

In the meantime, the Teal Faithful will get a brief glimpse of what life will be like next year when Blake presumably leaves the Bay Area with (hopefully) or without another Stanley Cup victory.

Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings, the void left by Blake’s injury immediately presented more ice time for Kent Huskins .  While Huskins is a great replacement for Blake defensively, leading the Sharks with a plus-8 +/-, he doesn't create much offensive noise. 

Huskins’ eight total shots on goal are dwarfed in comparison to Blake’s two shots per game. 

Hopes have been riding high early with Jason Demers , who has recorded 10 assists in his first 17 NHL games and is second amongst all Sharks defensemen in points. Demers' ability to accurately move the puck along the blue line has been huge and this success has landed him globs of time on the power play.     

Many also have high hopes that Derek Joslin , who was called up to replace the injured Blake, will eventually take over the offensive defender role that Blake will soon vacate. But in 14 NHL appearances, he has yet to show that his AHL success will transfer over and the clock for him to start proving his worth is quietly ticking.

Joslin's progress in his spot roles throughout this season will no doubt determine whether or not this restricted free agent is resigned by the start of next season.

Also called up from Worcester on Thursday was defensemen Joe Callahan .  Tied for second in scoring amongst defensemen on the baby Sharks, Callahan found his way onto the scorecard in his first game donning the real teal.

Callahan was used sparingly, seeing less than 10 minutes of ice time and his impact with a secondary assist may seem insignificant to many. But when you are grasping at straws for potential talent, sometimes it’s good to be happy with what you can get. 

While it is still way too early to even start thinking about what kind of talent the Sharks will need to seduce once Blake makes his exit, it’s never to early to see exactly what is still left in the cupboard. 

And although things may be looking a little bare at the moment, there is still a ton of time for the seeds of potential to grow.