CHICAGO -- The Sharks brought up Tim Kennedy from Worcester to spark their sluggish offense, and the 26-year-old forward has done just that with two goals in his first three games, including the winner in the 2-1 streak-snapping victory over St. Louis.
Kennedy isn't a stranger to the NHL, having played 112 games for the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers before arriving in San Jose. And he might have been with the Sharks sooner if he weren't injured when the abbreviated training camp suddenly opened in mid-January after the lockout ended.
"There's no doubt in my mind -- he was on our list to come in and compete for that week," coach Todd McLellan said Wednesday. "Where it would have gone, I don't know. But we told him to sit tight, get healthy, get playing again, and he'd get his chance. And he has."
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Kennedy had a decent 2009-10 rookie season in Buffalo, scoring 10 goals and 26 points. But he took the team to contract arbitration, won his case -- and had to deal with the consequences.
Kennedy didn't dispute the suggestion that going to arbitration might have set his career back. "I was really young, and I was naive when I went into the process," he added.
The Sabres chose to buy out his contract, and Kennedy ended up signing with the Rangers, though he never cracked the New York lineup before landing with the Panthers. He did play in 33 games for the Panthers the past two seasons before being acquired by the Sharks in January 2012.
The lockout actually might have helped Kennedy get back to the NHL, as Sharks coaches spent time in Worcester getting to know the players there. And he got to know what they expected.
So how does San Jose build on its lone February victory -- Tuesday's win in St. Louis that ended a seven-game losing streak -- and come away with a 60-minute win Friday night?
"You work. I thought today we had a good hard practice. Guys realize you can't take moments off on nongame days -- you have to work, you have to invest," McLellan said.