SAN JOSE -- The Sharks decided that eight defensemen in San Jose were one too many Sunday and sent Nick Petrecki to their Worcester development team for conditioning.
The move is considered a loan, and therefore Petrecki did not have to go through waivers, where he could have been claimed by another team. The Sharks lost left wing Frazer McLaren last week when he was picked up by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Petrecki, whose only action came in the Jan. 29 game against Anaheim, also stays on the 23-man roster and continues to earn his NHL salary.
With Jason Demers healthy and Matt Irwin -- for one game at least -- moved into the seventh slot as insurance, Petrecki wasn't likely to see action at the NHL level.
Demers' ice time in his first game back was 18:48, and he was credited with four hits, one blocked shot and one take-away. He said he felt good about his first game back after recovering from a wrist injury suffered in Europe.
"They say the first period you kind of feel tired, but in the second I felt good and in the third I had my legs and all that," Demers said. "The battle part of it, when you start pushing guys, you can't re-create that in practice. That kind of plays into fatigue, but I felt good."
Demers' return prompted coach Todd McLellan to mix up his defense pairing up. Demers skated alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and that put Brad Stuart and Dan Boyle together for the first time, leaving Irwin as the odd man out.
"We have to be fluid," McLellan said. "We're always fluid on the front end and you see that. But we have to be able to be fluid on the back end as well. People say why are they breaking up the pairs and why are they doing this and that. Well, we're going to have to be that at some point, and we have to be able to find out a little bit about people."
Monday night's game against the Ducks is the first of back-to-backs and McLellan indicated he would likely be using backup Thomas Greiss in one of the games.
With the Chicago Blackhawks as the opponent Tuesday night in San Jose, Greiss would seem to be the probable choice to face the Ducks, but the coach would not tip his hand.
"Two teams I really don't follow," said the proud Buffalo Bills backer.
The Bills, of course, reached the Super Bowl four consecutive years, but came away without the trophy from 1991 to 1994. Any memories at all?
"I was aware of it a little bit. It was the same time the Jays were good, too," said Couture, a Toronto Blue Jays fan as well. "It was my heyday back then. I was about 3 or 4 years old."