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Sharks hopeful goalie can return soon; competition brewing on defense

Goalie James Reimer is out with a lower-body injury but the San Jose Sharks are hopeful he will be available to play again later this week when the team returns home for two Pacific Division games.

Sharks coach David Quinn said Wednesday that prior to Monday’s game with the Ottawa Senators, Reimer, 34, “just started not feeling great in a certain particular area leading into the game.”

The Sharks recalled Aaron Dell from the Barracuda on Tuesday and he will back up Kaapo Kahkonen for Wednesday’s game with the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena.

The Sharks, who entered Wednesday in sixth place in the Pacific Division, host the Los Angeles Kings on Friday and the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

Reimer played in 14 of the Sharks’ first 21 games and entered this week with a 5-7-2 record, a .906 save percentage, and a 2.92 goals-against average.

Kahkonen, after his 37-save performance in the Sharks’ 5-1 win over the Senators, came into Wednesday with a 2-4-1 record, a 3.31 goals-against average and a .894 save percentage.

Dell in his second stint with the Sharks organization is 3-3-0 in seven games with the San Jose Barracuda this season. Dell, a member of the Sharks organization from 2014 to 2020, was signed by the Sharks to a one-year deal in July.

STURM STILL OUT: Sharks center Nico Sturm will miss his second straight game Wednesday with an upper-body injury and it remains unclear when he might be able to return, although Quinn said the German-born forward felt better Tuesday.

Saturday in a game against the New York Rangers, Sturm was carrying the puck inside the Sharks’ zone in the first period when he was hit by Ryan Carpenter, causing him to go face-first into the glass. Sturm clutched his helmet as he went down on the ice, then skated off and left for the Sharks’ dressing room. He was scratched for Monday’s game against the Senators.

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COMPETITION BREWING?: Defenseman Radim Simek is healthy enough to play Wednesday but Quinn is sticking with Nick Cicek, who has made a positive impression on the Sharks coaching staff through his first week in the NHL.

Simek landed on injured reserve on Nov. 14 after he was checked in the head by Minnesota Wild forward Mason Shaw.

Simek has been skating regularly in recent days but remained on IR as of Wednesday morning. Cicek was recalled from the Barracuda the next day and has averaged just over 15 minutes of ice time in four games, as he’s been paired with Mario Ferraro.

Cicek, who also had a strong finish to his training camp in September and made the trip to Europe with the Sharks, picked up his first NHL point in the Sharks’ 7-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings last week and earned his first NHL fighting major on Monday against the Senators’ Mark Kastelic.

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