January 30, 2015 By Paul Gackle

Rink Notes: Stalock Chooses Familiar Helmet Design

SAN JOSE — Alex Stalock went with a retro look when he last minded the net for the San Jose Sharks. The next time he jumps into the blue paint, his new custom-fitted helmet will display a familiar design.

Stalock wore a plain-white face mask in his last start against the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 19 because he didn’t have time to add a design to his first-ever custom-fitted helmet during the Sharks busy regular season schedule.

But the mask received a makeover during the All-Star break and it should be ready to go when he returns to action. Like his old mask, a fish common to his home state of Minnesota –the walleye — will be the theme of his new design.

“I’ve done that, some type of fishing theme, since I’ve turned pro. Maybe even in college, too,” Stalock said.

Fishing is Stalock’s second passion next to hockey, which is natural for a kid who grew up in the land of 10,000 lakes.

During the summer, Stalock spends much of his time chasing walleye on a small lake north of Lake Mille Lacs, which is roughly 100 miles north of his hometown of Saint Paul. Consequently, it isn’t surprising that he chooses the apple of his eye for his helmet design.

“I fish as much as a I can,” Stalock said, referring to his summer hobby. “For me, two-and-a-half hours, three hours, and I’m on good walleye.”

Battle Wounds: Matt Nieto received six stitches near his right cheek bone on Thursday after getting hit in the face with a puck that Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf flung into the middle of the Sharks defensive zone from the side boards in the first period.

Nieto was skating in the high-slot area during the Sharks bout with the Ducks at SAP Center when Getzlaf picked the puck off the boards and threw it into no-man’s land, catching Nieto on the right side of his face.

“It was completely unexpected,” Nieto said. “A play like that, I’m not sure where he was really going with that. I kind of saw it at the last second, but by that time you can’t really react to it.”

After getting hit, Nieto went to the Sharks locker room where he received stitches for two separate cuts that are less than a centimeter apart. He received four stitches in one cut and two in the other split before returning to the ice in the second period.

The 22-year-old forward isn’t sure if the puck hit his visor, but he’s grateful that the incident didn’t cause any serious damage.

“It’s strange, but you know, that’s hockey,” Nieto said.

After the play, Getzlaf skated past Nieto and tapped him with his stick.

“He said, ‘sorry’, so that was pretty cool,” Nieto said.

Eyes & Numbers:

The Ducks entered Thursday’s contest having surrendered just six goals in their previous five games. The Sharks nearly matched the total in the second frame alone, lighting the lamp five times.

Tye McGinn is a perfect 100 percent in the faceoff circle this year. He took his first draw of the season against the Ducks on Thursday and emerged victorious.

Rookie defenseman Matt Tennyson’s responsibilities continue to increase as the season progresses. He reached the 20-minute plateau for the first time in his NHL career on Thursday, logging 20 minutes and 45 seconds of ice time against the Ducks.