February 9, 2016 By Paul Gackle

Rink Notes: Torres To Make Home Debut With Barracuda on Wednesday

SAN JOSE — Raffi Torres returned to practice on Tuesday and he’s planning to suit up for the Barracuda’s bout with the Ontario Reign at the SAP Center on Wednesday.

Torres skipped Monday’s practice and Saturday’s game in Ontario after competing in his fourth contest with the Barracuda on Friday.

The veteran forward said he’s trying to be cautious with his surgically-repaired right knee after skating in just 12 NHL games over the last two-plus seasons.

“I’ve got to go at my pace, you know?” Torres said. “Obviously, there was a lot of bus rides [last weekend] and I’ve just got to really listen to the body.”

Head coach Roy Sommer said Torres, “seems to be getting better all the time.”

“I thought he was pretty good,” Sommer said, in reference to Torres’ performance against the Reign on Friday. “He was better — let’s just say he was better than he was in the game before.”

Torres said he felt “alright” on Friday.

“Obviously, I’m not where I need to be, but I’m getting there, feeling good. That’s all that I can ask for, playing hockey,” Torres said.

“For the most part I felt pretty good. A little soreness kept kicking in in the third, but that’s just because I haven’t played in a such a long time. I’m still trying to get my lungs and stuff.”

The 34-year-old forward said he’s looking forward to making his home debut with the Barracuda at the Shark Tank on Wednesday.

“I’ve always loved the fans here, it’ll be nice,” Torres said. “Hopefully, we can give them a good game. This team really needs to win a game right now.”

Hospital Ward: The injuries are starting to pile up for the Barracuda, but the team received some good news on Tuesday.

Captain Bryan Lerg, who’s recorded six points in his last nine games, is expected to suit up for Wednesday’s game after missing practice on Monday to recover from a day-to-day lower-body injury. But defenseman Mark Cundari is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury, forward Alex Gallant will be on the shelf for at least three more weeks with a lower-body injury and defenseman Joakim Ryan is questionable for Wednesday’s game with a lower-body injury after blocking a shot last weekend.

On the bright side, forward Frazer McLaren is practicing with the team, wearing a full-face visor after missing 19 games with a facial injury that required surgery to repair the bridge of his nose.

Sommer said McLaren is still at least two weeks away from being ready for game action.

“That’s what the doctor told him today,” he said.

Reshuffle: With 14 goals in nine games (1.56 goals per game), the Barracuda (19-16-8) is desperate for offense and, as a result, Sommer is planning to reshuffle his lines on Wednesday to give the squad a jolt.

Sommer might break up the Barclay Goodrow-Ryan Carpenter-Petter Emanuelsson line, which ran circles around opponents during the Barracuda’s 13-3-4 run from late November to early January. He also said the Lerg-Jeremy Langlois-Trevor Parkes line, which has accumulated a combined 12 points (including power play) in the Barracuda’s last nine games, could be on the chopping block.

The only line that is safe right now is the combination of Micheal Haley, Scott Timmins and Nikita Jevpalovs.

“They were really good down in Ontario, so I’m going to keep them,” Sommer said. “They had a lot of zone time because they were physical.”

Sommer sketched out some potential line combinations prior to practice on Tuesday, but with Torres and Lerg both saying they’re healthy enough to play on Wednesday, he’s planning to head back to the drawing board.

“We’ll see,” Sommer said when asked about his line combinations for Wednesday. “I’ve got to sit down and shuffle them again now because Torres and Lerg are in.”

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