The suspense wasn't whether the Sharks would unveil new lines at practice Saturday. It was a matter of how extensive the revamping would be.So much for Mark Bell's candidacy as the breakout player of the year (with my apologies to all of those who drafted him for 80 points in your pools).
It turned out that all four lines had a different look as the Sharks prepared for today's match against the Tampa Bay Lightning. ...
Milan Michalek, who had been skating as the left wing with Patrick Marleau and Steve Bernier, will switch spots with Mark Bell. Michalek worked with Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo at practice.
To be fair, this swap comes as much as a result of Michalek's strong play as Bell's deficiencies, as the young Czech has emerged as one of the real surprises of the 2006-07 season so far. Michalek leads the Sharks in goal scoring with seven in 11 games, and is second to only Joe Thornton in points with 12.
It's all the more impressive given that he's just 21 years old, and the fact he missed most of two seasons, from 2003 to 2005, with knee injuries. Here's hoping he's put those behind him because this kid's quickly turning into one of the new NHL's young phenoms.