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Associated Press
1/2/2007 10:09:32 PM


SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - The San Jose Sharks assigned right-wing Steve Bernier and defenceman Matt Carle to their AHL affiliate in Worcester on Tuesday, a surprising demotion for two of their top young regulars.

Bernier and Carle hadn't missed a game this season until both were healthy scratches in San Jose's 4-2 win over Dallas on Sunday - one day after an 8-0 loss at Phoenix, the Sharks' worst defeat in eight years. San Jose dropped from third overall to sixth in the NHL while losing five of seven games in late December.

Coach Ron Wilson said he wanted to send a message to both players after Bernier had just one point in his past seven games and Carle was a minus-4 against the Coyotes.

But the Sharks decided a one-game message wasn't enough to turn around either player, so they demoted two key contributors.

"They are two different cases," Wilson said Tuesday. "I have all the confidence in both guys and am sure they will turn their games around."

Bernier, a second-year pro, is the Sharks' fourth-leading scorer with 11 goals and 14 assists in 39 games this season. He scored 27 points in 39 games as a rookie last season, playing on San Jose's second line alongside captain Patrick Marleau.

"Bernie hadn't done the things that made him effective early in the season - getting the puck out of our zone, winning every battle, competing and working every shift," Wilson said. "It happens to a lot of young players.

"They lose focus and get caught up in the attention."

Carle, who won the Hobey Baker award as the NCAA's top player last season, is San Jose's top-scoring defenceman with three goals and 18 assists in 39 games. He is sixth in the NHL in points among rookies, and was mentioned as a Calder Trophy candidate.

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What?! I'm don't know muc habout Matt Carle but I've seen Bernier play many times, and I have to say that I don't like this one at all.

A thumbs down on sending Bernier to the Minors. :thumbsdow
 
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