'Choo forcing notice in Calif.


Byline: Bill Ballou


WORCESTER - Jonathan Cheechoo had his customary two points yesterday, getting a goal and an assist, and his 30 points are two away from the No. 1 spot in the AHL scoring race.

Cheechoo has 12 points in the last eight games, getting two points in six of those games.

San Jose general manager Doug Wilson was asked about Cheechoo during a visit with Sharks season ticket holders Saturday and, in a report published by David Pollak on the San Jose Mercury News Web site, responded this way:

"As I mentioned before, this game is getting quicker and quicker and quicker. And when you lose a half step and you're not a great skater, it's kind of tough. Can he get it back? We hope so.

"But I think he just needs to play and enjoy the game of hockey. The last couple of years, I think, were difficult. Personally, I think he was treated unfairly in Ottawa. Sometimes you have to put a person in a role to succeed and give him a chance.

"He's getting the chance in Worcester. He's helping our team win games. He's helping the young guys realize you play the game because you love it. He's a positive experience for us. Can he get it back? We'll see. Time will tell."

Cheechoo's goal yesterday was a nice one. He skated down the right wing, faked a slap shot at the top of the circle, kept going and beat Nathan Lawson on a wraparound.

Pitton going back down

Jason Pitton, who scored goals Saturday night in Albany and yesterday afternoon, has elected to return to the ECHL, where he was playing with the Stockton Thunder. Pitton was here on a pro tryout, which has been terminated.

His departure leaves Worcester short one forward, so it will have to sign someone else to a tryout or hope San Jose sends someone down.

Moore's birthday off ice

Mike Moore turned 26 yesterday, but did not get to celebrate on the ice. He missed his fourth game in a row recovering from a leg injury. Moore is actually pretty close to returning; right now, he is bothered by a bug of some sort.

Frazer McLaren has missed 11 games with a hip injury and will have an MRI done this week. Tony Lucia has been out for 26 games with...

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