Programming note: Tune in today at 4 p.m. when the puck drops in Toronto as the Sharks face the Maple Leafs, only on Comcast SportsNet California. And stay tuned following the game for a full wrap up of the action with Sharks Postgame Live.
TORONTO When youre a player on a team thats smack dab in the middle of a multitude of NHL trade rumors with the deadline less than a week away, there are probably better places to be than Toronto.
Practices and games in the hockey capital of North America always bring a throng of media attention, and the Sharks players got to experience that first hand at the Maple Leafs practice facility on Wednesday afternoon, especially with reports surfacing that the team may be trying to land Columbus star Rick Nash.
Definitely on the West Coast its a little tamer than here, Ryane Clowe said.
Regarding the upcoming trade deadline on Feb. 27, Clowe said: Its definitely exciting for the fans. Its almost like a holiday here in Canada. Players say they block out stuff, and probably do, but you read the news and stuff and hear the rumors and all that. Thats just part of the game.
Players are fans of the game, too. Just because you play doesnt mean youre not following the rest of the league. You hear about it, but theres not a whole lot you can do.
The Nash news, in which it was reported that San Jose has a growing interest, came out shortly after the Sharks dropped their fourth straight game in Columbus on Tuesday. Captain Joe Thornton was asked specifically about the rumor regarding the Blue Jackets scoring winger, with whom he won a gold medal at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
We dont play those games. We play with the guys weve got in here, and dont worry what the outside nonsense is saying, Thornton said.
Its believed that in order to land a player of Nash caliber, the Sharks would have to part ways with an established young player and a combination of draft picks and prospects.
Joe Pavelskis name has surfaced, if only because he would be the next most logical choice after it was reported that Logan Couture is an untouchable asset.
The 27-year-old Pavelski, who is having a career year with 22 goals and 24 assists for 46 points, doesnt seem phased.
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Were a team thats looking to add, more than anything, Pavelski said. Thats what we expect, and we believe in everyone in here. Weve seen how everyone can get the job done throughout the season, and we just need everyone to step up their game and find that spot where theyre comfortable, and theyre contributing.
The Sharks recent struggles have only added to the speculation, as the club has lost seven of its last nine overall and is just 1-4-1 on its current nine-game road trip.
Its going to be tough to get out of this, Pavelski said. Were going to win a game 2-1 or 1-0 and its going to be one of those tight ones where somebody steps up and finds a way. You never quite know who its going to be, so thats why we need everybody.
Thornton said: Its been a tough road trip, but were still pretty optimistic. We have to win some games now. Were in a tough race to make the playoffs. Weve still got to feel good about ourselves, and play with some confidence, and find our game somehow.
The Sharks visit Nashville and Minnesota this weekend before returning home to face Philadelphia on Tuesday.