Pavelski, Sharks talk trade rumors

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Pavelski, Sharks talk trade rumors

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.

RELATED: Joe Pavelski game logs

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.

NHL Gameday: Couture in, Schlemko out for Sharks vs Sens

NHL Gameday: Couture in, Schlemko out for Sharks vs Sens

Programming note – Sharks-Senators coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 15-9-1, 31 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Senators: 15-9-2, 32 points, 2nd Atlantic Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***After undergoing a minor surgical procedure on Saturday to get a screw removed from his previously repaired ankle, Logan Couture is good go to against the Senators. Couture has eight points (6g, 2a) in his last nine games.

Defenseman David Schlemko, though, is out with an apparent leg or ankle injury after he was hurt – but later returned – against Montreal on Friday. Pete DeBoer indicated Schlemko’s injury isn’t serious.

“I came back from our weekend off and all the news was positive, so I would say he’s day-to-day,” said the coach.

Dylan DeMelo will draw in on the third pair with Brenden Dillon. Mirco Mueller was also recalled from the Barracuda.

***The Sharks resume their schedule after a rare four-day break, and will attempt to pick up where they left off. Friday’s 2-1 win over the Canadiens was their sixth in the last seven games.

“I know we’re recharged mentally and physically, but we’ve got to find that level again as quickly as possible and hopefully it doesn’t take too long tonight,” Pete DeBoer said.

Couture said the approach would be to, “just try and keep it simple. Stay out of the box, forecheck on them, get some shifts where we’re not caught in our own end.”

***Ottawa will be playing the second of a difficult four-game road trip. They were spanked by the Penguins on Monday, 8-5, and flew across the country on Tuesday.

If they are looking for sympathy for their schedule, they won’t get it from the Sharks’ coach.

“I find it sometimes a little comical when I hear Eastern teams complaining about travel and road trips. I read something that they were not happy with their schedule. Give me a break,” DeBoer said with a smile. “It’s what we deal with, and you do the best you can."

Ottawa is 6-4-0 on the road, while San Jose is 9-3-0 at SAP Center.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Martin Jones. The Sharks goalie has been a rock during the team’s recent upswing, and his 1.99 goals-against average for the season in good for fifth in the NHL (minimum eight games played). Since getting pulled against the Penguins on Nov. 5, Jones is 8-2-1 with a 1.46 GAA and .945 SP and two shutouts. On Monday, he was named as the NHL’s Third Star of the Week.

Senators: Erik Karlsson. Karlsson leads the Senators in scoring with 24 points (6g, 18a), surpassing Brent Burns for most in the league among defensemen. The two-time Norris Trophy winner and Ottawa captain posted four points on Monday in Pittsburgh (1g, 3a), and has nine points in his last eight games. He’s third in the league in average time on ice (27:16 per game).

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Melker Karlsson – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Mikkel Boedker – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi
Kevin Labanc – Tommy Wingels – Micheal Haley

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Senators
Mike Hoffman – Derick Brassard – Mark Stone
Ryan Dzingel – Kyle Turris – Bobby Ryan
Zack Smith – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Tom Pyatt
Buddy Robinson – Chris Kelly – Chris Neil

Andreas Englund – Erik Karlsson
Dion Phaneuf – Cody Cedi
Mark Borowiecki – Chris Wideman

Mike Condon (starter)
Andrew Hammond

INJURIES/SCRATCHES

Sharks: David Schlemko (lower body) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are out.

Senators: Marc Methot (hip), Fredrik Claesson (lower body), Curtis Lazar (concussion) are Craig Anderson (personal) are out. 

QUOTEABLE

“I think I have a lot to improve. I think I’m pretty happy the way I’m playing two ways. I think I’m responsible defensively and creating scoring chances, but just kind of not being able to get on the scoreboard enough. I want to score more.” – Joonas Donskoi

Sharks' Donskoi 'not getting frustrated' during scoring drought

Sharks' Donskoi 'not getting frustrated' during scoring drought

SAN JOSE – Throughout the Sharks’ two-month playoff run, as the team attracted a grander media horde with every round, Joonas Donskoi became more and more popular.

Who was this 24-year-old former fourth round pick of the Florida Panthers, who was such a key contributor to the Sharks’ success? Inquiring minds wanted to know.

The Finland native scored some of the Sharks’ biggest goals during that longest postseason in franchise history. In Game 5 against the Kings in the first round, Donskoi scored a third period goal that put San Jose back up to stay, after Los Angeles had stormed back from a 3-0 hole.

In the Stanley Cup Final, his overtime marker on a turnaround wrist shot in Game 3 kept the Sharks alive, and elicited perhaps the loudest cheer ever heard at SAP Center.

In total, Donskoi contributed 12 points (6g, 6a) in 24 games skating on the second line.

“It was a great run in the playoffs, a lot of great experiences,” Donskoi said.

The expectations for Donskoi were naturally raised headed into this season. Twenty goals and 50 points didn’t seem out of reach for him after the strides he took in his rookie campaign.

So far, though, those goals and points aren’t quite there. Donskoi has just two goals and six assists for eight points in 25 games, while averaging nearly 15 minutes a night. He’s also a mainstay on the second power play unit.

Sharks coach Pete DeBoer agreed with the theory that Donskoi’s profile has risen, and opponents are probably more aware of when he’s on the ice. But it’s those expectations to build on last season that may be weighing a bit on the player.

“A different type of pressure,” DeBoer called it. “When you’re a young guy coming in and no one knows you, you’re just playing and you’re not thinking about things. He knows he can be successful in this league, and there’s a different pressure with now expecting to score and put up numbers.”

Despite Donskoi’s one solitary assist in his last eight games, DeBoer has no issues with the way he is working on a nightly basis. It’s not at all comparable to the situation that arose a week and a half ago with Mikkel Boedker, who was benched for a period and then criticized by the coach for not competing hard enough.

“I know [Donskoi’s] numbers and his scoring aren’t where [he wants], but I think consistently he brings the same effort, same game, same reliability every night,” DeBoer said. “The nice thing is even when he’s not scoring, you still can count on those things. Eventually, it’s going to come.”

Donskoi has no illusions that his numbers are down and he has “a lot to improve.” At the same time, he’s not frustrated, and indicated that his production will pick up if he keeps doing what he’s been doing.

“I’m pretty happy the way I’m playing two ways. I think I’m responsible defensively and creating scoring chances, but just kind of not being able to get on the scoreboard enough. … I feel confident the way I’m still playing. I’m not getting frustrated, or anything.”

After playing exactly 100 games last season between the regular season and playoffs – he hadn’t played more than 71 games in a season in Finland before that – there’s reason to believe that the short summer and World Cup affected him, too. 

“I think the biggest thing for me [is] playing at a high level every night. I’m not there yet,” he said. “There’s a lot of guys in this locker room [that] play at a really high level every night. Those are the guys I’m trying to watch and learn [from].”