Clowe: Poke-check from bench a 'brain cramp'

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Clowe: Poke-check from bench a 'brain cramp'

SAN JOSE Ryane Clowe didnt want to talk about his now infamous poke-check from the bench in the immediate aftermath of Thursdays 6-5 Sharks win in Los Angeles. With an obvious tongue-in-cheek, Clowe said that he would need someone to show him the video of when he tipped the puck away from Jarret Stoll on a Kings rush late in the third.

RELATED: Box score -- Sharks 6, Kings 5 (SO) Game recap

So, he knew what was coming at Sharks Ice on Friday afternoon when he was surrounded by a small media contingent.

Did you have a chance to look at the video, Ryane? he asked in the third person, with a chuckle.

He spoke somewhat remorsefully about the play that should have given the Kings a two-man advantage late in regulation of what was a 5-5 tie.

It was kind of a brain cramp there, I guess, Clowe said. I was standing up, and sometimes during the game like that youre so into it and emotional, it was just kind of a reaction. I cant say it was something that was planned, it just happens.

When I sat down on the bench I said that was stupid. That was a dumb play. It probably should have been a two-minute penalty for interference or too many men, or something. I was lucky I didnt cost the team a penalty. It was definitely a brain cramp at the time. I dont think youll ever see that happen again.

He got away with it, of course, and the Sharks collected the necessary two points to keep another Pacific Division title within their grasp.

I guess now you can giggle a little bit because fortunately, nothing happened at the time. It wouldnt have been a laughing matter if we got a penalty for that, he said.

Sharks captain Joe Thornton took a different route than Clowe. The captain was amused with the situation on Friday afternoon, and had some fun with it.

I just had a good laugh out of it, to be honest with you, Thornton said. For me, its probably the play of the year.

It probably wasnt the smartest thing to do, but I have a good sense of humor and it was pretty funny to me.

As Clowe alluded to, the fact that he didnt get caught by Stephen Walkom or Brian Pochmara was a tad suspicious, as it seemed everyone in Staples Center other than the two referees saw what happened.

Todd McLellan was already displeased with some undisciplined penalties his club had taken earlier in the game, leading to no less than four Kings power play goals.

As a team we want to be emotionally attached to the game, but with that comes some emotional control. I thought it was a very intense game yesterday, and at times it got the better of us, said the coach. I thought we took far too many penalties, and penalties we didnt need to take.

That should have been one of them. Had the officials caught it, it would have been too many men on the ice and we would have put ourselves down short again. An ill-advised move on Clowies behalf, and I dont think well see it again. We move on.

Clowe will get another chance to play villain on Saturday, when the teams conclude the regular season against one another at HP Pavilion with a lot on the line.

Im just happy weve got a chance to win the division. If we can do that, Im sure theyll be even more ticked off, he said.

Odds and ends: Torrey Mitchell did not skate and is doubtful to play in the season finale. Mitchell suffered a late hit in the first period from Colin Fraser, left the ice, and did not return. ... The Sharks can clinch the Pacific Division title with a win on Saturday combined with Phoenix recording fewer than three points in its final two games. The Coyotes visit St. Louis on Friday night and Minnesota on Saturday.

Sharks have bevy of young defensemen to replace Schlemko

Sharks have bevy of young defensemen to replace Schlemko

CHICAGO – If there were a best-case scenario for the Sharks regarding the expansion draft, it probably would have been the Vegas Golden Knights selecting Mikkel Boedker, and the three years and $12 million remaining on his contract.

Instead, the Golden Knights swiped David Schlemko. While the 30-year-old was a nice third pair defenseman in his only year with the Sharks, it was probably the second-best case from San Jose’s perspective. The team should be able to fill the vacancy internally without too much difficulty. Schlemko had two goals and 18 points in 62 games last season, and has three years left on his contract at $2.1 million annually.

“I think it’s worked out well for all parties involved,” said general manager Doug Wilson. “You go into expansion, you know you’re going to lose a player. David came in and played well for us. We signed him as a free agent, so we didn’t have to give up an asset to get him. So, we think we moved through the expansion phase with the good young players coming in that are ready to play and compete for that spot. That’s probably as good as we could have expected to come out of expansion, in that position.”

If there are no other major moves on the Sharks’ blue line this offseason, the spot to play alongside Brenden Dillon will be there for the taking in training camp. There’s no reason, of course, to break up the top four of Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Justin Braun, and Brent Burns-Paul Martin.

Dylan DeMelo would figure to have the inside track on the job, but there are others like Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan, each of whom signed two-year contract extensions on June 17. They served as the AHL Barracuda’s top defense pair for most of the season.

The 24-year-old Ryan, a sixth round pick in 2012, posted 10 goals and 49 points in 65 games last season in the AHL. He was recalled once by the Sharks but did not play. Heed, 26, is an offensive defenseman that tallied 14 goals and 56 points in 55 games with the Barracuda and played in one game with the Sharks on Jan. 11 in Calgary. Ryan is a left-handed shot; Heed, like Schlemko and DeMelo, shoots right.

Regarding Ryan, Wilson said: “He’s right on track. He’s the type of guy that – if you look around the league at the number of young defensemen that are making an impact – he thinks and plays the game the right way.”

“Watching [Ryan and Heed] play together, I would say they were arguably the best defense pair in the AHL last year.”

There are other defensemen to monitor, too. The Sharks signed soon-to-be 25-year-old Czech Radim Simek to a one-year contract on May 23, beating out several of other NHL teams to acquire his services. 

“He’s a puck-moving guy,” Wilson said. “He’s got a little bite to him, too. Not tall, but thick and strong. We think he’s a guy that has the skill set to step right in and play. We’ll see how much time it takes him to adjust to the smaller rink.”

And don’t forget about Jeremy Roy, either. The first pick of the second round in the deep 2015 draft (31st overall), Roy is expected to join the organization next season, likely starting his pro career with the Barracuda after recovering from a significant knee injury that ended his junior season in late October.

“He had a major repair, but he’s back healthy,” Wilson said. “We’ll see him this summer, and he’s a puck-moving guy. … Injuries you can’t control, but we have high expectations for Jeremy.”

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Vegas shipped Schlemko to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday for a fifth round pick in the 2019 draft.

Sharks prepare for 2017 NHL Draft with eight picks in hand

Sharks prepare for 2017 NHL Draft with eight picks in hand

CHICAGO – The glass-half-full observer looks at Sharks’ recent draft record and sees some late round picks that could be on the cusp of making the NHL on a full time basis. 

Defenseman Joakim Ryan (7th round, 2012), center Danny O’Regan (5th round, 2012) and forward Kevin Labanc (6th round, 2014) have all exceeded expectations so far. Dylan DeMelo (6th round, 2011) could also be included in that group.

The glass-half-empty observer, though, sees that the Sharks have traded away a pair of recent first rounders that didn’t pan out. Nikolay Goldobin (27th overall, 2014) was dealt to Vancouver in late February for Jannik Hansen and a fourth round pick, while Mirco Mueller (18th overall, 2013) is off to New Jersey for a pair of picks in this year’s draft.

It’s all part of the uncertainty of selecting what are mostly teenagers in the annual NHL Entry Draft, which takes place at Chicago’s United Center this weekend. The Sharks’ first pick during Friday night’s first round sits at 19th overall, and they have seven more selections on Saturday when rounds two-through-seven take place.

Doug Wilson is used to picking in the mid-to-late first round, as the Sharks have missed the playoffs just once under his 14-year watch.

“I think we always take the best player available,” he said. “I think it’s a good draft. … We feel pretty comfortable at 19 we’ll get a pretty good player.”

The Sharks have never selected 19th, and Wilson left open the possibility that they could move up or down.

“People move up and down all the time. We’ve got a history of doing that so teams do reach out to us,” he said.

The Sharks moved up to pick Mueller in 2013, sending a second round pick to Detroit to jump ahead two places in a deal that now looks regrettable. The next year, they moved down seven spots before selecting Goldobin.

Less than a week ago, the Sharks didn’t have any picks in the second, third or fourth rounds. But in dealing Mueller (and a fifth rounder this year) to the Devils, they acquired second and fourth round picks from New Jersey (49 and 123 overall). They also have a pair of sixth round picks and three in the seventh round.

While this year’s draft isn’t thought to be especially strong, Wilson still expects there to be some good players available after the first round. Getting some assets in exchange for Mueller, who had been passed over in the organization, was critical.

“I think it was important for us to fill in the grid like we did. I think it’s a good draft,” Wilson said. “Realistically, it’s probably not a Connor McDavid-Auston Matthews type draft, but there are some very good players in this draft that will go on and have very good careers.”

As for losing Mueller and Goldobin recently, the general manager seemed to say that that those are the breaks when you’re a team doesn’t make one of the first few selections.

“First of all, you’ve got to clarify where we pick and have picked. You’re not talking about top five picks or lottery picks, so often – and this is not to take away from Mirco and Goldie, because they’re really good players and good kids – you move players when you’re trying to win or trying to make things happen,” he said. 

“Historically, our scouts have done an outstanding job, one of the best records for a scouting staff in the league, since 2003 in particular. But, you can’t be afraid to be bold and move things.”

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Although the Sharks have never made a pick in the 19th overall spot, they’ve been around it. Players include Tomas Hertl (17th overall, 2012), Marcel Goc (20th overall, 2001) and Marco Sturm (21st overall, 1996). 

Some notable players around the league taken 19th overall include Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay, 2012), Oscar Klefbom (Edmonton, 2011), Nick Bjugstad (Florida, 2010), Chris Kreider (Rangers, 2009), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim, 2003) and Keith Tkachuk (Winnipeg, 1990).

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The Sharks will hold their annual development camp from July 3-7 at their practice facility. It includes a scrimmage at SAP Center on Thursday, July 6.