Early returns are strong on Havlat


Early returns are strong on Havlat

Fresh off of their second win of the young season, the Sharks will look to build off of a 4-3 shootout victory over the Devils last night when they meet the defending Stanley Cup champs in Boston tonight.

Antti Niemi is scheduled to make his third straight start in net, and is expected to be opposed by Bostons Tim Thomas.
Havlat debut a success: Martin Havlat made his long awaited Sharks debut on Friday night and registered an assist on Ryane Clowes second period goal. Havlat didnt show any visible ill effects from his left shoulder injury that was surgically repaired in May, and looked comfortable on his line with Clowe and Logan Couture.

That line scored its first even strength goal of the season when Clowe went hard to the net and the puck bounced in off of his left skate.

Havlat said afterwards that the pace of the game was somewhat difficult, but he felt strong nonetheless.

It was a tough game for me, especially just jumping into the season like that. But, its going to get better. Everything was a little bit off, but the more we play the better its going to get, he said.

He talked about feeling good on the ice, and being confident with his injury, said Todd McLellan. He said the tempo was pretty darn quick, which we expected. I felt good about playing him.

Havlat played more than 19 minutes, and that number could increase when he gets a few more games under his belt, according to McLellan.

Shots, shots, shot-shot-shot shots: If youve seen the first five games of the season, you already know that the Sharks are piling up shots on goal. They lead the league with 40.6 per game.

After surrendering just 19 to the Devils last night, they also lead the league in fewest shots allowed per game with 22.6.

Boston is a team that prides itself on its defense in front of Thomas, so it could be a little harder to generate so many shots tonight. San Jose will have to continue to crash the net and look for loose pucks, as Thomas is coming off of one the best seasons in NHL history for a goaltender.

San Jose scored twice on Friday just that way by creating chaos around the net including Clowes goal, which tied the game at 2-2.

We werent turning away. We werent going to easy areas. We scored an ugly goal and it probably made the difference for us, said McLellan.

What can Braun do for you: The Sharks third defense pair of Jason Demers and Colin White has struggled. That was evident on New Jerseys go-ahead goal late in the third period last night, when Demers misplayed a puck at the offensive blue line and White fell down on his backcheck, leaving the Devils David Clarkson alone in front of the net.

McLellan mentioned his displeasure with that goal after last nights win, and the Sharks have since recalled defensemanJustin Braun from Worcester. Braun could be making his season debut tonight, so look for either Demers or White to come out of the lineup.

Tommy Wingels was reassigned to Worcester to make room for Braun.
Points at a premium: Even with their win last night, the Sharks still woke up this morning already trailing Dallas by eight points in the standings. The Stars are 6-1 and have played two more games than the Sharks.

It makes claiming that extra point by prevailing in the shootout last night that much more important.

Its huge, especially coming back the way we did, said Thornton. Its just a big confidence booster and a little shot in the arm for all the guys. Hopefully this can spur something and we can get on a little winning streak.

Sharks start training camp with familiar face elsewhere: ‘It’s kind of strange’


Sharks start training camp with familiar face elsewhere: ‘It’s kind of strange’

SAN JOSE — There was something familiar missing in San Jose when the Sharks opened training camp.

For the first time since 1996, the Sharks took the ice for their first training camp practice without Patrick Marleau on the team as the franchise's career leader in games and scoring left as a free agent for Toronto this summer.

"I've spent a lot of years with him. It is kind of strange," said Joe Thornton, who came to San Jose in 2005. "It's his birthday today too. It's a little weird, but he's going to do great up in Toronto."

Marleau had been with San Jose since being picked second overall in 1997 but left the Sharks to sign an $18.75 million, three-year deal with the Maple Leafs in July.

Marleau has 508 goals and 574 assists for 1,082 points. He had 46 points in playing all 82 games last season as he rebounded from a disappointing 2015-16 season by scoring 27 goals, including the 500th of his career. He ranks first in San Jose in career goals, games and points.

Only six players in NHL history have played more games with one team than Marleau's 1,493 in San Jose. The Sharks haven't played a game without him on the ice since April 7, 2009.

"Obviously Patty has meant so much to this organization and this group," captain Joe Pavelski said. "Everyone in this room has pretty much played with him and Patty has done something to help them out. He'll be missed. ... Just by committee somebody will step in and fill that kind of hole. That's what we'll need."

The Sharks made no major additions this offseason so will need to replace Marleau's 27 goals by getting development from younger players like Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Danny O'Regan, as well as bounce-back seasons from veterans like Thornton, Mikkel Boedker and Joonas Donskoi.

Only Pavelski, Logan Couture and Brent Burns are back after scoring more than 12 goals last season.

"When I look back at last year we had key people either have down years or miss significant time with injuries or coming off injuries," coach Peter DeBoer said. "I think if we can stay healthy I think we've got a large group of guys that can really take a step this year and I expect a step out of them."

While the Sharks lost Marleau in free agency, they did manage to keep Thornton by giving him a one-year, $8 million contract despite dwindling production last season and offseason knee surgery.

He scored just seven goals — his fewest in an 82-game season since his rookie year in 1997-98 — and was a key part of a power-play unit that uncharacteristically struggled last season. But he still managed 43 assists, teaming with captain Joe Pavelski on San Jose's top line.

Thornton missed the final week of the regular season and the first two playoff games with a left knee injury before returning for the final four games of a first-round loss to Edmonton. Thornton then underwent surgery to repair his MCL and ACL after the season but was back skating in August and started ramping it up for training camp two weeks ago. Thornton believes the lower-body work he did in rehab this offseason will pay dividends on the ice.

"They feel real strong," he said of his legs. "I feel a lot of pop out there. They're probably as strong as they've ever been just because I had to rehab that knee so much."

Sharks Media Day highlights: Beards, smiles & cup checks


Sharks Media Day highlights: Beards, smiles & cup checks

The boys were back together in San Jose on Thursday for Sharks Media Day, with plenty of smiles and moments of levity. Check out the highlights...

Hey Jumbo, you dropped something. 👖🤷‍♂️

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Martin Jones is pretty good at photobombs 📸💣

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🤳 Media Day #SJSharks

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New season. New commercials. 🕉🚌📺 #ComingSoon #SharksForLife

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