SAN JOSE -- The connection on the Sharks' third line is undeniable between Jamie McGinn, and his centerman, Michal Handzus.
Hes an awesome guy we seemed to click right away, McGinn said. Every chance we get a chance were talking hockey, which is great. Thats what you want in a linemate.
McGinn has eight goals this season, just two shy of his career high. This, after just 33 games played. It is an improvement certainly recognized by the Sharks' coaching staff.
Jamie was a little bit lost last year I think hed tell you that as well, head coach Todd McLellan said. He isnt this year, hes got a real focus and has a real simplicity to his game. And for as much as wed like to take credit for that, were not. Were going to put that on Zeus.
"Zeus" is Handzus, the veteran forward and first-year Shark. He has centered the winger McGinn, for much of this season. But he refuses to take credit for the success of his younger colleague.
I wouldnt put anything on me, Handzus said. Its just that hes working hard, and weve been talking a lot.
Communication, said Handzus, has been a key to the pairs chemistry.
And hes like that too, he likes to talk, chat and see different opinions on the ice and I like that. I think thats how we create a chemistry, and we are on the way to doing that, Handzus said.
We sit down together, McGinn explained. Either we have breakfast or lunch together, and we kind of just review things and talk about where we are together on the ice. So I think practice days are most crucial for us.
The 23-year-old McGinn also says he benefits from Handzus during games, on the bench, between shifts.
Im looking up to him, McGinn told me. Hes a little older and hes been around for a long time, so he kind of controls me out there. I like to get in there and work, work, work and he goes, sometimes you can relax and slow up the pace and be more in position, and youll get the puck and youll and get rewarded. So, Im taking a lot of his advice, hes helping me along the way. And it seems that were finding each other out there.
It is a lesson taught by one player, who might have a future behind the bench -- according to one current coach.
I really believe if this guy wants to be a coach or in some type of management where he could have an effect on an organization, McLellan said of Handzus.
I think he has the ability to do that.