Marleau's late score gives Sharks 2-1 win

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Marleau's late score gives Sharks 2-1 win

BOX SCORE

COLUMBUS Patrick Marleaus late marker was the difference in the Sharks' 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night, in a game marred by an ugly hit on San Joses Andrew Desjardins in the second period at Nationwide Arena.After Rick Nash tied the game earlier in the third, Marleau put home a juicy rebound of a wrist shot by Joe Pavelski with 2:57 remaining. The puck went from the pad of goalie Curtis Sanford right to the tape of Marleau for an easy conversion.You dream of those ones, thats for sure, Marleau said. It was a great play by Pav, and Dan Boyle to get it going up the ice, and I was in the right spot at the right time, I guess.

The win was the Sharks sixth in their last seven games (6-0-1), but may have come at a cost, as an elbow from Columbus Dane Byers nailed Desjardins in the head at 3:01 of the second period. The rookie had been seeing increased ice time of late.NEWS: Desjardins feels "fine" after dirty hit
Desjardins said he felt fine after the game, but he did not return after the blindsided collision. Byers received a match penalty for intent to injure, but not before he had to answer to Brad Winchester, who decided to stick up for his linemate by dropping the gloves.I kind of saw it out of the corner of my eye. I saw Desjardins go down, and jumped in, Winchester said.Winchester received 17 minutes of penalties himself, including an instigating minor and misconduct, so the Sharks ensuing power play was just three minutes instead of five. But, that didnt matter to coach Todd McLellan.I think its appropriate at that time to take care of a teammate, McLellan said. Winnie has done that for our team all year. Were very happy with the way hes been playing.Ryane Clowe, whose power play goal gave the Sharks a 1-0 second period lead, took the opportunity to vent about the instigator penalty in general.Winnie will pick up for his teammates, no doubt. Its great to see, Clowe said. To get two, five and a 10, thats a rule that frustrates me. He didnt go up and jump the guy, the guy saw him coming and he gets 17 minutes and misses half the game. Thats kind of frustrating, but thats the way it is. Well take those penalties any night.The Sharks conclude a four-game road trip on Sunday in Chicago.The San Jose power play capitalized on its fifth opportunity on a goal by Clowe in the second period.Brent Burns fired a heavy slapper towards the net, ringing it squarely off of the far post. Goalie Curtis Sanford was unable to locate the puck, and Logan Couture chipped it into midair, while Clowe whacked it into the net just under the crossbar on the other side at 14:59.Clowe had no problem seeing the puck through his cage, which he is wearing due to a facial injury incurred on Tuesday in Minnesota."Whats that thing they say, you see three and swing at the middle one? he joked. I couldnt see it until the last minute, actually. Cant really whine about the cage when Im doing that. Ill take it.There was a thought right away that Clowe may have knocked it in with a high stick, as the puck was still several feet in the air when he swatted it in.I knew right away. You can feel when the stick is too high and I knew it was at the cross bar or below, he said.The San Jose power play had been generally ineffective up to that point, including the Byers penalty and a four-minute power play in the first period with Nash off on a double minor for high sticking Douglas Murray.We shuffled it around a little bit and changed some things, then it got real urgent, McLellan said of the power play. Then, it did what its supposed to do, shoot and get it back. That was a big goal for us, obviously.Thomas Greiss kept it that way at the intermission, making his best save of the night with six seconds left in the period. Derek Brassard looked like he was about to fire a wrist shot on net, but instead found an open Fedor Tyutin. Greiss quickly dove from his left to his right to snuff out Tyutins attempt.I just saw the rush coming. I saw Brassard, and he had a pretty good scoring chance, too, but I saw Tyutin in the back door and just jumped at it, said Greiss, who finished with 25 saves. It just hit my pad.The Blue Jackets tied it, though, on a great effort from Nash. Columbus best player skated across the blue line and fired a perfectly placed wrist shot into the corner, high past the stick side of Greiss at 8:53 of the third.The goal was Nashs 16th career marker against the Sharks in 31 games, and was one of those goals that few players in the NHL have the ability to convert.He put that in a good spot, Greiss said, laughing.Greiss finished with 25 saves to record his sixth win of the season. He also beat the Blue Jackets on Jan. 5, in what are his only two appearances in the last six weeks.I thought Greisser was very good. His last two starts, both against Columbus, were exceptional, McLellan said. It makes us feel very good heading into this busy stretch.Odds and ends: The Sharks killed off both Columbus power plays. San Jose lost 28 of 46 faceoffs. Each team had 13 blocked shots.

Mailbag: Which Sharks player is most likely to be traded?

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Mailbag: Which Sharks player is most likely to be traded?

No one asked, but I’m going to begin this week’s mailbag with my prediction for the Stanley Cup Final – Preds in six. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to a few of your questions…

Most likely to be moved this off-season? (Nik @niknisj25)

If the Sharks do make a move – and I’ve argued here that I think it may be time for a shakeup – they’ll surely be looking for someone up front to boost the offense. In that case, they’d likely have to sacrifice a defenseman or two.

The Sharks defense is the strength of the organization at the moment, as they had one of the best one-through-seven groups in the NHL this season. But it’s also an expensive one. The Sharks have nearly $27 million committed to their top seven defensemen next season, while Marc-Edouard Vlasic is due for a hefty raise beginning in 2018-19.

One name that could be intriguing to other teams is Justin Braun. The 30-year-old has been a part of the Sharks’ top shut down pair with Vlasic for several seasons now, and is signed for the next three years at a reasonable $3.8 million cap hit. The Sharks could potentially move him for offensive help, and slot in a guy like David Schlemko alongside Vlasic, while finally giving Dylan DeMelo a chance to play on a nightly basis on the third pair. A Vlasic-Schlemko pair could be more offensive than Vlasic-Braun, too, because as adept as they were at keeping the puck out of their own net, the Sharks didn’t get many goals from their defenders outside of Burns.

Of course, the upcoming expansion draft all but assures that nothing will happen until Las Vegas selects its team on June 21. If the Sharks lose a defenseman to the Golden Knights, they’ll be more reluctant to move another one. Still, with guys like Joakim Ryan, Tim Heed, Julius Bergman, Mirco Mueller and now Radim Simek in the pipeline, the club might be able to handle a couple departures.

How do we fix the power play next season? Bring in a coach that could help us? Change up the lines, or style of play? (adam smith @kickback408)

One thing that won’t be happening is a new coach, as Doug Wilson recently confirmed that Steve Spott would be back alongside Pete DeBoer. Bob Boughner could move on if he gets hired as a head coach elsewhere, but Boughner’s focus is the team’s defense and penalty kill.

Obviously, the future of the power play depends on who is on the roster, beginning with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. Both saw their power play production dip this season.

Thornton went from 29 power play points in 2015-16 to 19 this season (he had eight power play goals in 2015-16, and just one this season). Marleau saw a decline from 25 power play points in 2015-16 to 16 last season. Even if both return, it may be time to try other bodies on the top unit.

Do you see Meier, Labanc and/or Sorensen having a breakout season next year? Or anyone else on the Barracuda? (Colin Dunn @ColinDunnACA)

Someone better had, because this team needs to start getting younger, and soon. One of the bigger disappointments of the 2016-17 season is that none of them apparently showed the coaching staff that they were prepared to play on a nightly basis at the NHL level.

Timo Meier and Marcus Sorensen, I would surmise, are at the top of the depth chart as far as forwards go. Their line in the playoffs with center Chris Tierney was the Sharks’ best through the early part of the series with Edmonton. As for Kevin Labanc, I think he’s fallen a bit since he had a brief run of success for the Sharks in December.

While the Sharks did a good job stockpiling some young players through the 2013-15 drafts, they’ve traded away a number of picks in recent years. In last year’s draft they didn’t have a first or third round pick; this year they don’t have any picks in the second, third or fourth rounds; and in 2018 they are already without their second and third round picks. 

It’s great to accumulate young players, but at some point they have to break through. Now is the time.

Sharks, Robinson parting ways after five seasons

Sharks, Robinson parting ways after five seasons

After five seasons with the Sharks, Larry Robinson is leaving the organization.

Robinson, 65, spent the last three seasons as the club's director of player development. He served as an associate coach from 2012-14.

TSN in Montreal and the Montreal Gazette originally reported the news.

The Sharks confirmed that Robinson's contract would be expiring, and general manager Doug Wilson told NBC Sports California that the divorce was amicable, and "because of geography." Robinson lives in Florida.

According to the Montreal Gazette

Robinson’s contract with the Sharks expires on July 1, but agent Donnie Cape said Thursday that San Jose general manager Doug Wilson has given him permission to speak with other teams. Robinson lives in Bradenton, Fla., and the long travel distance to San Jose is one of big the reasons he’s looking for a new team to work for.

Robinson seemed to ponder retirement in 2014, but signed a three-year extension to remain in the Sharks' front office. He worked mostly from his home in Florida the past two seasons, making occasional trips to San Jose, including during training camp.

In the summer of 2015, Robinson underwent surgery for skin cancer.

Recognized as one of the best defensemen in NHL history, Robinson won six Stanley Cup championships with the Montreal Canadiens as a player, and holds the NHL record for playing 20 straight seasons in the playoffs. A 10-time All-Star and two-time Norris Trophy winner, Robinson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995.

Robinson was the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings from 1995-99, and the New Jersey Devils from 1999-2002 and again in 2005-06. He led the Devils to the Stanley Cup in 2000. Robinson has nine Stanley Cup rings as a player and coach.

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The Sharks did not renew the contract of pro scout Jason Rowe, who had been with the organization for the past nine seasons. Rowe focused on eastern NHL and AHL teams.