Sharks

Niemi back in goal tonight

552550.jpg

Niemi back in goal tonight

SAN JOSE -- It was a good news day on the injury front for the San Jose Sharks Monday morning as the team took part in its pregame skate before tonights tilt with Anaheim.

Antti Niemi will make his season debut in net after he missed all of preseason and the first three regular season games after surgery to remove a cyst in his knee. Niemi told reporters the news Monday morning. Coach Todd McLellan then confirmed it.

Furthermore, forward Martin Havlat will finally make his Sharks debut on Friday when the team opens up its six-game road trip in New Jersey against the Devils. Havlat has been recovering from left shoulder surgery he underwent in May.

For sure, Im excited for the game. Its great to be back in the net and starting tonight, said Niemi.

McLellan was asked what he wants to see from his goalie tonight.

I want him to be comfortable, and I want him just to play how Antti always plays. He doesnt have to have the weight of the world on his shoulders, he just needs to establish his game again, said the coach. Our guys will do everything they can to help him in that situation, and like anybody, hell have to find his game.

Niemi, who dressed as the backup to Thomas Greiss in the two games over the weekend, didn't seem too concerned that he hasn't seen any real action yet.

Ive been working for a long time in the gym, and the last couple weeks on the ice, so Im pretty confident," he said.

Niemi went 35-18-6 with a 2.38 goals-against average in 2010, including a 2-1-0 mark with a 2.01 goals-against-average against Anaheim.

Havlat, who has been a full participant in practices for over a week now, is expected to get clearance from his doctor at some point prior to Friday according to McLellan.

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

patty-ap.jpg
AP

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

joe-pavelski-sharks.jpg

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. 👖🤷‍♂️

A post shared by San Jose Sharks (@sanjosesharks) on

Martin Jones is pretty good at photobombs 📸💣

A post shared by San Jose Sharks (@sanjosesharks) on

🤳 Media Day #SJSharks

A post shared by San Jose Sharks (@sanjosesharks) on

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

A post shared by San Jose Sharks (@sanjosesharks) on