SAN JOSE It was difficult to determine who was having more fun when Bay Area native and current Milwaukee Brewers centerfielder Nyjer Morgan laced up his skates and joined the Sharks for a portion of their practice on Wednesday morning.
Morgan was clearly having a blast while taking a few shootout attempts on Thomas Greiss, while the Sharks, still glowing from a 6-0 victory over Columbus the night before, were laughing and enjoying one of the more colorful personalities in professional sports hanging out with them for the day.
Would Morgan, a former Western Hockey League player who grew up a Sharks fan while living in East San Jose, be a good addition to the team?
Hes very charismatic, very bubbly, and I think hed fit in great with us, Joe Thornton said.
Would we take Nyjer on our team? You know what, Ive seen his passion and his energy out on the ball field, and if that converts to anything on the ice we absolutely will, Todd McLellan said.
Morgan, who was wearing a black 2 Sharks jersey and named Owen Nolan as his favorite Shark while growing up, actually played seven games for the Regina Pats of the WHL in 1999-2000, scoring two goals and picking up 20 penalty minutes.
For him to ascend to those heights at the junior hockey level, he must have had some talent and some skill, McLellan said.
Morgan, 31, was asked what type of player he was, and what he could bring to the Sharks.
Make it happen, excitement, grind. Be on the third line and make it happen. Same as I am on the diamond. I do what I do. Crowd favorite, Morgan said.
Morgans skating was a bit shaky, but he did manage to convert on one of his four chances against Thomas Greiss, who, lets just say, may have eased up a bit on the final attempt.
He was giving me the stick side, but I saw that five-hole open up, so I had to go five-hole because he seemed pretty strong on that stick side, Morgan said with a smile.
Hes got the swagger, Ryane Clowe said. I liked how he jumped on the ice. He didnt put one foot forward to step on, he jumped on with a ton of confidence, and I liked that.
The timing was good, too. Whether Morgan was there or not on Wednesday, the Sharks were already going to be in a positive mood following their blowout victory on Tuesday night in their first game after the All-Star break.
We earned the opportunity to feel good about ourselves, first of all, with the win last night, McLellan said. To come to practice today and have him around, it lightened up the mood a little bit.
It worked out perfect, Clowe said. You had a big win and great game last night and then this today. Everyone is in a good mood and everyone is loose. Its good. For us, we love it.
T-Plush, as Morgan calls himself, is coming off a career season in which he hit .304. His campaign was punctuated with a dramatic 10th inning walk-off, series-clinching hit in Game 5 of the National League Division Series against Arizona giving the Brewers their first playoff series win since 1982.