SAN JOSE – Dan Boyle admitted that among the first things he did after waking up on Wednesday morning was tuning in his television to NHL trade deadline coverage. Not surprisingly, it was on once he got to the Sharks’ practice facility a couple hours later, too.
Boyle wasn’t expecting to be moved to another club, and some other Sharks said in the days leading up to the deadline that they didn’t expect much to happen in terms of personnel changes, either. Still, they are glad to have it in the rear view mirror, according to the veteran defenseman.
“Even though your name isn’t in the rumor mill or talked about, it certainly is not a fun day,” Boyle said. “It’s a fun day in the media and for people at home watching, but as a player it’s definitely one of those days that unless you’re looking forward to a trade, it’s a tough day.”
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Joe Thornton said: “We didn’t really hear of too much coming into it, so I don’t think too many guys expected any moves. … This group really has bought into the system the coach has brought along, and we really enjoy each other’s company and like playing hard for each other. We’d like to continue that as a group.”
Despite there only being 19 games left in the regular season, the Sharks are a somewhat tricky team to evaluate due to the numerous injuries with which they’ve had to cope. There isn’t a single regular season game in which they’ve had completely healthy roster, and with Tomas Hertl likely out for at least the rest of the regular season, that will continue.
The health of the team is trending the right direction, though, including the recent season debut of Raffi Torres, who had a hugely positive impact on the team at last year’s deadline. Adam Burish and Logan Couture also give the Sharks the healthiest lineup they’ve had in weeks, and even Hertl has resumed skating.
“With Raffi and [Burish] and Logan coming back, those are probably our trade deadline acquisitions,” Thornton said. “It’s nice that everybody stays around.”
Boyle said: “I’m glad we get to have another kick at the can, so to speak. We did some good things at the end of last year, and we brought up some good kids this year. I’m definitely happy with our locker room, and I’m glad that people upstairs and people behind the bench believe in us, also.”
From the coaching staff’s perspective, Todd McLellan and staff won’t be tasked with integrating a new face into the active roster. The Sharks have had mixed results in that regard in recent years.
While players like Torres found a role right away in the second half of 2013, recent failures include Daniel Winnik, TJ Galiardi and Dominic Moore in 2012. The jury is still out on current players like Burish and Tyler Kennedy, who was acquired over the summer but has failed to stay in the lineup on a nightly basis and is still making key errors at inopportune times.
McLellan said: “It can vary from being very simple to giving that new player some direction, and it just takes off it blends right away. It can be very difficult other times, where, the way the team plays, the expectation between the new team and the new player don’t quite match or mesh. There’s always a gamble in acquiring somebody at this time of the year.”
The Sharks aren’t making any bets this time around.
“When we put everything together, there is some cohesiveness and there’s a unity amongst our team that is nice to have moving forward,” McLellan said. “You’re not running around trying to integrate new people, upset lines, and all that type of stuff. We feel really good about our team going forward.”
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Doug Wilson preferred not to comment on a report that the team was interested in New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, who was eventually traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a blockbuster deal for Martin St. Louis.