Sharks, Blues prepare for more physical play


Sharks, Blues prepare for more physical play

The Sharks and Blues held their mutual infamy from Game 2s 132-minute chat as a sort of trophy for all of 20 hours.Then Pittsburgh, which is in far deeper mess than San Jose, hooked up with Philadelphia for a 133-minute hatefest that took the shame meter deeper into the red, and Game 3 got, well, closer to normal.Its playoffs, San Jose coach Todd McLellan said after dismissing any request to relive Saturdays hate-festival3-0 St. Louis win. Its a scrappy time of year, especially in the first round. Every inch is important. Youve got to scratch and claw to score goals and earn ice. Its amazing what six inches of ice can do for you. When you lose it, youre chasing the game. When you win those six or 12 inches of ice, youre in the lead. Thats the kind of series it is and will be.McLellan also explained the emotional burst in Game 2 as merely the conditions that prevail.Its because everybody believes they have a chance right now, he said. Passionate groups, all 16 of them. They worked hard to get here, and theyre trying to find an edge every way they can. Once the first round ends, everybody kind of settles in and plays. But that first round is always so emotional.And the extracurriculars?Its emotion. Very high, very intense, the fans are involved. Its an exciting time of year. Other than that, its hard to explain. You have to be there to feel it. Its a feel you get on the bench. Guys get active and get involved.Of course, Pittsburgh crossed all manner of lines as they suddenly saw elimination and embarrassment in one fell swoop on Sunday. The Sharks and Blues were just turf-warring, with a jagged edge.Until you're out there you dont really realize the frustration level and the intensity, wing Ryane Clowe said. You dont want to feel like youre getting pushed around, you want to push back. Its a fine line. And skill guys, too, are getting feisty. I like it.If guys are fighting each other, I dont see that as a lack of respect. But last night, when a guy sucker-punches you, thats not something Id do. But I think for the most part, respect among players is there. The only thing is, sometimes youre not thinking straight when your bloods boiling.As for adjustments to change the nature of the series, McLellan was coy (maybe a moment for Jim Vandermeer?), and St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said he would keep Brian Elliott in goal, though much of that had to do with Jaroslav Halaks injury preventing him from making the trip west. Jake Allen, who warmed up with the team when Elliott looked questionable before Game 1.But the series has probably had its worst moment. Well, until Monday.

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


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


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. 👖🤷‍♂️

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Martin Jones is pretty good at photobombs 📸💣

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🤳 Media Day #SJSharks

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

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