Sharks

Sharks come back to beat Penguins in shootout, 4-3

579154.jpg

Sharks come back to beat Penguins in shootout, 4-3

BOX SCORE
SAN JOSE -- Something had to be done after the first period.Not only were the Sharks trailing Pittsburgh 2-0, but they were thoroughly outplayed, outshot, and their starting goaltender was pulled just over two minutes into the game.Enter Ryane Clowe. The Sharks forward dropped the gloves just seven seconds into the second period, scored in the third, and then tallied the only goal in the shootout to give San Jose a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.

We had no business winning that game after the first period, said Todd McLellan. But, we found a way to work back into it.RATTO: Fan silence motivates late-arriving Sharks
San Jose erased a 3-1 deficit with a pair of third period goals.Struggling most of the night to generate any prime scoring chances against the Penguins, Clowe converted on a rush with Marty Havlat to cut it to 3-2, when he lifted a perfect backhander over the shoulder of Marc-Andre Fleury at 9:11.The Sharks third line, which McLellan said earlier in the day he wanted to see more from, got the equalizer. Michal Handzus found Jamie McGinn in front of the net and McGinn managed to whack it past Fleury with 4:54 left in regulation. It was McGinns first of the season.We knew after the first 10 games we werent producing like we wanted to, said McGinn. We just werent getting the points or the goals. It was very important for us to change momentum, keep the puck in their end, get some zone time and we were rewarded with a goal.Clowe was the only one of six shooters to score in the shootout, but it was his fight with Derek Engelland that seemed to wake up his team. In the first period, Engelland drilled Joe Thornton with a crushing hit along the boards, sending the Sharks captain to the ice.Even though it was clean, Clowe took exception.He took a pretty good run at Joe, and at times you cant really go after a guy so you take a number," he said. "The other thing, though, they were playing five defensemen. I think he was smart about it saying no at first, but hes a gamer so I figured he would. And he did.Clowe asked Engelland to drop the gloves while the teams were lining up for the opening faceoff in the second.I figured I would at least send out the invitation, said Clowe.Patrick Marleau got the Sharks on the board shortly after at 2:37 of the second, when his wrist shot got underneath the arm of Fleury.The Penguins got their two-goal cushion back, though, on a fortunate bounce.On a three-on-two rush, Evgeni Malkin took a pass from Kris Letang and fired it on net. The puck never made it, hitting James Neal in the leg. Fortunately for the Penguins, it subsequently hit Malkins skate and redirected over the goal line at 9:37. A video review confirmed that Malkin did not use a kicking motion.It was one of two goals on the night for Malkin. The Penguins star banked in a puck off of the skate of Brent Burns at 2:04 of the first period, giving the Penguins a 2-0 lead.That goal chased Antti Niemi, who also gave up a goal to Engelland just 24 seconds in, in favor of Thomas Greiss.McLellan had a couple reasons for making the change in net.I didnt think Niemi was ready to play though, either. Just like everybody else, said the coach, who wanted to change momentum, but also send a message that Niemi has to be ready to go, as well.Greiss stopped 29 of 30 shots in picking up his second victory. He also made a bit of history, becoming just the second goalie in the overtime era (since 1983-84) to come into a game in relief, play more than 60 minutes, and earn the win.I thought Tommy came in and played extremely well, and gave us a chance to work our way into the game, said McLellan.Malkin, who was the Penguins best player of the night, had a chance to put the Penguins ahead as their second shooter in the shootout. He faked a shot and tried to fire it past Greiss, but the Sharks goaltender didnt go for the move.I come out pretty far, try to make them go around me, said Greiss of his shootout strategy.It worked, giving Clowe a chance to win the game, which he did when he fired it below the blocker and above the pad of Fleury and Griess stopped Pascal Dupuis.
That gave the coach at least some measure of satisfaction.Todd said he would put us through the paces pretty good tomorrow, but at least we got the two points to sleep a little easier, he said.Odds and ends: The Sharks honored Thornton in a pregame ceremony for his 1000th game played and 1000th NHL point. Among the gifts was a wooly mammoth tusk, presented to him by his teammates. I think after the first everybody touched it, and it kind of gave us some luck, said Thornton. There was just one power play all night, in which the Sharks failed to convert in the third period. The last time the Penguins didnt have a power play in a game was Feb. 23, 2003. Brad Winchester got the decision on a fight with Craig Adams in the first, landing a good right hand. Jason Demers and Colin White were scratched in favor of Justin Braun and Jim Vandermeer. Benn Ferreiro was also scratched. ... The Sharks are 2-0 in shootouts this season, and 3-0 when a game goes past regulation.

Five months after taking puck to face, Sharks' Logan Couture 'still pretty sore'

couture-us.jpg
AP

Five months after taking puck to face, Sharks' Logan Couture 'still pretty sore'

Nearly five months after taking a puck to the mouth that resulted in major damage, Logan Couture is still dealing with the aftereffects of his surgically repaired mouth, which now features several false teeth.

Appearing on the NHL Network this week, Couture was asked how he’s feeling with less than one month to go before the Sharks open training camp on Sep. 14.

“There’s good days and bad days,” Couture said. “My bottom teeth are still my real teeth. They’ve tried to keep them so I don’t lose them. I don’t know if I’ll be able to, they’re still pretty sore. My top teeth are all fake now – my front six, I think. So, it’s different. It just feels different in my mouth. 

“But everything else with my face and all that is healed. I’m lucky that it’s an injury that didn’t affect my training, and hopefully won’t affect me going forward.”

Couture was injured on March 25 in Nashville. He was set up just outside the crease in the offensive zone when a Brent Burns point shot hit a stick before squarely battering the now 28-year-old’s mouth.

After missing the final seven games of the regular season, Couture returned for the Sharks’ playoff opener. He managed to play in all six games of the first round loss, posting two goals and one assist for three points, although he struggled at times and was seemingly targeted by the Oilers.

Couture is currently in his hometown of London, Ontario where he’s staging a casino event for brain research. Fellow Sharks Chris Tierney and Dylan DeMelo will take part, as will other NHL stars like the Kings’ Drew Doughty.

Analysis: Sharks will need results from recent draft classes

meier-timo-white-face.jpg
AP

Analysis: Sharks will need results from recent draft classes

It was late in the lockout-shortened 2013 season when Sharks general manager Doug Wilson really started to prepare for the future. Douglas Murray was dealt to Pittsburgh for a pair of second round selections. Ryane Clowe packed his bags for Broadway, in exchange for a second and a third round pick from the Rangers. Michal Handzus went to Chicago for a fourth rounder.

Wilson’s logic was sound, as it typically takes two-to-four years before draft picks have a chance to make an impact at the NHL level. The general manager figured that by then, players like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau either wouldn’t be a part of the team anymore or would be slowing down. Restocking the cupboards was essential.

From 2013-15, the Sharks made 24 selections over the next three NHL entry drafts, including seven total picks in the top two rounds. Some players have shown promise. Others haven’t. A few aren’t in the organization anymore. That’s the nature of the business.

The way the 2017-18 opening night roster is shaping up, though, now is the time that some of these young players in the system simply have to step up. Marleau and his 27 goals last season are gone, Thornton’s numbers are down and he’s coming off of major knee surgery, Joe Pavelski is now 33 years old, and the team’s offense depth is suspect at best. There have been no notable additions in the offseason.

Frankly, this season could be viewed as a referendum on the team’s amateur scouting staff, including longtime director Tim Burke. Wilson handed Burke and his staff a wonderful opportunity to provide the organization with fresh talent with the team approaching an organizational crossroads.

What has transpired so far is a bit concerning, as already two of the team’s first round picks from that span ended up being nothing more than trade bait.

* * *

Mirco Mueller, chosen 18th overall in 2013, was a huge disappointment in San Jose. It’s been well documented that he was mishandled by the organization when he was rushed to the league in 2014-15, but even this past season, regular observers of the Barracuda had Mueller as nothing more than the AHL team’s fourth-best defenseman. He’s now in New Jersey, swapped for a pair of draft picks.

The scouting staff was so high on Mueller on draft day that Wilson traded a valuable second round pick to Detroit to move up just two places to select him. With those acquired picks, the Red Wings took Anthony Mantha 20th overall and Tyler Bertuzzi 58th overall – two forwards that have shown a whole lot more NHL potential than Mueller (especially Mantha, who has 39 points in 70 career NHL games so far).

Perhaps more concerning, though, is that the Sharks 2013 draft class as a whole is looking like a dud. Second round pick Gabryel Boudreau suffered a wrist injury and is no longer in the organization anymore, but he was trending downward even before he got hurt. None of the remaining players selected from rounds four-through-seven look to be NHL quality, either.

The next year brought Nikolay Goldobin, chosen 27th overall after the Sharks traded down in the first round, and he ended up being the key piece in the Jannik Hansen acquisition from Vancouver. Goldobin showed some flashes of offensive talent during his time in the organization, but his lack of hockey sense and on-ice work ethic helped lead to his exit. Whether Goldobin becomes an NHL regular, even with a fresh start in Vancouver, is highly uncertain.

Had the Sharks stayed at 20th overall, they could have selected Nick Schmaltz (20th overall), Robby Fabbri (21st overall), or David Pastrnak (25th overall). Instead, they moved down and took Goldobin, making it back-to-back first round failures.

* * *

Still, unlike 2013, other players from Goldobin’s draft class have shown some promise. Second rounder Julius Bergman was a steady blueliner for a good Barracuda team last season, and although he’s probably not NHL-ready yet, he could be on the right track. Late in the draft the team found Kevin Labanc in the sixth round with the 171st overall selection, and Labanc had some nice moments with the Sharks last season. His shot and his hands make him a solid prospect, although Labanc still probably has to get a bit bigger and stronger to play in the NHL full-time.

Noah Rod (second round, 53rd overall) and Rourke Chartier (fifth round, 149th overall) are also still developing, with Rod playing against men in the Swiss league the past few seasons and Chartier a valuable player for the Barracuda last year.

In 2015, the draft provided the Sharks with Timo Meier at ninth overall, as the club drafted in the top 10 for the first time since 2007. At this point, Meier is far and away the best prospect in the organization, and he’ll likely be relied upon to play a top nine (or even a top six) role for the Sharks this season.

The 2015 draft brought other decent prospects, too. Defenseman Jeremy Roy was selected 31st overall, and after suffering a serious knee injury in juniors this year, he’ll get a chance to play for the Barracuda this year. Fourth rounder Adam Helewka and fifth rounder Rudolfs Balcers have also developed nicely since draft day. It’s still a bit too early to evaluate that draft as a whole.

It should also be mentioned that while their draft day record may be suspect the past few seasons, the Sharks have brought in European free agents like Melker Karlsson, Joonas Donskoi and Marcus Sorensen. Karlsson has developed into a versatile, hard-working forward; Donskoi has shown flashes of offensive brilliance despite a disappointing second year in the NHL last season; and Sorensen looks primed to make the opening night roster after his speed and tenacity shined through during the Sharks’ first round series loss to Edmonton.

The Sharks scouting staff has helped to keep the team competitive for a long time, and they’re as big a reason as any that the team has missed the playoffs just once in the past 11 seasons. But this is also a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business, and now is the time that the Sharks need to see some results from players that were chosen by Burke and company.