Sharks focus on handling forecheck

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Sharks focus on handling forecheck

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Saturday nights game in Boston was a good test for the Sharks, and not just because they were facing the defending Stanley Cup champs.

The game itself may have been the fastest paced game the Sharks have played all season, thanks mainly to Bostons aggressive forechecking style. Its the first game that the Sharks were on the short end of the scoring chances, although, to their credit, they were able to muster a 4-2 win.

Still, handling an aggressive, hard-working style of play is something they are going to have to get used to.

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The Nashville Predators (3-3-1), even though they have struggled at times to score, pride themselves on being one of the hardest working teams in the league. Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said that Saturdays test should pay dividends tonight against the Predators.

I think its good for us to play that way because these guys (the Predators) play the same way, said Vlasic. They forecheck hard, with two guys very aggressive and a D that pinches. Its good for us to practice that before we play Nashville.

Part of their identity is of a hard-working, forechecking team, said Todd McLellan of Nashville. Whether its in our zone or through the neutral zone, they come very hard. They force others teams to err, and well have to be on our toes and be sharp to counter punch that.

Handling that forecheck and breaking out of their own zone was a focal point of Mondays practice.

We werent too satisfied with the way we broke out against Boston. Too many turnovers and odd-man rushes, said Vlasic. Weve got to clean that up, because sooner or later it will cost us.

Its not always pretty as far as breaking the puck out, but youve got to find a way to carry her in, said Dan Boyle.

There was a further anomaly on the stat sheet against Boston. San Jose stands at second in the league in faceoff percentage with a 54.9 percent success rate, but lost 34 of the games 59 draws against the Bruins who lead the NHL.

We had trouble with the faceoff circle, which led to a lot of their forecheck, said Joe Thornton.

Sharks ink pair of European prospects

Sharks ink pair of European prospects

The Sharks officially announced the signing of defenseman Radim Simek to a one-year contract on Tuesday, as well as Swedish forward Filip Sandberg to a two-year contract.

Simek’s deal was reported on Monday and confirmed by NBC Sports California. The 24-year-old defenseman spent the past five seasons in the Czech league, posting 24 points (11g, 13a) and 30 penalty minutes with a plus-18 rating last season. A left-handed shot, he is listed at five-foot-11 and 196 pounds on the IIHL website.

In 211 career games in the Czech league, he posted 91 points (37g, 54a) and a plus-51 rating.

"Radim is a quick transition defenseman who drives the play offensively and plays with a physical edge," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We like his offensive instincts especially on special teams and think his game will translate well in North America."

Sandberg, 22, has 71 points (25g, 46a) in 204 career games in the Swedish league. Last season, he posted 25 points (8g, 17a) and a plus-17 rating in 52 games.

The five-foot-nine, 180-pound Stockholm native also competed in the World Jr. Championships in 2013 and 2014, helping Sweden win silver both years.

"Filip is a very creative player who sees the ice well and can create offense in limited space," Wilson said. "He plays a high-pressure, puck-pursuit game and his battle level is something we have been impressed with, especially against older players. We are excited for him to join our organization."

The contracts for Simek and Forsberg are two-way deals, allowing them to play for the AHL Barracuda next season.

 

Sharks sign defenseman from Czech Republic

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AP

Sharks sign defenseman from Czech Republic

The Sharks have signed Czech defenseman Radim Simek to a one-year contract.

The two-way deal, originally reported by Radio Praha in the Czech Republic, is expected to be announced by the Sharks later this week, according to a source. Simek just finished competing for his country in the 2017 IIHF World Championships, skating in all eight games for the Czech Republic while posting one goal, one assist, 11 shots and a minus-two rating.

Simek, 24, has spent the last five seasons in the Czech League. In 42 games for Liberec in 2016-17, he posted 24 points (11g, 13a) and 30 penalty minutes with a plus-18 rating. A left-handed shot, he is listed at five-foot-11 and 196 pounds on the IIHF website.

The New York Rangers were also interested in Simek, according to the report.

Simek will likely begin next season with the AHL Barracuda.

The Sharks have signed a number of free agents out of Europe in recent seasons, including Joonas Donskoi in 2015 and Marcus Sorensen and Tim Heed last May.