Sharks-Kings: What to watch for


Sharks-Kings: What to watch for

LOS ANGELES There are just 10 games remaining in the regular season, and one thing is certain if the Sharks play the way they did against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, there are just 10 games left in their season, period.

Were going to have our hands full with L.A. waiting for us, said Ryane Clowe after the 5-3 loss to the Ducks on Monday night. Were going to have to play a hell of a lot better than we did tonight, thats for sure.

As much as a step back the loss to Anaheim was, the Sharks could still end up back in the top eight by the time the night is through. Other games to keep an eye on include Phoenix in Dallas, and Colorado hosting Calgary. The Sharks will hope first and foremost that both of those games end in regulation as all four of those teams are still in the hunt for what looks to be three open positions.

Three left with Los Angeles: Of the Sharks 10 remaining games, three are against the Kings. After tonights matchup, the teams conclude the regular season with a home-and-home against one another.

San Jose is 2-1 against LA, including a shootout win at HP Pavilion on Dec. 23 in the most recent encounter.

In all, the Sharks have eight games left in their division. San Jose is 7-8-1 in divisional play this season, including a 3-0-1 mark against Dallas, whom they face twice more.

Los Angeles is looking for its fifth straight win, and has played noticeably better since acquiring forward Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of a trade for defenseman Jack Johnson. Their four wins have come against Chicago in a shootout, and Detroit, Anaheim and Nashville in regulation.

The Sharks had a 3-0-1 streak snapped by Anaheim on Monday night.

Roster report: The Sharks are still without forward Michal Handzus (undisclosed), TJ Galiardi (upper body) and Tommy Wingels (upper body), all of whom did not make the trip to Los Angeles. The Kings are missing Simon Gagne and Kevin Westgarth.

Antti Niemi, who was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals to the Ducks, will likely make to make his 12th straight start. In 11 career appearances against LA in the regular season, Niemi is 7-2-2 with a 1.69 goals-against average and .941 save percentage.

The Kings will go with Vezina Trophy candidate Jonathan Quick, who is fourth in the league in GAA (2.00) and sixth in SP (.928). Hes a pedestrian 7-4-2 with a 2.36 GAA and .920 SP against the Sharks in the regular season.

Kings expect fired up Sharks: The Kings are well aware that the Sharks will be looking to quickly put Mondays poor effort behind them. This morning at Staples Center, Mike Richards told Rich Hammond:
I think were excited. You can feel it in here, that were excited for the game tonight. Im sure theyre going to be ready for it too. We have to be ready for the way theyre going to come out, because obviously they lost a big game last night, but as long as were ready to play, and expect the best out of ourselves, we should be fine.

Los Angeles has scored the first goal of the game nine times in their last 11 games, so the start will obviously be important.

Odds and ends: The Sharks are just 4-10-4 in their last 18 road games, with three of those wins coming against non-playoff opponents. San Jose leads the league with 34.4 shots per game. The Kings have allowed just 112 five-on-five goals, the fourth fewest in the league. San Jose has allowed the fifth fewest (121). The Sharks and Kings have each lost 13 times by one goal in regulation, tied for the most in the NHL with the Blue Jackets. The Kings are 8-3-0 in their last 11 games, outscoring the opposition 37-23.

Sharks begin second day of draft by selecting a defenseman


Sharks begin second day of draft by selecting a defenseman

CHICAGO – The Sharks used their first pick on the second day of the draft to select defenseman Mario Ferraro at 49th overall.

The Sharks acquired the second round pick from New Jersey earlier in the week as part of the trade for Mirco Mueller.

Ferraro, a five-foot-11, 185-pound Toronto native, will attend the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in the fall. The 18-year-old posted 41 points (8g, 33a) in 60 games for Des Moines of the USHL last season.

“I describe myself as an offensive defenseman that takes pride in the d-zone,” Ferraro said. “Obviously, I like to get involved offensively. I think I’m a good skater, and I transition the puck up the ice quick. I also like to be physical in the d-zone and use my body.”

Ferraro said he needs to work on "my shot, especially. Getting pucks through to the net to create scoring chances, and I also want to work on when and when not to get up in the play, and reading the play better.”

Ferraro, the 78th-ranked North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting and a left-handed shot, had about 20 friends and family in attendance at the draft.

“I’m very honored to be wearing this jersey right now. It was amazing. It’s been an amazing day so far.”

The Sharks chose center Josh Norris with their first round pick (19th overall) on Friday.

Sharks' draft pick Norris possesses 'Logan Couture attributes'


Sharks' draft pick Norris possesses 'Logan Couture attributes'

CHICAGO – Sharks general manager Doug Wilson is typically restrained in his public praise for players in the system. “We don’t like to over promote our prospects” is a phrase he’s used countless times.

That’s what made his instant comparison of Sharks first round pick center Josh Norris to a current core player so unexpected.

“We think – I hate doing this, but I’m going to – [Norris has] a lot of the Logan Couture attributes to him,” Wilson said on Friday at United Center, shortly after presenting Norris with a teal sweater.

Wilson also made note of Norris’ confidence, which was evident in the 18-year-old’s media availability. Norris described himself as “a 200-foot player. I think I can give you a little bit of everything: power play, penalty kill, faceoffs, can chip in offensively. I think I kind of do a little bit of everything.” He added that he attempts to pattern his game to Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak.

Like most players that aren’t top five selections, Norris isn’t likely to make the NHL roster in the fall. He’s set to attend the University of Michigan in the fall.

Still, Wilson suggested that it might not take long for the six-foot, 189-pound Oxford, Michigan native to make the leap.

“He’s a kid, the way he plays and the way he thinks, he potentially could fast track. So, we’ll see,” Wilson said.

Norris had some familial help on his journey to draft day. His father Dwayne had a few cups of coffee in the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques more than two decades ago, playing 20 career games from 1993-96.

Dwayne Norris was right there to congratulate his son, who was no sure thing to go in the first round as the 34th ranked North American skater, according to NHL Central Scouting.

“He just said how proud of me he was, and it was kind of a big moment we had that I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Norris said about his conversation with his father.

Norris’ stats suggest he has an ability to create offense, as he posted 27 goals and 61 points in 61 games for the U.S. National Under-18 team last season, and added 12 goals and 26 points in 25 games in the USHL.

“I think I’m a little bit of a goal scorer and a playmaker,” Norris said. “I think I’m really good in my defensive zone. I think I have a lot of upside on the offensive side of my game that I’m going to continue to work on.”

Wilson said: “We think he’s a mature player.”

Norris had a strong showing at the NHL combine, leading all 104 draft-eligible players in attendance in five of the 14 fitness tests. Those results, along with a strong interview, made Norris an appealing target for San Jose.

“He’s arguably one of the most athletic guys in the combine,” Wilson said. “His interview was phenomenal. If you go back in his history in big games he’s stepped up in a big way, and that’s the type of guy we’re looking for.”

Norris, who played baseball as a shortstop until age 13, said: “I wasn’t too nervous going to the combine. … I just tried to make good impressions on teams. The physical testing aspect of it, I’ve always been a pretty good athlete.”

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Norris will make his first-ever trip to California in early July to take part in the Sharks’ development camp.

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Just before the Sharks’ contingent made its way to the stage to select Norris, Wilson was spotted talking with Washington general manager Brian MacLellan. After a brief exchange, MacLellan shook his head, and Wilson went back to the San Jose table and gathered his group to head to the podium.

Asked about the chat, Wilson said it was not about the 19th overall pick.

“We were actually looking at some other things, some other picks that we had,” Wilson said. “Some teams had reached out to us, and we’re planting our seeds a little bit for tomorrow already.”

The draft concludes on Saturday, with the second round beginning at 7 a.m. PT.