Sharks training camp: Stuart out, Hertl aims to impress
First-round pick Mirco Mueller is missing time due to injury, though he wasn't expected to challenge for an Opening Night roster spot. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN JOSE -- Brad Stuart isn’t the only notable absence from Sharks training camp.
First round pick Mirco Mueller, chosen with the 18th overall pick in the 2013 draft, was hurt during the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, British Columbia last week, and it sounds like he won’t be on the ice for a little while with an undisclosed injury. According to the Everett (Washington) Herald, Mueller was hurt when he was cross-checked by the Canucks’ Hunter Shinkaruk.
“Mirco got hurt in Game 1 at the prospects tournament at Penticton and hasn't been able to be active since then,” Todd McLellan said on Thursday. “I guess you can call him injured, not hurt, and he's got to work his way through that."
Will he be on the ice in the next few weeks? McLellan was vague.
“Between the training staff and Mirco, he's got to figure out where he is as far as being bumped or bruised or being injured, and right now he's obviously injured. He can't be out there, but when he's ready to go, we'll be excited to watch him."
Mueller, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound defenseman, was not expected to challenge for an NHL roster spot. The 18-year-old is a near certainty to return to Everett (WHL) at some point in September, which is coached by former Sharks head coach Kevin Constantine.
Stuart’s injury is not believed to be serious, and was termed a “lower body thing” that was “nagging him a bit from the summer workouts,” according to McLellan.
McLellan said: “He's not off for surgery or anything like that. When you're sore or you have some muscle issues, you don't want to go out there on Day 1 of training camp and go as hard you can. We'll manage him properly and look forward to having him back."
Pavelski skates with Hertl
It’s been widely mentioned that the Sharks found their offensive game last season when Joe Pavelski was shifted to third line center. On the first day of practice, he was slotted there again, with wingers Tommy Wingels and Tomas Hertl.
Pavelski gave his first impressions of the 19-year old Hertl, who is hoping to make the Opening Night roster.
“I think his size, obviously,” Pavelski said of the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Hertl. “He has the skill level. He’s a first-rounder. He can skate, handle the puck and shoot it. He looks like he’s having fun out there. We communicated a little bit. He doesn’t speak a whole lot.”
Hertl is still learning English, but there’s already a noticeable improvement in his command of the language from the last time he met with the media at the rookie camp in mid-July.
Pavelski said: “You can see him out there just watching, watching the drills. That’s the best way to learn, with your eyes. He’s done that so far. He’s fit into the drills. If you explain something to him, he catches on and is right there. He’s not falling behind. The only time anything happens like that is just because he didn’t understand right away. He seems like a smart player.”
Hertl is still living in a hotel and will likely move in with a local family if he makes the team.
As for his first official NHL practice, “First practice was very, very hard and fast, and I am very tired,” he said.
Kennedy getting acclimated
He’s the only player expected to make the Opening Night roster that wasn’t a member of the organization four months ago. Tyler Kennedy, acquired from Pittsburgh at the draft in June, is trying as quickly as possible to get used to his new surroundings after spending the first six years of his career in Pittsburgh.
“It’s a little different. Obviously you don’t see anyone else going through the things that you are,” Kennedy said. “But, the guys have been very good to me and it’s been very welcoming.
“It’s exciting. Whenever something new comes along you have to embrace it and get the best out of it. I’m excited to be here and I’m looking forward to it.”
As it was noted yesterday, Kennedy was skating on the left wing of the Joe Thornton-Brent Burns line.
[REWIND: Sharks lines on Day 1 of training camp]
Thornton said: “He’s very, very competitive, a good skater. Likes to shoot the puck. Just a real good solid player, that’s very competitive. Hopefully he’s going to be a nice addition to our line.”