Sharks practice on HP's new boards

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Sharks practice on HP's new boards

The Sharks will have a second straight practice on Thursday morning at HP Pavilion, rather than their typical off-day location at Sharks Ice, to continue getting used to the new boards there.

First time this season weve had a chance to practice here, said Todd McLellan on Wednesday. Obviously, new boards, glass trying to get a better feel for whats going to happen on the ice. They are way more lively than the old ones. So, were able to incorporate a little bit of that into the drills.

It would be easy for the casual observer to think that the Sharks might be able to use knowledge of their home boards to their advantage, but in the heat of battle, its not really something the guys on the ice think about. Rather, McLellan said is has to become an innate response during game play.

There are some ways, if you know your rink and your boards, you can use it to your advantage, but it has to be a natural reaction, he said. It cant be a thinking thing. Im not sure were at that level yet. We still have to just play the game and whatever happens, happens.

The puck comes off hot, and its one of those things where it can hurt you or make it an advantage, said defenseman Douglas Murray. We know what other rinks we go in to and how their boards are. Other teams are going to know here, as well, but at the same time you can catch somebody by surprise.

Getting used to the new boards is one of the rare advantages of a six-day break between games, since most of the players would rather be at least two or three games into their season by now after Saturdays win.

McLellan has held very spirited, long, and hard working skates this week, trying to keep his team in shape for the three games in four nights that begins tomorrow in Anaheim.

Its about getting better as a team in a lot of areas, he said.

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

The Sharks have issued qualifying offers to restricted free agent forwards Chris Tierney, Marcus Sorensen and Barclay Goodrow, while cutting ties with three players in the system.

Tierney, 22, posted 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points in 80 games last season, serving primarily as the fourth line center. He has 64 points (24g, 40a) in 202 career games over three NHL seasons, all with the Sharks.

Sorensen posted one goal and three assists in 19 games with the Sharks last season, his first in the NHL. The 25-year-old played in all six playoff games against Edmonton, scoring one goal and one assist.

Goodrow, 24, skated in three games for the Sharks last season with one assist. He has 16 points (4g, 12a) in 77 games over three seasons with the Sharks, although has played in just 17 NHL games since the start of the 2015-16 season.

Forward Nikita Jevpalovs, defenseman Patrick McNally and goalie Mantas Armalis - also known for his career as a male model - were left unqualified and are now unrestricted free agents.

Earlier in the offseason, the Sharks signed pending restricted free agents Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson. Donskoi received a two-year deal at a salary cap hit of $1.9 million, while Karlsson was signed to a three-year deal at $2 million annually.

Thornton, Marleau now permitted to speak with other teams

Thornton, Marleau now permitted to speak with other teams

Their futures with the Sharks more uncertain than ever, pending unrestricted free agents Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are now free to take calls from other teams to gauge their potential interest.

Nothing can be signed with a new team before July 1, and there is a ban on discussing terms of any potential deal. Teams have already reached out to Marleau, per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, while Thornton is also reportedly receiving interest around the league.

While they could still return to the Sharks, it’s new territory for both, as neither Thornton nor Marleau has ever tested the unrestricted free agent waters. Most recently, they agreed to three-year contract extensions with the Sharks on the same day – Jan. 24, 2014 – in what was the final year of their current deals.

Whether they return to the Sharks could depend on the length of the deal. If other teams are willing to offer multiple-year deals to Thornton and Marleau, it makes their return to the Sharks less likely – particularly in Marleau’s case. Earlier in the offseason, NBC Sports California confirmed that Thornton was seeking a three-year deal, while Marleau preferred a deal of at least three years.

General manager Doug Wilson’s top priority this offseason is to re-sign goalie Martin Jones and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to long term extensions. Those contracts would likely cost the team a combined $12-14 million, and would begin in the 2018-19 season.

There is an added risk to any team that signs a player over the age of 35, as it would be on the hook for the entire salary cap hit regardless of whether that player is active (unless that player is on long-term injured reserve). 

Thornton turns 38 on Sunday, while Marleau turns 38 on Sep. 15.