Sharks' Sheppard skating again


Sharks' Sheppard skating again

SAN JOSE There was a surprise participant in the Sharks morning skate on Saturday.

James Sheppard hasnt played an NHL game since the end of the 2009-10 season due to a serious left knee injury suffered in an offseason ATV accident as a member of the Minnesota Wild. Hes still weeks away from playing in a competitive game, but is desperately trying to resuscitate his professional career.

Its the second time this season Sheppard is attempting to join his new teammates for practice. He originally returned on Nov. 18, but was quickly shut down. Until now.

It wasnt a setback, we wanted to build more muscle, Sheppard said. Were happy with our decision.

One difference between then and now is that hes not thinking about the knee anymore, and notices a difference already as compared to when he first returned. At that time, he said he felt like he was skating in mud.

Right now when I skate and get warmed up, I dont think about my knee, and thats where you have to be, he said. If youre thinking about your knee injury the whole time, theres no point.

Although he could finally be back on the right track, its hard to imagine Sheppard will have any kind of impact on the Sharks current season. Hes set a personal goal of playing in a competitive game by March 1, but that would almost certainly be in the American Hockey League on a conditioning assignment.

My personal date is Im not going to go past March 1 without playing a game, he said. Thats a reasonable goal, but its one that I will reach.

At this point, though, its one day at a time.

All I want is good days, Sheppard said. You have good days, and the next day is bright. Its not dull; its not muddy.

Marleau shows off his Maple Leafs colors at Sharks' practice facility


Marleau shows off his Maple Leafs colors at Sharks' practice facility

There was a dash of blue among the teal and white sweaters at the Sharks captain’s ice session on Wednesday.

Patrick Marleau, who signed a three-year, $16.75 million deal with Toronto in the offseason, was among the dozen or so skaters that were on the ice at the Sharks’ practice facility with training camp a little more than three weeks away. The 37-year-old was dressed head to toe in his bright blue Maple Leafs attire, likely a shocking sight for longtime Sharks fans that saw in a San Jose sweater for the first 19 seasons of his career.

It’s not uncommon for the Sharks, or other teams, to allow players from other teams to utilize their local practice facilities before training camp begins.

Among Sharks skaters also taking part in the skate were Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi, Aaron Dell, Ryan Carpenter and Kevin Labanc. 

Thornton, who is recovering from offseason knee surgery on his ACL and MCL, looked to be moving well. He signed a one-year, $8 million contract extension with the Sharks in the offseason.

The Sharks will hold their first on-ice training camp session on Friday, Sep. 15.

Marleau makes his first appearance as a visiting player at SAP Center on Oct. 30.

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


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.