'Shot blockers' becoming trend in Sharks dressing room


'Shot blockers' becoming trend in Sharks dressing room

Last season, I cant recall a single player wearing them regularly. This year, shot blockers are all the rage amongst the Sharks.

Everybody should wear them, Douglas Murray told me. You dont want to miss games if you dont have to.

They are plastic shields which essentially wrap around a skate boot, adding an extra layer of protection. Brent Burns and Colin White are two players credited with introducing the relatively new piece of equipment to a Sharks dressing room which adopted them quickly...and for good reason.

I broke my foot earlier this year, broke my foot last year, and two years before that, Dan Boyle recalled. I just kind of had enough. Being a defenseman you kind of get it a little bit more. Theyve helped a lot, and you can barely tell they are there, which is the most important thing.

Blocking shots is a prime responsibility for defensemen, specifically those on the penalty kill.

Teams, coaches, and teammates are demanding guys be in the shooting lane a lot more now than guys were years ago, said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. Players understand that, and they sacrifice to do it. More and more of them are realizing they are in a susceptible place to an injury, and they're putting them on.

Its definitely saved me from discomfort, that's for sure, says Murray. It brings the courage up too, for a lot of guys, to get in front of shots.

Logan Couture is one of the rare players who tried shot blockers, and decided to stop wearing them.

I did like them, Couture admitted. It's just more mental, than anything. I blocked a couple shots with them and didnt even feel it. So it's probably stupid that I took them off, but more mental.

Even still, some Shark players say, they will never again go into a game situation without protection on their very much the same way that visors became popular around the NHL, years ago.

At first it looks funny, said Boyle. Looks like it's going to be heavy and bother you. But you try it at practice, try in a game, and Im going to be wearing them from here on out. Theyve helped me on a few occasions blocking shots.
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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.