NHL Entry Draft need-to-knows

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NHL Entry Draft need-to-knows

The 2012 NHL Entry Draft takes place on Friday and Saturday this weekend in Pittsburgh, PA. The first round commences at 4:00 p.m. PST on Friday and will be broadcast in the United States on the NBC Sports Network, while rounds two through seven are on Saturday starting 7:00 a.m. on the NHL Network.Here are a few things to know
The Sharks have the 17th overall pick in the first round, and 55th overall pick in the second round. Should they use them both, it will be the first time since 2007 they have drafted two players in the top two rounds. That year, the Sharks drafted Logan Couture (ninth overall) and Nick Petrecki (28th overall), both in the first round.The Sharks have never drafted in the 17th position, and should they keep the pick, it will be the highest theyve drafted since they chose Couture in 2007.San Jose has a total of six picks, including one choice in the fifth round, one in the sixth and two in the seventh. It currently has no third or fourth round choice.Current Sharks drafted by the club (who finished the season on the active roster) include Tommy Wingels (2008, 6th round); Jason Demers (2008, 7th round); Couture, Justin Braun (2007, 7th round); Marc-Edouard Vlasic (2005, 2nd round); Thomas Greiss (2004, 3rd round); Torrey Mitchell (2004; 4th round); Joe Pavelski (2003, 7th round); Ryane Clowe (2001, 6th round); Douglas Murray (1999, 8th round); and Patrick Marleau (1997, 1st round). Brad Stuart was drafted third overall by the Sharks in 1998.Nashville picks 37th overall in the second round. The pick originally belonged to Minnesota, was sent to San Jose as part of the Brent Burns trade last summer, and then flipped to Tampa Bay in return for Dominic Moore. The Predators acquired the pick as part of the trade for goalie Anders Lindback earlier this month.The draft returns to Pittsburgh for the first time since 1997, when Joe (Boston) and Marleau were the top two picks, respectively.Thornton is the lone player from the 1997 draft to accumulate more than 1,000 career points (1,078), and his 754 assists also ranks first. Marleau leads in games played (1,117).The Sharks other first round pick in 1997 in Pittsburgh was Scott Hannan (23rd overall).Nine players from the 2011 draft played in the NHL this past season, including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Round 1, Pick 1); Gabriel Landeskog (Round 1, Pick 2); Adam Larsson (Round 1, Pick 4); Sean Couturier (Round 1, Pick 8); and Andrew Shaw (Round 5, Pick 139).The Consol Energy Center opened on August 2, 2010, with the first game on Oct. 7 vs. Philadelphia.The Sharks have played just one game at Consol Energy Center, the new home of the Penguins. They won 3-2 on Feb. 23, 2011, led by two goals from Marleau. They did not visit Pittsburgh this past season.The statue of Mario Lemieux outside of the Consol Energy Center took 15 months
to design and construct, and was transported across the country from California to Pittsburgh on a flat bed truck over six days.Three teams have a pair of first round picks: Washington, Buffalo and Tampa Bay. Washingtons 11 picks total is a league-high.

Sharks' Thornton not concerned with his offensive numbers

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Sharks' Thornton not concerned with his offensive numbers

ANAHEIM – When you have a guy on your roster that just broke into the NHL’s top 25 in scoring, it’s probably difficult to tell him how to play the game.

Still, Joe Thornton is not putting up offensive numbers he’s accustomed to. Through 26 games, Thornton has just two goals and 14 assists for 16 points. Somewhat shockingly, both of his goals have come into an empty net, meaning he has yet to beat a single goaltender with a shot with nearly one-third of the schedule already in the books.

Coach Pete DeBoer remarked on Friday morning, “I think every coach that he’s ever played for would like him to shoot more.”

But has DeBoer told Thornton, who has 27 shots, to shoot more?

“I haven’t recently,” he said. “We’ve had conversations like all coaches do about it, but I pretty much let him play his game. I think most of the conversations we have are about other parts of the game.”

"For me, he does so many things so well for us that we’re not piling on that he needs to score or shoot more. He’s got to play his game, and the offense will come. He stirs our offensive drink, so to speak, and he does it well. I’m not worried about the fact that he doesn’t have goals, no.”

There’s reason to believe Thornton will pick up his production. In fact, his start this season is nearly identical to last year, when he had 15 points (3g, 12a) through 26 games. Over the final four months he up 66 points after Dec. 15, tied for Sidney Crosby for the most in the NHL.

The alternate captain indicated the Sharks’ short summer, combined with his playing for Team Canada in the World Cup, might have taken a toll on his 37-year-old body.

“Going deeper in the postseason I think, it just starts a little bit different – plus the World Cup started earlier. You just kind of jam it in,” he said. “I feel good lately, and hopefully [I’ll] continue it.”

Not surprisingly, the famously laid back Thornton isn’t concerned with the fact he doesn’t have any non-empty netters yet.

“They’ll eventually go in. It’s no secret I’m more of a pass-first guy,” he said. “When you don’t expect it, that’s when they usually come. I haven’t been squeezing my stick or anything.”

“It comes at the strangest times. For whatever reason, you get hot for little stretches of time. I’ve never been one to worry too much.”

NHL Gameday: Sharks make first visit to Duck Pond

NHL Gameday: Sharks make first visit to Duck Pond

Programming note – Sharks-Ducks coverage starts today at 6:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 15-10-1, 31 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Ducks: 13-9-5, 31 points, 4th Pacific Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The Sharks and Ducks have split the first two meetings of the season, both in San Jose. On Oct. 25, Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s overtime goal was the difference in a 2-1 win. The Ducks responded on Nov. 26, beating San Jose, 3-2, and are 4-0-1 in the last five head-to-head matchups. 

“They’re close, they’re hard fought battles,” Joel Ward said. “It’s obviously a lot of similarities of big bodies, teams that get on the forecheck, and got good special teams, as well.”

***Martin Jones will face Jonathan Bernier in goal. For Bernier, it will be his first game since giving up eight goals at Calgary on Dec. 4 in an 8-3 Flames win.

Does Pete DeBoer think that game might linger with Bernier?

“I’m more worried about the reverse,” said the Sharks coach. “I think usually good pros bounce back with great efforts after games like that. That’s what I’m expecting.”

Logic says that Aaron Dell will start the Sharks’ home game against Carolina on Saturday in the second of a back-to-back, but DeBoer would not confirm that was the plan.

***DeBoer wouldn’t offer much in regards to his lineup against Anaheim, either, although defensemen David Schlemko and Mirco Mueller, and forward Matt Nieto stayed on the ice late, indicating they probably won’t play.

Schlemko is battling a right ankle injury that kept him out of Wednesday’s game against Ottawa. Mueller was recalled on Friday morning.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Dylan DeMelo. The defenseman will play his fourth game of the season with Schlemko likely still out, after he was a healthy scratch for the first 19 games of the season. The 23-year-old has one goal, coming against the Ducks on Nov. 26, and an even rating while averaging 13:35 of ice time per game.

Ducks: Ryan Getzlaf. The Ducks captain scored the game-winning goal on the power play in the most recent meeting with the Sharks, and has nine points (1g, 8a) in his last 11 games. Getzlaf is tied for second in the NHL with 20 assists.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Mikkel Boedker – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi
Micheal Haley – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Ducks
Rickard Rakell – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano – Ryan Kesler – Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie – Antoine Vermette – Ondrej Kase
Joe Cramarossa – Stefan Noesen – Logan Shaw

Cam Fowler – Sami Vatanen
Hampus Lundholm – Josh Manson
Shea Theodore – Kevin Bieksa

Jonathan Bernier (starter)
John Gibson

INJURIES/SCRATCHES

Sharks: David Schlemko (right ankle) is doubtful. Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) is out.

Ducks: Rickard Rakell (upper body) is questionable. Nic Kerdiles (concussion), Nate Thompson (Achilles surgery), Simon Despres (concussion) and Clayton Stoner (lower body) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“We know this is going to be a dogfight right to the end. We’re setting in and prepared for that.” – Pete DeBoer, on the Pacific Division race