Don’t look now, but hockey is back! Even if it has just been training camp, and one preseason game, it’s nice to see Sharks hockey once again. Well, hockey in general, but nothing is better than seeing the boys in teal on the ice.
For those that are not as excited as I am to read articles about how practices and scrimmages went, as well as not wanting to watch what was mostly AHL and Junior level players play against each other, here’s a rundown of impressions gathered so far.
We’ll start with Monday night’s game against the Vancouver Canucks where the Sharks won 3-2. It was a game which the Sharks pretty much hand a handle of from start to finish even with many not suiting up. That was the case for Vancouver as well, but the Sharks still looked dominant at times outshooting the Canucks 42-16. They did struggle on the power play though, and even failed on two 5-on-3 attempts.
Some of the guys that impressed in that game were Joe Pavelski (obviously), Tomas Hertl, John McCarthy and Tommy Wingels. The Pavelski line with Hertl and Wingels looked great, and if that is to be San Jose’s third line to start the season teams better watch out. Tomas Hertl looked especially good in the offensive zone and had plenty of quality chances. Both Pavelski and Wingels finished with a goal and an assist each.
Also, McLellan has mentioned he would like to keep Brent Burns with Joe Thornton and keep Patrick Marleau with Logan Couture. That leaves Pavelski, Wingels, and Tyler Kennedy as the wild-cards.
Another guy that stood out, Daniil Tarasov, looked great during the game and has impressed head coach Todd McLellan as well. When asked about Tarasov McLellan had this to say:
“It started when he was sent to San Francisco last year. He went down there and worked at his game, and made the jump back to the American League, and now has an impact at that level. We noticed that. We respect that he could have went there and pouted, he didn’t, and it’s really reflected in his game. He’s been one of our better players to this point.”
Those are some pretty glowing reviews, and perhaps he has an outside shot to make the team. The problem is with a pretty set roster already, there is not much room. In any event, he may have already made his cause for at least a call-up later on in the season.
Now, as for a guy who was unimpressive during the game we look at goaltender Alex Stalock. You can argue both goals on Monday night should have been stopped, although the second one was a well-placed shot.
Either way, the first goal, which was scored on a rebound, could have been prevented had Stalock shown better rebound control on the initial shot. The second goal, which like I said was quite the snipe, was still from a bad angle and I think it could have been stopped.
The one thing to remember is that this is just game one, so we are probably jumping to conclusions. As far as the next game goes expect Harri Sateri to start in San Jose’s next game against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday as McLellan likes to see full games out of goaltenders in the preseason.
Also, during their day off on Tuesday, the San Jose Sharks trimmed their roster by 11, getting down to 42 guys. All the guys are listed below have been sent to Worcester to play in the AHL.
Centers: Travis Oleksuk, Sebastian Stalberg, Marek Viedensky
Left Wingers: Jimmy Bonneau
Right Wingers: Riley Brace, Chris Crane, James Livingston
Defensemen: Konrad Abeltshauser, Kyle Bigos, Dylan DeMelo
Goaltenders: JP Anderson
There are not many surprises on that list because as I stated earlier there is not much room on the Sharks, as in years past, for making the team. It is great experience for these guys though.
So who is left on the 42-man roster? Some notable names to keep an eye on, besides that goaltending battle and Tarasov, are Matt Nieto, Mirco Mueller (this season’s 1st round pick), Matt Tennyson, and Anthony Stewart who is here on a try-out. He only played about 10 minutes in the first preseason game, so I’m sure the coaching staff wanted to see more of him.
Overall, there is still a small sample size as far as evaluations go, but already there are guys standing out. For those who have been starving for hockey since the Sharks met their demise last spring to the L.A. Kings, this weekend will be a good starting point as the Sharks play at ‘The Tank’ on both Friday and Saturday.