Training camp begins

The rookies have come to town, headed to Colorado to play against (more experienced) Avalanche and Ducks rookies, losing both games.  Meanwhile, those with under 50 games of NHL experience have been getting drilled by the NHL Sharks staff.

Starting Thursday, the rest of the guys (not still in World Cup of Hockey participation) will have their chance, and a few try out players will be seeking a contract (including some prospects).

The U50 and rookies have been skating and scrimmaged on Wednesday.  I noted that many of the drills seem to focus on speed – both offensively and defensively.  (Woe to the defenseman or forward who needs to improve his edge work. It’ll be obvious to the casual viewer that improvement is needed.) Guessing this is a chance for the organization to identify which players can skate faster/fastest, which was an issue against the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Sharks appear to be about $1m under the cap to start the season (this may change, slightly, as players are assigned to Worcester and the NHL roster clarifies).

The initial camp roster has no veteran PTOs (Professional Try Out).  This means that the Sharks really do want to give their younger players a chance to play their way onto the NHL roster.  There are seven prospect try outs on the roster, the same as the initial rookie camp roster. (Two haven’t been seen since the rookie camp “ended”, but no releases have been announced.)  With 45 players under contract (two which can slide if they don’t make the NHL roster), there is room to sign some of those try out players, or vets on PTOs around the league for more depth.  (Last season the Sharks did bring Zubrus in on a PTO, but that was after the season started and camp ended.)

Should be a competitive camp.  Vets should not be complacent and rookies may surprise.  The action starts Friday on the ice.

What a difference a year makes

2015-16 had a much better result than the 2014-15 season.  46-30-6 compared to 40-30-9.  So a six win improvement.

Last summer, it was noted that the basic additions of Paul Martin, Joel Ward and Martin Jones would only “add” about 3 wins per WAR.  Can the emergence of Donskoi account for the rest?  Probably not, but it definitely was a team effort to get the additional six wins.

In the chart, one can see wins and losses by goal differential for the regular season. The team seemed to be alternating some periods of wins and losses until the biggest positive differential in January.  Most folks have set this as the start of the Sharks’ season turn around.  After that period, it definitely had more wins than losses.  Pundits have attributed this to the Sharks finally “getting” DeBoer’s system and playing well together.

Whatever the cause, the Shark did make the playoffs and made it to the Stanley Cup Finals.  And even though they had four more wins than they’d ever had in the playoffs, they still came two wins short of winning the Cup. (And they are the envy of twenty-eight other teams.)

How’d I do on guessing last season’s opening roster?  Pretty good. Donskoi kinda replaced Torres in the lineup, but Goodrow essentially spent the season in the AHL. Smith followed soon after, replaced by Zubrus.

The Sharks did exceed most pundits’ predictions (of them not even making playoffs).  One even was surprised (still in August 2016) they had exceeded expectations by going as far as they did.  (Amazingly, so many pundit predictions are so far off from reality, either way, that it can be laughable, or sorrowfilled.)

How will 2016-17 go?  There’s 30 days until camp starts and 39 (Logan Couture!) days until the puck drops.  A lot to watch with injuries (from World Cup, exhibition games and camp) and chemistry between players to help determine the season opening roster.  (But I’ve penciled in Dell for backup duty and Meier among the NHL forward lines.  And put a few guys from the 15-16 NHL roster on my “gotta-watch-out-or-will-end-up-in-AHL” list too.  Competition will be keen.)

News flash: Hertl won’t play at the World Cup tournament for Czech Republic as he’s still recovering for knee injury he suffered in Stanley Cup Finals, but expected to be ready for NHL season start.

Sharks @ World Cup of Hockey

Well, it’s about a month until the first preseason exhibition game.

But first, there’s the World Cup of Hockey (in Toronto), broadcast on ESPN/2. The preliminary round starts September 20, with the final (best of three) on September 27, 29 and October 1 (if needed).

And yes, there are a few Sharks participating.

  • USA: Joe Pavelski (rumored to be named the captain)
  • Canada: Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Brent Burns, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture (injury replacement)
  • Czech Republic: Tomas Hertl; Milan Michalek (alum), Roman Polak (alum)
  • Finland: Joonas Donskoi
  • Team Europe: Mikkel Boedker, Christian Ehrhoff (Germany, alum), Thomas Greiss (Germany, alum)
  • No Sharks: Team North America, Sweden, Russia

ESPN even has put together a “All Snub” team (including Sharks goalie Martin Jones) that would be pretty good, if playing.

Players will be heading to their respected “country” team’s training camp, opening up on September 5.

Some of players have begun skating in preparation for the World Cup training camps.  (And joining other players in town early to prepare for their respective NHL and/or AHL training camps.)  Players in San Jose participating in the “Captain’s Skate” the past two weeks have included: Pavelski, Burns, Thornton; Ryan Carpenter, Nikolay Goldobin, Michael Haley, Patrick Marleau, Mirco Mueller.  (Plus former Junior Shark Igor Leonenko — invited to NHL St Louis Blues rookie camp, NJ Devil Jon Merrill; and former Sharks Daniel Winnik, Devin Setoguchi, Sena Acolaste.)

Rookie camps will open about September 15.  NHL (full) camps should be opening about September 22.

Time to make sure your jersey (or whatever your wear) to games is ready for the upcoming season.

Still, more time to wait until the puck drops (Vlasic sleeps until season opener).

Update: Hertl opted out of participation to further heal his knee.

Sharks/Barracuda Training Camp, leading up to the Sharks season opener

It’s the last hours (days) of camp.

On Monday, the Sharks announced they had reassigned the nine players they had called up from the AHL Barracuda for the weekend, and assigned three players (Goldobin, Karlsson, Mueller) to the AHL Barracuda.  This leaves the team with 23 players on the roster (about $1.99M under the cap) which could be the season opening roster.

The Sharks also announced Joe Pavelski as the 12th captain in team history (9th “full time” captain), with Logan Couture and Joe Thornton as the assistant captains.

On the Barracuda side, 10 were released/assigned from camp (7 to ECHL Allen, including G Joel Rumpel and newly signed to two-way AHL deal Dan Federico; 3 to other ECHL teams).  That leaves Doremus, Helewka, and Timmins without contracts (announced).

Raffi Torres had his hearing Monday with the NHL Department of Player Safety for his Match Penalty from Saturday’s game in Anaheim over the hit of Silfverberg. (He waived an in-person hearing.) He was given a 41-game suspension (half a season). No word on if Torres or the Sharks will appeal the suspension or let it stand.

(How it impacts the Sharks roster/cap situation during a suspension…. Torres’ contract would count against the Sharks cap, with the funds going to the Player emergency fund.  Torres would take up one of the 23 NHL roster spots.  Now, if there was a situation where less than 18 skaters were healthy/able to play, the Sharks could do an emergency recall, exceeding the roster count for the duration of the emergency, if they remained under the salary cap.  So being able to only have 22 “active” players on the roster may not be as big a hardship as it might appear at first glance.)

(It is left to the reader of this blog to find reaction articles on Torres’ suspension.  While I do not condone his actions, neither will I further vilify him by sharing those articles.)

News of the half week

SJ Sharks

SJ Mercury News

Gackle Report

SF Chronicle

CSN Sharks

Puck Daddy

Barracuda game day – preseason @ Condors 151002

The team heads on the road for their first road preseason game.  (And last preseason game.)

Nine players were called up to the NHL, so Rumpel will be starting, backed up by Dell.  Lots of try out players will have their last opportunity to get a contract.

First period: Condors score two.

Second period: Parker gets the Barracuda get on the board, but the Condors score two more.  4-1.

Third period: DiPaolo notched the only score of the period.  Barracuda 2-4 Condors final score.

Rumpel made 26 saves on 30 shots.  Barracuda made 32 shots.

Barracuda recap
Crane, Emanuelsson and Jevpalovs out due to injury.

Sharks Training Camp day 16 (151003) @ Ducks

TV: none
Satellite radio (click for specific station)
Sharks Radio Network

Stalock scheduled to start.  The 8 skater call ups may get some time in the lineup today, for one last chance to be seen by the NHL brass (for future in-season call ups).

Recap:

First period featured a (reputation?) call of Match Penalty to Torres for head contact (5 min major PK) overlapped by major boarding call to Haley (another 5 min major PK).  Sharks killed both off.  Period ended 0-0.

In the second, Demelo scored first on the PP, but the Ducks answered with two. The second was an excellent screen of Stalock.  2-1 Ducks after 2.

In the third, the Ducks showed they pretty much had their season starting roster vs a lot of AHL players, scoring 3.  Final score 5-1.

Update: Raffi Torres suspended pending hearing with NHL Player Safety department. In person hearing waived (so, they’ll teleconference); being held on Monday.

News

Sharks twitter list

Ducks twitter list

NHL game stats

Sharks Training Camp day 15 (151002) @ Coyotes

TV: none
Satellite radio (click for specific station)
Sharks Radio Network

Penultimate preseason game.  DeBoer has announced that Jones will start this game and Stalock against the Ducks.  Sharks have recalled 9 players from AHL (for the weekend?). Melker Karlsson is skating, but won’t be traveling with the team to this weekend’s preseason games (perhaps he’ll start the season on the IR?).

Looks like Smith will make his preseason debut for the Coyotes.

Jones was perfect in regulation.  Pavelski scored two, and Hertl notched the other.

But in the mandatory OT, Jones gave one up.  Still pretty good preseason for Jones.

News

Sharks twitter list

Twitter list of Coyotes news

NHL preview, stats and stuff