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Posted On Thursday, 09.08.2011 / 11:25 AM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - 2011 Player Media Tour

Parise open to long-term stay in New Jersey

After Zach Parise signed a one-year contract this summer, a lot of people started reading into it. Why wouldn't he sign a long-term deal? Does this mean he's angling to leave New Jersey at the end of the upcoming season?

On Thursday, Parise talked about the contract and said by no means did he sign the deal thinking it would be a one-and-done situation.

"We talked about both," Parise said of discussing short- and long-term deals. "Without getting into too much detail with respect to everyone involved, we came down to that and that made the most sense. We said it right after we signed it, that we were going to keep talking. It's not as if we're not going to talk until next June 30. We'll keep going and keep working on it."

Parise said despite the rumors that he wants to test free agency, he likes playing for and living in New Jersey and would like to stick around.

"I know people's initial reactions are, 'Oh, it's one year and get out of there.' But that's not how it went down, that's not how it worked out. We'll keep trying to figure it out."

Parise also talked about his commercial, in which he plays a police detective who's partnered with a pair of Easton hockey skates. During the ad, Parise appears to slide across the hood of a car, causing some to question why he'd do that when he was dealing with a knee injury.

"I had a stunt double for that," Parise said. "I took a lot of heat from people saying, 'You can't play hockey but you can slide across a hood?' That wasn't me. I literally just got my brace off four days before that. I could barely walk, so I wasn't in any condition to be doing that. That wasn't part of rehab."

Posted On Thursday, 06.09.2011 / 4:52 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Thornton excited for first game in Vancouver

VANCOUVER -- After coming straight from Vancouver International Airport to Rogers Arena, the usually energetic and quick-witted Shawn Thornton didn't seem himself Thursday. Of course, the party line among the players in the visiting locker room here was despite winning two straight games in Boston, the series was simply tied 2-2 and there was nothing to celebrate.

But come on, Shawn. You're not the least bit excited?

"You probably can't tell right now because I just got off the plane, but I'm pretty excited," Thornton cracked.

The rigors of six-hour, cross-country flights mixed with the grueling intensity of the Stanley Cup Final against the Vancouver Canucks will wear down even the toughest of players. But with Game 5 about 24 hours away, Thornton feels the Bruins' complete performance in a 4-0 victory in Game 4 won't be enough if they want to win at Rogers Arena.

"We're going to have to play a lot better than we did yesterday because we know they're going to be a lot better," Thornton said. "We have to put in the same effort, if not more. Nothing special happened. We've just evened up the series. I think we've done a good job of keeping our focus."

Thornton spent the first two games of the series watching from the press box, so this will be his first crack at playing in Vancouver during this series. After losing a pair of one-goal games here to open the series, the Bruins dismantled the Canucks 12-1 in two games in Boston.

Have the Bruins figured out the Canucks?

"There's a little more familiarity with these guys now," Thornton said. "Maybe we were a little surprised the first couple games. The game's a lot easier up there (in the press box). We know what to expect. I don't know if that's easier or not. It's the same on both sides, right? So they know what to expect too."

So does Thornton, whose excitement is perhaps tempered because he knows his role on the Bruins.

"They have last change," Thornton said,  "so I don't know how much ice time I'll be getting."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Posted On Saturday, 06.04.2011 / 12:56 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Everyone is dying for Game 2 to get here

When there are two days off between games without a travel day in between, that means media and players will have a lot of time to fill with very little to talk about.

Game 1 of this series was Wednesday. That means reporters peppered players with questions after the game Wednesday, then at practice Thursday and Friday, then again Saturday morning. By the time Saturday rolls around, everyone is desperate for a hockey game to be played, just so there's not another question to ask or answer.

"I think everyone's dying to get back at it," Bruins forward Nathan Horton said. "It's been a long two days. We need to be better and we know we can. That's what we talked about."

Defenseman Tomas Kaberle, who has been available for reporters Thursday, Friday and then again today, was standing with just two reporters around him while other players had larger gatherings. But before anyone could ask a question, almost out of desperation, he asked to wait for more reporters to come to him just so he wouldn't have to answer the same questions over... and over ... and over ... and over again.

Coach Claude Julien also met with reporters for a third straight day. It was business as usual during his press conference, but he wasn't sitting close enough to the microphone to be heard. Cameramen in the back of the room made the problem aware to him, so Julien pulled the microphone closer.

"Test, test," he said.

Not that it wasn't funny, but it was as if the room was filled with fraternity brothers and Dane Cook was performing. After three days, we're all desperate for something new.

For the players, that something new tonight will be not feeling the same nerves they felt in Game 1.

"That Stanley Cup title might be in your head for Game 1," Tyler Seguin said. "I was nervous for sure. Now you know what it's like. You got your feet wet."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Posted On Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 4:50 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Thomas talks about leaving his crease

There was a point during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final when an official talked with Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. The conversation happened not long after Thomas came a great distance out of his crease to cut down the angle of a shooter, so many people thought he was receiving a warning about coming out too far.

On Thursday, Thomas assured everyone he was told no such thing about curbing his aggressive style.

"That wasn't the discussion that I remember having with the ref at any point," Thomas said Thursday. "I don't really remember. I was focusing on the game. Even some of my little conversations, I don't even remember with the ref. But basically I have the right to go anywhere there's open ice. If I'm set, I have a right to that ice. If I'm out of the paint and I'm set, I also have the right to get right-of-way to get back to the crease. That's the way I understand it."

Many people believe when the goaltender leaves the crease, he's fair game and collisions with opposing players shouldn't result in an interference penalty. But Thomas is right -- as long as he is set, he can't be touched.

During Game 1, Thomas drew a tripping penalty on Alexandre Burrows when the two became tangled outside the crease, but nothing was called when Thomas and Daniel Sedin went tumbling to the ice.

On Thursday, Thomas was asked about his biggest challenges when it comes to players crowding his crease. He has spent his entire career in the Eastern Conference, so he hasn't dealt with Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom all that often. But one name came to Thomas' mind.

"Having played against Ryan Smyth quite a bit, he's good at getting his stick in front of your face by accident," Thomas said. "It's kind of like garage hockey. My uncles used to do it to me when I was a kid.

"But Tomas Holmstrom, he's very good at actually getting out of the way of the puck. He gets right in that lane. If you watch him, he's like the guy in The Matrix -- if it's a high shot, he rolls out of the way. That's what makes him so good.  And he's willing to just stand there and take any punishment whatsoever that you're willing to dish out."

Coach Claude Julien expects nothing to change Saturday in Game 2 with his goaltender's aggressiveness.

"That's his style. If he gets a chance to challenge, he challenges," Julien said. "If he steps out and he's got that ice, he's entitled to it.  That's what he's done through the whole process. If (Roberto) Luongo comes out of his net, he's got his ice, it's his, it belongs to him. The rule to me is pretty clear so I don't see any issues there."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Posted On Monday, 05.23.2011 / 12:54 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

Boyle on 5-on-5 dominance, surprising outcome

Dan Boyle is by far the most honest quote in the Sharks locker room, always speaking his mind about his play and what's happening with the team.

On Monday, he said the mood of the team was good after they spent Sunday night pouting about the 4-2 loss in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final that left the Sharks in a 3-1 series hole with Game 5 set for Tuesday night in Vancouver.

Boyle said after he watched a replay of the game when he got home Sunday night, he was a little stunned by the fact the Sharks utterly dominated the Canucks at 5-on-5, yet were basically playing out the final minutes of a blowout loss during the third period.

"I was pretty upset last night, and I watched the replay of the game when I got home," Boyle said. "It was more frustrating than anything. They had seven 5-on-5 shots. If you had asked me before the game started if they would have that many shots, I would've taken it obviously."

Of course, a record three 5-on-3 goals would submarine any team, no matter how well they played at 5-on-5. That's why Boyle believes the Sharks shouldn't be written off entering Game 5.

"We have to be optimistic," Boyle said. "That's what we have to do."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Posted On Saturday, 05.21.2011 / 3:07 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

Even strength has been a problem for Sharks

While the Sharks used their power play to pull themselves back into the series in Game 3, their 5-on-5 play is one of the reasons they are still trailing the Canucks 2-1.

Of the eight goals scored by the Sharks in this series, just two have been at even strength. One of those goals was from Ben Eager in Game 2. It cut the lead from 7-2 to 7-3 in the final minutes of the third period.

In Game 3, the Sharks had 19 shots on the power play, 18 at even strength.

Players know they need to be better in Game 4, because the 10 power-play chances they received in Game 3 aren't coming again.

"Of course we'd like to step up the 5-on-5 play as far as goals are concerned," defenseman Dan Boyle said. "But we just have to find a way to win a hockey game. So far it's been the speciality team battle. But our 5-on-5 needs to keep getting better."

Captain Joe Thornton said the key to finding themselves at even strength is to maintain discipline.

"Stay out of the penalty box," Thornton said. "We feel comfortable 5-on-5. If we stay out of the box, we'll get some more 5-on-5 play."

With the two goals scored by the Canucks during a 5-minute major in Game 3, they've had 17 power-play chances in three games and 14 in the past two. The special teams have been a major part of this series, but Ryane Clowe knows 5-on-5 needs to be a focus for the Sharks.

"Last night, the game had a lot of special teams and the 5-on-5 play was tough to get a rhythm," Clowe said. "If we can keep that going next game, get a little more 5-on-5, less PK, we'll be good."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Posted On Friday, 05.20.2011 / 11:09 AM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

McLellan says Sharks are missing Demers

Jason Demers isn't a No. 1 defenseman or even a No. 2 for the San Jose Sharks. Yet his absence during the first two games of this series has had an impact on the team.

Just ask coach Todd McLellan.

"It has," McLellan said Friday morning. "Our belief in Jason and his ability is very strong.  He's played a very key role in our team play this year.  He's an offensive guy with very good eyes and very good hands, thinks the game creatively."

Demers' injury has forced McLellan to use Kent Huskins during Games 1 and 2. Huskins hadn't played since Feb. 19 and doesn't possess the same offensive skills of Demers.

"Huskins is a different player," McLellan said. "When you put Kent in, it changes. He's a defender. He's more about staying at home and playing in a smaller sheet of ice than the bigger sheet. So it does change the dynamic somewhat.  You have to ask others to do a little bit more in offensive situations.  But it's not the end of the world."

Put a period on it -- Of late, the Sharks have been struggling in the third period. During the first round against the Kings, the Sharks were dominated during the first period.'

Instead of seeing it as a negative, McLellan put a positive spin on it.

"If we're fortunate enough to move on and get to play, then we may even be talking about the second period," McLellan cracked.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Posted On Thursday, 05.19.2011 / 5:20 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

Boyle: Sharks giving Sedins too much respect

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- It's important to respect your opponent. But Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle thinks it's gone a little too far during the Western Conference Final.

"There's a little too much respect," Boyle said Thursday. "I think it's important to have respect for guys like the Sedins, but I think we're giving them too much."

Respect could be a synonym for space when Boyle talks about it. Is that something done knowingingly, or is it a sub-conscious thing that players might not realizing they're doing?

"That had a so-called quiet series last series, and no one expected that to happen this time around," Boyle said. "There's been a little too much respect. I think at home we'll have a little bit of ... the matchups will probably be a little bit better. I think when those guys are given that extra little foot, they can take advantage of it."

Sharks captain Joe Thornton feels it's important to give the Canucks respect, but agrees with Boyle that too much is a problem.

"We gave L.A. their respect, Detroit their respect and now Vancouver," Thornton said. "They did what they're supposed to do -- win two games at home. Now we gotta do what we're supposed to do -- win two games at our home."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Posted On Saturday, 05.07.2011 / 3:52 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Setoguchi discusses deleting his Twitter account

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- @seto1661 is no more.

Devin Setoguchi, the 24-year-old right wing of the San Jose Sharks, decided to delete his Twitter account following Friday night's loss to the Detroit Red Wings. It was heartbreaking news for many, as Setoguchi had nearly 30,000 followers.

Setoguchi discussed his decision to delete the account following Sharks practice Saturday.

"It's just that time of year. You need to focus," Setoguchi said. "You don't need to read other stuff or promote anything. I just decided to go off."

Setoguchi was asked if close friend Logan Couture, who is @LoganCouture on Twitter and has nearly 33,000 followers, can handle the social media tool by himself.

"Yeah, I'm sure he can," Setoguchi said with a laugh.

Setoguchi used his fame and the power of the Internet to help out a worthy cause. Once he reached 15,000 followers, he donated $5,000 to a cancer charity.

But those days are over. All he's concerned with is Sunday night's Game 5 against the Red Wings.

"It's great because I had like 30,000 people who got to live life or understand what I was doing," Setoguchi said. "That's the part that's the bad thing. I like to interact with fans, but it's that time of year. I'd rather just focus on what I need to do and not worry or read anything like that. It's just a personal thing. No one said anything that made me change my mind. I just decided it was over."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

Posted On Saturday, 05.07.2011 / 3:51 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Babcock says things may get 'tighter and tighter'

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- "One game at a time" is a cliche that's so cliche that it's cliche to point out how cliche it is.

But when it comes to overcoming a 3-0 series deficit in the NHL, the only way it can happen is if the team doesn't start looking at the big picture.

The Red Wings took the first step toward erasing the 3-0 hole by winning 4-3 Friday against the Sharks in Game 4. Coach Mike Babcock knows there's still a long way to go, but as was evidenced in the Blackhawks' comeback against the Vancouver Canucks that reached an overtime in Game 7, the pressure will slowly start building for San Jose.

"They want to win a game and we want to win a game," Babcock said Saturday at Sharks Ice in San Jose. "Obviously they’re up 3-1. They’re in a different situation than our situation. But the reality is, as you know, as these things go on and a team can crawl back into it, things get tighter and tighter. That’s just the facts.’’

Game 5 will be played Sunday at 5 p.m. local time (8 ET) at HP Pavilion. Kris Draper believes this game will go a long way in deciding who will win the series.

"This is the big one. I think Game 5 is huge here," Draper said. "We’re coming into their building and they obviously want to end the series. We’re going to do everything we possibly can to force Game 6. We’re going to lay it all on the line.’’

Sharks coach Todd McLellan called Saturday an "easy day" and said he didn't have to explain what went wrong in Game 4, he showed them during a video session.

“We weren’t close enough. We weren’t good enough to win that game (Friday) and we probably weren’t good enough in Game 3 (Wednesday) as well,” McLellan said. “I thought the gap got a little wider in Game 4 and we have to close it.

“(The Wings) intensity level went up and we didn’t meet. They did a lot of good things in our zone, throwing pucks at the net and getting second opportunities. Those are things we were doing well in Game 1 and Game 2 and we’ve got to get back to do some of that ourselves.”

Interestingly enough, Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said sort of the same thing Friday, that his team needed to be better in Game 5 after squandering a three-goal lead in Game 4.

And of course, the only game that matters is Sunday's. After all, if a team is to come back from down 3-0 in a series, well...

"We knew what we had to do last night. We had to win," Lidstrom said. "It's going to be the same approach tomorrow night. We just have to come out and play solid and win another game. We can't worry about anything else but the game tomorrow."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Quote of the Day

We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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