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Posted On Tuesday, 12.10.2013 / 5:10 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sharks return home determined to fix power play

SAN JOSE -- After losing the final three games on their four-game road trip, the San Jose Sharks will try to get back on track Tuesday night at SAP Center against the New York Islanders, a team winless in 10 consecutive games and 10 straight on the road.

The Sharks led the powerful Pacific Division when they hit the road. Now they trail the Anaheim Ducks (47 points) by four points, and are just one point ahead of the Los Angeles Kings and two points ahead of the Vancouver Canucks.

"You look at it and everybody's right there now," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said after his team's morning skate. "Last week we were ahead of everybody. Now we're right with the pack. It's a big game for us to put us back where we want to be. These guys, they've been struggling, but they're really dangerous. I like how they played against [the Pittsburgh Penguins] last year in the playoffs. They looked fast. It should be a good test for us tonight."

Job No. 1 for the Sharks is to fix their broken power play. They went 0-for-4 Sunday in a 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild and were 1-for-13 on the road trip. The Sharks' only power-play goal came during a 4-2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In the Sharks' past 10 games, they've gone 3-for-35 with the man advantage.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.30.2013 / 4:39 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sharks, Ducks ready for first-place showdown

SAN JOSE -- When San Jose Sharks forward Brent Burns arrived home Friday night after his first career hat trick in a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues, his driveway was lined with hats and there was a 35-foot congratulatory banner hanging near his house, the work of some young neighbors.

"It was pretty crazy," Burns said. "Twitter was crazy, text messages."

One of those text messages was from former Minnesota Wild teammate Marian Gaborik, now with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Gaborik congratulated Burns on his hat trick then reminded him, "'You got 13 more to catch me,'" Burns said. "I said, 'Oh my God.'"

Less than 20 hours after scoring his third goal against St. Louis, Burns was back on the ice during an optional skate Saturday morning, working on his shot as the Sharks prepared for their first game of the season against the Anaheim Ducks, their Pacific Division rival.

"Got to work on it all the time," Burns said.

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 4:52 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Irwin returns to Sharks lineup, determined to stay

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin was a near constant in the lineup last season as a rookie, skating with veteran Dan Boyle. Irwin scored six goals, had six assists and earned a two-year contract for his impressive play.

This season Irwin hit the first nasty speed bump of his young career. After going without a goal in the Sharks' first 13 games, he was a healthy scratch for three straight, returned for one game, then sat the past six.

Irwin will return to the lineup Wednesday when the Sharks face the Los Angeles Kings at SAP Center and will be paired with Boyle.

"It's been a while since I've played," Irwin said after the Sharks' morning skate. "I've been chomping at the bit the get back out there, obviously, and help the team. Now that I've got my opportunity, I've got to seize the moment and keep it simple and play my game."

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Posted On Saturday, 11.23.2013 / 5:08 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sharks' Hertl excited to face idol Jagr

SAN JOSE -- While growing up in the Czech Republic, San Jose Sharks rookie forward Tomas Hertl had a poster of his countryman and hockey idol Jaromir Jagr on his bedroom wall.

Hertl, who turned 20 on Nov. 12, played two games against Jagr in the Czech Extraliga last year during the NHL lockout. But he'll face the 41-year-old Jagr for the first time in the NHL on Saturday night when the Sharks face the New Jersey Devils.

"I'm very excited," Hertl said after the Sharks morning skate at SAP Center. "He's a very, very strong guy."

Hertl said he's never talked to Jagr, but Jagr is well aware of the rookie after facing him twice during the lockout and following his fast start in the NHL.

"He's a good player, no question about it, for the age he is," Jagr said of Hertl, who has a team-high 12 goals. "There's a lot of guys in Europe who've got a lot of talent, but when they come here in the U.S. they might have a tough time because they don't know how to play on the boards and in the corners. That's not his problem. He was playing that kind of style in Europe. You knew it was just a matter of time of when he was going to be good in the NHL. Some guys they have a problem. They come in the League, the rink is smaller. And his advantage is he was playing at the arena where there was smaller ice. He didn't have to get used to it. That's the only arena [in the Czech Republic] that has small ice. They did it for the NHL games and they kind of liked it so they kept it."

While growing up, Hertl would watch highlights on television of Jagr's NHL exploits and an occasional game during the playoffs. He emulated Jagr's style of play, using his big body to protect the puck and also to get to the net.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 4:48 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Burns expected to return for Sharks against Lightning

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks forward Brent Burns was activated from injured reserve and is expected to be in the lineup Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning at SAP Center in San Jose.

"He's going to come off of IR, so there's a real good chance that he will play," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said after the morning skate. "We'll see how he is when he comes to the rink, but he's telling me now that he's ready. He looks ready, and right now he is."

Burns has missed 13 games with an unspecified facial injury and hasn't played since Oct. 19 against the Calgary Flames. He took a high-stick in the mouth on Oct. 12 from Ottawa Senators goaltender Robyn Lehner, but played three more games before missing more than a month of action.

The Sharks started 7-0-1 with Burns in the lineup and averaged 4.88 goals per game. Without him, they've gone 6-3-4 and averaged 2.5 goals per game.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 4:53 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Wingels retains spot on Sharks' top line

SAN JOSE -- It was midway through the second period of the San Jose Sharks' 5-4 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night when coach Todd McLellan began shuffling lines, looking for a spark.

Tommy Wingels jumped from the third line to the top line, trading places with Tyler Kennedy. Wingels joined center Joe Thornton and rookie forward Tomas Hertl. Wingels went on to score a third-period goal, as did Hertl and Kennedy.

Not surprisingly, McLellan will stick with the new-look lines that worked so well Tuesday when the Sharks play the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday at SAP Center at San Jose.

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.05.2013 / 5:13 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sharks' Burns making progress in recovery

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks injured forward Brent Burns will miss his seventh straight game Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres, but he took another step forward in his recovery from a head injury.

Burns took part in the Sharks' morning skate at SAP Center at San Jose, going through team drills for the first time in 16 days.

Burns was injured Oct. 12 against the Ottawa Senators when he was hit in the face by a high-stick by goaltender Robin Lehner, losing a number of teeth. Burns played three more games but has been sidelined since Oct. 19.

"That's a great step," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of Burns' return to team drills. "I don't know if you're going to qualify it as little or big, but getting closer, feeling better, back out there with his teammates. I didn't know who he was when he came out because he doesn't look the same, but it's nice to see him out there."

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Posted On Saturday, 11.02.2013 / 4:43 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Defenseman Boyle back in Sharks lineup

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle will return to the lineup Saturday against the Phoenix Coyotes after missing seven games with a concussion.

Boyle hasn't played since being knocked out Oct. 15 during a game against the St. Louis Blues. Maxim Lapierre hit Boyle from behind and sent him face-first into the boards.

Boyle has been skating for 10 days and took part in two regular practices during that span. He said he feels 100 percent healthy, but he hasn't taken a real hit since being injured.

"I was pretty lucky," Boyle said after the Sharks' morning skate. "It was a pretty scary incident, but the symptoms were pretty mild. I think it's important for me to get out there and get involved physically early, hopefully, and try and put that image that I have behind me."

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Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 5:02 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flames' Ramo hoping for better results this time out

SAN JOSE -- Calgary Flames goaltender Karri Ramo will make his second start of the season and face the San Jose Sharks for the second time in his career Saturday at SAP Center (10 p.m. ET, CBC).

Ramo can only hope the outcome is better than in his Flames debut and in his first career start against San Jose.

Ramo gave up four goals in a season-opening 5-4 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals and then backed up Joey MacDonald for the next five games. Ramo allowed seven goals on 42 shots in a 7-1 loss to Sharks at San Jose on Jan. 13, 2009, when he played for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Ramo won't be able to ease back into action after his five-game layoff. He'll face a 6-0-1 Sharks team that leads the NHL in goals with 33 and in goals per game at 4.71.

"Everyone is ready to go," Flames coach Bob Hartley said after his team's morning skate. "We work hard every day. Karri Ramo has played very well in training camp, played well in Washington, then Joey MacDonald got us on a roll. So hopefully Karri Ramo can do the same thing as [MacDonald]."

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Posted On Saturday, 10.12.2013 / 4:58 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Spezza returns to Ottawa lineup

SAN JOSE -- Captain Jason Spezza will return to the lineup after missing one game with a groin injury, and backup goaltender Robin Lehner will make his first start of the season Saturday night when the Ottawa Senators face the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.

Spezza, who sat out Ottawa's 4-3 overtime loss Wednesday to the Los Angeles Kings, centered the top line with Milan Michalek and Bobby Ryan during the Senators morning skate. He skated Thursday and practiced with the team in San Jose on Friday.

"I've had two really good practice days," Spezza said. "We skated pretty hard on the off day then had a good practice day yesterday. No ill effects, so I imagine hopefully it will be somewhat smooth sailing from here on in.

"I feel like it's behind me, but I'll feel better after getting through the first game. Then you get some confidence in it, but we've skated hard on it, so I'm pretty confident that it's all gone."

Spezza has more goals (229), assists (393) and points (622) than any other current Senator. Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said Spezza has been "one of the best players in the League for a while" and his return makes the Senators a "much better team, a much deeper team and a more dangerous team."

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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic