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Training Camp

Back together, Sharks have eyes on Stanley Cup

'We want to get back and we want to win it,' Logan Couture says

by Eric Gilmore / Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- The energy level spiked, and so did the noise level, when the San Jose Sharks took the ice Tuesday for practice and welcomed back four more players from the World Cup of Hockey 2016.

Centers Joe Thornton and Logan Couture, and defenseman Brent Burns, part of Team Canada's championship team, practiced with the Sharks for the first time this season. Forward Mikkel Boedker, who reached the final with Team Europe, had his first practice with the Sharks since signing as a free agent July 1.

Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, another member of Team Canada, was traveling here Tuesday and is expected be on the ice for practice Wednesday, one week before the Sharks opener the regular season against the Los Angeles Kings at SAP Center.

"It was great," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "A different energy, obviously, with those guys back. The level of everything goes up when they're on the ice. It was nice to be a part of that."

In DeBoer's first season with San Jose, the Sharks reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time but lost in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"We had an unbelievable year, but we're not satisfied," Couture said. "We want to get back and we want to win it. We believe in this room that we're capable of doing that this year."

DeBoer said, "It's the strangest training camp I've been a part of with the [World Cup] situation, but everybody's back now. I'd be a lot more uncomfortable if this was last year and I was new to the group and we were trying to put in a lot of new things. I think the guys understand for the most part what we're expecting and how we want to play. So I think that definitely helps."

The Sharks will have largely the same roster they had during their Stanley Cup Playoff run, but they added speedy Boedker, formerly of the Arizona Coyotes, and defenseman David Schlemko, who played last season for the New Jersey Devils.

Video: SJS@PIT, Gm5: Burns opens the scoring early

Boedker skated at left wing on the second line with Couture and right wing Joonas Donskoi.

"They're good players, so obviously it's a lot of fun playing with those players," Boedker said. "They can make something happen out of nothing. It's important to get a feel for things, and I'm excited for the future here."

Thornton said the additions of Boedker and Schlemko will make San Jose a faster team.

Video: Practice 10/4: Logan Couture

"They both can move," Thornton said. "Mikkel, he flies up and down the wing. He creates a lot of pace. David on the back end, he moves pucks real well and he skates real well. I think we're going to have a little bit faster team this year, for sure."

Tomas Hertl had been playing center during camp but returned to his regular spot from last season at left wing on the top line with Thornton and right wing Joe Pavelski.

"I thought they were a dominant line last year, and I thought they got better as the season went on," DeBoer said. "We have the luxury that we can move some people around. Why change it if it isn't broken unless you have to?"

Video: STL@SJS, Gm6: Pavelski jams in puck, opens scoring

Chris Tierney centered the third line with Patrick Marleau and Joel Ward.

"I think [Tierney] deserves and has earned the right to play up in the lineup through how he finished the year and played in the playoffs," DeBoer said.

Seven Sharks, including Pavelski and Donskoi, played in the World Cup. Thornton said he's not concerned about the possible physical toll from the tournament and having a shorter offseason.

"I feel great," Thornton said. "I've been playing hockey for a month already. I felt great today. I took a couple days off and right back at it today. I feel in game shape.

"I think the guys look good. Everybody seems to be healthy, everybody seems to be rested. I expect us to start fast this year."

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