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Ask the Sharks: Vlasic's Answers

by Alison High / San Jose Sharks
San Jose Sharks' Marc-Edouard Vlasic celebrates after scoring during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
For three years, Marc-Edouard Vlasic had a clean slate. A calm, cool 22-year-old, Vlasic played 268 NHL games without a fighting major.

But on Nov 20, 2009, Vlasic threw that clean slate right out the window. Nine minutes into the second period of the Sharks game against Philadelphia, “Pickles” dropped the gloves with Flyers center Daniel Briere. By no means was it a slug-fest (the fight lasted maybe 10 seconds and was rated a draw by, but it was a long time coming.

Find out what caused “Pickles” to fight his fellow French Canadien (and whether or not he is actually a lousy gardener) in Vlasic’s segment of Ask the Sharks.

1. You fought Daniel Briere last year when we played Philadelphia. That's your only fighting major in your career. What triggered you to engage in that fight after going three years in the NHL without dropping the gloves?
He took a couple cheap shots and I was fed up with it. There was a slew-foot and a cross-check when we played them in Philadelphia and then the same thing in San Jose. So enough was enough.

2. I know you are a dog lover, if you were to go out and buy one today, what breed would it be and why?
I would get a Golden Retriever because I have one and I love them. They’re a lot of fun and they love you a lot. I would adopt one that’s three or four. I had a puppy during the summer and it’s a lot of work. I would rather rescue a three or four year old.

3. You've gotten the chance to play with Scott Hannan, Craig Rivet and Rob Blake over the years. All of them are steady veteran guys. What did you take away from your time with each of them and are there any teammates that have helped you the most?
Playing with those guys was great. Craig is a guy I watched growing up with the Canadiens. Blake is a Hall of Famer. Seeing their poise out there, the experience they had, they taught me a lot of pointers on the blueline and gave me a lot of confidence out there. It was a great experience for me to play with those guys.

Calgary Flames' David Moss, right, and San Jose Sharks' Marc-Edouard Vlasic during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
I saw Craig after the game on Thursday and I text Blake from time to time. I spoke to him around Christmas and he text me a couple days ago and he told me to shoot he puck like I wanted to score. But I haven’t spoken to Hannan in a long time.

4. Did you enjoy being in the Lousy Gardener commercial?
I enjoyed that (laughs). It was a good experience. It was outside so it took a little longer than expected. The planes kept flying over and I had to blow leaves so if the wind blew the leaves, we had to replace them.

5. How would you describe your actual gardening skills?

I’m not good, but I’m not lousy. I’m an average gardener. I’ve used the blower before. I like doing it. It’s fun.

6. Did you watch HBO's 24/7 show with the Caps and Penguins? If you did, what stood out to you about the show? Also, do you think it would be a good experience for your team if the Sharks were chosen to be the focus of a show like that?
Yes, I did and I liked getting to see what other teams do to prepare for games and practices. I think it would be great if they went around the League and had every team do it. My wife was watching it and she has no idea what goes on on the road, or in the locker room, or when we go out to dinner. So she was watching this and saying, ‘the whole League should do this!’ I think every team should get a chance to be on HBO so the fans could see what every team does. I think the fans would enjoy that.

7. What are your thoughts about the new All-Star format with two captains picking their teams?
I think that last person will still be happy to play in the All-Star Game. I think it’s a good idea. You make your own teams. We’ll see how it turns out. It depends on who the captains are and who they’re going to pick and whether or not the teams will be even. We just don’t know.

8. What type of player do you look forward to in defending? Is it a speedier type like Sidney Crosby or a more physical type like a Corey Perry? Both provide different challenges, but is there a type of player that gets you more focused going into a game?

Both. Crosby has a lot of speed and a lot of talent and Perry is a big guy with a lot of talent as well. I like defending the top players in the League no matter who it is.

9. Both Antti Niemi and Antero Niittymaki have played in 21 games this season and you’ve played on the blueline in every one of them. How does each goalie's playing style differ and do you adjust your playing style based on who is in net?

I don’t change my game. Niitty likes to play the puck a little bit more than Niemi does, but they don’t play it as often as I’ve had goalies play it in the past. But I don’t change anything. They’ve done a great job communicating.

10. You’re currently second on the team in blocked shots (68). Of those 68, which one hurt the most?
I blocked one two days ago in practice from Logan Couture and I think that one actually hurt the most. But probably one of the ones I blocked in Nashville. At the end of the period Shea Weber took a slapshot off my foot. So I’d say that’s the hardest one, but to look back on all 68, they all hurt.
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