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Being Ready

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
Defenseman Rob Davison is no different than any National Hockey League player. He wants to play.
 
But with teammates such as veterans Scott Hannan and Kyle McLaren and rookies Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Matt Carle playing well, there’s only so many minutes available to the six defensemen who dress for every game.
 
Davison has played in just five games in 2006-07. He was a healthy scratch for the first 14 games and missed the next five because of a groin injury. On Thursday night against Colorado, he played 13:35, had his first assist of the season, two shots, a hit and a blocked shot.
 
How does Davison stay game ready? First of all, Assistant Coaches Tim Hunter and Rob Zettler work the scratched players hard following each day-of-game morning skate.
 
“We play practice scrimmages and although it’s not a game situation, it helps you to stay prepared and sharp,” Davison said.
 
The physical aspect is one thing. But when one is called upon to play after not being in the regular rotation, that’s another.
 
“You have to go out there and keep it simple,” he said. “If you try to do too much, you’ll find yourself in a tough spot (like playing overly physical and winding up in the penalty box). I just go out and try to make the first pass and stay physical.”
 
No doubt the NHL life always is on Davison’s mind. But now, there’s something else. On Nov. 3, the Davisons welcomed son Sawyer. “He’s actually five weeks old today,” Davison said proudly. Of course, having a son has changed Davison’s life.
 
“My wife and I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “It’s unbelievable to see someone you’ve created. It’s been a life-changing event for us. It gives you perspective on life. Hockey is important, but it is a game. There are more important things than hockey and family is No. 1 on the list.”
 
The timing of Sawyer’s birth was perfect for the Davisons. Sawyer, born in San Jose, is an American citizen and can also apply for citizenship in Canada. “He’ll be able to work in Canada and the United States,” Davison said. “So many more opportunities will open up for him.”
 
NUMBERS…WHAT NUMBERS?
Lost in the frustration over the 5-2 loss to Colorado on Thursday night was Joe Thornton’s performance. He snapped a four-game scoreless drought with a goal and an assist.
 
Sharks fans may find this hard to believe, but Thornton doesn’t look at the stats. Never has. “It’s always been like that,” he said.
 
So, how does last year’s Hart Memorial Trophy winner measure his performance? “I don’t think points are an indicator of how well you’re playing,” Thornton said. “As long as you’re getting the chances and you feel good, that’s an indication.”
 
For the record, Thornton leads San Jose with 29 points. His 21 assists not only lead the Sharks, but are amongst the League’s Top-10.
 
FRIDAY AT THE RINK
Defenseman Doug Murray was activated off injured reserve today after being on IR since Nov. 27 with an upper respiratory infection. To make room for Murray, left wing Ryane Clowe was placed on the IR with a groin strain, retroactive to Nov. 30…Friday’s practice was a private practice for Gilder and Anderson Elementary Schools in San Jose as part of the Fremont Bank Reading Is Cool program. Three hundred students from both schools had an audience with Captain Patrick Marleau before practice.
 
SATURDAY’S OPPONENT
The Nashville Predators come to San Jose for the first time since last year’s Stanley Cup Western Conference Quarterfinals tomorrow night (7:30 p.m., FSN Bay Area, 98.5 K-FOX, Sharks Radio Network and sjsharks.com).
 
The Predators (18-7-3, 39 points) lead the Central Division and are second in the Western Conference. On Thursday night, the Preds defeated Los Angeles, 4-1, at Staples Center. The win snapped Nashville’s three-game losing streak. Silicon Valley is the last stop on Nashville’s four-game road trip, which started with two consecutive losses in Phoenix (3-2 on Dec. 4) and Anaheim (4-0 on Dec. 6).
 
Although Nashville had lost three straight before Thursday’s game in Los Angeles, they have won five of their last eight. The Predators have relied on Chris Mason as their No. 1 goaltender for seven straight starts since Tomas Vokoun went down with a hand injury on Nov. 23.
 
The teams have met once before in 2006-07. On Oct. 26, the Sharks got power play goals from Mark Bell and Patrick Marleau, but lost 4-3.
 
AN EARLY MONDAY
Monday’s game between the Sharks and Phoenix Coyotes at HP Pavilion will start at 7 p.m., instead of the customary 7:30 p.m. start time.
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