After opening the season with three consecutive victories for only the second time in franchise history on Monday night, the Sharks set aside some time after practice on Tuesday for an intrasquad curling tournament.
Players, coaches and staff members that made the three-game road trip to Canada met after practice for the brief tournament, an exercise organized to promote and strengthen team unity. Each team consisted of four people and it was clear from the get go that many of the Sharks were better off playing hockey rather than taking up curling.
“Razor (Ray Tufts), Nabby (Evgeni Nabokov), Griersy (Mike Grier) and (Kyle) McLaren had to be the worst team,” Assistant Coach Tim Hunter said. “We beat them five-nil.”
Head Coach Ron Wilson, who head-manned a group that consisted of Hunter, Assistant Coach Rob Zettler and Rob Davison, was impressed by Hunter’s expertise with the curling stones.
“Beating up on Clowey (Ryane Clowe
), Pickles (Marc-Edouard Vlasic
) and (Matt) Carle was great,” Hunter said. “We kept hitting a bunch of home runs and they couldn’t stop us.”
With the victory over their youthful opponents, the team of Wilson-Zettler-Hunter-Davison advanced to the finals. Much to the head coach’s delight, his teammates came up big when the match was on the line.
“Hunts (Tim Hunter) actually looks like he knows what he is doing,” Wilson said, singing the praises of his teammates. “And Davy (Rob Davison) came up clutch in the four-hole. What an anchor!”
Though reaching the finals by way of Davison’s clutch performance, Wilson’s squad would meet their match while facing a tough team lead by Sharks captain Patrick Marleau
. Curtis Brown, Mark Smith and Equipment Manager Mike Aldrich joined Marleau and together formed the day’s most difficult adversary.
“Brownie (Curtis Brown) and Smitty (Mark Smith) have a lot of strategy,” Davison said. “They are tough.”
In the end it was The Captain’s team that bested The Coach’s team in a landslide, winning five-nil. The Captain’s team had plenty of praise to go around as they congratulated one another.
“It was all in the hands of Curtis Brown,” Smith said. “When things fell apart for us, he came up big in the fourth spot.”
Brown echoed Smith’s sentiments, returning compliments of his own.
“Smitty knows how to think the game,” Brown said. “He’s really the tactician of the group and he led us to the championship.”
The Sharks will have another day of practice before flying to Edmonton for the first time since last year’s Game Six loss in the Western Conference Semifinals. The Sharks will be looking for redemption as they face the Oilers on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised on FSN Bay Area and will be on the radio on 98.5 KFOX and SJSHARKS.com.