|Mashinter played 13 games and recorded 17 penalty minutes with the Sharks during the 2010-11 season. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images) |
April 6 was one of the longest days in Brandon Mashinter
Following a six-hour flight from Worcester, Mass. to Southern California where the Sharks were preparing to play the Anaheim Ducks, Mashinter started getting ready for that evening’s game. It was only the 13th game of his NHL career, but after the Sharks went down 6-1, the 22-year-old saw an opportunity – and he took it.
At 6-foot-5, 228 pounds, Anaheim’s George Parros stands an inch taller than Mashinter and at 31-years-old, he has seven more years of NHL experience. But Mashinter dropped the gloves with Anaheim’s enforcer
and lasted about 40 seconds in the bout.
If you remember anything about this fight, it’s probably the ending. Parros knocked Mashinter off-balance and during the fall, hit his forehead against the ice. Blood began to pool under Mashinter. Parros was the first one to start motioning for the Sharks trainer and as Mashinter was helped up – Gatorade towel pressed firmly against his open wound – Parros gave him a tap on the back. When he skated back to the bench, his teammates congratulated him. Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne skated over and tapped him with his stick.
Mashinter made an impression that night and he’s trying to build on that at Sharks Development Camp this week.
|Los Angeles Kings left wing Kyle Clifford, left, and San Jose Sharks' Brandon Mashinter fight during the second period of an NHL preseason hockey game, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009, in Ontario, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) |
“It was good for me to show the League what I can do and show the coaches that I’m not afraid,” said Mashinter during his lunch break on Tuesday. “It’s something that I’m willing to do while I’m here.”
Alongside a handful of Sharks prospects, Mashinter is participating in the Sharks five-day development camp at Sharks Ice. Starting at 7:45 in the morning, the players go through both on-ice and off-ice workouts, scrimmages, and meetings lasting until about 4:00 in the afternoon.
“Today we’re doing a lot of skating drills and battle drills – like one-on-ones against the boards protecting the puck,” explained Mashinter. “This afternoon we’re meeting with the coaches to go over the systems and then we have another skate where we go over the systems we learned.”
This is an important summer for a player like Mashinter. Last season, he was in and out of the Sharks lineup. After being recalled from Worcester, he played in his first NHL game on December 29 against the Minnesota Wild and tied the team lead with three hits in that game. He played in ten consecutive games during that stint with the big club before being reassigned to the AHL. In March, he returned to San Jose for two games and again in April for the game against Anaheim.
This year, Mashinter wants to be in San Jose on a full-time basis.
“I hope to be here,” explained Mashinter. “Starting with the Sharks, I had a three year plan. For my first year, I would be in Worcester and have a good year, then last year I was to be in Worcester, but go up and down – which actually happened. This year I hope to be here full time and have a good spot here.”
|Mashinter (72) fights with Blues right wing Ryan Reaves (75) on Jan. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) |
Mashinter had more than a ‘good’ year during his first season in Worcester. After being signed as a free agent in March, 2009, Mashinter became the first player in Worcester Sharks history to record double-digits in both goals (22) and fighting majors (13) in a single season. At the NHL level, four Sharks players have accomplished this feat: Jeff Odgers did it three times ('92-'93, '93-'94, '94-'95), Ryane Clowe
has done it twice ('09-'10, '10-'11) and both Andrei Nazarov ('96-'97) and Scott Thornton ('01-'02) did it once.
Not bad company to be in.
So where does he go from here? Following Development Camp, Mashinter will return home and take a week off before he starts training again. Then he’ll be on the ice two to three times a week and going to the gym six days a week. Starting in August, he’ll start going out on the ice every day.
He has to be ready to fight for a roster spot when he returns for training camp in September.