“He provided a little toughness up there and kind of let those other two free-wheel,” said Worcester Head Coach Roy Sommer, who was the bench boss for the two rookie games. “He’s good on the wall and he’s a good forechecker. He’s a good first guy and cracks the puck loose so they can make a play with it.”
The trio had several sustained attacks in the offensive zone and all three players were involved. And instead of just maintaining the puck, they constantly made good hockey plays that led to scoring opportunities.
“Obviously I know the scouting staff wants to see the different depths of my game,” said McLaren. “So I just tried to make them look good. I just tried to make plays with them and cycle down low.”
Although he made a good impression, McLaren still has a ways to go to establish himself. However, he is leading a similar career path to current Shark Ryane Clowe
Last season, Clowe was asked to play on a line with Joe Thornton
and Jonathan Cheechoo and flourished. The book on Clowe was that he was tough, had a decent scoring touch, but wasn’t a great skater. That was dispelled though as he earned January’s NHL Rookie of the Month in his stint with Thornton and Cheechoo.
While the Sharks brass doesn’t pigeon hole anyone, they do point to their current players and how they progressed to help the prospects understand where they need to go. In fact, McLaren was given a little project.
“They didn’t really talk about [catering my game after Clowe], but [Sharks assistant coach] Tim Hunter gave me a DVD of Ryane Clowe
’s shifts from a summer development camp and obviously he is a player that I’d like to emulate out there,” said McLaren. “So hopefully I can show them that I can play like him.”
In the meantime, the future is uncertain for the 6-foot-4, 225-pound left wing. He is eligible for one more junior season, but he can also play pro as he turns 20-years-old on Oct. 29. So for now, he’ll just try to improve. If he goes back to Portland, he’ll likely serve as a captain and earn a great deal of ice time. If he earns a spot and plays professionally, he’ll get to play under the coaching staff that brought Clowe along. Either way, he’ll have a lot of tape to watch.
THE GOALS WERE INDEED TENDED
Roy Sommer couldn’t have been happier with the play of Tyson Sexsmith
and Timo Pielmeier. He admitted that the Sharks weren’t as sharp as he would like and that the goaltending really stood strong.
“Our goaltending was real solid,” said Sommer. “Tyson and Timo both provided the stops that we needed. Especially since we were killing so many penalties.”
Sexsmith got the nod in net for game two. He made 30 saves on 31 shots, including stopping two breakaways. Both times, the goaltender stood his ground and didn’t panic.
“That’s what I’ve always worked on,” said Sexsmith, referring to waiting on the shooter. “Again, I just want to make myself look big. I always wait and make them make the first move forcing them to where I want them to go. It’s one of the big keys to playing goal.”
The 5-foot-11, 210-pound native of Calgary, Alberta experienced a great deal of success with Vancouver in the Western Hockey League last season, leading the league in goals-against-average (1.79). He then led his squad to the Memorial Cup and only allowed seven goals in five games en route to winning the Canadian Hockey League championship.
Being at the biggest stage at that level of hockey really helped him make the transition. He was confident going in to the game that it was still just hockey and he would treat it as such.
“It’s just another game and you can’t get too worked up over it,” said Sexsmith. “You just deal with the pre-game jitters until you see the first shot and get a feel for the game. Our team played well and it allowed me to see the shots, which is really important.”
He quickly dulled all nerves and showed the fans in attendance that last season was no fluke. He was consistently squared to the shooter and he flashed his impressive glove hand on a number of occasions. But with all that, he knows that this is the next step for him as a player.
“I felt like I played the same type of game, just at a higher level,” said Sexsmith. “It’s one step closer to reaching the goal that everyone goes for.”
TALK OF RIVALRY AND WINNING
Roy Sommer was happy with the results after concluding the two games in Anaheim. And any talk of the results not mattering because it is a rookie tournament is just hogwash.
“I don’t care where you win a game,” preached Sommer. “Whether it’s this game or the regular season. It gets everyone’s confidence up. I’m sure that no one would have like to fly home 0-2 after this tournament. I think the biggest thing is that it gets everyone focused on how good it is to win. Whether it’s preseason or regular season.”
He further expounded on why it was important. The longest tenured coach in the AHL went on to explain that these players should get used to seeing each other.
“These guys see each other in the rookie tournament and they’ll likely see them in the regular season either in Worcester or San Jose,” explained Sommer. “They know the rivalry that San Jose and Anaheim have right now. And some of the guys are up and down seeing each other in both leagues. It’s definitely heating up.”
Sharks prospects play in Worcester and Anaheim’s in Portland in the American Hockey League. The two AHL franchises were re-united in the same division last season after Sharks moved their team from Cleveland to Worcester. The prospects from the two organizations went the entire 2005-06 season without playing each other. Anaheim moved their affiliation from Cincinnati to Portland in the summer of 2005. The teams now play each other eight times as opponents in the Atlantic Division.
“I’m glad we see each other so much again,” finished Sommer.
A LOOK AT THE PHYSICAL PLAY
- The biggest hit of the first period occurred with less than one minute remaining. Chris Murray leveled Bobby Ryan along the boards near the Sharks blueline. Both players wound up sprawled out across the ice and delivered a loud crush into the boards.
- Anaheim’s Adrian Viedeman caught Jamie McGinn with a nice hip check in the second period. McGinn was trying to sneak past him with a cross-over move. McGinn was still able to get the puck deep as the Sharks grabbed a line change.
- Ryan may have avoided an open ice hit by Logan Couture
, but it produced a bit of a comical result. Ryan pulled up short of the oncoming Couture, lost his balance and took himself out of the play. He skated straight to the Ducks bench after getting up and looked shaken up.
- T.J. Fox drove the net hard as Anaheim’s goaltender J.P. Levasseur was searching for the puck. The linesman whistled the play dead although the puck was still free. Fox continued going for the puck and the Ducks took exception. Brendan Mikkelson drilled Fox into the net. Chaos then ensued as Ryan Carter went after the Sharks Patrick Bernier. Ryan then joined in which incited Luke Fritshaw to pull him off. The two separated from the pack and continued to shove each other, but no punches were thrown. In all, Fritshaw, Bernier, Ryan and Carter were all given two minutes for roughing.
SCARY MOMENTTorrey Mitchell
took a high-stick to the face. It appeared to be inadvertent as Anaheim’s Bobby Bolt wound up for a slapshot and clocked Mitchell across the forehead. He instantly fell to the ground and was assisted by Worcester Sharks Head Athletic Trainer Matt White. He left the ice with a towel over his face and a noticeable pool of blood had to be scraped up by the ice crew.
Mitchell’s gash required 16 stitches. Although he didn’t return to the game, he still earned effusive praise from his coach.
“I thought that in two games he was our best forward and most consistent guy,” said Sommer. “He was involved in a number of plays in both ends of the ice defensively and offensively. He’s making himself a good story right now.”
SCARY MOMENT TWO
Jonathan Tremblay left the ice three minutes into the third period. He didn’t connect fully on a hit and his knee seemed to buckle. White again made his way to the ice and assisted Tremblay back to the bench. He did not return to action and his status for Monday’s practice has yet to be determined.
The Sharks made one lineup change on Sunday. Ashton Rome was out of the lineup with a hip pointer, leaving the Sharks with 18 skaters.
When Mitchell and Tremblay got injured, it left the Sharks with only nine forwards, or three lines. The Sharks responded by playing their best hockey in the two-day stretch. Anaheim had four forward lines the entire game, although they did shorten their bench towards the end of the evening.
MARCHMENT SETTLING IN
Bryan Marchment, hired into a Scout and Player Development role earlier in the summer, is getting his first taste of the new gig. He has been on the ice with the prospects the last few days. He feels that he is fitting in well with the rest of the Sharks development staff.
“They [the Sharks hockey staff] have helped me out and made me feel comfortable,” said Marchment. “I’ve been studying their habits also. They have a lot of enthusiasm for the game and it is a lot of fun for me.”
SCRIBBLES ON A NOTEBOOK
Have you ever played NHL 2007 on PlayStation? It is quite evident that Torrey Mitchell
has. For those of you familiar with the game, you will know that the triangle button does a tidy little deke. For the second consecutive day, Mitchell hit the triangle button to beat an Anaheim goaltender. The goals were so eerily similar, that he had scouts shaking their heads. On both instances, he started near the right face-off circle, deked through multiple defenders and beat the netminder with a backhand….On Luke Fritshaw’s goal from the point, J.P. Levasseur must have been confused. He had two Tremblay’s in front of him in Hunter and Jonathan. With one wearing number 24 and the other wearing 42, he probably thought he was looking at a mirror. The Tremblay’s were joined on the ice by Nate Raduns, who also helped create traffic. For the second consecutive game, Jonathan Tremblay and Raduns made things happen in the offensive zone and indirectly helped set up a goal…Tyson Sexsmith
’s style differs greatly from Timo Peilmeier. The most noticeable difference is the comfort that Sexsmith has using his glove hand. One similarity between the two: they stayed square to the puck consistently. Sexsmith symied two breakaways by staying patient and square. It really forced the shooters’ hand making the saves easier…Devin Setoguchi was extremely audible on a power play in the first period. Upset that he missed a good scoring chance, he showed frustration when he reached the bench. It was good to see him take a leadership role on the ice and his reaction showed his internal motivation. He easily generated the most scoring chances in the game for either team…Jamie McGinn showed a tremendous burst on a transition play and got parallel to a Ducks defender. It allowed him to take his time in getting off a sharp wrist shot that hit the underside of the crossbar. It is a positive when a player can play fast while still thinking through his next move…Setoguchi pulled out a new move in his repertoire in the second period. On a power play, he attempted a nice wrap around as he was able to beat an Anaheim defenseman. The attempt was stopped, but Setoguchi assisted on Couture’s goal on the next face-off.
WHAT DO THEY HAVE IN COMMON?
Patrick Rissmiller, Josh Gorges, Lynn Loyns, Brad Staubitz, Mike Iggulden and Garrett Stafford. See below for the answer.
A MORE DOMINANT DELORY???
James DeLory was drafted by the Sharks in the fourth round (98th overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. The scouting staff liked his toughness and long frame. When he participated in Sharks training camp last season, it was quite evident that he could put more size on his 6-foot-4 build. Knowing this, he spent a great deal of time in the weight room this summer and last season while playing in Oshawa (OHL). The result: a stronger, more-developed build.
“I put on about 15 pounds since last year,” said DeLory. “It’s helped with playing physical. But with being a big guy, I’ve still got to keep working on my mobility and my lateral movement. That’s what I have to work on to prove that I can play up here [San Jose].”
The Sharks brought some size with them to Anaheim. Four of their seven defensemen are 6-foot-4 or taller. Looking extremely imposing are tryouts Justin Wallingford (6-6, 225-pounds) and Juraj Valach (6-6, 215-pounds). The thickest though? It appears James DeLory has bulked up and increased his listed weight of 220-pounds.
IT’S ALL IN THE NAME
While Frazer McLaren isn’t related to nor does he play the same position as Sharks veteran defenseman Kyle McLaren, but the two do match up in the size department. Frazer is an inch taller than Kyle at 6-foot-5, but Kyle has a little more bulk than the young prospect, out-weighing him 230-pounds to 225-pounds
SPEAKING OF PROSPECTS
Mike Hoffman took part in Anaheim’s version of captain’s ice following the Sharks morning skate on Saturday morning. Hoffman was a member of the Cleveland Barons, the Sharks American Hockey League affiliate at the time, during the 2004-05 season. He split last season between Manchester and Portland in the AHL, registering 22 points (9-13=22) in 56 games. He exchanged pleasantries with several members of the Sharks organization before taking the ice.
Rissmiller, Gorges, Loyns, Staubitz, Iggulden and Stafford were all brought into the Sharks organization after performing as amateur tryouts. For Rissmiller, Gorges and Loyns, it has led to time in the NHL. Staubitz and Iggulden, who are still with the organization, spent last season in Worcester and are currently in San Jose preparing for training camp. Stafford was signed to an ATO after playing against the Sharks with Los Angeles in rookie play back in the 2003-04 season. He signed with the Detroit Red Wings organization earlier in the summer.