No one will argue the 2 best teams in the Pacific Division are the LA Kings and the Anaheim Ducks; Cup Champs and the Ducks lead the league in points. The Sharks are a combined 6-1-1 against them and 4-4-2 against the other teams in the Pacific. I guess that’s a good thing … right?
Speaking of the Ducks, they are 11-4-5 against the Pacific Division … all 4-regulation losses are to the Sharks.
After the Sharks beat the LA Kings on Jan 23, Head Coach Darryl Sutter was quoted “I think they responded to their coach's challenge publically in the first period.” That tells me something I already knew, that McLellan has not lost the room … the players responded and despite their inconsistency this season they clearly still respect and play for their head coach.
Congrats to Marty Brodeur on an amazing career. He’ll be a first ballot Hall of Famer and for good reason. Among his many records, his 125 shutouts is amazing. That’s a good career in wins for many goalies, but to have that many shutouts is simply incredible.
With key players Justin Braun and Tommy Wingels both injured this is a huge opportunity for some young guys to step up and contribute while getting some good minutes. Let’s see who’s up to the challenge … and opportunity!
I was a left-handed shooting natural center my entire life. My first game in the NHL I played right wing on a line with two future Hall of Famers, Joe Sakic at center and Michel Goulet on left wing (yes I was the anchor on that line). While I preferred center my first pro head coach, Robbie Ftorek, taught me to play wing which turned out to be a very good thing because it gave me a 1 in 12 chance to make the NHL instead of a 1 in 4 chance if I was just a center.
I share that story because it’s becoming clear that Tomas Hertl seems more engaged at his natural position of center but has used the wing to adjust to the North American and NHL game. His hockey sense and ability to anticipate are great attributes for a center and while his skating improves over the next few years I think we’ll be seeing him as a centerman, which is his natural position.
Big week ahead for our beloved Sharkies. Chicago is in town on Saturday and they are always fun to watch … great team and my favorite uniforms in the league. After Saturday the Sharks next 5 games are, in order: Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Carolina and Calgary. The team needs to beat the Edmonton’s and Carolina’s and the other 3 games could really help solidify a top 3 playoff position if they Sharks can get on a roll and win all 3. The time in now, and the Sharks should feel very good about themselves after big home wins against LA and Anaheim.