As the San Jose Sharks prepare for the Stanley Cup Playoff drive, they have had some pleasant individual results in the past few games. A big component in the postseason drive last year was Jonathan Cheechoo cranking out the majority of his 56 goals in the campaign’s second half.
Now it looks as if Cheechoo’s scoring engines are revving up again as he posted consecutive multi-goal games against the Ducks. It is not as if Cheechoo was having a poor year, as he is currently tracking for 30 goals. It is just that expectations and attention rise when you’re the Rocket Richard Trophy holder. Cheechoo has made some adjustments and is looking forward to the season’s final 27 games.
Cheechoo knows it is a fine line between being a 30-goal scorer and a 50-goal scorer, but it is a line he is to cross again.
“It’s all confidence,” said Cheechoo. “If you’re confidence is not there, you take the extra second to look at the net. The puck needs to go off your stick quickly to the net.”
A lack of confidence not only changes how the shot is delivered, but if the shot is delivered.
“When you’re not scoring, you’re passing on shots you should be taking,” said Cheechoo. “You start trying to be too fine and you miss the net.”
Another sign that Cheechoo is back to his old form is that he is once again skating alongside Joe Thornton
“He was fighting through injuries and goal scoring is down (around the league),” said Thornton of his wingers downturn in production. “I love playing with him. I don’t think it’s a matter of how much you’re scoring, but if you’re scoring at the right time.”
And the right time would be during the stretch drive.
Cheechoo does have one adjustment to make now that he and Thornton are reunited.
“You can’t get too caught up in watching him,” said Cheechoo. “You have to be ready to shoot all the time.”
A difference from last year is that the two are now flanked by the NHL’s January Rookie of the Month in Ryane Clowe
, who provides a different element to the trio. Not only can Clowe play a smart game and finish his own opportunities, but he provides some bulk as well.
“He’s tough and nobody messes with Joe when he’s on the ice,” said Cheechoo. “He’s good along the boards, likes to score and has good hands.”
As for his personal efforts, Cheechoo never has been one to put numbers like 50 or 60 in his head.
“I’ll set little goals, like the type of game I want to play,” said Cheechoo.
The Moose Factory, Ontario product knows that if he finds enough opportunities, the goals will come.
“If I get three good chances, there is a good chance a goal will go in,” said Cheechoo.
The Sharks are still fighting little injuries like most other NHL teams. Kyle McLaren again skated with the club after missing the Anaheim contest.
“It’s day-to-day for a few days,” said McLaren. “The days off certainly help”
Evgeni Nabokov also skated.
“I’m feeling good,” said Nabokov. “You can’t practice at 80 percent if you’re a goalie. I’ll use the time off to recover. I haven’t skated in five days, so I don’t want to have a long vacation.”
and Mark Smith stayed off the ice, while Scott Parker left a few minutes early.
“He just tweaked his ankle a little bit,” said Wilson.
The Sharks took some time at the end of practice to work on some hard skating drills.
“This is a conditioning bump,” said Wilson. “We won’t have many opportunities the rest of the year.”
Wilson will also take the extra practice time to work on some intricacies of the Sharks game.
“We’ll spend a day on the five-on-three,” said Wilson. “For some reason, we want to score in the first five seconds instead of making more passes and wearing them down.”
Sharks television color commentator Marty McSorley and his wife LeAnn welcomed their first child into the world. Eight-pound, six-ounce Emma Anne McSorley was born to the couple in Los Angeles.
SETOGUCHI REVVING UP
Devin Setoguchi has tallied three goals and nine points in his last four games, helping the Prince George Cougars to a 2-2 record in that span. The 19-year-old Sharks draft pick has scored a team-leading 21 goals this season, and also sits tied for second in the WHL with four shorthanded markers.
Many Tier divisions state championships will be held at Logitech Ice from Thursday, Feb. 8 thru Sunday, Feb. 11.
The CAHA "A" and "B" State Championships will be held at the Logitech Ice Arena April 12th thru 15th.
San Jose still has three days remaining until their next game, which is Tuesday, February 13 in St. Louis. The 5 p.m. contest will be aired on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.