On Friday, SJSHARKS.com sat down with Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan to discuss his thoughts on the team as they hit the 20-game mark of the season.
1)Overall how do you feel about the club’s success both in the standings and on the ice?
It goes back to training camp and the principals we tried to put in place. We’ve gone from being reactive to proactive on the ice and the special teams are coming around. There are a lot of areas to improve. We need to play with a lead better. 2)What are you thoughts on Brian Boucher stepping up in Evgeni Nabokov’s absence?
Bouch didn’t have to step up. He has the ability to do what he did. He played very well and we know what he can do.3)It seems that everything has gone as planned with regards to an improved offensive attack and getting more shots to the net. What has been the secret?
We do get pucks to the net and get bodies there. We’re please the defense has been active and involved in the offense. That was a concern coming in. Some of it is situational, the way we manage the game. 4)Yet, the defensive efforts have stayed at a high level for the entire club.
We like to be on the attack offensively, but not at the cost of good defense. We had some shaky games early where our net play wasn’t where we want it to be. 5)Devin Setoguchi has been placed on Joe Thornton’s line and seems to have thrived. Is he there to stay?
Obviously his production has been there. He’s found a home on that line and he’d like to keep that valuable spot in the lineup. About 17 players are in a long line for that spot. I haven’t had to rotate other people there because Devin is committed to playing there.
6)It was stated in training camp that Joe Thornton was going to have to adjust with the new system and it seems that he has his line rounding into form and that he’s made the adjustment in style.
He’s done everything he’s been asked to do and I feel confident in what he’s doing. He’s backchecking, adjusted on the power play and trying to shoot the puck more. He’s also been a team leader.
7)Patrick Marleau has reemerged from a tough regular season last year. How proud of Patrick are you for turning it around?
I only know Patty from how I know him now. Stats wise he’s proven he is back. He is a great player and a better person. He’s being rewarded for his play and he’s smiling and enjoying the game.
8)Ryane Clowe returned for the playoffs last year, but how happy are you to see him round into form and produce at a high level no matter what line he plays in.
From what I’ve heard, he worked extremely hard last year to get back for the playoffs. We talked early in the year about what has to be done before a goal is scored and he is doing it. He’s one of our best board players and he’s producing.9)It’s one thing to presume three players like Rob Blake, Dan Boyle and Brad Lukowich will fit in, but it seems to have been fairly seamless from the outside. What’s made it that way?
A lot is attributable to the individuals coming into the mix. They are tremendous talents, but it’s clear they have winning attributes. They are prepared to adjust for the team.10)Jody Shelley is in his first full year with the team. Can you talk about his contributions to the club and what it means to have a player like that in the lineup most nights?
He is more than just (a policeman). He is strong on his board game and he can change the momentum of a game even if he is not in a fighting situation.11)The physicality of the club is noticeably higher this year, whether it is a few more big hits or just being harder on the puck. What to you contribute that to?
Physically, I want us competing for the puck. If you have the puck, take the hit to hold onto it. If you don’t have the puck, do what you have to do to get it back. Faceoffs are physical plays and flat out battles. There are so many different ways to be physical in the game.12)Joe Pavelski’s contributions have been a big reason the Sharks aren’t a one line team this year. Can you discuss what he brings to the ice each night centering his line?
Pavs has the type of game you can play in any situation. Coaches have players you can trust. We have a number of players like that, but you asked about him, and he is (extremely reliable). INJURY UPDATES
Evgeni Nabokov was once again skating and is healthy enough to play. However, he likely won’t be facing the Washington Capitals.
“Bouch will player tomorrow,” said McLellan. “Nabby is ready to play physically. Organizationally, we think he will be better with four to five days of practice. ANOTHER NETMINDER
Sharks fans in attendance at Sharks Ice at San Jose on Friday saw a third netminder come on the ice after practice. It was not a future Shark, but a former Giant in J.T. Snow.
The retired baseball player donned the goalie pads and took shots from Jeremy Roenick, Jonathan Cheechoo, Jody Shelley, Joe Pavelski
and others. The idea arose from the planners at CSN Bay Area who heard of Snow’s son’s interest in playing hockey.
“It’s the first time ever,” said Snow of playing in the pipes. “I used to play a little roller hockey and went to skating parties (as a kid). That’s how my son got into it.”
Snow said he had fun, but that there are different talents required for hockey and baseball.
“It was hard to catch the puck without the skates starting to slide out from under you,” said Snow. “Then J.R. said to start screening the shots. I have the utmost respect for goalies.”
Snow may not be a hockey participant in his spare time, but he does follow the Sharks.
“Last year, I went to 10 games or so and we’re going tomorrow,” said Snow. “I enjoy hockey. I love watching baseball games, but I love watching hockey in person.”NEXT GAME
San Jose will host Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Saturday night and the contest will be on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com and at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office.