The San Jose Sharks took one more step toward their 23-man opening night roster when they reassigned five players. Four players, right wings Mike Iggulden and Lukas Kaspar, along with netminders Thomas Greiss
and Dimitri Patzold, are headed to Worcester.
Blueliner Derek Joslin was returned to Ottawa where the Canadian junior leagues are about to get underway.
With 41 players remaining in camp, those still here could easily play in another two to three games before the regular season begins and many are hoping those contests will propel them to a permanent NHL spot.
“I would have played in all the preseason games,” said Sharks Assistant Coach Tim Hunter. “I loved playing the games. I wasn’t big on back-to-back games in the preseason.”
Sharks television analyst Marty McSorley says it depends on individual players on how many games they need.
“Sometimes you’re working with new linemates, sometimes you have new coaches,” said McSorley.
Hunter notes that the Sharks will continue focusing on lineup issues for opening night and keeping an eye out for who will be on the final roster.
“It’s a balance between the two,” said Hunter. “We’re looking for chemistry and who plays well together.”
It is not just about rolling out a bunch of kids to see what talent they have. Wins are important at this time of year.
“You’re looking at the young guys, but you want team success as well,” said Hunter. “You want to give the young guys a chance to play their game and be comfortable.”
By comfortable and giving them a chance, Hunter is referring to playing rookies with veterans at times to see how they react.
“You first training camp is about survival,” said Hunter. “Maybe the next year you get in a few more games and situations with your real peers. You want to give them a fair shake to make the team.”
Even when a young player doesn’t make the squad, there is a lot they can take away from training camp.
“Look at Cheech,” said Hunter. “He survived his first camp and played in a few more exhibition games the next year. Then he spent time between the AHL and the NHL. His first full year, he was playing on the third line and then he survived that and moved to the first line.”
Hunter still recalls his efforts in trying to survive those initial camps.
“I was on the ice with guys who were my idols,” said Hunter. “Phil Russell was there and I played defense with him. It was pretty overwhelming. Kent Nilsson and Guy Chouinard were coming down on me and I had to lick my wounds.”
One area Hunter said made him feel more comfortable was that all the players were treated equal.
“There was no rookie treatment,” said Hunter.
And Hunter still looks forward to this time of year.
“I really enjoy training camp,” said Hunter. “This is my 28th year and I still like it.”
The Sharks will play host to the Anaheim Ducks at the SaveMart Center in Fresno on Saturday, September 23, 2006 at 7:30 PM. The game will be broadcast by sjsharks.com and will be available by clicking here