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The Official Site of the San Jose Sharks

Monday Mailbag - 2/6/2012

by Sarah Peters / San Jose Sharks

Here is The Daily Chomp's Monday Mailbag answering your questions sent in by Twitter (tweet @SanJoseSharks using #AskSJS), Facebook, or email.

Q: Why is there rubber stripping on top of the boards and are they going to remove it?
- Sharon

TDC: Prior to the 2011-12 NHL season, both HP Pavilion and Sharks Ice (the Sharks practice facility) installed new dasher board systems and acrylic shielding to meet the NHL’s enhanced safety guidelines. The new boards feature a new “seamless acrylic” shielding system, designed by Sport Systems Athletica. The new boards give players ultimate shock absorption upon heavy impact. At the begininning of the season, Sharks captain Joe Thornton said, “[the boards] seem to be a little more lively than the old ones, the old ones used to just die. These, they’ve got a lot of jump to them and they’re really smooth.”

Along with the new boards, a SoftCap rail system that looks like a rubber strip was installed for injury prevention. The new SoftCap strip features air pockets that are designed to help prevent face and head injuries when players are checked face first into the boards.

Q: When is Martin Havlat coming back?
- Oscar C.

TDC: Sharks forward Martin Havlat was injured on December 17, 2011 against the Edmonton Oilers when his leg got caught trying to step over the boards for a line change. The newest update on Havlat's injury came today when CSN California beat writer Kevin Kurz tweeted that "[Sharks GM] Doug Wilson says Havlat will start skating in the 'near future,' but wouldn't specify exactly when."

Last week Mercury News beat writer David Pollack reported that Havlat is off his crutches and walking without a limp. He quoted Sharks head coach Todd McLellan saying, “When I came back from the all-star break and walked in, he met me in the hallway and looked really good. That was the best I’ve seen him look – no crutches, no limp, walking very good." While there is no definite time for Havlat's return, McLellan said the most important thing is "getting his strength up and conditioning.” Pollack reiterated that GM Doug Wilson is sticking to his timetable of a return in early to mid-March.

Q: What is the average age of hockey players?
– Heather

TDC: Currently, the San Jose Sharks carry a roster that averages out at 28 years of age. That puts them close to the middle of the pack when compared to other squads in the NHL. The Detroit Red Wings are by far the oldest group with an average age plus of 30. There is quite a gap between the Wings and some of the NHL's youngest teams in the Avalanche and the Predators. Here is a breakdown of the average ages of each team's active roster (as of Feb. 6, 2012):

Rank Team Avg. Age Rank Team Avg. Age Rank Team Avg. Age
1 DET 30.4 11 VAN 28.5 21 CBJ 27.7
2 NJD 29.8 12 SJS 28.4 22 EDM 27.6
3 PHX 29.3 13 CHI 28.3 23 BUF 27.4
4 ANA 29.2 14 NYI 28.3 24 WPG 27.3
5 TBL 29.1 15 BOS 28.1 25 CAR 27.2
6 FLA 29.0 16 OTT 28.1 26 LAK 27.0
7 CGY 28.8 17 PHI 28.1 27 NYR 27.0
8 PIT 28.8 18 MIN 27.9 28 TOR 27.0
9 WAS 28.8 19 STL 27.9 29 NSH 26.7
10 DAL 28.6 20 MTL 27.8 30 COL 26.6
The oldest player to skate in a game with the San Jose Sharks was forward Claude Lemieux during the 2008-09 season when he was 43 years old. The veteran played in 18 games, registering one point on an assist. Former Sharks captain, Rob Blake, was of course 40 years old during his final season in the NHL. Blake’s illustrious professional hockey career stretches back to the 1989-90 season when he broke in to the league with the Los Angeles Kings at age 20.

The Sharks have skated three players who were 18 during their first year out on the ice. They are defenseman Vlastimil Kroupa (1993-94), forward Jeff Friesen (1994-95) and forward Patrick Marleau (1997-98). Marleau played in 79 games and registered 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) during his rookie season.
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