One more chance to brush the rust off, get all the kinks out and tweak any small things need to be worked on. Tonight marks the final game in what has undoubtedly been the best preseason in Sharks history.
Coming into the game 6-0-0, San Jose realizes there are still things that need to be worked on.
"I think we have a lot of things to improve on," said Kyle McLaren. "We should be moving our feet a little more and limiting the other teams' scoring chances."
Just the type of response one would want to hear from a player on a team that's undefeated in the preseason. If anyone thinks the Sharks are planning to let their unbeaten streak get in the way of their goals for the regular season, they're mistaken.
"We haven't been too bad, yet we haven't been where we need to go," added the 6-foot-4 defenseman. "We need to tweak the small things more than anything and make sure we're clicking on all cylinders."
Expectations throughout the League are high for the Sharks. With only one free agent signing in an offseason that saw an eye opening amount of movement, San Jose took heat for not being proactive on the market. But it's the depth of their own development system, and the experience that the young Sharks team garnered in advancing to the Western Conference Finals last season, that makes them click.
"We're pleased with the continuity that's taken place over the course of training camp," said Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson. "The key for us was to regain the momentum that we had when we last played. I'm very pleased with how the players came into camp and certainly how the individuals have competed for spots and showed us where they're at."
The Sharks plan to carry the momentum they've had throughout the preseason into the regular season when they open in Nashville next Wednesday.
"It's been awhile and we're ready to go," said McLaren. "It seems like it's been forever since we've been in a real game and the team's excited."
San Jose will put their perfect record on the line tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes (1-5-0). The opening faceoff at HP Pavilion at San Jose at 7:30 p.m.
All NHL teams must have their rosters cut down to 23 by opening day. Currently, the Sharks are at 24 and a decision on the final spot should be announced in the next couple days.
"Some of the decision is health-based," said Wilson. "We're down to 24 right now and Josh Langfeld is injured, so all of it will sort itself out soon."
Another factor to consider is the Sharks have eight defensemen still on their roster. Stay tuned to sjsharks.com for more news on the final roster move.
BROTHERS FACE EACH OTHER
Milan Michalek is ready to shine for the Shark this season after losing the 2003-04 campaign due to a knee injury. On Friday, Michalek will take on his older brother Zbynek, a defenseman who's looking to earn a spot on the Phoenix roster.
"It's very cool to have the chance to play against him," said Milan. "I hope he plays tonight."
The Michalek brothers have never played against each other in an NHL game, although they squared off in the minor leagues and the Czech Republic. Milan and Zbynek hope they will be on the same team someday rather than battling each other.
"It would be a dream come true if we could play together," said Milan.
OH MY GOC!
Sharks fans got a glimpse of one of the rising stars on their roster in the 2003-04 playoffs when Marcel Goc burst onto the scene. He played a key role in helping the team reach the Western Conference Finals, but this season he plans to do even more. Goc has notched two assists and is 55-for-81 in the faceoff circle this preseason, winning 68 percent. Look for Goc to rise among the elite young players in the game this season.