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Sharks Complete Perfect Preseason

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks

Perfect.  It may not count toward the regular season, but a perfect preseason - 7-0-0 - is something that Sharks fans can be excited about.


"It's not really a statement, but you start to get the winning feeling," said Scott Thornton.  "The best teams expect to win.  You don't want to get too far ahead, but it's good to win."


Still, the real games count beginning October 5 in Nashville.


"Obviously not every game had every team's full lineup, but it's good for the confidence," said Wayne Primeau. 


And once again, the Sharks adhered to the new rules, while their opponents struggled to adjust.  The Sharks had just two minor calls against them, while Phoenix suffered through 10 penalties.


"We practiced for this from day one and it has carried over to games," said Primeau.


"We emphasize it every day," said Kyle McLaren. 


It might be easier for forwards to let a penalty slip since they know there is a defenseman and a goaltender behind them, but the defensemen know that an error on their part could leave the goaltender defenseless.  So, is it harder for them to avoid the whistle?


"It's still skating and doing what you have to do," said McLaren.  "It's tougher in your zone though.  Personally, I've never been a highly penalized player.  Sometimes you want to hold on in the corners, but you have to get in and get out."


However, every team has talked about the new rules, the Sharks just have the ability to play within them via their team speed.


"We're a fast skating team and that helps," said Primeau.  "We keep our feet moving."


Marco Sturm scored the first goal against Phoenix in the second period and Patrick Marleau drilled home the game-winner with six minutes remaining for the 2-1 victory.  The score was not indicative of the contest as San Jose outshot the Coyotes 41-16 and the scoring opportunities were of even more in favor of San Jose.


So what can be taken from the preseason?


"More than anything, we saw that kids like Marcel Goc and Ryane Clowe are more than ready," said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson.  "Josh Gorges as well.  All the players who had career years last year look poised to step up.  It is important to keep on improving."



Wednesday night marked the first time that Phoenix's Zbynek Michalek squared off against his younger brother, Milan Michalek, in an NHL contest.  In fact, it marked their first contest ever against each other.


"We always played on the same team in the Czech Republic," said Milan Michalek.  "I never played against him.  Tonight we were out their five or six times and it was fun."


San Jose's Wayne Primeau has played against his brother Keith numerous times, including having an actual fight during a game, but Milan Michalek says there is no concern for that with the Czech brothers.


"There is no fighting between us because neither of us fight," said Milan.  "I think we were out there five or six times together and I saw him every time.  We bumped into each other, but nothing hard."


They could bump into each other on many other occasions since they play for division rivals.


"We might play each other eight times and our parents might come over and see some games," said Milan. "We called them but they couldn't come because it wasn't enough notice."


The Sharks Michalek liked what he saw from his elder sibling.


"He played very good tonight," said Milan.  "I think they have one more game, so I hope he makes (the team)."


San Jose's Michalek almost scored with his brother on the ice.


"I missed the open net," said Milan Michalek.  "The puck was a little too far in front and I (got under it)."



While Patrick Marleau will always wear the captain's "C" for San Jose, who his Alternate Captains will be will change.  For the final preseason game, Wayne Primeau and Scott Hannan wore the "A", but that will rotate during the regular season among several players.

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