On the eve of their preseason opener against the Los Angeles Kings, the San Jose Sharks played in their final intrasquad scrimmage before a crowd of loyal season ticket holders on Monday at HP Pavilion.
The annual Teal and White game allowed season ticket holders to have an exclusive look at the team and marked the beginning of the exhibition season. The Sharks will hit the ground running tomorrow, playing eight games over the next 12 days in preparation of the regular season opener on Oct. 5.
Head Coach Ron Wilson used the annual season ticket holder event as a chance to further develop the younger players. Click here
for video highlights from the game.
“This is another minor step and you want to introduce them to see what it’s like preparing for a game here,” coach Wilson said. “I always look just to see how hard players compete in an environment like this.”
Wilson has already set most of his lines and is now focusing on harnessing chemistry.
“For the most part I have an idea what our lines are going to be on opening night. Someone has to surprise me otherwise not to start that way. We have eight exhibition games and a lot of guys to get in. I prefer to try to keep our lines together rather than confuse people by mixing up the lines every game.”
If the Teal and White game was an indication as to what the lines will be like, Wilson and his staff will have several key decisions to make as they whittle down the current roster to a 23-man active roster before Oct. 5.
Playing in a split squad format similar to how Major League Baseball teams structure their lineups in spring training, the Sharks appeared to have not one, but two 23-man lineups worthy of competing in the NHL. Each side played much of the game with set lines, but shuffled players around as necessary.
One of the lines that found chemistry Monday was the combination of Patrick Rissmiller, Curtis Brown and Grant Stevenson. After skating together through much of training camp, the trio lit the lamp twice on two precision passing plays.
Rissmiller opened the scoring after the trio used their speed to gain space and converted a 3-on-4 opportunity into a 3-on-1. Stevenson pushed the puck up the right side, drawing the defender over before making a tape-to-tape behind the back drop pass to Brown. Brown quickly moved the puck from the slot to the left side and Rissmiller buried the puck past a sprawling Taylor Dakers.
Later it was Stevenson who was on the receiving end of a tape-to-tape pass, again set up by Brown and Rissmiller as the three lead Team White to a 5-0 victory over Team Teal. Mike Iggulden, Ryane Clowe
and Joe Pavelski
rounded out the scoring for Team White, while Dimitri Patzold and Thomas Greiss
combined for the shutout.
GOALTENDERS SHUTDOWN THE SHOOTOUT
Though the game ended with the score 5-0 in favor of Team White, twelve fans in attendance were selected at random during the game to come down and take coach Ron Wilson’s job for a day. Each fan was given the opportunity to make a choice to see who the shooters and the goalies were in the postgame shootout. Fans selected Greiss and Nolan Schaefer as the goaltenders for the event.
For Team White, Joe Thornton
, Jonathan Cheechoo, Mark Bell, Mark Smith and Matt Carle were selected to shoot against Schaefer. For Team Teal, Patrick Marleau
, Steve Bernier, Doug Murray, Ville Nieminen and Milan Michalek were all chosen to face Greiss. Schaefer held his own and stopped Thornton, Bell and Carle, but both Cheechoo and Smith found the back of the net. Greiss on the other hand, shut down Team Teal stopping each shooter he faced.
WON’T BACK DOWN
Of the several one-on-one battles on the ice Monday, none was better than the battle between Brown and Scott Ferguson. The two came together on several different shifts, exchanging shoves in front of the net, working hard in the corners and making one another pay the price along the boards.
“The old guys getting into it,” said Brown, 30, with a smile on his face. “It’s good though. You have to get into that mode. A couple of weeks from now, that’s going to be happening in games. You have to get ready for it.”
Ferguson, 33, echoed his counterpart’s comments on preparation.
“You’re playing against guys that are on your team,” he said. “So you don’t want to get too carried away. It should get a lot more intense in the next couple of weeks, so you have to be ready.”
GONNA CARRY THAT WEIGHT
A noticeable difference in this year’s lineup is size. With the departure of Nils Ekman, Alyn McCauley and Tom Preissing and the addition of Mark Bell, Mike Grier and Mathieu Biron, the Sharks lineup is noticeably bigger. Of the 52 players remaining on the Sharks roster, 40 are at are over 200 pounds. Furthermore, of the 52 players only four are below six-feet in height. The Sharks size combined with their speed and youth will certainly cause headaches for opposing teams and coaches.
BOBBLE HEAD NIGHT
Every season ticket holders in attendance went home with a limited edition Joe Thornton
bobble head doll. Many of the players were as excited about giveaway as the fans were.
“Super Joe,” said Brown. “There he is!”
“Looks just like him,” said Cheechoo with a grin on his face.
Bell chimed in as well about his linemate’s bobble head. “Oh he looks great.”
|TEAM TEAL || || ||TEAM WHITE |
|Michalek ||Marleau ||Bernier || || ||Bell ||Thornton ||Cheechoo |
|Nieminen ||Goc ||Grier || || ||Rissmiller ||Brown ||Stevenson |
|Kaspar ||Plihal ||Hooton ||Macho || ||Clowe ||Smith ||Iggulden |
|Darche ||Valette ||Parker || || ||Cavanagh ||Pavelski ||Mink |
| || || || || || || || |
|Hannan ||Murray || || || ||Carle ||McLaren || |
|Ehrhoff ||Gorges || || || ||Davison ||Spang || |
|Biron ||Ferguson || || || ||Traverse ||Vlasic || |
|Wishart ||Joslin || || || ||Stafford ||DeLory || |
| || || || || || || || |
|Dakers ||Schaefer || || || ||Patzold ||Greiss || |