The Sharks preseason begins tonight against the Los Angeles Kings and for most players making the journey to Southern California, these games are just a tune up for the regular session. But for four rookies, this preseason game is a rite of passage.
For prospects Benn Ferriero
, Kevin Henderson, Brandon Mashinter
and John McCarthy, tonight’s game will be their first in the National Hockey League.
“I’ve dreamt of doing this my whole life so I’m really excited about it,” said McCarthy, a 23-year-old from Boston. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound left wing was co-captain of the 2009 NCAA Champion Boston University hockey team.
“It’s another step that I need to take to make it to the big club and I’m hoping I can show my best,” said Henderson, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound native of Toronto, Ontario. “I’m looking forward to have a good game in front of a different crowd and it’ll be a lot of fun.”
Following Wednesday’s Teal and White Game at HP Pavilion, rosters for Thursday’s game against Los Angeles were posted outside the locker rooms. And the four prospects that were chosen to play against the Kings have had less than 24 hours to prepare for a moment that has been on their minds for a lifetime.
“I was really happy and excited,” Henderson said about seeing his name on the list. “Now I’m just trying to get prepared to play another game. It’s been a great camp so far and I’m looking forward to continuing.”
“I think it’s just another step towards an NHL career,” said 21-year-old Mashinter. His parents are in town from Bradford, Ontario and are traveling to Ontario to watch their son’s first NHL preseason game. “I’m excited and a little nervous. A whole bunch of mixed emotions.”
“I’m just excited to get the first game under my belt,” Ferriero said. “Hopefully I’ll play well, keep it simple and make a good first impression.”PREGAME PRACTICE
Before their 2 p.m. flight to Los Angeles, the Sharks completed a two-part practice. The Sharks competing for a roster spot took part in the first half of practice, lasting about an hour. Evgeni Nabokov and Thomas Greiss
were in goal behind these forward lines:
Devin Setoguchi – Joe Thornton
– Dan HinoteRyane Clowe
– Joe Pavelski
– Patrick Marleau
Jody Shelley – Scott Nichol – Brad Staubitz
Ryan Vesce – Jamie McGinn – Jed Ortmeyer
Defensive pairings were mixed throughout the practice amongst Dan Boyle
, Kent Huskins, Derek Joslin, Mathieu Dandenault, Douglas Murray
and Marc-Edouard Vlasic
. Towards the end of the session, Joe Loprieno was added to the group.
The second practice consisted of forwards Logan Couture
, Andrew Desjardins
, Ferriero, Dwight Helminen, Henderson, Mashinter, McCarthy, Frazer McLaren and Steven Zalewski alongside defensemen Joe Callahan, Jason Demers
, Danny Groulx, Loprieno, and Nick Petrecki
. Alex Stalock
and Tyson Sexsmith
were in goal. COMPETITION GETS TOUGHER
The battle for spots among the forwards increased as San Jose invited free agent Manny Malhotra to camp. The former first round pick of the New York Rangers had spent last five years with Columbus and will be arriving in San Jose on Thursday night.
Malhotra posted 11 goals and 24 assists with Columbus in 2008-09.
For three seasons, left wing Jody Shelley played alongside Malhotra in Columbus and spoke with him on Wednesday night about coming to San Jose.
“It’s exciting that he’s coming here and he’s excited to be here,” Shelley said. “He’s a real solid centerman and a really good penalty killer. He’s a great guy and a really good professional.”
Shelley also explained that Malhotra’s the kind of player that thrives on coming up big in pressure situations.
“He’s usually the guy that’s called on in big moments, big penalty kills or the last few minutes of the game,” Shelley said. “He seems to thrive on those defensive situations.”HEATLEY STATUS REPORT
New forward Dany Heatley is expected to arrive in San Jose on Thursday night.
SHARKS REDUCE ROSTER BY THREE
Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has trimmed three players from the team’s 2009-10 training camp roster.
Right wing Dan DaSilva, center Dean Strong and left wing T.J. Trevelyn have been re-assigned to San Jose’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Worcester Sharks.