Scott King is one of the longer tenured players.
“I’ve been here for ten years and Mannheim for two years,” said King. “I’ve got a couple kids and my wife. The kids were born in Germany and I like it. It’s a great place to play.”
King has Saskatchewan roots and played against a current Sharks player in junior.
“I played against Patrick Marleau
when I was in Kelowna and he was in Seattle,” said King.
Upon hearing King’s name, Marleau immediately recalled the player from Kelowna. Marleau was also a teammate with Eagle in Jame Pollock.
“I played with Jame Pollock in junior and I got to catch up with him this morning,” said Marleau. “We went to school together for two years. He had a really heavy shot so we’ll see if he’s still has it tonight. I’m sure he will. I hadn’t seen their roster, but he sent the trainer in (to let me know he was here) and I’m glad he did.”Torrey Mitchell
had time to visit with a former teammate from a nine-year-old baseball team in Mario Scalzo.
“I played baseball with him when I was nine,” said Mitchell. “We played for the St. Hubert Ambassadors. I was a shortstop and pitcher.”
The Mannheim players are excited about the opportunity to play the NHL squad from San Jose.
“It’s going to be a challenge, that’s for sure,” said King. “It will be fun. It’s not going to be easy, but we’ve got to go out there and be our best. We’ll have some fun and it will be a great experience, something you can tell people about.”
“It’s a good experience for everybody and everyone is really excited,” said Nikolai Goc. “We’ll see what happens tonight.”
Fred Brathwaite, a former NHL goaltender says the game will be beneficial to his teammates.
“If we have a good game here with these guys, it will prove to us we can keep up with anyone in our own league,” said Brathwaite.
Brathwaite seemed to be like Kevin Bacon at the morning skate in that he had six degrees of separation from several Sharks.
“There are a couple guys over there that I crossed paths with,” said Brathwaite. “I played in the World Championships with some of the guys. There’s Heatley, Thornton and Marleau. Dan Boyle
is from Ottawa and we work out together when he is in Ottawa. Kent Huskins is from Ottawa. I think there are about six or so. I know (Jamie) Baker. There are quite a bit of guys who I crossed paths with.”
Dany Heatley will get a chance to see his brother tonight after the game. However the reunion won’t last long as his sibling, who plays for the same team their father did, has a game the next day.
“It’s cool,” said Heatley of the family hockey tie in Germany. “It doesn’t happen very often anywhere, so for him to play in that city and for that team is pretty cool.”
Heatley, while raised primarily in Canada, still enjoys his German ties.
“My mom’s side is German so I still have some family over here,” said Heatley. “It’s fun to come back. It’s a nice country.”
The Sharks will make a few adjustments for the contest, but with this the only game on European sized ice all year, the Sharks aren’t going to reinvent their game plan.
“Tonight’s game is under NHL rules,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. “The only rule that won’t be in play is the trapezoid behind the net.”
There is one roster exception being made for the evening.
“We have the luxury of dressing extra players if we like and we’ll probably dress one extra defenseman,” said McLellan. “We’ll play with seven so we’ll rotate them through. I don’t think you’ll see solid pairs. You’ll see guys rotate through and we’ll go from there.”
IN NETAntti Niemi
will get the start in net for San Jose.
Marcel Goc’s brother Nikolai will be part of the Eagles lineup as he was recently acquired by his brother’s old club.
“I came here on Thursday, I was with the Hanover Scorpions,” said Goc. “They got into a little bit of trouble with the money stuff, so Mannheim called me and now I’m here.”
He says he and Marcel are in touch every week on phone and “Skyping.”
The Sharks-Mannheim game will be at 10:30 a.m. PT and will be available on sjsharks.com with video (German language) and audio only (English with Dan Rusanowsky and Jamie Baker).