For opening night vs. Anaheim, there will be plenty of new faces on the ice at HP Pavilion, but there will be nobody with the Sharks playing their first NHL game.
However, a few players such as Lukas Kaspar, Devin Setoguchi and Tomas Plihal, along with Brian Boucher and Jody Shelley will be playing their first opening night at HP Pavilion with the Sharks. Kaspar wondered how loud it could get compared to the playoffs, but Plihal was in San Jose for opening night last year (although he didn’t play) and quickly shared his memory.
“It’s as loud as the playoffs,” Plihal said.
Three players will be making their Sharks regular season debut before the home crowd: Rob Blake, Dan Boyle
and Brad Lukowich.
“Now we’re going out with the same colored jersey and playing for the same team,” Boyle said.
Boyle feels the team won’t need a lot of time to play well together.
“I think it’s just common sense and playing hockey,” Boyle said. “For me, I adapt easily.”
Blake is excited to hear the cheers for him at HP Pavilion, as opposed to the boos over the years when he played for Los Angeles and Colorado.
“I think it will be cheers here tonight,” Blake said.
Regardless of whether one is a rookie or seasoned vet, there’s always something special about opening night.
“I see the excitement in this group to start the season,” Captain Patrick Marleau
said. “We’re ready for a fresh start. This is a really good group. (Executive Vice President and General Manager) Doug (Wilson) knows players and you never have to worry about (chemistry). Everybody wants to get off to a good start as a team and individually.”
New Head Coach Todd McLellan will be in his first game as an NHL head coach.
“It’s exciting for me as an individual and our staff, but more for the players,” McLellan said. “You see some grown men, near or at 40, acting like bantam players. I hope they bottle up that energy.”
McLellan is eager to get the HP Pavilion faithful behind him as a friend rather than a foe as they were for his years with Detroit.
“I do think they’re a home ice advantage,” McLellan said. “It’s a loud building and hard to come into (as a visitor). We need to take advantage of it here.”
McLellan tabbed Joe Thornton
and Mike Grier as his alternate captains.
“I think the most important thing is Patrick Marleau
remains our captain,” McLellan said. “Without a doubt, he’s our leader. He has a strong supporting cast.”
McLellan insinuated that although the NHL doesn’t allow the netminder to wear a letter, he would otherwise consider it with Evgeni Nabokov.
“(Roberto) Luongo was named captain (in Vancouver) and ‘Nabby’ is close to that,” McLellan said. “He’s one of the top two goaltenders in the League.”FOUR
With the departure of Kyle McLaren from the roster, Blake can now wear his familiar No. 4. During training camp and the preseason, he wore No. 5.
“Kyle had spoken to me a couple of weeks ago about his situation,” Blake said. “It’s what I’ve worn during my career. It’s just a number, but I do appreciate the respect he showed me.”
Plihal, with No. 39, and Kaspar, with No. 43, have some high numbers, but don’t seem to mind.
“Obviously, I didn’t pick this,” said Plihal about the number he was assigned in camp a long time ago. “I don’t want to change now.”
Kaspar made light about the number he wore in the past.
“It (43) is what I got when I got here. I want No. 22 and will talk with Dan (Boyle),” Kaspar said with a smile.
Opening night will take place on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. against Anaheim and the contest will be available on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com. There will be a pregame and postgame show available on both television and radio.