Mark Smith is in his ninth season with the Sharks organization, and he has slowly morphed from an AHL regular, to a player splitting the season between the AHL and NHL and now he has been a Sharks regular for five consecutive seasons.
He is also one of the most versatile Sharks on the roster. During the preseason, he’s centered and played winger on multiple lines. When he centered the second line during the preseason, Milan Michalek came away with a hat trick.
“I think I played everywhere tonight,” said Smith. “It’s something I like to do. I’m proud of my versatility and that I can play in different situations.
Smith knows his versatility is a reason he is a Sharks mainstay, especially with many young players banging on the door.
“We’ve got a good group of young players trying to find their own spot,” said Smith.
And Smith, surprisingly one of the older Sharks players, is more than willing to help out his soon to be future teammates.
“If I can help a kid, I feel like I’m doing my job,” said Smith. “It feels just like yesterday that I came to my first camp. Now I look around and I’m one of the older guys.”
Smith is aware that when you normally play on the fourth line, that there is always someone banging on the door for your job.
“I used to try (and crunch the numbers in camp), but it’s just out of my hands,” said Smith. “It’s out of everyone’s hands. Time will tell when the regular season starts.”
Smith may see some future hockey players to work with, but the group may be lacking in Smith area’s of musical expertise.
“I don’t see a lot of donkey jaw players,” said Smith, referring to the real jaw of a donkey which is used as an instrument in South American. “There may be a couple of didgeridoo players (a reference to a historic African instrument Smith is known to play with his band.”
The Sharks never like to lose games, but they know they are having a rather successful preseason.
“I think we’re right on track,” said Captain Patrick Marleau
. “We want to get off to a good start. We still have some things to tweak, but we’re not far off. If we don’t get it all in the last exhibition game, we still have four days of practice.
Actually it will be three days of practice as Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson is giving the team the day off on Sunday.
Wilson definitely hopes to get his entire lineup in for Saturday night’s game against Calgary.
“I hope to have Joe, Cheech, Clowe and Milan playing tomorrow,” said Wilson.
San Jose has four days between their last exhibition game and their home opener, but it is not definite when the final roster cuts will be made.
“You can’t wait until the last minute and I definitely think player what they can do in games and not in practice,” said Ron Wilson.
RISSMILLER KEEPS ON PLAYING
Nothing is set in stone, but Patrick Rissmiller, who seemed to come out of no where last year to grab a regular spot on the playoff roster, has continued doing the right things in the preseason.
“He is the last guy I really worry about,” said Wilson.