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Team Toughness

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
On Saturday Brad Staubitz was involved in a big-time fight where he was cut near the eye and yet still continued to throw haymakers en-route to a victory over Jared Boll of Columbus. (For the purpose of this story, wins and losses are determined through hockeyfights.com.)


It was another example of --- when the time calls for it --- the Sharks sticking up for themselves and their teammates. San Jose has recorded the 10th most fights in the NHL with 45 bouts this year. The club is not out to start something on any night, but has shown their ability to finish things that come their way.

Some wondered if there would be a change in the Sharks dynamic when Jody Shelley was moved to the New York Rangers, but that is far from the truth. Shelley is a dominate fighter and was very popular in the room, but the Sharks have shown that they can still carry the heavy workload when they are challenged.

“We have team toughness, not just one guy,” said Scott Nichol, who is not afraid to step in the ring when called upon. “Look what happened in Montreal and Jay Leach came in. We have a lot of guys who can back it up. Clowe went against George (Parros) a few months ago.”

During that example, Parros, one of the NHL’s true heavyweights, was part of a play that needed to be addressed and Clowe stepped in and went toe-to-toe with Anaheim’s heavyweight (taking the bout handily according to hockeyfights.com).

Clowe says it’s less about who is on the ice and more about the situation.

“Whoever is on the ice, I’m ready,” said Clowe. “A lot of my fights are spur of the moment.”

Whether it’s Staubitz, Clowe, Leach, Nichol, Douglas Murray or someone else, the size and will is there from multiple men in teal and the Shelley trade showed a lot of confidence from management in the group as a whole.

“Jay Leach has shown he can step in and pick up the team. Wally (Wallin), Staubie and Murray too,” said Clowe.

“I always say a team is best when it has team toughness,” said Leach. “If something happens, any of us can step up.”

The fact that numerous Sharks are willing to go, and it was that way even when Shelley was here, makes the Sharks all the more formidable.

“Jody added a lot of toughness and it’s not like someone will replace him, but we do have toughness as a team,” said Staubitz. “If you have an individual and no one else is willing to engage (it doesn’t work as well.) When a you have a lot of players, from the high end to the low end (it’s better).

The reality of it is, while the fisticuffs may still occasionally happen during the final 17 games, with playoff positions and seeding on the line, there will be less and less fights.

“It tends to diminish as the season goes on,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan.

Plain and simple, everyone in the Sharks lineup at this point is also someone who will be part of the playoff roster when the postseason begins and that is important as not every club has that ability. On many teams, the pugilist simply isn’t a talented enough player for the playoffs. The Sharks won’t have to worry about any lineup alterations.

In addition, the Sharks have others in the pipeline who could fill in with the extra crrriculars if necessary.

“We have some guys in the minors (think Frazer McLaren) capable of filling that role,” said McLellan.

CLOSER
Scott Nichol again skated with the team, running his upper body injury through the full latitude of tests and is getting closer to returning.

“It’s coming around,” said Nichol. “I’ve tested it and it’s not as sore the next day as it was before.”

“He will skate in the morning and we’ll make a game time decision,” said McLellan.

CCHA ALL-CONFERENCE
Tommy Wingels, a Sharks prospect and junior at the University of Miami (Ohio) as been named to the CCHA’s all conference second team.

GET PLAYOFF TIX
Place a deposit for season tickets or a sharkpak next year and get playoff tickets this year. Click here for details.

GUITAR HERO
Sharks Forward Devin Setoguchi was recently presented with a custom Samurai-themed guitar by Halo Guitars in Cupertino. The guitar, which will be featured on an episode of SharkByte, is now coming to the Sharks Store at HP Pavilion at San Jose. Fans will be able to view and purchase their own version of the guitar starting this Saturday, March 13. Setoguchi helped design the guitar, which features some of the finest components and parts in the music industry.

In addition, a brand new custom t-shirt that features the same design as the guitar will also be for sale in the Sharks Store for just $15 each.

For more information on the custom guitar or to place an order, please call the Sharks Store at 408-999-6810 or email them at sharksstore@svse.net.

NEXT GAME
The Sharks will host Nashville Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at HP Pavilion and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The game will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.
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