With more than 25 members of the Edmonton media and several local scribes descending upon the Logitech Ice at San Jose on Saturday, the Sharks went through their paces in a “business as usual” mode.
Head Coach Ron Wilson held court following a spirited Sharks practice.
When pressed on the “relative” anonymity of Sharks defenseman Josh Gorges and Tom Preissing, Wilson bristled.
“Well, they are flying under your radar, they are not off our radar,” he said. “They play lots of minutes, averaging over 20 a game, and they are good hockey players. If you don’t know them, then that is your fault, not ours.”
Next up was a question about the flurry of activity taking place in San Jose all weekend.
“It is just a perfect storm of events taking place tomorrow,” commented Wilson. “San Jose is the safest big city in the US. I live downtown. You just need to be prepared for anything to happen. San Jose PD is prepared, we have been working with them. Bottom line is just to be smart after the game and take care to arrive early. Most of the people attending the festival are there to have fun. It is a bad element that comes looking for trouble.”
As a reminder, there are several events taking place downtown tomorrow, including the Cinco De Mayo festival and the Sharks have asked all fans to plan on arriving early and take different routes to HP Pavilion for ease of access and parking. The Sharks and the County have opened up a large parking structure at the corner of Route 87 (The Guadalupe parkway) and Julian Street that is not normally open during Sharks games. This pay for parking structure will offer nearly 1,500 spots for those who cannot or do not want to park in the heart of downtown.
“I am barricading myself in tonight,” he cracked.
His other thoughts on random topics:
ON PATRICK MARLEAU
BEING A FORCE
“It is not surprise, Patty played on the World Cup team two years ago and somehow he got omitted from the Olympic team this year and he was having a great season. He is a great player and one of the fastest in the Western Conference. He has a great shot and scores consistently and in big games. He is really starting to fulfill his potential and is showcasing his playmaking ability because of the guys he is getting a chance to play with now (Steve Bernier and Milan Michalek).
“You had Sakic and Forsberg centering different lines and forming a formidable one-two punch and at times being on the ice together. We have a similar situation developing now.”
ON SCOTT HANNAN TURNING HIS SEASON AROUND
“It took Scott Hannan a long time to adjust to the way the game was going to be called and the style of play. The way he was accustomed to playing, was a banging, physical style. Plus, it took him a while to get used to playing with some of the younger d-men, to develop that trust and comfort level. He might have tried to hard earlier in the season. Now he has a partner in Josh Gorges that is very steady and they read off each other very well. He knows he is going to be playing against the other team’s best players.”
ON THE NOISE IN HP PAVILION
“I don’t have to tell you, just ask the other players who come in here to play. It is the loudest building in the league. It is pretty loud in the regular season and our fans find some way to kick it up a few notches in the playoffs. The people handling the music and other stuff do a great job of keeping the crowd involved. Generally speaking, we play pretty good at home which makes it easy for our fans to get excited.
THE GRIND OF SECURING A PLAYOFF POSITION
“Where we were in the standings, six, eight points out, there were times when you wondered if we would make it. Then we rip off eight in row and lost the last game of the regular season, which was a throw away game, and end up fifth in the Conference.”
This is the first time since the League went to the current playoff format that the five, six, seven and eight seeds all advanced into the second round. When Ron Wilson was in Washington and went to the Finals, it was the four, six, seven and eight seeds that advanced to the second round.
One Edmonton reporter joked that the Sharks Head Coach had a bonus clause in his contract that rewarded him for home games.
“If I did, we would have lost Game 5 in Nashville and come back to win it in six,” he added.