For Marc-Edouard Vlasic, year two in the NHL is not much different than year one. After being named to the NHL’s All-Rookie Team, and finishing second on the club in ice time in his first season, Vlasic has quietly become the franchise’s leader in ice time (22:44) for season two.
It’s all in a day’s work for the young man who was the NHL’s youngest blueliner last season. He’s five pounds heavier, but bulk is not the name of the game for the smart-thinking Quebec product. Vlasic knows what to do and when to do it, which is why Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson plays him so much.
As a rookie, Vlasic was challenged a lot more, but opponents are beginning to find out that challenging Vlasic is not the best idea.
“They tried a lot more to dump the puck in on my side and hit me to get me off my game,” said Vlasic. “It doesn’t affect me and I just make my plays.”
The numbers may not be there yet, but Vlasic is looking to improve his offensive production this year.
“I feel confident,” said Vlasic. “A lot more confident. I’m trying to handle the puck and jump into the rush a lot more.”
Part of the reason for the slow rise in offense has to do with the fact that Vlasic is skating with one of the league’s most offensive blueliners, Sandis Ozolinsh.
“I went from (Scott) Hannan who stays at home all the time, to Ozo (Ozolinsh), who thinks offensively all the time,” said Vlasic. “Sometimes I think about going in and he’s already there.”
His defensive partner may have changed, but that is about it for the steady blueliner on the ice. Nothing seems to rattle him.
“I wasn’t nervous my first game,” said Vlasic. “Maybe a little for my first playoff game. I’m that way on most things.”
Off the ice, Vlasic does feel a little more at home, although there is a noticeable change. During his rookie campaign, he lived with a local San Jose family, but this year his girlfriend has moved out from Quebec City.
For the most part, they enjoy the simple life even though they’re young and living the California dream.
“I like to watch TV,” said Vlasic. “My girlfriend and I like to cook.”
Vlasic acknowledges he might not be the better half when it comes to cooking.
“My specialty is soup,” said Vlasic, which sounds better until he fesses up it comes from a can. “I’m more like the assistant chef.”
When the couple dines out, Vlasic says they enjoy the restaurant variety in San Jose.
“The top restaurants are good here and back home, but there are a lot more middle of the road places to eat here,” said Vlasic.
Neither Vlasic nor his girlfriend, Martine, have forgotten their Quebec roots, but they are happy to be in Silicon Valley.
“It helps a lot having her here,” said Vlasic. “At least if neither one of us knows what we’re doing, we’re lost together.”
BROADCAST CHANGE The Sharks have made a change in their broadcast schedule for the Januray 3, 2008 home game against Calgary and the April 3, 2008 road game against Los Angeles. The January 3 telecast will now be broadcast on FSN and the April 3 game has moved to regular FSN (not plus) and will be broadcast in High Definition.