When it comes to Sharks blueliners skating in the postseason, one player has played more games in a Sharks uniform as a defenseman that anyone else on the current team and that even surprised Marc-Edouard Vlasic
himself. All-time, only Mike Rathje and Scott Hannan have dressed in more Sharks playoff games as a blueliner.
The youthful veteran’s status catches even some of his closet teammates off guard.
“I’ve played maybe 130 games. He’s a year older than me and he’s got maybe 300 more games under his belt and more in the playoffs,” Jason Demers
said. “He’s already a veteran and he’s only 23. It’s cool to see because you don’t really look at him that way.”
Vlasic’s 53 post season games with the men in teal, much like his style of play, have flown a bit under the radar, but his effectiveness is a constant. Whether it’s Detroit’s vaunted first line or their fourth line, Vlasic is just as cool no matter who is lined up against him.
“It’s pretty impressive,” road roommate Torrey Mitchell
said. “He brings a sense of calming to everyone in the lockerroom. He’s been there and played a lot of games. He’s got a lot of experience even though he is still young. It just goes to show how valuable he is.”
Vlasic’s style hasn’t changed over the years, but says the years of playoff games have benefited his game.
“I’m different. With five years in the league, there is a lot of growth and a lot of experience, maturity and confidence,” Vlasic said. “All that is huge in development.”
It’s no coincidence that when Vlasic hit his groove this year, the Sharks also started finding their groove.
“This year, I feel since the mid-way point, I’ve really grown my game,” Vlasic said.
Vlasic’s demeanor is a big part of who he is on and off the ice.
“He’s a pretty quiet guy, but he’s got pretty good sense of humor,” Mitchell said. “He’s a good guy.”
Vlasic has always let this actions do his speaking for him, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have much to say. If there is an item that needs to be addressed, he is not afraid to stand up and when he does talk, the voice is respected.
“Once in a blue moon,” Mitchell acknowledged how often Vlasic gets vocal. “When he says something, you know he is really into it and he cares. It goes a long way.”
“We talk a lot and I listen to what he has to say,” Demers said. “If he thinks we’re not playing good (we talk) and if we are playing good he’s reinforce it and say ‘keep it up and keep playing the same way.’ It’s good to have someone my age with that much experience. He’s mature, but he’s a guy we can joke around a lot with.”
For as unflappable as Vlasic is, his teammates say he is impossible to rattle on the ice. Off the ice, it can be difficult, but once in a while you can find something.
“I’ve gotten him, but not on the ice,” Demers said. “Off the ice I can get him going. Mitchy and I try a lot, but he usually dominates us. You can’t say much to a guy who has 400 games. You can get him on food. He eats more food than anyone you’ve ever seen for someone his size. He’ll order a dinner on the plane of chicken, rice and vegetables and then 20 minutes later order the same thing with potatoes instead of rice. Then he’ll eat chocolate and candy and be fine.”
Vlasic is a pup age wise, but he is an old soul when it comes to how he smoothly handles whatever comes his way.
“He’s got his life figured out and his routine figured out,” Mitchell said. “He’s like a 40-year-old to be honest. He’s got his dogs, his wife, a couple of houses. That’s not very typical of a 23-year-old. He’s very mature for his age.”
As for adding to his playoff game total in a Sharks uniform, the numbers will likely keep adding up.
“I enjoy the playoffs, they are great,” Vlasic said. “It’s a great time of the year. It’s pressure time, do or die. That’s what I love.”
San Jose will be playing a rare Noon start time on Sunday.
“I don’t’ like it, I’ll be honest,” Boyle said. “I don’t like noon games at all. I haven’t quite figured out what the routine is going to be. Although I don’t like it, I’m sure I’ll be ready to go at game time.”
Some players like it, some don’t, but it is what it is when the puck drops Sunday.
DAY AFTER Benn Ferriero
was still feeling the glow after his Game 1 overtime winner.
“Keep it going I guess,” Ferriero said. “I had about 50 (texts) before I even left the rink. I lost track after that. It’s been kind of crazy, I didn’t really expect as much as has gone on. In the end, it comes down to a lucky bounce when you throw it to the net. It was a pretty special night. Hopefully I’ll stay in the lineup and contribute as much as I can.”
The Red Wings know the danger of falling behind 2-0 and will come out playing with a passion on Sunday.
“They are going to come out with a great effort and we have to match it,” Vlasic said.
Game 2 will be at Noon on NBC, 98.5/102.1 and www.sjsharks.com.