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White Returns & McLellan Focuses On Special Teams

by Alison High / San Jose Sharks
Sharks defensman Ian White could return to the lineup for Game 3 on Tuesday in Los Angeles.  (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Sharks defenseman Ian White made his return to practice today for the first time since suffering a head injury at the hands of Kings center Jarret Stoll on April 14.

White joined the Sharks for a 45-minute practice at Sharks Ice at San Jose before they boarded a 2:00 p.m. flight to Los Angeles.

“I thought he looked really good,” said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan of White’s return to the ice. “He was sharp in the drills, bright and executed well. I quickly skated by after and he said he felt good. We’ll see what the training staff thinks and move forward.”

Whether White will return to the lineup for Game 3 is still unclear, but McLellan said he anticipated that the 26-year-old defenseman would be ready to play.

“The trainers will have to clear him,” said McLellan. “And if they tell me he can play, then we’re excited about that.”

The primary focus of Monday’s practice was special teams, with about 15 minutes devoted specifically to the power play breakout. After being tied for second in the NHL in power play percentage during the regular season (23.5%), San Jose has failed to score with the man advantage over the past two games. They join the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins as the three teams in the postseason without a power play goal.

“Honestly, there are no adjustments, it’s just execution,” said Boyle who led San Jose with an average of 4:23 of power play time per game during the regular season. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
The Sharks are up against a very skilled Kings penalty kill. During the regular season, Los Angeles was ranked fourth in the NHL with an 85.5% success-rate. During the postseason they have killed off all seven of the Sharks power play opportunities.

“Our power play has to be better,” said McLellan. “We spent a lot of time on that today and reviewing it --- they (Los Angeles) do a very good job, but it’s also our group of players not executing and mishandling the puck in key situations. We’ll see if we can adjust a little bit and go from there.”

Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle and left wing Patrick Marleau also brought up execution when they spoke about improving on the power play.

“Honestly, there are no adjustments, it’s just execution,” said Boyle who led San Jose with an average of 4:23 of power play time per game during the regular season. “We were the No. 2 power play all year for good reason. Just having watched the last game, the simple, everyday passes that we normally make, we were just way, way off.”

“It was about our execution of our passing,” said Marleau. “Nothing major, it’s just our focus needs to be better and we need to be more assertive on it.”

The National Hockey League will announce the three finalists for each of the League's most prestigious regular-season awards over the next two weeks. The announcements begin tomorrow, Tuesday, April 19, with the top three vote-getters for the Calder Memorial Trophy, which goes to the League’s top rookie.

Announcements will be made each day at 9:00 AM (Pacific).

The stars of the National Hockey League will come together with celebrities from music, stage and screen for a celebration of hockey at the star-studded 2011 NHL® Awards on Wednesday, June 22, at the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas.

It will be the third straight year the NHL has feted the best hockey players in the world at The
Palms Hotel in Las Vegas. The 2011 NHL Awards will be broadcast by VERSUS in the United States and CBC in Canada.

Tickets to the 2011 NHL Awards are on sale now via at and at the Pearl Concert Theater Box Office.

Date Award
Tuesday, April 19 Calder Memorial Trophy (top rookie)
Wednesday, April 20 General Manager of the Year
Thursday, April 21 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (skill/sportsmanship)
Friday, April 22 Vezina Trophy (top goaltender)
Monday, April 25  James Norris Memorial Trophy 
Tuesday, April 26 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (perseverance and dedication to hockey)
Wednesday, April 27 Frank J. Selke Trophy (top defensive forward)
Thursday, April 28 Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP)
Friday, April 29 Jack Adams Award (Coach of the Year)
Monday, May 2 NHL Foundation Player Award (contributions to charitable causes)

The Sharks will face the Kings in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Tuesday, April 19 at 7:30 PM (Pacific). Watch the game live on CSNCA in HD or VERSUS and listen live on KFOX 98.5/102.1 FM.

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