Haven’t done one of these in awhile, so here are 10 more random points on the Sharks on a day when my flight to Nashville was canceled (and I’m “stuck” in Los Angeles for the night)…
1 – Wayne Gretzky, in the Bay Area for a golf tourney at Pebble Beach, recently joined KNBR’s Brian Murphy. The greatest hockey player of all time was asked his thoughts on why the Sharks can’t get over that proverbial hump.
"It's kind of a surprise, isn't it? Especially after last year, up 3-0, that doesn't happen a whole lot,” Gretzky said.
"But, I'll tell you this, Dougy Wilson and [Todd] McLellan, the coach, they do a nice job. Dougy has sort of quietly changed the face of that team without imploding it. They've got some nice young kids that are now a part of that club. And it takes time.
"Who knows, maybe this year will be their year. They're well coached, and they have good management. And the good thing about the Sharks, is because of that, they'll always be competitive. Now they just need to try and figure out a way to get it to the next level."
Here’s a link to the full interview.
2 – What was the NHL thinking when they scheduled the Sharks’ road game in Dallas just two days before the Stadium Series on Saturday? It doesn’t seem right that San Jose has to take a three hour flight home immediately after the game on Thursday, and then hold practice at 3:30 p.m. at Levi’s Stadium on Friday, especially considering the four days off after Saturday’s festivities.
The most ridiculous part is that the NHL is holding a media reception on Thursday night, while the Sharks-Stars game is going on at American Airlines Center. With so many media in town, wouldn’t it have made more sense to have the actual team that’s hosting the event also around in the days leading up to the game?
The Kings, by the way, will have an extra day off, playing in Colorado on Wednesday night in their final tune-up.
3 – As reported here in back in September, the Sharks will wear their Stadium Series sweaters a couple more times at SAP Center after Saturday. The dates are Feb. 28 vs. Ottawa and March 14 vs. Chicago. The black sweaters will be worn just once more on March 12 vs. Nashville.
The Sharks have already announced they won’t be wearing the black sweaters for the playoffs, should they qualify.
4 – This story goes back a few weeks, but apparently when the Sharks were in St. Louis on Jan. 8, Joe Thornton helped to procure a signed stick from Martin Brodeur for Alex Stalock, who grew up a huge fan of the legendary goaltender who recently retired. Stalock said he tried to get one when the Sharks were in New Jersey last season, but apparently the Devils weren’t too keen on giving sticks away.
5 – Raffi Torres’ status still seems to be a daily question I get on Twitter. The bottom line is that Torres isn’t skating right now, and with 24 games to go, it's 99 percent certain he's not going to play this season. It’s fair to wonder if he’ll ever play another NHL game after having the ACL removed from his right knee over the summer following multiple infections.
Torres declined an interview request about three or four weeks ago.
6 – Troy Grosenick has been out of the Worcester lineup for one month, but according to multiple sources he’s getting closer to a return.
The nature of Grosenick’s injury is unclear, but it’s worth mentioning that the 25-year-old goalie suffered a concussion in a Sharks (NHL) practice in late November when he was still on recall. Considering Antti Niemi has been mentioned in trade rumors, and the Sharks would need another goaltender if they dealt him, Grosenick’s situation is worth monitoring.
Grosenick, who shut out the Carolina Hurricanes in his NHL debut on Nov. 16, was 8-1-2 in his previous 11 starts before coming out of the lineup.
7 – Need another sign that the Sharks internally view Joe Pavelski as their next captain? How about this quote from McLellan, after Pavelski’s hat trick in Arizona on Friday:
“There are nights he’s tired or sore or it doesn’t go his way, but he and a couple others are the poster children of preparation and professionalism,” McLellan said.
“If I’m a young player, if I’m an old player, I’m taking a look his way. What’s this guy doing? How does he prepare? And, I’m emulating it. If I’m not, I should be banging my head against the wall trying to figure out why not.”
8 – Dylan DeMelo was reassigned to Worcester on Sunday morning, but as of game time against the Lightning the defenseman was still wandering around the SAP Center press box. The Boston weather prevented him from returning to Worcester, he told me between periods.
That’s got to be exactly the kind of headache the Sharks are looking forward to avoiding when the team’s yet-to-be-named AHL affiliate relocates to San Jose next season.
One other quick note regarding the new AHL West Division – expect each of the five teams to play one another at least 12 times, and maybe more, I was told. Head-to-head matchups will constitute more than half of their respective regular season schedules.
9 – Pretty unfortunate story about Sharks forward Tommy Wingels’ younger brother, Johnny, who decided to stop playing college hockey at Miami (Ohio) after two serious concussions. He’s now a student assistant for the RedHawks, the team for which Tommy also played.
Last season as a freshman, a check from behind against Colorado College resulted in persistent headaches for about four months. That was on top of a previous concussion suffered while playing in the USHL.
"It got to the point where I needed to make a decision," Johnny Wingels told the Pioneer Press. "I didn't want to keep living my life, waking up with headaches. ... It came down to looking at my future, and I knew that hockey would end for everybody someday and I need my brain for the rest of my life."
10 – Speaking of Wingels, Tommy recently bought into the Finnish team he spent time with during the lockout, KooKoo.
It’s difficult to determine just what that means even when utilizing Google translate, but if there’s anyone out there who’s fluent in Finnish, maybe you can pass along the finer details of this press release in the comments section below.