Programming note: Oilers-Sharks coverage starts Thursday at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California with Sharks Pregame Live
SAN JOSE -- At this point in his career, Scott Hannan isn’t likely to end up in too many postgame highlight packages.
For the 35-year-old defenseman, though, that’s a good thing, as playing steady in his own end is his primary responsibility. He’s done that lately, and is a big part of the reason the Sharks have allowed just 16 goals in their last eight games, winning seven of them.
Hannan has been an even or plus player in each of his last nine games, playing the last eight in a row, and he’s also averaging nearly two minutes a night on the penalty kill, fourth on the team.
“His on-ice play has been very solid,” Todd McLellan said. “When Scotty is healthy he is a pretty good defender, good penalty killer. The penalty kill has climbed up into the Top 10 now and he plays a big role in that. So, he’s a stabilizing influence around the group and his play has been fine.”
When Hannan re-signed with the Sharks for another year over the summer despite management’s proclamation to become a younger team, Doug Wilson used the word “mentor” when describing Hannan’s role.
After Saturday’s morning skate, McLellan gave a glowing review of the veteran defenseman in that regard.
“That’s immeasurable by you as media people outside our locker room at any given time, and you’re not on the plane or around the young guys, or anything like that,” McLellan said. “We talk a lot about leadership, C’s and A’s and stuff that goes on around here, and his name is seldom mentioned, but it should it be.”
Hannan knows that’s part of his job. But he also wants to play.
“As the guys will probably tell you around here, I’m not shy to say things,” Hannan said recently. “If they come to me or if I see something, I’m going to tell them what I think if that helps them along the way.
“At the same time, I’m going to play my hardest to be in the lineup every night, too. It’s not like I want to be just a mentor out here. I still think I’ve got some good years left, and I’m playing as hard as I can when I’m out there. If that’s a lead-by-example type of thing, that works, too.”
The Sharks are currently carrying eight defensemen since Matt Tennyson was recalled from Worcester last week. On Saturday against the Predators, Hannan and Tennyson were paired together while Mirco Mueller and Matt Irwin were healthy scratches for the 2-0 San Jose win.
Hannan doesn’t seem to mind that there are a couple extra blueliners around, even if they are pushing for playing time.
“It’s kind of nice in practice, I can tell you that much. I get to have a lot more breaks out there for the two-on-ones,” he joked.