Burish Sharks' first offseason move


Burish Sharks' first offseason move

The Sharks dipped into the unrestricted free agent waters on Sunday in the person of 29-year-old forward Adam Burish, who agreed to a four-year contract with the club worth a reported 1.8 million a year on average. A veteran of six NHL seasons, Burish spent the last two in Dallas after winning the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Burish is expected to help fill out the Sharks' bottom two lines, but more than that, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson is adding some personality and enthusiasm to a locker room that lacked exactly that last season.

If you spend any time around him, this guy just loves the game, Wilson said on a conference call with the local media, shortly after noon. Hes contagious his enthusiasm, how he plays and how he lives. Were trying to re-establish our identity of going at people and playing that way. He is a guy that just fits right in with our group and with what were trying to accomplish. Hes a heartbeat type of guy.

Burish was the first call that Wilson made after 9:00 a.m. PST, when all unrestricted free agents became eligible to negotiate with other teams. Todd McLellan was also on the call while on vacation in Hawaii. Although he fielded offers from several other clubs, Burish decided the Sharks were the best fit. He played college hockey with Joe Pavelski, is familiar with Marty Havlat from his days in Chicago, and won a championship with Antti Niemi.

Its always a team that Ive liked. I obviously have some real good friends there, Burish said.

It wasnt an easy decision. I wont say that. We spoke with other teams, but I dont care about those other teams anymore, to be honest, he said. Im really happy with where Im at. Im thrilled, and Im excited to get moving and get out there soon.

RELATED: Sharks sign Adam Burish

It didnt take long for him to text his buddy Pavelski, either, whom he works out with in the summer.

Its one of the first things he said after the deal was done, is Lets go win a Cup.' Pavelski said.

Hes not going to let anyone take the night off, and thats the biggest thing. You have to work every night and every day to get better, and he brings that attitude, which is great.

One of the more outspoken players in the league, Burish couldnt conceal his passion on a conference call shortly after the deal was announced. This is, after all, the guy that called Chris Pronger the biggest idiot in the league after the 2010 finals in which his Blackhawks defeated Prongers Flyers (Burish later apologized for the remark).

He knows hes not going to be a guy that scores 20 goals a season (he has just 25 in 297 career games), but Burish will undoubtedly be one of the more gregarious inhabitants of the Sharks dressing room.

They know the way I play. Everybody kind of knows the way I play. For me, I want to bring some excitement. I want to pull some guys along, he said.

Winning a Stanley Cup, for me, its like a sick drug. You just want more of it and more of it, and cant get enough of it. I want a chance to do it again. I hope I can bring some of that enthusiasm and excitement, and hopefully pull guys along with me, with that excitement I have.

On the ice, Burish may join what was an awful penalty-killing unit. The Sharks will be much more aggressive in that area of the game after finishing 29th last season.

In Dallas, Burish averaged nearly a minute-and-a-half per game on the PK on what was the 13th-ranked unit.

Doug talked a little bit about it, just how he wants to have a different mentality and different attitude, Burish said. Kind of like, were going to go at you and were not going to give you too much respect. Were not going to be scared going out there on the penalty kill. Were going to take away your time and space, and were going to be aggressive.

Burish is signed through the 2015-16 season.

The term was something that works very well in our range, Wilson said.

With the addition of Burish, the Sharks will not negotiate with free agent forward Daniel Winnik, who had not yet signed with anyone as of Sunday afternoon. Torrey Mitchell inked a three-year contract with Minnesota earlier in the day. Other free agents that have likely played their last games with the Sharks are defensemen Colin White and Jim Vandermeer, and forwards Dominic Moore and Brad Winchester.

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Wilson said: This isnt a negative against anybody else, but were very clear on how we want to reestablish our identity. Not just on our PK, but how we play the game. Bringing Brad Stuart in we want people that are aggressive, that go at you.

Thats pretty consistent with what we identified we wanted to do, and well continue to go forward building that type of team.

Play of Jones, Khudobin this season proof of how fickle goaltending can be


Play of Jones, Khudobin this season proof of how fickle goaltending can be

Martin Jones was a Boston Bruin for less than a week.

The “Original Six” franchise acquired Jones from the Los Angeles Kings on June 26, 2015. Four days later, Jones was traded back into the Pacific Division, this time to Northern California.

The Sharks gave up a first round pick and prospect Sean Kuraly for Jones. It seemed like a fairly high price at the time, but it’s one San Jose was happy to pay: No goalie started more games than Jones over the last two seasons, and the team signed him to a five-year extension this summer.

The first Jones trade in 2015 set off a flood of goalie transactions, as five netminders were traded during Jones’ extremely brief Boston tenure. One of those was Anton Khudobin, who will start for the Bruins as Jones backs up Aaron Dell against  his “former team” on Saturday night.

Khudobin was traded from Carolina to Anaheim, where he started seven games before getting sent down to the AHL. He then signed with Boston in 2016, returning to his former club as the Bruins tried to fill the hole that trading Jones left behind entrenched starter Tuukka Rask.

Jones and Khudobin will have taken vastly different paths to their respective creases on Saturday night. The former enters the game as his club’s undisputed franchise goalie, and the latter the unheralded backup.

Naturally then, Khudobin’s been the better goaltender this season.

Among the 46 goalies that have played 200 five-on-five minutes this season, Khudobin’s .962 five-on-five save percentage was the best entering Saturday, according to Corsica.  So, too, is his .954 save percentage off of high-danger shots.

Jones, meanwhile, ranks 27th (.920) and 14th (.833) in those respective categories.

What does it all mean? For one, it’s early in the season, and the fact that Khudobin’s made seven fewer starts undoubtedly plays a role in his superior performance to Jones.

Mainly, it speaks to just how fickle goaltending can be.

The Bruins backup is arguably getting the nod Saturday night because of how bad the man ahead of him has been. Rask, once one of the league’s best goaltenders, has steadily declined over the last three years and reached a new low this season: This year, he’s 40th out of 46 qualifying goalies in five-on-five save percentage.

Jones has demonstrated this, too. He’s stopped a lower percentage of low-and-medium danger shots at even strength than the last two seasons, but has stopped a higher percentage of high-danger shots.

Plus, he’s played behind one of the league’s best penalty-killing teams after playing behind one of its worst last season, and has benefitted from a corresponding bump in his shorthanded save percentage.

So much of what a goalie does is out of their control. Yet who’s playing in front of them, what kind of shots they see, and how often they see those shots all can affect their performance.

Khudobin and Jones are living proof of that this season.

Sharks fall to Bruins for second straight loss


Sharks fall to Bruins for second straight loss


SAN JOSE -- Anton Khudobin stopped 36 shots to lead the Boston Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.

Peter CehlarikJake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen scored to help the Bruins get their second straight win after a four-game skid (0-3-1). Boston had totaled nine goals in its previous five games, scoring more than two for just the second time in nine November games.

Khudobin remained unbeaten in regulation (5-0-2) and improved to 4-1 with a 0.99 goals-against average in five games against the Sharks.

Timo Meier scored and Aaron Dell finished with 18 saves for the Sharks, one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. San Jose has been held to two of fewer goals in five of their seven games this month.

Meier gave the Sharks, losers of two straight following wins in six of seven, a short-lived 1-0 lead after tapping in a rebound 4:50 into the game. Daniel O'Regan, making his season debut, won the puck behind the net and skated around to take the shot that bounced to Meier. It was O'Regan's first career assist and second career point.

Cehlarik, in his 14th game, scored his first career goal about 1 1/2 minutes later to tie it for the Bruins.

Boston took the lead on DeBrusk's goal with 9:14 left in the first. Charlie McAvoy cleared a puck in his zone that DeBrusk chased down and easily beat Dell 1-on-1.

Heinen made it 3-1 with 5:51 left in the third. Kevan Miller skated down the ice, drawing all the attention on the right side. He passed across the crease, from where Heinen tapped it in.

The Sharks had a goal negated for the second straight game, this one two minutes in.

NOTES: Sharks F Danny O'Regan was recalled before the game. He's the leading scorer for the Barracuda of the AHL. ... The Sharks have had three consecutive goals reversed after challenges dating to Thursday's game against the Florida Panthers. ... Sharks F Joel Ward has recorded points in six of his last eight games. ... DeBrusk, who assisted on Cehlarik's goal, recorded his first multi-point game since Oct. 14, a span of 14 games.


Bruins: At the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.

Sharks: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.