Couture coming up huge for Sharks in Thornton's absence


Couture coming up huge for Sharks in Thornton's absence

For a brief moment Friday night, it seemed the Sharks starred in a poorly written sequel. 

Joe Thornton was already out with another knee injury, and Logan Couture had just left the game after taking another puck to the face. The sequel appeared to do nothing more than change the timing, as Couture was injured first last season, and in March as opposed to February. 

It wasn’t the most creative change, and follow-up films have been funded for far less. But then came the twist: Couture finished out the game, and the Sharks beat the Blue Jackets 3-1. 

He told reporters after the game he’ll probably need some follow-up dental work when the team returns to San Jose, but the Sharks otherwise dodged a major bullet. They can’t afford to lose Couture, especially in light of how well he’s played since Thornton’s injury.

In four games without Thornton, Couture leads the team with four goals, including the one he scored Friday. He’s second on the team in points (five) behind Kevin Labanc (six), and is averaging three shots on goal per game, up nearly two-fifths of a shot from his season average. 

Half of his shots (six) have come on the power play, as have half of his goals (two). He has twice as many power play shots as Brent Burns in nearly two fewer minutes of ice time over the last four games with an opponent in the penalty box.

With Couture leading the way, the Sharks have stayed red-hot with the extra man in Thornton’s absence, scoring on 36.4 percent of their opportunities. San Jose didn’t have the same success on the power play when Thornton missed the final three regular season games and the first two games of the playoffs.

Then, San Jose converted on just two of its 19 opportunities, including one of 12 in those aforementioned two games of their first round series against the Edmonton Oilers. Couture played in those games, full cage and all, but clearly wasn’t himself. 

It goes without saying that any team will falter without its top two centers, and the Sharks unsurprisingly did last season. Being down one, however, doesn’t have to be a death sentence.

Couture’s demonstrating why, even as San Jose doesn’t yet truly have the record to show for it. He’s not going to keep scoring on a third of his shots, as he has in Thornton’s absence, but he can ensure the Sharks are still threatening offensively. 

As long as he does, that sequel just might manage a few more surprises. 

Sharks pick up first win of homestand as Burns moves back to blueline


Sharks pick up first win of homestand as Burns moves back to blueline


SAN JOSE --Brent Burns and Chris Tierney each had a goal and an assist, and the San Jose Sharks beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Thursday for their third win in four games.

Mikkel Boedker and Marcus Sorensen also scored for the Sharks, who improved to 3-0-1 against the Canucks this season. Martin Jones stopped 29 shots.

Daniel Sedin scored for the Canucks, who lost their sixth in seven games. Anders Nilsson made 40 stops.

Boedker scored at 8:41 of the first period, picking up a soft rebound from Tierney's shot.

Burns scored his 10th goal, tops among NHL defensemen, taking a pass from Joakim Ryan and sending a laser shot into the net just under five minutes into the second.

Sorensen scored his first goal since Dec. 23, punching it in with an assist from Justin Braun at 3:06 into the third. Marc-Edouard Vlasic had an assist in his third straight game, getting the second assist on Sorensen's goal.

Sedin scored at 6:43, taking a nice pass from Thomas Vanek that gave him clear shot into the net. It was Sedin's 14th goal, one shy of his total last season.

Tierney made it 4-1 after taking a nice pass from Burns with 7 1/2 minutes remaining.

NOTES:Tim Heed was recalled from the AHL and joined a makeshift Sharks lineup, allowing Burns to play up front at times. ... Sharks C Logan Couture has points in four of his last five games. ... Boedker recorded games in consecutive games for the second time this season, and the first since Jan. 15-16. ... Sedin has five points against the Sharks this season and 45 in 69 games. He's recorded points in three straight.


Canucks: Host Boston on Saturday.

Sharks: Host Dallas on Sunday.

Sharks co-prez: Original fin logo to 'start showing back up again'


Sharks co-prez: Original fin logo to 'start showing back up again'

Fans of the original set of San Jose Sharks logos can rejoice: The fin is coming back in a yet-to-be-announced capacity. 

The original secondary logo, a gray fin atop a teal background enclosed by a black circle, "will start showing back up again in a special surprise appearance next year," Sharks co-president Jonathan Becher told NBC Sports California in an interview with Brodie Brazil and alongside co-president John Tortora on Sharks Pregame Live. The logo appeared as a shoulder patch on the team's home and away jerseys from 1991-98, and on its black alternate jersey from 2001-07.

Becher did not elaborate what form that 'special surprise appearance' will take, but it's possible it will appear on an alternate jersey. In Adidas' first season as the league's jersey manufacturer, no teams have alternate jerseys this year, aside from the teams that played in the league's various outdoor games. 

That's reportedly set to change next season. 24-26 teams will have alternate jerseys, the league told Greg Wyshynski in June, and some teams will utilize previous designs. The Sharks wore a version of their original teal jersey as a 25th anniversary alternate during the 2015-16 season -- perhaps it will return next season? 

Becher also told NBC Sports California that the team's newest alternate logo, the 'yelling shark' featured on the shoulders of their current teal jerseys, will begin making more appearances. It will not replace the current logo, Becher said.