Sharks

Exclusive: 1-on-1 with Jamie McGinn

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Exclusive: 1-on-1 with Jamie McGinn

Jamie McGinn was traded to the Colorado Avalanche for Daniel Winnik and T.J. Galiardi shortly before the NHL trade deadline. Comcast SportsNet California Sharks analyst Drew Remenda spoke exclusively with McGinn on San Jose's team plane in the aftermath of the deal.

DREW REMENDA: Jamie McGinn, how do you accept news like this? ... on the team plane ... what are your first thoughts?

JAMIE MCGINN: Well, you know, it's a tough one to swallow right away. It's kind of a a difficult situation to be told -- having plane troubles and then doing it in the air. I just feel for my family right now, not being able to talk to them and stuff like that.

But you look at the big picture and it's going to be a good opportunity for me in Colorado, and we're making a playoff push. I look for some good ice time and just putting the puck into the net.

REMENDA: You're having a career year, you're growing into your own as a hockey player ... the strides that you've made with the San Jose Sharks, besides your own hard work, who else can you look at and say 'they were a big help to me'?

MCGINN: When I was struggling a lot I talked a lot with (assistant coach) Jay Woodcroft. He's been great with me, helping me through tough times. Family members are huge, like my parents. You know, I wanted to be a San Jose Shark for life and I had my heart and soul into this team but now I'm excited for a new opportunity. It's a new window of opportunity, and maybe it was fate.

My brother's favorite team growing up was the Colorado Avalanche. He had the Colorado Avalanche bedroom and everything. So I'm just going to try and look at the positives like I always have this year -- going through last year and having a tough year and coming back and forgetting about it and looking at the positives and good things will happen.

REMENDA: You're a good hockey player and a great kid, best of luck to you. And I know when you're playing the Sharks you'll have a little extra jump in your step.
MCGINN: Yeah, I think so. It's going to be, I'm sure, an emotional game for me. I hope the fans welcome me in the right way because I've always thought of San Jose as home. I appreciate what everyone has done for me here but I guess this is a new chapter in my life now.

As Joakim Ryan returns home, Sharks reunite with a former top prospect

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AP

As Joakim Ryan returns home, Sharks reunite with a former top prospect

When Joakim Ryan suits up in his first NHL road game against the New Jersey Devils Friday night, he’ll do so in a familiar place.

Ryan, a New Jersey-born Swede, played for the Devils’ youth program and nearby Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) in high school. In fact, he’s already played at the Prudential Center, skating in the state championship game with CBA in 2009.

He’s not the only one due for something of a homecoming, as the Sharks may see a familiar face line up on the opposing blueline.

This is the Sharks’ first matchup against New Jersey since trading 2013 first round pick Mirco Mueller ahead of June’s Expansion Draft. Mueller was once considered the future on the San Jose blueline, a smooth-skating defenseman with size to boot.

The Swiss defender never fulfilled his potential, in part because his development was rushed from the start. He made the NHL roster as a rookie in 2014-15, almost by default. Other than Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the only defensemen ahead of him on left side of the depth chart were a far past-his-prime Scott Hannan and regular scratch Matt Irwin. Such was the nature of the Sharks’ “step back” that year.

Mueller finally got regular playing time, albeit in the minors, during his second professional season. By then, he was pushed down the organizational depth chart by the team’s acquisitions of Brenden Dillon and Roman Polak, and the development of Dylan DeMelo. David Schlemko’s signing last summer kept Mueller there for most of 2016-17, but it was Ryan and Tim Heed that ensured Mueller’s NHL future would lie elsewhere. The Swedes surpassed him, and emerged as perhaps the AHL’s best defensive pair in the process.

It’s fitting, then, that Ryan and Heed will be in the lineup tonight, and Mueller may not, as the fresh start he needed hasn’t quite panned out. He’s averaging a career-high 18:44 in ice time, but has been scratched in three of New Jersey’s seven games, including Thursday night’s overtime win in Ottawa.

So Ryan comes home to New Jersey under much happier circumstances than Mueller will reunite with the Sharks. One prodigal son returns, and the other is simply trying to save face.

It’s still early in his Devils tenure, of course, and Mueller may yet emerge as a regular on the New Jersey blueline. His Sharks reunion, though, will serve as a reminder of what once was, what could have been, and what is now San Jose’s future on defense.

Sharks headed in right direction, road trip to reveal who they really are

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USATSI

Sharks headed in right direction, road trip to reveal who they really are

The difference between a 2-3-0 start and a 1-4-0 start is bigger than two standings points.

The former is far from ideal, but if you squint hard enough, there's enough wiggle room to improve. There's still time with the latter, too, but the margin for error is much thinner moving forward.

The Sharks experienced that difference firsthand after Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. It's not an ideal record, but they’ve managed to salvage a poor start. 

There are still some flaws, to be sure. The power play isn't just the Kevin Labanc show after the top unit scored all three power play goals Tuesday, but is still carrying a disproportionate offensive load. The penalty kill’s scoreless streak came to an end, but they were called into action six times.

Despite all that, Tuesday's win was San Jose’s best effort this season. Brent Burns, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, and Joe Thornton all had multi-point games for the first time this year. Martin Jones had another strong game, and appears to have shaken off his slow start.

In short, San Jose’s game is headed in the right direction. It needs to be, with a five-game road trip beginning on Friday. 

Now comes the hard part.

It's on the road where we’ll get our best sense of who this team really is. Peter DeBoer won’t have the benefit of last change, and won't be able to dictate matchups. 

Under these circumstances, we’ll begin to really see if Joakim Ryan is ready for a top-four role, whether Kevin Labanc is a viable first-line winger, and how the rest of the young reinforcements stack up. They will have less time off, too, as all but one game occurs after one day (or less) of rest and travel. That missed practice time isn't ideal for any team, let alone one still trying to work out the kinks.

Fortunately, the competition is forgiving, at least on paper. Other than the Devils, none of the Sharks’ four other road trip opponents have winning records as of this writing. The topsy turvy nature of the standings, though, show how little “on paper” means this early in the season.

We’ll know a lot more about who these San Jose Sharks are by the time their road trip ends. Their record still won't tell the whole story, but by then, they'll have played about an eighth of the season. 

And by then, we’ll have a much better idea of how good this team really is.