Sharks

Roenick: Sharks' Marleau not one of 'locker room favorites'

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Roenick: Sharks' Marleau not one of 'locker room favorites'

Former Sharks forward and current NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick has never been shy about expressing his opinion, especially when it comes to Patrick Marleau.

Marleau, San Jose’s longest-tenured player and all-time leading scorer, has been involved in trade speculation since November, when it was reported on CSNCalifornia.com that he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to either the Kings, Ducks or Rangers. Most recently, a report from ESPN said that Marleau’s agent “continues to quietly explore the market” with the permission of general manager Doug Wilson.

In an interview with local radio station KNBR, Roenick indicated that were the Sharks to move Marleau, it would be met with a sense of indifference in the dressing room.

“He’s still very, very good and very effective. But, I don’t see him being one of the locker room favorites. So, if they get rid of him, I don’t think it’s going to make a huge impact with the team,” Roenick said. “But, what they get back in return could be a huge impact. As good of a player as he is, Joe Thornton is the most popular player in the locker room, by far. I think Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture are right behind him. When you have a guy that’s been in that locker room his whole career and he is not thought of like that, that raises questions.”

It’s not the first time that Roenick, who was a teammate of Marleau’s for two seasons from 2007-09, suggested that the Sharks’ dressing room might be better off without the veteran center.

"He's an extremely talented player and you can get a lot on the market for a guy like him, and maybe change the chemistry on the team,” Roenick said on June 4, 2014.

In the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, Roenick referred to Marleau’s performance against the Red Wings in a second round series as “gutless.”

Roenick was also critical of the Sharks in regards to their home and road record. While the Sharks have been one of the NHL’s best teams away from home with a 16-6-2 record, they are just 9-12-1 at SAP Center (although they improved to 4-0-1 in the last five after beating Minnesota on Saturday afternoon).

Roenick said: “It’s definitely a sign when your team loses at home and wins on the road. It means it’s a team that’s not very mentally strong and has the ability to take their foot off the pedal. I love San Jose, it’s one of my favorite teams in the league, and it really frustrates me when they get in front of their own fans, they throw up goose eggs, they throw up dog games. They are struggling with attendance right now because they are losing at home. But when they leave, they come together and they become one and win hockey games.

“That tells me that there is good, quality guys in the locker room that love to come together and play for each other. But, they’re selfish and individualistic when it comes to being at home and being able to focus on the team, rather than themselves and their home life. They need to able to separate the two of them.”

Roenick also touched on the play of defenseman Brent Burns, “in the top three best defensemen in the league,” Martin Jones, who has been “good. He hasn’t been great,” and new head coach Pete DeBoer, who has “done a good job.” 

Sharks to open second round Thursday

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AP

Sharks to open second round Thursday

The Sharks know when they'll open the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. T

San Jose will face off against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of the second round at 7 p.m. PT on Thursday, April 26 in Sin City, the NHL announced Tuesday. The league also announced start dates for the three other second-round series, but did not announce any games beyond that.

Game 2 will "likely" occur Saturday at 5 p.m, according to Golden Knights owner Bill Foley. 

Game 1 will be televised on NBCSN. Sharks Playoff Central will air on NBC Sports California at 6:30 p.m. leading up to puck drop, with a postgame edition to follow after the final horn on the same channel. 

Red-hot Sharks power play, Golden Knights penalty kill on collision course

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AP

Red-hot Sharks power play, Golden Knights penalty kill on collision course

The Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights were the first two teams to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The former's power play, and the latter's penalty kill were among the chief reasons why. 

This postseason, San Jose's power play (30 percent) and Vegas' penalty kill (92.3 percent) are third-best and best in the respective categories. The Sharks haven't played in nearly a week, but have still scored the second-most power play goals (six) in the first round as of Tuesday. The Golden Knights haven't played in exactly a week, and have still given up the fewer power play goals (one)  than every team, save for the Los Angeles Kings, who they swept in the first round. 

On the season, the San Jose power play and the Vegas penalty kill were among the better units in the league in terms of underlying numbers, but really improved down the stretch. Over their last 25 regular season games and the first round, the Sharks attempted shots (117.15 corsi-for per hour) and generated expected goals (9.13 expected goals-for per hour)) at rates that would have ranked second in each area on the whole season, according to Corsica Hockey.

During the Golden Knights' final 25 regular season games and first four playoff games, their penalty kill suppressed shot attempts (92.8 corsi-against per hour), shots (49.97 shots-against per hour), and expected goals (5.9 expected goals-against per hour) at rates that would have ranked second, fourth, and first, respectively, this past season.

In the first round, the results finally caught up to the underlying numbers for both teams. San Jose converted on only 13 percent of its power plays in the final 25 games of the regular season, while Vegas killed off 80.8 percent of its opponents' power plays. As is so often the case, the improvements were owed at least in part to better finishing and goaltending. 

The Sharks scored on 9.71 percent of their five-on-four shots down the stretch, compared to 14.71 percent in the first round. Marc-Andre Fleury posted a .952 four-on-five save percentage in the first round, compared to the .859 that he and backup Malcolm Subban combined for in the final 25 games. 

San Jose's power play and Vegas' penalty kill are red-hot, but those results are largely deserved based on each group's play down the stretch. Which unit has the edge just may swing the series, considering how tight the Sharks and Golden Knights played each other during the regular season. 

Three of four games were decided by a goal, and two went to overtime. The fourth was decided by two, only because of an empty-netter. 

The margins are so thin, including in the crease, that the outcome of this special teams battle could determine which team advances to the Conference Finals.