Sharks don't disagree with Canucks' "arrogance"


Sharks don't disagree with Canucks' "arrogance"

SAN JOSE Recently retired and future Hall of Fame winger Mark Recchi made news around the hockey world with some disparaging comments about the Vancouver Canucks last week.

Recchi was a member of last seasons Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins, who defeated the Canucks in seven intense games in the Final.

Recchi told Gresh & Zo on 98.5 the Sports Hub:
In 22 years they are the most arrogant team I played against and the most hated team Ive ever played against. I couldnt believe their antics, their falling and diving. It was very frustrating, but at the same time as the series wore on we knew we were getting to them and we knew our physical play and our skating, I think it caught them off guard a little bit.

With the Sharks set to face off on Saturday against the Canucks, who ended San Joses season last May, a couple of the Sharks were asked on Friday about Recchis controversial sentiments.

Recchi was obviously a very well-respected player in this league for many years, and still is very respected, said Douglas Murray. For him saying something like that probably means something."

So, does Murray disagree with Recchi?

No. No. I dont think so, he said, before adding, its not the whole team. Its certain individuals that give them that reputation. Im not going to call out names. Its obvious for anyone that watches the game.

While Murray didnt want to single anyone out, Ryane Clowe had no problem naming a few players on the Canucks that inspire some ill will, like to trash talk and maybe take the occasional dive to draw a penalty.

Theyve got certain guys, and they have Maxim Lapierre there who is known for that," said Clowe. "Hes known to run his mouth and play that sort of game. He doesnt really like backing that up. You have Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows who used to do that a little bit more. Apparently the last year, and last couple of years, theyve tried to not talk as much and just play.

Kesler has kind of turned the page a little bit, but they have some whiners and stuff over there, said Murray.

Clowe, like Murray, also didn't find it necessary to oppose Recchis viewpoint.

Recchi said it. Im not going to disagree with him, said Clowe. I think the teams that played against them last year in the playoffs felt similar feelings.

Its a new year, though, and Saturday night at HP Pavilion is the first chance that Sharks will get to see this years version of the Canucks.

The Canucks havent been nearly as impressive so far this season as compared to last. They have already dropped nine games in regulation a quarter of the way through (11-9-1), after losing just 19 all of last year.

The Sharks were 1-2-1 against Vancouver in the 2010-11 regular season before the Canucks eliminated them in five games in the Western Conference Finals. It was that playoff loss that may have forced the Sharks to make the offseason moves that they did, according to Todd McLellan.

We needed to adjust and make some changes. Weve made them, he said. Were in the process of putting it all together and molding it, and that takes us to the 20-game plateau. Thats just where we are right now.

Clowe expects an emotional game on Saturday, which will be broadcast north of the border for Hockey Night in Canada.

You know its going to be a physical game, and, I guess, a mans game, so you prepare yourself that way, he said. You get adjusted for that mentally, and it gets you in the game a little more.

Theyre not our favorite team, thats for sure.

Odds and ends: Antti Niemi will start in net for the Sharks. Vancouver plays on Friday night in Phoenix before flying to San Jose immediately following. Antero Niittymaki was seen on the ice on Friday morning at Sharks Ice, taking a few shots for the first time. He left before the rest of the team began practice, though.

Process there even if results aren't for Sharks early in new season

Process there even if results aren't for Sharks early in new season

Saturday’s loss to the New York Islanders is one with which Sharks fans have become all too familiar.

The Sharks held a decided 41-23 edge on the shot count, but trailed 3-1 on the scoreboard. Since 2005, no team in the league has lost more games (59) in which they shot 35 or more times, and held their opponent to 25 or fewer shots.

No, your instincts haven’t deceived you over the Joe Thornton era: San Jose has lost a lot of games where they’ve otherwise outplayed their opponent. Of course, they’ve won plenty of those games too. More often than not, in fact, winning 72 of 131 times under those circumstances.

Frustration under those circumstances became readily apparent in the second period on Saturday, when Joe Pavelski broke his stick over Thomas Greiss’ net. The captain had plenty of reason to be unhappy, as his goalless drought to start the season has mirrored his team’s inability to finish at even strength.

So far this season, only Dallas and Montreal have scored on a lower percentage of their shots at even strength than San Jose, according to Natural Stat Trick. Both the Stars and Canadiens, unsurprisingly, are seventh in their respective divisions. The Sharks are sixth in the Pacific, thanks only to the still-winless Coyotes.

This early in the season, bad results can mask a strong process. They can’t finish, but the Sharks have been, statistically, one of the league’s best puck possession teams at even strength. That can happen over such a short stretch, but that’s easy to lose sight of when the team’s sitting in the division’s basement.

Right now, the Sharks just aren’t scoring enough at even strength, even as they’re playing well elsewhere. The power play’s begun to find an identity, particularly on the Kevin Labanc-led second unit. The penalty kill hasn’t allowed a goal since allowing three in the season opener, and have climbed all the way to 13th in the league.

If the Sharks continue to play this way, the goals, and wins, should come. They may not, of course, especially if Peter DeBoer struggles to find combinations that click for more than a game at a time. But eventually, the results should align with the process.

Saturday night was “one of those games” that have been surprisingly common in recent Sharks history, but it shouldn’t be chalked up as anything more than an amusing anomaly. Sometimes, one team is better, and still finds a way to lose.  

Sometimes, it truly is that simple.

Greiss strong in net as Islanders hand loss to Sharks


Greiss strong in net as Islanders hand loss to Sharks


SAN JOSE -- Thomas Greiss guided the New York Islanders on a night when they played it a little bit too safe.

Greiss stopped 40 shots, Brock Nelson scored a tiebreaking goal in the second period and the New York Islanders rallied to beat the slumping San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Saturday.

The Islanders improved to 1-1 on their three-game, five-day West Coast trip. The Sharks are 1-3 on their season-opening five-game homestand.

Nelson made it 2-1 at 13:33 of the second period, capitalizing on an open look in front of the goal after Joshua Ho-Sang's pass from behind the net.

"After we got the lead we just kind of held on, we bent but we didn't break and we needed some big saves from Thomas," Islanders coach Doug Weight said.

"These teams, when they're down, they're gonna push. ... You don't want to sit back but I think it's human nature. We have to get it out of our heads. We want to play aggressive and we want to put the puck in good spots. We started making some shoddy decisions, our feet stopped moving for a while, but give (the Sharks) credit, they made a good push. Tommy was great."

The Sharks led after Kevin Labanc's power-play goal at 4:16 of the first. Labanc was in the left circle when he rebounded a deflection and fired a wrist shot that slipped through Greiss' pads.

The Islanders tied it when Anders Lee tipped one in at 17:02 of the first.

Cal Clutterbuck scored an empty-net goal at with 1:10 left in the game.

"It's nice, first road win of the year, a good bounce back," Nelson said, referencing a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.

"I thought we did some good things in Anaheim and weren't rewarded. It's nice to come out on top here."

The Islanders failed to score on three power plays. The Sharks penalty killing unit hasn't allowed a power-play goal in 12 chances over its last three games.

The Sharks had a short-handed scoring chance after Joakim Ryan was called for holding at 14:33 in the third period, when Greiss turned away Chris Tierney's shot in front of the goal.

Greiss survived relentless pressure in a third period in which the Sharks had 15 shots on goal.

"It felt like it was going to break, it just never did," Sharks center Joe Pavelski said. "A little bit of credit to Greisser over there, but with us, we've got to keep pushing and find a way.

"I thought we were going to tie it, but encouraging to see the way guys played for a second straight game here. Wanted a better result, for sure, but guys played hard."

NOTES: Islanders C Alan Quine (wrist) is with the team on its West Coast trip and has been practicing. He'll likely go to Bridgeport of the AHL on a conditioning assignment if he's ready when the team returns home on Monday. ... RW Clutterbuck (hip) was in Saturday's lineup after missing the last three games and C Jordan Eberle was on the ice a day after missing Friday's practice with an injury he suffered in practice the previous day. ... Sharks D Paul Martin missed a second straight game with a lower body injury. Coach Pete DeBoer said the injury is day-to-day.


Islanders: At the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night.

Sharks: Host the Montreal Canadians on Tuesday night.