Sharks

Sharks spotlight: Marc-Edouard Vlasic

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Sharks spotlight: Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Editor's note: Over the next month, CSNCalifornia.com Sharks Insider Kevin Kurz and Postgame Live reporter Brodie Brazil will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.

Sharks spotlight -- the series

Sharks spotlight: Marc-Edouard VlasicAge: 25 D

In his sixth season in the NHL, all with the Sharks, defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic had four goals and 19 assists for 23 points and 40 penalty minutes in 82 games. He led the Sharks and was 12th in the league in blocked shots (171), and was second on the team in ice time (23:09 per game). He was scoreless with a -2 rating in five playoff games. He has one year remaining on his contract.

Kurz says: A former second round pick of the Sharks, Marc-Edouard Vlasic made huge strides in his game this season, and was the most consistent blueliner from start to finish. He routinely played against the oppositions top players, and although he wasnt quite as effective at the end of the season as he was through the first half, Vlasic could be a mainstay on the San Jose defense for years to come provided the club signs him before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1 next summer.

Unfortunately for Vlasic, his own-goal early in Game 2 against St. Louis will be remembered as the turning point in the Sharks five-game defeat. As much as his game matured this season, it would have been nice to hear Vlasic, who is one of the more thoughtful and forthcoming players on the team, take a little bit more responsibility for that misplay after the game.
SLIDESHOW: Grading the Sharks
Brodie says: Vlasic has two very big things going for him. First, he is only 25 years old. And second, he already has 6 years of NHL experience under his belt. Put those together, and its very realistic that even after his best campaign, we have not even seen Vlasic at his best yet.

It may be most accurate to say Marc-Edouard was a quality defenseman in seasons prior, but this year, he became one of the teams elite. Midway through the schedule he was lined up with Dan Boyle; a pair that lasted until the final game.

Picture any opponent with a 2 on 1 odd man rush coming towards the Sharks end. Who is the 1 San Jose skater youd like to see defending? My choice would be Vlasic, and I think that is one of the best compliments you can give a blueliner.

Pickles plays a true and responsible defensive game; usually good with positioning, a good stick, and willing to block a shot. Additionally, kept both his penalty minutes (40) and giveaways (44) relatively low. He is a perfect contrast to an offensive minded partner that will likely always be paired with.

2012-13 expectations
Kurz says: Like Logan Couture yesterday, the expectations for Vlasic next season are obvious hell once again be counted on to be one of the teams top and most important players. As one of the more underrated defensemen in the NHL, Vlasic has the luxury of being able to fly under the radar and catch some of his more unfamiliar opponents by surprise.

Vlasics solid positioning and active stick in the defensive zone are the keys to his success, and with players like Dan Boyle and Brent Burns, racking up points isnt a priority for Vlasic. He can continue to concentrate on his defensive game, which should only get better.

RELATED: Vlasics stats splits game logs

Brodie says: Expectations are simple If Vlasic can bring a similar performance next year to what he did this season, the Sharks would benefit greatly. Any improvements on his part, would be a bonus.

Vlasics play was recognized with a bid to Team Canadas roster for the World Championships several weeks ago however Marc Edouard was sent home early from the tournament after suffering a knee injury. Although, the good news, it shouldnt be anything that prevents him from being 100 healthy into training camp.

On a personal level, Marc Edouard remains one of the best interviews on the Sharks. Even on the bench during games, he gives straightforward and honest assessments of whats going on, when times are good or bad. It is this clarity, which also likely helps him evaluate and adapt during the games as a player.
Up next: Tommy Wingels

Sharks' offense comes alive, leads charge in win over Canadiens

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AP

Sharks' offense comes alive, leads charge in win over Canadiens

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Logan Couture credited a teammate for scoring his second goal. He took credit for the first one.

Couture scored a pair of goals and the San Jose Sharks extended their dominance of the Montreal Canadiens with a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night.

Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl also scored for the Sharks, who have won the past 11 home games against the Canadiens, a streak that dates to Nov. 23, 1999.

On a power play late in the third period, rookie Tim Heed took a shot off a face-off that bounced free in front of the net. Pavelski couldn't get his stick on it but managed to kick it across the net for Couture, who found a huge opening.

"That was pretty special," Couture said. "I don't know if he knew I was there but he kept his balance and kicked it over."

Couture opened the scoring 3:30 into the first period, grabbing a rebound off the back board, skating across the front of the net to get Price to commit and then firing into an open net.

Jonathan Drouin and Shea Weber scored for the Canadiens, who are winless since an opening night victory at the Buffalo Sabres.

"It's a very poor start from our team, from myself, from a lot of individuals," Canadiens' Max Pacioretty said. "It's a good time to look in the mirror and see what we're made of because a lot of people are probably doubting this team right now."

Martin Jones stopped 28 of 30 shots for the Sharks, who finish their season-opening homestand with a 2-3 record.

"The biggest thing is finding that energy for the whole game," Jones said. "We started OK and then we got better as the night went on."

Carey Price, who stopped 31 of 35 shots, fell to 2-7-1 in 10 games against the Sharks.

The Canadiens responded 36 seconds later when Drouin picked up a pass from Artturi Lehkonen close in and fired it over Jones' left shoulder and into the net.

Pavelski gave the Sharks the lead for good when he redirected Kevin Labanc's shot just under a minute into the second period. The shot hit Weber's left shin pad and bounced into the net.

"There were a lot of good things out there," Pavelski said. "We didn't have the homestand we wanted but we can leave on a positive note to take on the road."

Hertl padded the lead midway through the second on a power play. Standing on the right side of the net, he was trying to control a pass from Joe Thornton but the puck fluttered off his stick and got behind Price.

"I'll take it any way I can get it," Hertl said. "There are times I've had great shots that just bounced off the post."

Weber's power-play goal two minutes later kicked off Jones' skates for the score.

The Sharks needed five seconds to score on a power play late in the second period. Tim Heed shot on goal and it bounced off Pavelski's skate. Couture picked it up and found a huge opening.

NOTES: After allowing three power play goals over their first five penalty kills, the Sharks killed off 14 straight until Weber scored in the second period. ... Couture recorded his 24th career multi-goal game. ... Sharks D Tim Heed recorded his first NHL point with an assist on Couture's power-play goal. ... Brendan Gallagher needs one assist for 100 with the Canadiens.

UP NEXT:

Canadiens: plays at the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday in their second back-to-back of the season.

Sharks: open a five-game road trip on the east coast with a game at the New Jersey Devils on Friday.

There's one key difference between struggling Sharks, Canadiens

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AP

There's one key difference between struggling Sharks, Canadiens

The San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens could not be more different in terms of tradition. But, on the ice this season, they couldn’t be more similar.

Both teams have placed their faith in a goalie that wears #31. The top defensemen on each team, Brent Burns and Shea Weber, are 32 and signed until 2025 and 2026, respectively. Tomas Hertl and Alex Galchenyuk are 2012 first round picks playing on the wing after being drafted as centers. Tomas Plekanec and Joe Thornton are favorites on the wrong side of 30, who may head elsewhere next summer.  Heck, both teams miss defenseman David Schlemko, who San Jose lost in the expansion draft and was eventually traded to Montreal, where he hasn’t yet played due to injury.

And both have struggled mightily so far. San Jose and Montreal have combined to win just two games, and sit 29th and 30th, respectively, in goals scored this season. It’s hard to imagine the Sharks and Canadiens scoring so little with all of that talent, but they can’t bank on good fortune, either.

Something’s got to give when the two face off at SAP Center tonight. After tonight, one team will feel much better about themselves, and the other team will be much closer to hitting the panic button.

That’s where the critical difference lies: Montreal’s already hit it, and San Jose probably won’t.

Last season, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin fired Michel Therrien and replaced him with Claude Julien in February. Seven months after essentially siding with Therrien and trading star defenseman P.K. Subban, Bergevin ended Therrien’s time in Montreal, too. He surely can’t fire another coach, but a Galchenyuk trade is reportedly a possibility, according to TSN.

The Sharks, on the other hand, likely won’t do any of that. Even with the burden of high expectations in his tenure, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson’s never traded away a star player or fired a coach midseason. Even though Vegas pegs Peter DeBoer as the odds-on favorite to lose his job, it’s hard to envision Wilson making a change behind the bench during the year. He didn’t in 2015 when Todd McLellan seemed to lose the room, so why would he now?

Patience is what truly separates the Sharks and Canadiens, and that difference will likely determine how each front office reacts if their teams continue to struggle. Wilson’s shown a willingness to swing for the fences under these circumstances. He acquired Joe Thornton in 2005, after all.

But if you’re waiting on Wilson to take a page out of Bergevin’s book and fire the coach or trade away a key piece approaching their prime? Don’t hold your breath.