Sharks' Vlasic dealing with a few fractures in his face

Sharks' Vlasic dealing with a few fractures in his face

SAN JOSE – Sharks stalwart defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic returned to the ice on Friday, exactly one week after a frightening incident when a slap shot by Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere deflected into his face.

“I feel pretty good, considering I got a slap shot to the face,” Vlasic said, although he later added that he’s “still in a lot of pain.”

Speaking publicly for the first time, Vlasic said the puck caused “a few fractures” and “some nerves that are damaged.” He wasn’t told specifically where the damage was done, but pointed to his nasal/cheekbone area. 

Vlasic still has a significantly bruised right eye and stitched upper lip, and although there is still some swelling, it’s gone down since he tweeted a picture of himself with his wife and dogs on New Year’s Day.

Eligible to come off of injured reserve at any time, Vlasic didn’t rule himself out for Saturday’s Sharks home game with Detroit. San Jose is 0-2-1 since he came out of the lineup.

“The game is tomorrow. I could take stuff to numb it,” he said. “It’s getting better every day. … The game is not for another [30] hours, so that gives me time.”

Pete DeBoer was still calling Vlasic day-to-day on Friday.

“We can’t get inside his head and [see] how he’s feeling. … You see his face, he took a pretty good shot there,” DeBoer said. “He’s still sore. We’ll see how he wakes up tomorrow morning.”

As for the play itself, which happened with about 30 seconds to go in a 2-0 Sharks win over the Flyers on Dec. 30, Vlasic recalled everything.

“I saw a lot of blood,” he said. “I wasn’t concerned about the blood, you can fix that. I dropped my glove and checked my teeth right away. When I had all my teeth, I wasn’t worried about the rest.”

Surprisingly, Vlasic said that he didn’t want to wear a full face shield or cage when he returns. Instead he would prefer to wear a longer visor, although it’s fair to wonder how comfortable the team’s medical staff would be with that decision. Vlasic is as important a player as there is on the Sharks’ roster, as evidenced by their struggles in the past week in a pair of losses to the Kings and another to the Wild on Thursday.

“People say wear a cage, but if you haven’t worn one in a long time, it changes everything,” he said.

DeBoer said: “That’s something we’ll talk about with the trainers.”

The Sharks have two important games next week, traveling to Alberta to face the Oilers and Flames back-to-back, but DeBoer shot down a theory that it might be best to wait until after Saturday’s non-conference game against Detroit before plugging Vlasic back into the lineup.

Although San Jose dropped a 5-4 decision to the Wild on Thursday, giving up four third period goals in a late collapse, DeBoer thought that was a better performance from his team than its two losses to the Kings, as well as a win on Dec. 26 over Anaheim.

“We did a lot of really good stuff for long stretches. We found a way to lose for a few reasons that we have to clean up, but it’s not like Vlasic is out and we can’t compete with the teams we’re playing against,” DeBoer said. “We have to do a better job of taking it across the finish line, that’s all.”

* * *

The Sharks did not practice as a team on Friday, but David Schlemko also went on the ice, attempting to get back from a two-game absence with an upper body injury. DeBoer was unsure if Schlemko would be able to play against the Red Wings.

Tim Heed, recalled as a spare defenseman for Thursday’s game, was reassigned to the Barracuda on Friday morning. The Sharks’ AHL affiliate has a home game on Friday against Milwaukee.

The anatomy of Jannik Hansen's recently-broken scoring drought after nearly one year


The anatomy of Jannik Hansen's recently-broken scoring drought after nearly one year

Jannik Hansen's game-winning goal against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday marked the first time he scored in 355 days. 

Hansen last scored on Mar. 30, 2017 against the Edmonton Oilers, his second goal with the Sharks following an in-season trade. His scoring drought, in all, lasted 44 regular season games, 50 if you include the postseason. 

How exactly does a goal-scoring drought last nearly a year? The right (wrong?) circumstances all need to come together, and that was certainly the case for Hansen for much of the last year.

For one, the Danish forward was in and out of the lineup. San Jose played 83 regular season and postseason games between Hansen's second and third goals, and he did not play in 33 of those games. Plenty of players have had rough 50-game stretches, and that's often without not playing for weeks at a time, as Hansen has done a couple of times this season. 

When Hansen did draw into the lineup this year, however, he wasn't generating offense at the same rate he had in the past. This season, Hansen's five-on-five shot rate (6.19 shots per 60 minutes), shot attempt rate (10.53 individual corsi per 60), and unblocked shot attempt rate (8.95 individual fenwick per 60) were all down from his career averages, according to Corsica Hockey. 

That decline is natural, considering Hansen turned 32 just six days ago. Those rates were not down enough, however, to expect him to fail to score in his first 39 appearances this season. Naturally, a long run of bad luck played a big role in Hansen's dry spell.

Hansen went 0-for-66 in shots over the 50 consecutive regular season and playoff games in which he did not score. He's a career 11-percent shooter, and had he shot at his career average, he would have scored seven goals during that time. That feels about right for a bottom-six forward. 

In many ways, all of these factors fed into one another. Hansen wasn't generating shots or scoring, then was scratched, then couldn't find the back of the net when he returned and was scratched again. All the while, fellow fourth-liners Marcus Sorensen (26.7 percent shooting percentage this season), Joel Ward (14.3 percent) and Barclay Goodrow (13.2 percent) were converting on their chances, forcing Peter DeBoer's hand. 

His possession play has been solid all season (50.74 percent corsi-for, per Natural Stat Trick), but the offense hasn't followed. When it does, as was the case Tuesday night, he can be an effective fourth-line forward, and the goal on Tuesday bought him more time to prove it. 

Sharks blow out Devils for season-high fifth straight win

Sharks blow out Devils for season-high fifth straight win


SAN JOSE -- Jannik Hansen scored his first goal of the season and fellow fourth-liners Eric Fehr and Barclay Goodrow also scored to help the San Jose Sharks win their season-high fifth straight game, 6-2 over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

Logan Couture added his 30th goal of the season, and Joe Pavelski and Mikkel Boedker also scored to give the Sharks a four-point lead over third-place Los Angeles in the Pacific Division with one game in hand.

Brent Burns added three assists and Martin Jones made 26 saves.

The scoring barrage by San Jose spoiled Cory Schneider's return to net for the Devils. Schneider allowed four goals on 14 shots before getting pulled midway through the second period of his first start since March 8. Schneider has lost 11 starts in a row since his last win for the Devils on Dec. 27.

Taylor Hall scored his 32nd goal of the season and Blake Coleman also scored for the Devils, who lead Florida by just one point in the race for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers have two games in hand.

After Hansen and Fehr scored in the first period, Goodrow chipped one in midway through the second period on a surprising night of scoring from the fourth line when he beat Schneider on a 2-on-1.

Couture then scored 40 seconds later on San Jose's first shot against Keith Kinkaid for his third career 30-goal season. Boedker added San Jose's second power-play goal of the night late in the second and the rout was on.

The Sharks got off to a fast start in their first game back from a 3-0 Canadian road trip, scoring three goals in the first period and killing 1:20 of a two-man advantage for New Jersey.

The teams traded goals to start with Fehr beating Schneider over the shoulder from a bad angle and Hall answering when he stole a bouncing puck from Justin Braunand beat Jones with a quick shot.

San Jose then scored twice in a span of less than three minutes to take the lead. Pavelski tipped in a shot from Kevin Labanc on the power play to give the Sharks the lead.

Then after Jones denied Damon Severson from in close at one end, Dylan DeMelo sent a long pass that Hansen chased down and then beat Schneider on a breakaway for his first goal since March 30, 2017.

NOTES: DeMelo has 10 assists this month. ... San Jose D Brenden Dillon has a five-game point streak. ... Devils F Miles Wood (upper body) was scratched and Jesper Bratt played in his place.


Devils: Visit Pittsburgh on Friday.

Sharks: Host Vegas on Thursday.