Sharks

NHL Gameday: New lines for Sharks as they host Wild

NHL Gameday: New lines for Sharks as they host Wild

Programming note – Sharks-Wild coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 23-13-2, 48 points, 1st Pacific Division
Wild: 23-9-4, 50 points, 2nd Central Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The Sharks will feature three altered scoring lines from the way they started Tuesday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Kings, including Timo Meier on the top line and Patrick Marleau on the third. Mikkel Boedker will be a healthy scratch, while Tommy Wingels returns as the fourth line center.

San Jose is 21st in the NHL with 2.45 goals-per game, scoring two or fewer in regulation in their last five straight.

The Sharks have lost two in a row (0-1-1), both to Los Angeles, but are 4-0-1 in their last five home games.

***No changes on the blue line for the Sharks, as Mirco Mueller remains in paired with Dylan DeMelo. Tim Heed was recalled from the Barracuda, but is not expected to play. David Schlemko remains out with an upper body injury.

***The Wild come to San Jose well-rested, having not played since New Year’s Eve when their 12-game winning streak was snapped by Columbus. Tonight is the start of a three-game swing through California, as they’ll visit the Kings on Saturday and Ducks on Sunday.

Minnesota, 14-2-3 in its last 19, leads the Western Conference with a plus-37 goal differential. Expected starter Devan Dubnyk leads the NHL in save percentage (.941) and goals-against average (1.75). He will face Martin Jones.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Timo Meier. The rookie will get his first chance to start a game on the left wing of the Joe Thornton-Patrick Marleau line, which is where some had him penciled in to start the year before he came down with mononucleosis in training camp. Meier hasn’t found the scoresheet in his last seven games after scoring in his NHL debut on Dec. 16, but has 25 shots since his recall.

Wild: Charlie Coyle. A former first round pick of the Sharks, Coyle is tied with Eric Staal for the Wild team lead in scoring with 30 points (12g, 18a). He has seven points (1g, 6a) in his last four games, and at least one point in seven of his last nine. The 24-year-old was traded to the Wild as part of the deal for Brent Burns in the 2011 offseason.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Timo Meier – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Joonas Donskoi
Patrick Marleau – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Justin Braun
Mirco Mueller – Dylan DeMelo

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Wild
Zach Parise – Eric Staal – Joedan Schroeder
Jason Zucker – Mikko Koivu – Mikael Granlund
Nino Niederreiter – Erik Haula – Charlie Coyle
Chris Stewart – Tyler Graovac – Jason Pominville

Ryan Suter – Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin – Matt Dumba
Marco Scandella – Christian Folin

Devan Dubnyk
Darcy Kuemper

INJURIES

Sharks: David Schlemko (upper body), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (face) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are out.

Wild: None.

QUOTEABLE

“It shows me that I think I did the right things. We have a couple injuries, too, but I’ll be ready tonight. I want to be using my chance.” – Mirco Mueller, who made his season debut on Tuesday, and will remain in against Minnesota  

Joonas Donskoi lends helping hand to Sharks rookie Antti Suomela

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USATSI

Joonas Donskoi lends helping hand to Sharks rookie Antti Suomela

SAN JOSE -- When Sharks winger Joonas Donskoi first tried to make the team in 2015, he didn’t know it would be so hard to get a cell phone. 

“I was trying to get a phone plan, and they said I had no history in the [United States], so I had to pay a deposit for pretty much anything I do,” Donskoi recalled Tuesday at the Sharks practice facility. 

To that point, the forward had only played professionally in his home country of Finland. But after spending parts of six years playing for Karpat in SM-liiga, Donskoi signed with San Jose in May 2015, with the hopes of cracking the NHL. He made the team out of camp, and hasn’t spent a minute in the minors, despite initially struggling learning a new language and acclimating to a new country.

Still, Donskoi said, having a familiar face would’ve helped. 

“Oh for sure. I had my biggest problems maybe off the ice, and my language was not that perfect,” Donskoi said. “A lot of things were new for me, and it was really hard at the beginning.” 

Now, Donskoi has an opportunity to pass on what he learned. Fellow Finnish forward Antti Suomela is trying to make the same transition Donskoi made three years ago, and make the Sharks’ opening night roster in his first NHL training camp. 

Suomela, a center, signed a one-year, entry-level deal with San Jose on June 6. He led SM-liiga in scoring last season with 60 points (21 goals, 39 assists), and won a European Champions Hockey League title with JYP. 

The 24-year-old likely would have competed for the team’s fourth-line center spot, but center Chris Tierney’s inclusion in the Erik Karlsson trade created an opening down the middle of the team’s third line as well. That’s where Suomela has spent much of camp, skating with Kevin Labanc on one wing, and Donskoi on the other in most practices, as well as two preseason games. 

Donskoi didn’t meet Suomela before he signed with San Jose, but spoke with him when he was thinking about joining the Sharks. Since Suomela’s been in camp, Donskoi’s tried to help his adjustment on the ice and off of it. The rookie is still learning the language, but Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said Donskoi’s helped bridge any gaps.

“It’s nice that Joonas is there to kind of interpret for him when he doesn’t understand what’s going on,” DeBoer said, “but to also help him on the ice. I think when you have a familiar guy that plays the same way you do, it makes the transition easier.” 

Suomela’s played in all three of San Jose’s preseason games, but did not travel with the team Tuesday for their game in Calgary against the Flames. He scored three points in his second game, but did not have a shot on goal in his third on Saturday. 

The rookie found nice chemistry with Labanc and Donskoi in the first two games, as the Sharks attempted two-thirds of the five-on-five shots -- and nearly 78 percent of the scoring chances -- with the trio on the ice, according to Natural Stat Trick. Without Labanc and Donskoi on Saturday, San Jose was out-attempted 9-6 and out-chanced 3-1. 

“I think he’s done a good job,” DeBoer said. “I thought his first game, he was feeling things out. I thought the second game was fantastic. I thought the third game was okay. He’ll get another game here, and it’s gonna be an important one.”

Thursday figures to be the closest approximation to the Sharks’ opening night lineup. DeBoer said the plan is for Karlsson to play against the Flames that night at SAP Center for his first  game of the preseason, barring some last-minute looks at other players competing for spots. Where Suomela is penciled in, and his performance thereafter, should provide insight into his bid to stay in the NHL after camp. 

In the meantime, Donskoi will continue to help his countryman acclimate to life in San Jose. So far, he's made sure to keep his linemate in his sights outside of practice, too.

“I’ve just been going with him everywhere he goes,” Donskoi said with a laugh. “His English is probably not the best yet, so I’m just trying to help him as much as I can.” 

Everywhere, one imagines, will surely include a trip to buy a cell phone.

Erik Karlsson unveils Sharks' black third jersey with an on-ice skate

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San Jose Sharks

Erik Karlsson unveils Sharks' black third jersey with an on-ice skate

Erik Karlsson did not play for the Sharks in Saturday's preseason game against the Vegas Golden Knights, but he still managed to suit up. 

Karlsson took the ice in front of the fans at SAP Center as a Shark for the first time, all while wearing San Jose's newest uniform. He officially unveiled a black alternate jersey that the Sharks will wear in 13 home games this season. 

Teal is the only prominent accent color aside from some orange in the shark's eye. It looks like Martin Jones' new mask design offered a bit of a thematic preview of the Sharks' new look.  

The "Stealth" jersey also features a black-and-teal version of San Jose's original secondary logo, a cool nod to the franchise's history. Sharks co-president John Tortora told NBC Sports California's Brodie Brazil in February that the logo would "start showing back up again."

In all, it's the third black jersey in the club's history, and the team's first alternate uniform since Adidas took over as the NHL's jersey manufacturer last season. 

The Sharks will wear the jersey in every Thursday night and Friday night home game -- as well as one Saturday. The full schedule for the uniform is as follows:

  • Thursday, Oct. 18 vs. Buffalo
  • Thursday, Nov. 1 vs. Columbus
  • Saturday, Nov. 3 vs. Philadelphia
  • Thursday, Nov. 15 vs. Toronto
  • Friday, Nov. 23 vs. Vancouver
  • Thursday, Dec. 13 vs. Dallas
  • Thursday, Dec. 20 vs. Winnipeg
  • Thursday, Dec. 27 vs. Anaheim
  • Thursday, Feb. 14 vs. Washington
  • Friday, March 1 vs. Colorado
  • Thursday, March 7 vs. Montreal
  • Thursday, March 14 vs. Florida
  • Thursday, March 28 vs. Chicago