Sharks

NHL Gameday: Sorensen gets a chance; Dell starting for Sharks

NHL Gameday: Sorensen gets a chance; Dell starting for Sharks

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

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 37-18-7, 81 points, 1st Pacific Division
Canucks: 26-29-7, 59 points, 6th Pacific Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***Neither Jannik Hansen nor Nikolay Goldobin will face their former teams despite the trade that went down on Tuesday, as both are dealing with the paperwork of being employed in a new country.

“It’s an immigration thing,” Pete DeBoer said. “I’ve seen it take a few days, I’ve seen it take a week. So, I don’t know [when Hansen will play].”

DeBoer spoke to Hansen on Wednesday, and said: “He’s ready to get in here and get to work as soon as he can.”

***After his strong game on Tuesday against Toronto in which he registered three shots on goal, rookie Marcus Sorensen will get an opportunity to remain on the third line with Tomas Hertl and Joel Ward, where he spent the third period against the Maple Leafs.

The 24-year-old winger’s development is one reason that Goldobin became expendable. He was asked how he’s improved since training camp.

“I have learned to play in this rink,” Sorensen said. “This size is pretty difficult. It’s a big difference between European size and American size, so, so far so good.”

DeBoer said: “I thought he played great last game. First game I thought he was like a lot of young guys, kind of feeling his way. I thought last game he just played, he didn’t overthink it. Played his game [and] was very effective.”

***Aaron Dell gets the call in net, a good indication that his workload is about to increase after Martin Jones started 52 of the first 62 games. The Sharks have a back-to-back on Sunday and Monday in Minnesota and Winnipeg, so it’s likely Dell gets that second game against the Jets, too.

San Jose has 20 games remaining in just a 38-day span.

“We have a lot of games coming up in a short amount of time, so I think my role is going to be a little bit bigger the rest of the way out,” Dell said.

Dell, 7-3-1 with a 1.95 GAA and .934 SP, has allowed two of fewer goals in seven of his 10 starts.

“I felt like I’ve gotten a little better every game I’ve played, so hopefully that continues,” he said.

***The Sharks bring a 4-0-3 mark in their last seven games into tonight, including a 4-1 win in Vancouver on Saturday. The Canucks have lost five of their last six (1-4-1).

With a win tonight, the Sharks would open up a seven-point lead on Edmonton and a nine-point lead on Anaheim, both of which are idle. Vancouver has won six straight games in San Jose, while the Sharks have nine wins in a row in British Columbia.
 
KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Brenden Dillon. A Vancouver native, Dillon scored the tying goal on Tuesday night in the Sharks’ 3-1 win over Toronto, cleanly beating Frederik Andersen with a hard slapper. Against Vancouver on Saturday, he dropped the gloves to fight the Canucks’ Joe Labate after Labate ran Melker Karlsson. Dillon has a plus-four rating over his last four games, and is second on the team with 51 penalty minutes.

Canucks: Markus Granlund. The winger is likely to remain on Vancouver’s top line with the Sedin twins. Granlund, a 23-year-old former second round pick, has already set a career high in goals (16) and points (27). He has one goal in each of his last two games, sandwiched around the Sharks game on Feb. 25, which he missed due to illness.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Kevin Labanc – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Marcus Sorensen – Tomas Hertl – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Aaron Dell (starter)
Martin Jones

Canucks
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Markus Granlund
Sven Baertschi – Bo Horvat – Loui Eriksson
Brendan Gaunce – Brandon Sutter – Jayson Megna
Joe Cramarossa – Michael Chaput – Reid Boucher

Alex Edler – Troy Stecher
Luca Sbisa – Chris Tanev
Ben Hutton – Alex Biega

Ryan Miller
Jacob Markstrom

INJURIES

Sharks: Joonas Donskoi (upper body) and Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) are out.

Canucks: Nikita Tryamkin (illness), Jack Skille (undisclosed), Derek Dorsett (back surgery), Erik Gudbranson (wrist) and Anton Rodin (knee) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“I was trying to play hard, and get the puck to the net, help my linemates to create some offense and use my speed.” – Marcus Sorensen, on his performance against Toronto on Tuesday

Sharks are taking their sweet time being supposed Stanley Cup contenders

Sharks are taking their sweet time being supposed Stanley Cup contenders

Your head tells you it would take awhile for the San Jose Sharks to become the Stanley Cup favorite they were ordained to be when they traded for Erik Karlsson in September. Your heart tells you 22 games ought to have been enough time to at least be shifting into third gear and finding some open highway.
 
But your eyes are telling you they’re not there yet, and your gut is starting to churn because you’re worried that this might be yet one more unfulfilled tease from the reigning masters of Not Quite Yet.
 
Of those body parts, your head and eyes have figured them out best, and you’re not happy with either of their conclusions. The latest reason for this frustration was demonstrated Tuesday when they managed to hack up three more leads and lose to the Edmonton Oilers in overtime, 4-3.
 
The same Edmonton Oilers who have missed the playoffs in 11 of the last 12 seasons while having the best player in the game. The same Edmonton Oilers who fired their coach, former Sharks boss Todd McLellan, Tuesday morning after flying him down with the rest of the team to begin a road trip. The same Edmonton Oilers who have spun more No. 1 draft picks into less gold and more zinc than any team maybe ever.
 
And yes, we include the Philadelphia 76ers, who were trying to go south when they did the same thing.
 
In short, the Sharks could not maintain pace, drive or focus on a team that should be have been at best confused and at worst dispirited. Or, in the words of head coach Peter DeBoer, “Tonight is a disappointing one because I thought had we got a little bit better effort from everybody — from 20 guys — we should have got two points. We didn’t have enough participants tonight.”
 
Captain Joe Pavelski was a bit more granular, saying that yet again the Sharks allowed the Oilers too many odd-man rushes that turned into worrisome scoring chances in particular for McDavid and linemate Leon Draisaitl: 
 
“There was something just missing as far as a little jam to our game, and getting in there and getting some momentum or getting on the forecheck,” he said. “Same thing, they didn’t have a whole lot either. It was kind of a quiet game, to be honest.”
 
Well, fine then. Only this is the 14th game out of 22 in which they had a lead and couldn’t hold it, including in eight of their 11 losses. Maybe more participants would help, and maybe more jam would help, but the real issue here seems to be that they are taking their sweet time getting around to being the team they expected themselves to be when all this began.
 
It’s not like their path is too difficult to traverse; the Pacific Division they currently lead by a mere point over Calgary (the only team in the division to have won more than half its games) is top to bottom the worst in the league. The cumulative record of 75-78-15 is poor, and with McLellan gone, the division has also fired one-fourth of its membership in the first quarter of the season.
 
In short, the Sharks have wasted some prime opportunities to dismiss the rest of the division, and don’t have injuries as an excuse. They are healthy enough – they just haven’t devoted enough energy to the defensive grind that sent them to the Cup final in 2016 and has marked their play under DeBoer for most of his time in town. The 68 goals they have allowed puts them squarely in the bottom third of the league after being 10th, fifth and ninth the previous three seasons, and their pro-rated 253 goals allowed would be the most since 1996-7, when they were still expansion-level awful.
 
In other words, the Sharks are not making the game uncomfortable for the opponent, and the opponent seems perfectly willing to wait for their moment to counterattack. This can easily be fixed, but the fact that it hasn’t yet makes one wonder if they haven’t taken their fan base for another walk like so many others.
 
It’s too early to say that, of course, but it shouldn’t take a full quarter-season to figure that basic bit of standard hockey out. This isn’t Rams-Chiefs from Monday night, where the idea of defense was having the ball. Discomfiting the opponent shouldn’t be this spotty an exercise.
 
But there you go again, listening to your gut. Even on Thanksgiving, that’s a bad idea.

Sharks 'didn't have enough participants' in lethargic loss to Oilers

Sharks 'didn't have enough participants' in lethargic loss to Oilers

SAN JOSE – After a team loses, there’s always a need to pinpoint what went wrong. What play changed the course of the game. What specific mistake from that contest led to the loss.

In regard to the Sharks’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers, it wasn’t just that familiar problem with odd-man rushes. Tuesday's game just wasn’t the team’s best offensive effort, and a disappointment after their dominant win over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.

“We didn’t have enough participants tonight,” coach Peter DeBoer told the media after the loss. “Didn’t play good enough for long enough stretches. I don’t have an answer why. It wasn’t one or two guys, it was almost everybody. It’s just one of those nights.”

Captain Joe Pavelski agreed: “We didn’t create a lot of offense all night. There was something missing as far as a little jam to our game.”

This isn’t to say the Sharks got steam-rolled. The offense that was generated, whether it was on Marcus Sorensen’s first-period goal, or on Logan Couture’s second period marker, looked as though it could give San Jose that push to take over the pace of the game. 

Even then, the Sharks had trouble holding onto a lead. Not that their opponents were much better.

“[The Oilers] didn’t have a whole lot either,” Pavelski pointed out. “It was kind of a quiet game.”

The embattled Edmonton team, which was playing just hours after their head coach was fired and ultimately replaced, didn’t exactly play the desperate game a seasoned hockey viewer may expect. In fact, even with the Connor McDavid-led first line being difficult to contain, the Oilers never had a lead until scoring the game-winning goal in overtime. 

There was a suggestion after the game that the short-handed goal the Sharks gave up in the second period was the turning point in the game. But Pavelski disagreed.

“We’re not hanging this game on that play,” the captain said. “There’s a lot of other plays throughout the night.”

The night is something the Sharks obviously want to turn the page on quickly. They’re now 3-1-1 on their long homestand, and want to end it on a high note against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday. 

“This league doesn’t allow you to get frustrated for too long,” DeBoer said. “We’ve had a good homestand, we’re picking up points. We’ll take the good and look at the bad, and try and get it fixed.”