Sharks

NHL pause has Sharks' Joe Thornton feeling like he has multiple seasons left

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AP

NHL pause has Sharks' Joe Thornton feeling like he has multiple seasons left

The NHL has indefinitely paused its season in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. While it's not as if the unexpected break is bringing about an accelerated end to a season the Sharks were enjoying, no hockey simply is no fun for anyone -- fans especially included.

Reality dictates that there just aren't a whole lot of hockey positives to hang our hats on right now. However, the unprecedented developments could bring about some silver linings when the NHL ultimately resumes.

Case in point: Extending the longevity of some of the NHL's greatest players.

Joe Thornton was briefly disappointed he wasn't traded to a contender at the deadline, but soon after reiterated his commitment to San Jose. The 40-year-old was on a bit of a hot streak just prior to the season being paused with three goals in six games, and from the sounds of it, the extended break has only served to confirm that he still has plenty left in the tank.

"I have years to go!" Thornton recently texted The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun.

[RELATED: NHL sends memo to all teams recommending self-quarantine]

Years, you say? As in, plural?

We could all use some good news right now, and for Sharks fans, that certainly qualifies.

Sharks' Erik Karlsson adjusting well to new fatherhood amid NHL hiatus

Sharks' Erik Karlsson adjusting well to new fatherhood amid NHL hiatus

The last six months have been hectic for Sharks star Erik Karlsson.
 
It's not just the uphill hockey season, and thumb surgery, and the suspension of all sports in general. But it's also becoming a dad, and getting really good at … diapers.
 
“I can’t say that I’m a pro at it,” Karlsson joked. “Although I do change the diapers at night in the complete dark, and that can be a little tricky at times.”
 
Erik missed the first Sharks game of the season to be with his wife Melinda for the birth of their daughter, Harlow Rain. Now that hockey sits idle, the defenseman is substituting line changes with teammates for diaper changes with his daughter.
 
“I’m a little bit more of a risk-taker,” Karlsson said about his strategy. “I do believe if the diaper is full and she’s done, then she’s done.”
 
He also reaffirmed what every parent quickly learns: "Number ones" are much easier to handle than "number twos."
 
“It depends what type of number two, too,” Karlsson said. “Some are easier than others.”
 
Fatherhood of six months has already made Karlsson realize he’s changed.
 
“My patience, especially is a lot better, and the uncertainty of things,” Karlsson shared. “Not being able to plan as much ahead as you could before.”
 
Fortunately, Erik’s left thumb has recovered well since the injury and required surgery in mid-February. Meaning he’s not limited in dad-duties this summer.
 
“That’s been great, it was one of the things I didn’t really worry about to begin with, and I’m definitely not worried about it right now,” Karlsson explained. “If the season would have been on, I probably could have played a couple weeks ago.”

[RELATED: Bettman says NHL examining all options for restart]
 
This means the Norris winner should have no problem defending 2-on-1’s next season, just like he’s defending “twos” and “ones” this summer.
 
“At first, it made you gag sometimes, and now it doesn’t even phase me really.”

Sharks' Mario Ferraro reveals lesson learned in whirlwind rookie year

Sharks' Mario Ferraro reveals lesson learned in whirlwind rookie year

Mario Ferraro has surpassed the wildest of expectations in his rookie season with the Sharks, and it hasn't exactly been an uneventful one.

Since making the jump straight from college to the pros, the 21-year-old defenseman has witnessed a mid-season coaching change, the acquisition and eventual trading of a franchise legend, a seemingly endless string of serious injuries to roster cornerstones and -- oh yeah -- an indefinite pause of the NHL season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Not exactly your average rookie year.

Technically, Ferraro's rookie season hasn't come to an end -- at least not yet. Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday that there currently is too much uncertainty for the league to be able to determine when the season might be able to resume, though he hopes to "know more by the end of April." In any case, even if San Jose was able to play out its remaining games, there are only 12 left. Considering the Sharks fell to the absolute bottom of the NHL standings right before the season was paused, an additional playoff run is entirely out of the question.

So, for all intents and purposes, we can't really consider Ferraro a rookie anymore. He has 61 career NHL games under his belt, so, really, that has been the case for a while.

Ferraro flew back to Toronto shortly before the Bay Area's shelter-in-place orders went into effect, and has been doing his best to stay in shape while living at his parents' house. In a recent discussion with NBC Sports California's Brodie Brazil, he described an important lesson that was crucial to his development as a rookie.

"I think one small thing that's actually not small at all when you really look at it," Ferraro said, "is just preparation and that mentality of staying even-keel the whole year. What I mean by that is not getting too high on the highs or too low on the lows. You have so many games and so many important games that if you have a good game one night, you better forget about it because you gotta do the same thing the next night. Or, vice versa, if you play poorly, you really gotta forget about it and bounce back strong.

"And it's not just from game to game -- it's from shift to shift. You're playing in a league that has really fast players, strong players. You can get exposed, and it's going to happen. People are going to make mistakes. I'm a defenseman, so I feel like you're more bound to make mistakes ... they're more glaringly obvious. From a mental perspective, you really have to learn to just kind of say, OK, it happened. Move on. Let's get back to my game and play hard."

While Ferraro is correct that no player is exempt from making mistakes, he didn't have too many glaring errors throughout his first season in the NHL -- or at least, he did a good job covering them up. He earned the trust of the coaching staff and was rewarded with additional opportunities, which he proved capable of handling. Over the last eight games before the season was paused, Ferraro averaged over 20 minutes of ice time per night.

[RELATED: Leonard reunited with college roommate Ferraro on Sharks]

In terms of mentors on the team, Ferraro specifically mentioned fellow defenseman Brent Burns as someone who has been tremendously helpful to him. And like seemingly everyone else in that locker room, Ferraro is a big fan of Joe Thornton. But ultimately, it has been a team effort in supporting Ferraro throughout his rookie year. It takes a village, after all.

"Nobody's counted out on this team," Ferraro explained. "They're all great guys. They've all taught me a ton this year, and we're really close. It has been a good learning curve for me."

While we're all focused on flattening the curve, it has long been evident that -- as a rookie -- Ferraro's wasn't very steep.