Sharks

Notes: DeMelo will play for Sharks soon; Couture battling illness

Notes: DeMelo will play for Sharks soon; Couture battling illness

SAN JOSE – Dylan DeMelo may finally be coming to a San Jose Sharks game near you.

The 23-year-old defenseman, who has yet to play in any of the first six games, will likely make his season debut shortly, coach Pete DeBoer indicated on Monday.

“That’s something we discuss every day,” DeBoer said. “We like him, we’re very comfortable with him. We’d have no problem putting him in. I know Bob [Boughner] has no problem playing him, and not worrying about playing him against anybody out there. It’s a nice luxury to have. 

“We can get to the point where it’s too many games where he’s sitting out. We’re getting close to that. We’re going to have to get him in soon here.”

DeMelo has not played for the Sharks since the final game of the 2015-16 regular season on April 9. He served as the seventh defenseman in the playoffs, but the Sharks dressed the same six blueliners throughout their run to the Stanley Cup Final.

In the preseason, DeMelo – who would have to clear waivers in order to be reassigned to the Barracuda – beat out Mirco Mueller for the seventh job on the Sharks. He signed a two-year contract extension in the offseason.

A former sixth round pick of the club in 2011, DeMelo had a breakthrough season in 2015-16, playing in 45 games and establishing himself as an NHL defenseman. He finished the season with two goals and two assists for four points and an even rating.

* * *

While the Sharks shook up their forward lines at Monday’s skate, the top power play unit remained the same. Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are still together and will try to work out the kinks to their game.

The Sharks are 3-for-20 on the power play, with just one of those coming on a five-on-four.

“We’re not shooting the puck enough, that’s the big thing,” Couture said. “We’ve got to shoot the puck, get traffic. We always have a guy in front of the net and we’ve been getting away from that.”

* * *

Couture has managed five points (2g, 3a) through the first six games, all while battling a persistent cold that he just can’t shake. It’s obvious he’s dealing with some sort of sinus issue when hearing him speak the past few days.

“It’s like a month, it won’t go away,” Couture said. “It’s crazy.”

* * *

Breaking with standard practice, the Sharks opted to stay in Detroit the night after Saturday’s game, rather than immediately flying home on the team charter.

The Sharks were a miserable 1-8-1 in their first home game after a multiple-game road trip last regular season, with their lone win coming against Edmonton in a shootout, so DeBoer figured he would try something different this year.

“When we sat down in the summer and looked at areas to improve, our record coming back from road trips was not good last year,” he said. “We looked at opponents when we came back, our travel schedule. We’re just looking for answers to fix some of the areas that maybe we weren’t real good at last year.”

Why Sharks' tension with Nazem Kadri boiled over in loss to Maple Leafs

Why Sharks' tension with Nazem Kadri boiled over in loss to Maple Leafs

SAN JOSE -- Barclay Goodrow wasn’t happy with Nazem Kadri.

The two jawed before the opening face-off Thursday night, and Goodrow grabbed the Toronto Maple Leafs center once the puck was dropped, trying to make him drop the gloves. Kadri would not, and the Sharks forward alone headed to the box for roughing eight seconds in.

It was a chippy start for teams that only play twice a season. So, what set off Goodrow?

“[Kadri] chose to fight Jumbo last year off of the opening face-off,” Goodrow told reporters after the Sharks’ 5-3 loss, “who quite frankly shouldn’t have to do that. So, I thought I would try to return the favor.” 

Let’s rewind to Jan. 4 in Toronto, when the teams last met. 

Kadri and Thornton jockeyed for stick position ahead of the opening face-off. The two traded slashes, then words, and finally punches after they were kicked out of the face-off circle before the puck was dropped. 

Kadri also grabbed a piece of Thornton’s beard in the fight, but said at the time that it was unintentional. He told reporters Thursday he figured that fight caused the immediate tension.

“I’m not quite sure why they were still so bitter about it,” Kadri said, “especially when he’s the one [who] initiated it with me, so it’s not like I went out looking for it. … I kind of knew they were pretty agitated from the start, and I figured I’d run with that.” 

The Leafs scored seconds after the ensuing power play expired. 

With the man advantage winding down, Toronto center John Tavares threw the puck in front of the net from behind the goal line. The puck bounced off San Jose defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s skate and helplessly through goaltender Martin Jones’ pads.

Up to that point, the Sharks allowed one shot on goal and three attempts on the penalty kill. 

"The biggest thing is [Kadri] got us a power play to start the game,” Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “They're gonna say it's not a power-play goal because I think there was one second or something [on the clock], but that's a power-play goal. It's a great way to start the game.”

Kadri, who is known for getting under his opponents’ skin, was hit a game-high six times. He drew another penalty later in the first period, then drew and received two of his own when he and Sharks winger Melker Karlsson were twice penalized for roughing in the third.

Still, the Sharks out-attempted (18-16), outshot (11-7), and out-chanced (9-5) the Leafs with Kadri on the ice five-on-five, according to Natural Stat Trick. San Jose tied the score 3:18 after Tavares’ tally, and held a lead at the end of the first period. 

[RELATED: DeBoer talks Sharks' defensive woes against Leafs]

Goodrow and Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said they did not think Kadri threw the Sharks off their game. DeBoer thought Kadri “crossed the line” fighting Thornton, but said the pre-puck drop confrontation “was the end of it.”

If there is any remaining tension, we’ll know in fewer than two weeks. The Sharks and Leafs conclude their season series Nov. 28 in Toronto. 

Peter DeBoer says Sharks' Tomas Hertl 'probably' won't play vs. Blues

Peter DeBoer says Sharks' Tomas Hertl 'probably' won't play vs. Blues

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks would’ve liked to see Tomas Hertl penciled into Saturday’s lineup against the St. Louis Blues.

It’s looking like that might not be the case.

Hertl participated in team practice Friday, but coach Peter DeBoer told the media the 25-year-old forward "probably" won’t suit up Saturday when the Sharks have their rematch with the Blues.

It will be the second consecutive game Hertl misses on the Sharks’ current six-game homestand, after he was taken out of Tuesday’s win over the Nashville Predators with a lower body injury.

The Czech winger missed San Jose’s last bout with the Blues on Nov. 9 in St. Louis after being sidelined with a head injury. The Sharks lost that game 4-0.

[RELATED: Sharks' tension with Nazem Kadri boils over in loss to Maple Leafs]

There’s no denying the Sharks would like to have Hertl healthy and back in the lineup as soon as possible, given how well he has played so far this season. He has scored 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in 16 games, including an assist on Joe Pavelski’s first-period goal in Tuesday’s win over the Nashville Predators.

With Hertl out of the lineup, it’s unclear how the Sharks' forwards will line up against Blues. DeBoer experimented with a number of line combinations with Hertl sidelined. It isn’t clear yet if the combinations used in Thursday’s loss to the Maple Leafs will be the same Saturday.