Peter DeBoer wants 'pissed off' Sharks to play with more attitude


Peter DeBoer wants 'pissed off' Sharks to play with more attitude

SAN JOSE - Peter DeBoer isn't looking to mince words or sugarcoat things.

When the Sharks head coach was asked Friday morning what San Jose needs to do in Friday's game against the Winnipeg Jets at SAP Center, DeBoer made it very clear he doesn't care who the other team is right now. With where the Sharks are at right now, he wants his team to look in the mirror and turn things around.

"I think as a group we're a little pissed off where we're at," San Jose's bench boss said. "We're a little embarrassed."

So what does he want from his team?

"We've got to start playing with a little more of an attitude," DeBoer said. "Defend with a little more attitude, attack with a little more attitude. I just think we've been a soft team through 10 to 12 games and that doesn't win you many games in this league."

He isn't just concerned with the fact that the Sharks' forecheck has been almost non-existent or that the five-on-five game has been struggling mightily to find the back of the net. DeBoer wants to see improvements all over the ice.

"We've got to be harder to play against," he emphasized. "Offensively that means hanging onto pucks and moving your feet and drawing penalties instead of taking penalties. And we've got to be harder and defend with more of an attitude, too. We've been soft around our net and soft in D-zone coverage. That's a recipe for the record we have. Until, as a group, we start playing in those areas with some attitude and some heaviness and some hardness to our game, we're going to get the results that you've been seeing."

After a disastrous end to their five-game road trip, the Sharks will play six straight on home ice and only hit the road four times in the entire month of November. Having a long homestand could benefit the Sharks and help them get their edge back. But, of course, that's really going to depend on how San Jose channels its disappointment.

As frustrated as DeBoer clearly is himself, he hasn't lost hope the Sharks will turn things around. This, after all, isn't uncharted territory for a DeBoer coached team.

"The one thing I know is that we've been in this spot before," he said. "Probably three of the four years I've been here. The first year, we were at American Thanksgiving and somewhere out of the playoff picture -- I don't know where but we weren't in it, I know that. Last year, the same thing. We've been here before."

[RELATED: What struggling Sharks need to fix on six-game homestand]

Now it's just a matter if this year's Sharks to make those adjustments.

"Every group is different and I think those other groups looked in the mirror and figured it out and turned it right and there was still a lot of hockey to be played and they turned it into a good season," DeBoer concluded. "Now it's this group's turn to see what they're made of."

Sharks say Petr Mrazek 'flopped', got what he deserved from Joe Thornton


Sharks say Petr Mrazek 'flopped', got what he deserved from Joe Thornton

There was no shortage of electricity in Thursday night's rumble between the Sharks and Hurricanes, which San Jose got a point out of after falling 3-2 in the shootout

But the game really went on the verge of exploding when Carolina goalie Petr Mrazek went after Joe Thornton -- which unleashed some next-level fury that Sharks fans on social media like to refer to as "Angry Joe."

"Jumbo plays hard, and the goalie went after him," Logan Couture said after Thursday's loss. "So, I don't know if the goalie expected to get pushed like he did, but if you're going to go at someone you're probably going to get pushed."

Thornton went to give the puck a nudge as he skated by Carolina's net, realizing a bit late that Mrazek already had frozen it. But it was enough to irk the Canes' netminder, who then attempted to violently slash Thornton and subsequently stood up out of the crease as if to square off with the future Hall of Famer. 

Thornton responded with a half-push, half-punch to Mrazek's face, sending the goalie toppling over backward to the ice. Mrazek remained there as a scrum ensued behind Carolina's net. 

[RELATED: Watch Jumbo send 'Canes goalie to ice with forearm shiver]

"I think it definitely gets your group emotionally engaged in the game when you have a goalie swinging a stick at a guy like, but, as you saw, Joe can take care of himself," Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer chuckled. 

Even after Thornton was ushered over to the penalty box to serve two minor penalties, Mrazek was slow to get up off of the ice. The long delay in play left some wondering if Mrazek had a concussion, but he stayed in the game. 

This, of course, raised a couple of mid-game questions. Should Mrazek have come out of the game and gone straight into the league's concussion protocol? Was it actually the fall and not Thornton's force that caused him to labor on the ice for so long? Or, was Mrazek waiting things out so Thornton would receive more discipline?

Sharks goalie Aaron Dell offered up his two cents after the game. "He either got hit really hard and should have gone into concussion protocol or he flopped a bit, but I guess that's the ref's call," Dell said with a shrug.

Mrazek didn't offer up much to the media after the game, calling it a "cheap shot" by Thornton before saying he has suffered hits "worse than those, so it's not bad." So, perhaps we'll never know the real story.

While there is a lot of attention on his tiff with Mrazek, Thornton also deserves credit for playing an incredible game. He led the third line along with Marcus Sorensen and Kevin Labanc to one of its most impactful games so far this season, and set up Sorensen for San Jose's first goal on the evening. With the Sharks' road trip continuing with a back-to-back this weekend against the Floridian teams, getting that kind of bottom-six contribution is vital.

"He's playing well," Couture said of Thornton. "We need [the third line]. Can't win with only the top six scoring. Some nights you need the bottom six to score, and I think that line's looked really good."

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 3-2 shootout loss vs. Hurricanes


Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 3-2 shootout loss vs. Hurricanes


There’s nothing like some fireworks to kick off a tough road trip.

The Sharks and Hurricanes might only see each other twice a season, but boy did things get heated between the two teams in their second and final meeting of the 2019-20 campaign Thursday night at PNC Arena. It was a fast-paced and entertaining matchup all the way through overtime. In the end, San Jose got only one point after Carolina prevailed 3-2 in the shootout, but there were a lot of good things that came out of this one.

Here are three takeaways from Thursday's exciting game:

Thornton ruffles some feathers

Joe Thornton has come up in conversation a bit lately, but mostly because he hasn't produced much over the first two months of the season. But Jumbo Joe has gotten back to what he does best -- setting up goals -- which he has done in three of the last five games. Against the Hurricanes, he looked like his vintage self, and even responded in kind when Carolina goalie Petr Mrazek slashed him late in the second period. 

[RELATED: Watch Jumbo send 'Canes goalie to ice with forearm shiver]

Thornton was the leader of the Sharks' third line Thursday, which was easily the team's best. His work setting up Marcus Sorensen for San Jose's first-period goal was especially impressive, as he displayed great patience in setting his young linemate up with Hurricanes skaters pressuring. Not only was the assist a beauty, but it also brought Thornton within four helpers of tying Adam Oates for seventh on the NHL's all-time list. 

Dell bounces back

Dell was coming off a couple of rough outings, but in his first start since Nov. 27, he put up a strong performance in Raleigh.

After giving up the first goal of the game within the opening minute, Dell really settled in and had a good handle on the Canes’ offense. He was very strong at the start of the second period when Carolina came out with a ton of energy and generated plenty of grade-A chances. But perhaps his best came on a third-period penalty kill to keep the game tied up 2-2. 

Or maybe his saves in overtime were better. Really, he put some great tape together.

Karlsson keeps it going

The Sharks are paying Erik Karlsson to be one of their best players, and he was exactly that against the Hurricanes.

The defenseman has been heating up over the last couple of weeks, and on Thursday he looked downright elite. His work on both ends of the ice was superb, and he set up some of the Sharks' best plays of the game. His incredible work setting up Logan Couture's game-tying goal in the second period was the cherry on top of his highlight-reel performance.