Sharks

Roenick: Sharks' Marleau not one of 'locker room favorites'

roenick-marleau-sharks-2008-ap.jpg

Roenick: Sharks' Marleau not one of 'locker room favorites'

Former Sharks forward and current NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick has never been shy about expressing his opinion, especially when it comes to Patrick Marleau.

Marleau, San Jose’s longest-tenured player and all-time leading scorer, has been involved in trade speculation since November, when it was reported on CSNCalifornia.com that he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to either the Kings, Ducks or Rangers. Most recently, a report from ESPN said that Marleau’s agent “continues to quietly explore the market” with the permission of general manager Doug Wilson.

In an interview with local radio station KNBR, Roenick indicated that were the Sharks to move Marleau, it would be met with a sense of indifference in the dressing room.

“He’s still very, very good and very effective. But, I don’t see him being one of the locker room favorites. So, if they get rid of him, I don’t think it’s going to make a huge impact with the team,” Roenick said. “But, what they get back in return could be a huge impact. As good of a player as he is, Joe Thornton is the most popular player in the locker room, by far. I think Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture are right behind him. When you have a guy that’s been in that locker room his whole career and he is not thought of like that, that raises questions.”

It’s not the first time that Roenick, who was a teammate of Marleau’s for two seasons from 2007-09, suggested that the Sharks’ dressing room might be better off without the veteran center.

"He's an extremely talented player and you can get a lot on the market for a guy like him, and maybe change the chemistry on the team,” Roenick said on June 4, 2014.

In the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, Roenick referred to Marleau’s performance against the Red Wings in a second round series as “gutless.”

Roenick was also critical of the Sharks in regards to their home and road record. While the Sharks have been one of the NHL’s best teams away from home with a 16-6-2 record, they are just 9-12-1 at SAP Center (although they improved to 4-0-1 in the last five after beating Minnesota on Saturday afternoon).

Roenick said: “It’s definitely a sign when your team loses at home and wins on the road. It means it’s a team that’s not very mentally strong and has the ability to take their foot off the pedal. I love San Jose, it’s one of my favorite teams in the league, and it really frustrates me when they get in front of their own fans, they throw up goose eggs, they throw up dog games. They are struggling with attendance right now because they are losing at home. But when they leave, they come together and they become one and win hockey games.

“That tells me that there is good, quality guys in the locker room that love to come together and play for each other. But, they’re selfish and individualistic when it comes to being at home and being able to focus on the team, rather than themselves and their home life. They need to able to separate the two of them.”

Roenick also touched on the play of defenseman Brent Burns, “in the top three best defensemen in the league,” Martin Jones, who has been “good. He hasn’t been great,” and new head coach Pete DeBoer, who has “done a good job.” 

Joonas Donskoi lends helping hand to Sharks rookie Antti Suomela

suomelaanttisharkswhite.jpg
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

karlssonalternate.jpg
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