Three takeaways from Sharks' disappointing loss to Calgary

Three takeaways from Sharks' disappointing loss to Calgary

SAN JOSE – The Sharks fought back from a two-goal deficit in the third period, only to see rookie Matthew Tkachuk score with less than five minutes remaining in a 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Thursday. Here are three takeaways from the disappointing performance…

1 – Slow start

The way the Sharks began this game was startling, considering how well they had been playing at home lately, and that they were coming off of a loss to a poor Arizona team and should have been anxious to get back in the win column. Instead, they had an incredible lack of urgency both at five-on-five and on their three early power plays. One stat that stood out after the first 20 minutes was that San Jose had just one single hit by Joel Ward.

"We want to be a heavy hard team, and when we're not playing physical and not getting in on the forecheck, I think that indicates for sure when we're not on our game,” Brenden Dillon said. “It's just one of those stats, but at the same time it's indicative of the way we're playing.”

2 – Line shuffling provides a spark

Pete DeBoer has been forced to alter his lines mid-game more often than he’d probably like to this season. On Thursday, though, it seemed to pay off. Melker Karlsson has been slowly working his way up the lineup, and took some shifts later on in the game on the top line left wing in place of Mikkel Boedker. He eventually scored the tying goal on a line with Chris Tierney and Patrick Marleau, and the Sharks were just much more effective as a team, too.

“We didn’t come out with the energy we wanted, and [the Flames] got energy from that, so I think it was good that they changed [the lines] up a little bit,” Karlsson said after the game.

Karlsson could be in line for more ice time as one of the team’s more effective forwards of late. We'll keep an eye on what DeBoer does with his lines for Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh.

3 – Memorable night for Tkachuk

The sixth overall pick from the 2016 draft, Tkachuk only found out on Thursday morning that he would be playing in his 10th game of the season, making him likely to stay with the Flames all year rather than return to his junior club. Not only did he score twice, he got involved physically, too, cross-checking Dillon in the corner at one point and mixing it up with Brent Burns in front of the net before Burns shoved him to the ice.

Tkachuk got the last laugh, though, taking advantage of Burns’ bad read on the game-winner.

“I woke up this morning, not expecting I was playing. I got the news I was playing and I got fired up pretty quickly,” Tkachuk told the Calgary Herald. “I was running on adrenalin, for sure.”

Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal


Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal

Just two days before one was scheduled, the Sharks avoided an arbitration hearing with center Chris Tierney, and re-signed the restricted free agent to a two-year deal on Wednesday, the team announced. The deal is reportedly worth just shy of $2.94 million annually, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman

"Chris had his best season as a professional last year and stepped up his level of play in multiple areas," San Jose general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We've always known he was a responsible, defensive-minded player, but he took his offensive game to the next tier and showed that he can be a productive player in all three zones. We look forward to watching him continue his evolution in 2018-19." 

Last season, the 24-year-old Tierney set career-highs in goals (17), assists (23), points (40), shots on goal (118), and ice time (16:00). Tierney also generated expected goals at the highest rate of his career (0.62 per hour), according to Corsica Hockey. 

A 2012 second-round pick, Tierney entered last season in an uncertain place. He signed his one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer last summer, and head coach Peter DeBoer challenged him to improve. 

“I came into the year wanting to prove a point. I believe in myself. I think I’m a good hockey player,” Tierney told the San Jose Mercury News in December. “I wanted to come in and show people that I could play an offensive role on the team.”  

DeBoer used Tierney slightly differently this season, as the forward started a career-high percentage of five-on-five shifts in the offensive zone (31.12 percent) and a career-low percentage of defensive zone starts (29.68 percent), per Corsica Hockey. Tierney responded in kind with his aforementioned career-best offensive numbers, and seized the third-line center role after versatile forward Tomas Hertl stayed on the wing.  

With Tierney back in the fold, the Sharks now have just under $4.4 million in salary cap space, according to CapFriendly. That’s for a roster carrying 14 forwards, seven defenseman, and two goaltenders, and San Jose’s actual cap space may change depending on the outcome of various positional battles in training camp. 

This summer, Tierney became the fourth Sharks player since 2008 to file for arbitration. In every case, including with Tierney on Wednesday, a settlement was reached prior to a hearing. 

The Sharks also signed a pair of prospects to entry-level contracts on Wednesday. Defenseman Ryan Merkley, San Jose’s first-round pick this June, and 21-year-old forward Alexander True, who scored 28 points in 68 games with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda last season, both inked deals with the organization.

Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double


Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double

Sharks goaltender Martin Jones won't just enter the season with a different paycheck, the result of entering the first year of a five-year, $34.5 million contract extension that he signed last July. He'll also have a new mask.

Toronto-based artist Steve Nash unveiled a look at Jones' mask design for the upcoming season Monday morning on Twitter. The design again features San Jose's secondary logo but with some subtle differences.

Eagle-eyed mask afficionados will notice a couple of tweaks. First, there now are two sharks on the side, compared to only one last season. Those sharks boast orange eyes seen on the back of his mask last season

For comparison, here's a look at Jones' mask from last year.

The 28-year-old netminder is entering his fourth season in San Jose's crease. Jones posted a .915 save percentage in 60 regular-season starts and followed that with a .928 in 10 postseason starts as the Sharks advanced to the second round. 

We'll get our best look at Jones' new mask in action when training camp opens in mid-September, and, assuming he plays, in a game as soon as the Sept. 18 preseason opener against the Ducks.