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Tag:Sharks
Posted on: March 28, 2011 2:51 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 3:24 pm
 

Exclusive Q&A: Sharks GM Doug Wilson

San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson performs his daily duties just as he did during his 16-season NHL career. He doesn’t wear a helmet. Just like those days on the blue line with the Chicago Blackhawks and Sharks, that’s not always a good thing. The Sharks had been the trendy pick the last few seasons to win the Stanley Cup, although the franchise has been hammered for their shortcomings come playoff time. The Sharks, who went to the Western Conference finals for the second time in franchise history a season ago, are surging of late and begin the week atop of the Pacific Division by four points over the Phoenix Coyotes. Wilson spoke with CBSSports.com’s A.J. Perez about visors, possibly the toughest division in hockey and the headshot rule that led to the suspension of two of his star players. 

Q: The Dallas Stars (currently two points out of eighth place) are the only Pacific Division team without a playoff spot. Do you think the Pacific -- which has a shot to become the first division to get all of its teams into the postseason -- is the toughest in hockey?

Wilson: “Points are tough to get, for sure. There are no easy games in the division or the Western Conference. That includes Edmonton, which has a lot of good young players. The Pacific is arguably the most competitive in the league. We knew that coming into the year that it would be difficult and it’d be hard to win as many games as we wanted to.”

Q: With so many teams having a shot at the playoffs this late in the season, how much is that a nod to the salary cap?

Wilson: “We knew the environment we live and operate in. We’re competing at a high level of hockey. There are a lot of really good teams and each is trying to get better. It’s more competitive now than just a few years ago. I think everybody has elevated their level of play. There’s parity. You can’t look at the game schedule and assume anything. It’s quite a change and it’s been great for the fans.

“There are so many one-goal games. There is just so much talent in this league and with the rules, I think it’s pretty exciting hockey. The game is really never over. There are so many great young players that I think we sometimes forget how this good of a game this is. The (salary cap) gets dissected, but the game also hasn’t had this many talented players.”

Q: Last offseason, the league made regulation and overtime wins the first tiebreaker. (Under the old system, shootout wins were counted.) The move lessened the importance of shootout victories, although that extra point is still meaningful this time of the season. Do you like the change?

Wilson: “That’s what we all agreed upon. I would like to see more and more games decided in overtime. I think that’s something we’d all like to see. A tiebreaker for shootout wins is just not exciting for fans. This is the stretch run. I think in many cases the extra shootout point will still determine if a team makes the playoffs.”

Q: Two of your top forwards, Joe Thornton (Nov. 5) and Dany Heatley (March 16), were each suspended two games this season for blindside hits to the head of an opponent. Do you think the league’s players get the dangers of such collisions and has Rule 48 helped?

“The majority of players got it fairly quickly. What we’re trying to do is make the game as safe as possible. This is a fast game with big players and injuries are going to take place. We just have to find a balance. We aren’t going to eliminate all injuries or take away hitting, which is a big part of the game. A few players crossed the line and that had to be addressed.”

Q: You were grandfathered into the league’s helmet requirement since you were already in the league when the rule came into being in 1979. Would you wear one now even if you weren’t required?

Wilson: “I would and it would be one with a shield, too. The speed of the game has changed and everybody can shoot the puck. Player safety is concern for all of us. We want the players to play as hard as they can. At the same time, it’s tough to see the injuries like the one to (Vancouver Canucks center) Manny Malhotra. We recommend and encourage our players to wear shields. I wish they all would. All parties involved should be looking out for the players’ best interests.” 

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: March 24, 2011 3:07 am
Edited on: March 24, 2011 3:46 am
 

Morning Skate: Desjardins sports rare number



Andrew Desjardins' goal was just another tally in a 6-3 San Jose Sharks victory Wednesday that further dimmed the Calgary Flames’ chances of the making the postseason -- at least until the 24-year-old center skated away from the net after his first career goal.

That’s when one of the rarest jersey numbers in hockey history came into full view: No. 69. 

Desjardins is thought to be one of only two players in NHL history to don the number. The other, according to azhockey.com, was enforcer Mel Angelstad, whose hockey career spanned all of two games with the Washington Capitals during the 2003-04 season. 

Desjardins told CBSSports.com after last night’s game that it wasn’t by design -- or at least his design. 

“I came into camp last summer and that’s what I got,” said Desjardins, minutes after his first career point of any kind in the NHL. “As numbers go, that wouldn’t have been my choice.”
Line Changes

Desjardins, however, wasn’t about to complain about the unusual digits. 

His route to the NHL was hardly direct. Desjardins went undrafted out of juniors and played a season in the Central Hockey League for the Laredo Bucks. He caught on with the Sharks’ AHL affiliate, the Worcester Sharks, in 2008-09 and has played there ever since --  minus a five-game stint in the ECHL -- and he usually wears No. 22.

Desjardins made his NHL debut Jan. 3 with the Sharks and was called back up on March 7 -- the same day his former linemate in Worcester, John McCarthy, was sent down. The two players, along with Dan DaSilva, made up Worcester’s “Crazed Rats” line. 

“I’m not exactly sure how that started,” said Desjardins, who grew up in Lively, Ontario. “A coach or somebody said our line was tenacious and chased the puck down like crazy rats. It just kind of stuck. Fans started to call us that and they even made signs and brought them to the games.”

Now, Desjardins just has an odd number, one that he hints he may attempt to change if he sticks with the club.

“You just have to laugh about it,” Desjardins said. “It’s not something I looked at and said, ‘Oh, awesome!’ You just have to take a step back and think that you’re playing in the NHL and not worry what’s on your back. My friends and family haven’t been too bad about it. It’s just something you don’t see every day.”

Wednesday’s was Desjardins' 10th NHL game and it came against a Flames team that entered tied with two others -- the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars -- for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. He may be new to the NHL, but it didn’t take him long to sense the Flames’ urgency. 

His goal midway through the first period -- where he took a pass at his own blue line, skated up the boards, spit two defenders and beat  Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff over the blocker -- put the Sharks up 2-1.  A goal by Cory Sarich tied the game about four minutes later before the Sharks pulled away. 

“To be able to play in these types have games has been exciting and challenging,” Desjardins said. “(The Flames) didn’t give up and every game has been like that. That’s the way hockey is this time of year. There are a lot of desperate teams.”

The Ducks, who have been one the league’s most exciting teams to watch over the last several days, reached overtime with a tally by Teemu Selanne with seven seconds left before rookie Cam Fowler clinched a 5-4 victory over the Stars in OT. That leaves the Ducks alone in eighth with 87 points, one point ahead of the Stars and two in front of the Flames. 

WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS 
Vancouver 2, Detroit 1
Chicago 4, Florida 0
Anaheim 4, Dallas 3 (OT)
San Jose 6, Calgary 3

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: March 21, 2011 4:24 pm
 

Pavelski atop bracket heap among NHLers

San Jose Sharks forward Joe Pavelski finished the first weekend of the NCAA men's basketball tournament in solid shape, leading the three other NHL players who particpated in CBSSports.com’s Bracket Challenge

Pavelski is seventh overall among the 35 celebrity brackets compiled. He got 33 games correct out of a possible 48 and enters the Sweet 16 with 43 points. All of his Final Four teams -- North Carolina, Duke, Kansas and Florida -- remain in contention. 

That's not a bad start for Paveklski, who also tapped as one of the NHL's three Stars of the week on Monday.

Teammate Dany Heatley and Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller are tied in 16th (39 points), Columbus Blue Jackets winger R.J. Umberger is 34th (37 points.), just ahead of last-place Special K Daley of the Harlem Globetrotters.

Overall, President Obama leads with 49 points, predicting 39 games correctly. 
-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: March 17, 2011 2:57 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2011 3:17 pm
 

NHL players remain (mostly) loyal in NCAA picks



Joe Pavelski can’t be called a homer. 

The San Jose Sharks forward (above left) is the only one of the four NHL players to fill out the CBSSports.com’s Bracket Challenge who did not pick his alma mater to win it all. Pavelski, who attended the University of Wisconsin, has the Badgers falling in the fourth round to Florida and penciled in Duke to win the NCAA men’s basketball championship.

His Sharks teammate and fellow Badger Dany Heatley has Wisconsin beating Duke in the finals. Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller has his Michigan State Spartans winning their third national title by beating rival Ohio State. (The odds of those schools winning it all, according to VegasInsider.com, are 35/1 and 60/1, respectively.) 

Columbus Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger (above right) has top-seeded Ohio State overtaking Louisville in the championship game, so it was fairly easy for him to stay faithful to his collegiate roots.

The Eye on Hockey blog will be upating how these four players' brackets are holding up as March Madness progresses.

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: March 17, 2011 2:11 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2011 3:22 pm
 

Bruins' Marchand suspended two games for elbow

Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand became the second player in as many days to be suspended for elbowing an opponent in the head. 

Marchand received a two-game ban for his elbow deleivered to the back of the head of Columbus Blue Jackets winger R.J. Umberger on Tuesday. The suspension announced Thursday follows an identical suspension to San Jose Sharks forward Dany Heatley

“I understand where the league is coming from,” Marchand told CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty. “They’re obviously cracking down on head hits right now. I’m disappointed to miss a couple of games and it’s always frustrating to have to watch your team play.

“But I understand why it happened. The biggest thing is to regroup now and get ready to play when I’m called back to action.”

No penalty was called on the collision that occurred midway through the second period. Umberger remained in the game.

Marchand will forfeit $6,330.64 in salary. 


Posted on: March 16, 2011 7:48 pm
Edited on: March 16, 2011 7:50 pm
 

Sharks' Dany Heatley suspended two games

San Jose Sharks winger Dany Heatley was suspended two games Wednesday, a day after he delivered an elbow to the head of Dallas Stars forward Steve Ott

The collision occurred with about four minutes left in regulation of the Sharks’ 6-3 victory on Tuesday. Ott passed the puck to center ice and was elbowed by Heatley soon thereafter. 

Heatley will forfeit $80,645.16 in salary as he sits out Thursday’s game against Minnesota and Saturday’s game against St. Louis. He's the second big-name Sharks forward suspended this season for such a hit. Sharks center Joe Thornton received a two-game ban in November after a collision with St. Louis Blues forward David Perron.

Posted on: March 6, 2011 12:40 am
Edited on: March 7, 2011 5:29 pm
 

Video: Sharks' Demers punches official

San Jose Sharks defenseman Jason Demers' attempt to slug Dallas Stars forward Steve Ott instead landed on the chin of a linesman during a scuffle at HP Pavilion Saturday night. 

Demers and Ott were being separated by officials moments after Ott delivered a hard check along the boards with a few seconds left in the second period. Linesmean Brian Mach, who has officiated NHL games more than a decade, took a shot meant for Ott right on the chin. 

Demers, however, only received two minutes for roughing -- and it was Sharks went on the power play -- as Ott was given charging and roughing minors. 

Demers told The Mercury News' David Pollak that he offered an apology. 

“I wasn’t looking at him at all. I was looking through to Ott and he sort of jumped in the way,” Demers said of Mach. “But he was fine with it. That was inadvertent. Things happen in the heat of the moment. He was all right with it. I talked to him and apologized.”



Posted on: March 1, 2011 2:03 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Antti Niemi Inks Four-year Extension in San Jose

Goalie Antti Niemi agreed to a four-year extension with the San Jose Sharks, the club announced on Tuesday. 


Niemi, who has won has six games in a row and was tapped as the No. 1 star of the NHL for the final week in February, picked a fortuitous time to negotiate a new contract, which was set to expire at the end of the season. Finincial terms were not released by the Sharks, but The Mercury News reported the deal is worth $15.2 million throughout the life of the contract. 
 
"We wanted Antti to remain a San Jose Shark and he wanted to be here," Sharks GM Doug Wilson said in a news release. "Once he got through his expected integration period with our club, Antti’s play has been outstanding and, just as important, he has consistently been a great teammate.  And like many of his teammates over this past year, he worked with us on a contract that fits within our team structure and enables us to keep our group intact."



Niemi, 27, led the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup title last season, but the team was forced to release him due to salary cap restraints  when he won an $2.75 million arbitration judgment last summer -- about triple of what he made during the 2009-10 season. The Sharks singed Niemi as a free agent days afterward. He's 23-15-3 this season with a 2.44 goals-against average.

 Maybe with all the cash, he can afford some new gear.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com