Sharks GM Doug Wilson: "You can't keep everybody."

San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson spent a good amount of time with the
media today, discussing this past season, the playoffs disappointment
and the outlook for the team moving forward. Specifically, a lot of the
focus was on the high number of pending free agents and what the team is
looking to do with their roster this summer.

Tim Kawakami of the
San Jose Mercury News has
the full transcript
of the interview up on his blog, so please stop
by and check it out. Wilson was about as forthcoming as you might
expect from a general manager, but he did give some hints as to the
direction the Sharks will take with their approach when it comes to
these free agents.

Here are some highlights:

I think we’re proud of what this group has accomplished in the last
year. I think it has been a big step for this organization.

Certainly not satisfied with where we’re at, but I think there’s a
lot of things that took place in the dressing room as an organization
that puts us in a position now to understand not only what it takes but
how we need to approach things.

This is a theme among the players this year, and it seems it’s the
theme with the coach and the team as well. The Sharks are happy with
what they accomplished and compared to prior seasons they felt they can
walk away and actually feel a bit proud of what they did.

Unfortunately, the Sharks have five straight seasons of high
expectations followed by never come quite close enough to complete
triumph. I know that getting to the Stanley Cup is one of the hardest
accomplishments in sports, but the Sharks made wholesale moves, sweeping
roster changes in one last attempt to do what they couldn’t before.
They failed, although it just wasn’t as bad as it was before.

I don’t normally allow people to talk about their former
organizations, but Todd has seen that first-hand in Detroit. You can’t
keep everybody under this system.

You have to decide who, how, when… that is the part of this business
under this system that you have to deal with.

Several times during the press conference Wilson alluded to the fact
that under the salary cap it’s near impossible for the Sharks to keep
everybody. He praised a number of players, almost seemed like Patrick
Marleau is a priority and singled out guys like Scott Nichol. He also
spoke to the current trend of teams finding success with younger,
lower-priced goaltenders, so it seems that as of now it’s highly
unlikely that Evgeni Nabokov might not be returning next season.

There’s almost no way that the Sharks bring back every free agent on
the team, but it’s also important to think that the Sharks might be
looking to change the dynamic of the team as well. That means bringing
in new players, younger players and perhaps looking for some changeover
on the roster. The Sharks will not only be trying to keep the players
they want to, and stay under the cap but also allow themselves the room
to add whoever they feel would help the team.

Wilson did not speak as a GM of a team that will be going to a bit of
a ‘rebuilding’ year, despite the amount of change their might be. The
Sharks expect to be right back in this position next season, hopefully
this time they’ll be playing in the Cup finals.

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    Ducks deny rally, end Penguins’ winning streak

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    When Ondrej Kase cashed in on another breakaway opportunity for the Ducks to make it 4-1 in the second period, it looked like that goal would be icing on the cake for Anaheim. Even if it would be especially pretty frosting.

    Instead, that stylish goal ended up being critical, as the Pittsburgh Penguins nearly rallied in the third period to at least send Wednesday’s game to overtime. John Gibson ended up holding down the fort, and with an empty-netter in the dying seconds, the Ducks ended up beating the Penguins 5-3.

    You could call it a game of periods and close calls.

    The Penguins entered the first intermission thanks to a 1-0 Evgeni Malkin goal, but the Ducks dominated the middle frame with their first four-goal period of 2017-18. The Penguins’ prolific power play helped them stay in the game (2-for-4, with both goals coming during that third-period comeback bid), but the rally fell short. Pittsburgh’s winning streak ended at four victories.

    Some bounces went both ways, as Antoine Vermette nearly scored for the Ducks while Carl Hagelin suffered a near-miss. So maybe those missed opportunities cancel each other out?

    From the Ducks’ perspective, this is the latest argument in favor of this team being a threat now that key pieces have returned to the lineup. This win begins what they hope is a successful five-game homestand, as Anaheim still needs to battle for its own playoff hopes.

    The Penguins can’t ruminate on this loss for very long. They head to Los Angeles to face what must be a frustrated Kings team (four straight defeats, only two wins in their last eight games) on Thursday, with little reason to expect any mercy.

    This last stretch of wins improved the Penguins’ outlook, but dropping games in back-to-back nights could make things tense again in a hurry. You can check out that Penguins – Kings game on NBCSN Thursday.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Willie O’Ree celebrates 60th anniversary of debut with Bruins

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    BOSTON (AP) Hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree was honored in Boston on Wednesday on the 60th anniversary of the Bruins forward breaking the NHL’s color barrier.

    At a news conference at the TD Garden before the Bruins game against the Montreal Canadiens, Mayor Marty Walsh declared Jan. 18, 2018 to be “Willie O’Ree Day”. O’Ree made his debut in 1958 during a 3-0 victory against the Canadiens at the Forum in Montreal.

    Walsh called O’Ree a Boston legend who changed the city for the better and thanked him for his courage. As part of the celebration, the city dedicated a new street hockey rink in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood to be known as Willie O’Ree Rink.

    A native of Canada, O’Ree, 82, had four goals and 10 assists in 45 games over parts of two NHL seasons. He spent a total of 21 years in pro hockey.

    For the past two decades, O’Ree has served as the NHL’s Diversity Ambassador, spreading the message that hockey is for everyone.

    More AP NHL hockey at https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

    Bruins cruise vs. Canadiens in Julien’s return to Boston

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    Don’t blame Claude Julien if Wednesday made him think of better times, and not just because it was his welcome back night in Boston.

    Coming into this one, it was a tale of two teams going in opposite directions, and the teams stuck to their scripts. The Boston Bruins remain red-hot with a 4-1 win, while the Montreal Canadiens are mired in mediocrity .. or worse?

    When you’re as disappointing as the Canadiens have been, plenty of things are going wrong. It was a weak start even with a 1-0 lead and 1-1 first period in mind, and it obviously didn’t get any better.

    Nights like these have to sting for Julien, a coach known for his sophisticated systems and eye for defensive detail.

    There are questions about Max Pacioretty possibly being trade bait. People wonder if Jonathan Drouin or Alex Galchenyuk fit as centers, or if neither work that way. Yet, these performances make you realize that as exasperated as management must be, they may also appreciate more specific distractions.

    Because, frankly, this was a team … non-effort.

    Then again, the Bruins are a red-hot squad, so maybe they shine an especially harsh light on the Habs’ haplessness?

    Boston generated a 32-22 shots on goal advantage in this one, with multiple contributors stepping up. Big guns came through (Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak were among the goal scorers, Patrice Bergeron collected two assists), while David Backes and others added to the fun.

    It was the kind of effort Julien would have been very happy with, if it didn’t come at his expense.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    WATCH LIVE: Pittsburgh Penguins at Anaheim Ducks

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    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    PROJECTED LINEUPS

    Pittsburgh Penguins

    Dominik SimonSidney Crosby — Daniel Sprong

    Carl HagelinEvgeni MalkinPatric Hornqvist

    Conor ShearyJake GuentzelPhil Kessel

    Tom KuhnhacklRiley SheahanRyan Reaves

    Brian DumoulinKris Letang

    Olli MaattaJustin Schultz

    Matt HunwickJamie Oleksiak

    Starting goalie: Tristan Jarry

    [NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Canadiens vs. Bruins; Penguins vs. Ducks]

    Ducks

    Rickard RakellRyan GetzlafCorey Perry

    Derek GrantRyan KeslerJakob Silfverberg

    Nick RitchieAdam HenriqueOndrej Kase

    Chris WagnerAntoine VermetteJ.T. Brown

    Cam FowlerKevin Bieksa

    Hampus LindholmJosh Manson

    Francois BeaucheminBrandon Montour

    Starting goalie: John Gibson