CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz caught up with some Sharks players to get their thoughts on San Jose’s down-the-stretch schedule. The Sharks will play 32 games in 59 days over the final two months, which includes a nine-game road trip and six back-to-backs.
“It’s the way the schedule is. We got to be at home for Christmas and New Year’s, and now we’re paying the price for it,”defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. “It’s the way the scheduling goes. Other years we’ve had it packed at the beginning, and this year it’s packed at the end.”
On Sunday, the Sharks will embark on a nine-game, 14-day road trip, becoming just the 19th team in NHL history to embark on a roadie of nine games or longer. (The Blackhawks recently became the 18th and they’re still in the midst of theirs, off to a dismal 0-2-1 start.)
San Jose will start its trip in St. Louis before going to Washington, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Detroit, Columbus, Toronto, Nashville and Minnesota. The Sharks will play the Blues-Capitals, Lighting-Hurricanes and Predators-Wild in back-to-back situations.
While the trip sounds awful (mostly because it is), Sharks head coach Todd McLellan says he doesn’t want to hear about how tough it’ll be on his club.
“I don’t want to hear about it anymore. I want our group to come to the rink and get prepared to play one game at a time,” he said. “The part that I was really worried about was the part before All-Star break, when we played nine games in 15 days. We’ve slowly caught up, and we should be able to handle ourselves.”
The mammoth road trip isn’t the only scheduling nightmare for McLellan and Co. The Sharks have a four-game roadie in mid-March (Dallas, Phoenix, Edmonton and Calgary with the final two games being — yep, you guessed it — back-to-backs) and close out the year playing four of six away from HP Pavilion.