Logan Couture

Seeing the upside in Sharks’ 2013 campaign


The San Jose Sharks have made it to the playoffs for nine consecutive seasons and failed to even to the Stanley Cup finals, much less win it all.

In the history of the NHL, there has only been 10 stretches of regular season success that were longer, but also failed to result in winning the Stanley Cup, according to CSN Bay Area.

The Sharks have shown a commitment to winning the Stanley Cup and have sought out players and coaches who have already enjoyed postseason success.

So far that hasn’t produced the desired result. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have been two cornerstones of this franchise for years, but they will be 34 by the time the 2013-14 campaign begins. So is their window of opportunity almost over?

Not necessary. In fact, characterizing them as an aging team would be a bit disingenuous. Goaltender Antti Niemi, forward Joe Pavelski, and blueliner/forward Brent Burns are all in their prime while Logan Couture, 24, has established himself as one of the game’s rising stars.

In addition, they have some talented prospects under the organization’s control, most notably 19-year-old forward Tomas Hertl, who might make his NHL debut next season.

Maybe that’s why, at the end of a roller coaster campaign, the Sharks can look back and reflect on the positive instead of seeing this just as the latest in a chain of playoff exits without a Stanley Cup.

“We’re in transition a little bit as an organization with some of the moves we made, but I thought the way they banded together and played for each other and with each other was exceptional,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan told CSN Bay Area.

“It was a really positive sign for our organization, not only for the playoffs, but moving forward. It’s not about one or two guys. It’s about the group as a whole, and they accepted that, and we have something to build on moving forward.”

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT


Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
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You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
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There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)