San Jose Sharks v Phoenix Coyotes

Hall of Famer Larry Robinson helped improve Sharks defense


Being able to learn from one of the all-time best defensemen in hockey has been a benefit for the San Jose Sharks.

Hall of Fame blue liner Larry Robinson joined the Sharks coaching staff as an associate coach in July of 2012, bringing the experience that comes with being a two-time Norris Trophy winner and six-time Stanley Cup champion as a player with the Montreal Canadiens.

“When you’re taking pointers from a guy who’s pretty much seen everything in the game, it’s not hard to know that he probably knows what he’s talking about — even for a guy like myself who’s played a lot,” Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart told the San Jose Mercury News back in April.

“You think you know everything, but you don’t.”

Under Robinson’s tutelage, the Sharks showed a noticeable improvement in their goals-against numbers from the 2011-12 season to the lockout-shortened 2013 season.

In 2011-12, the Sharks finished eighth in the league, averaging 2.5 goals against per game.

With Robinson on the staff, the Sharks buckled down, averaging 2.33 goals against per game. That placed them sixth overall in the NHL.

Combined through the first two games of the Western Conference quarter-fnal against the Vancouver Canucks, the Sharks had a registered 37 blocked shots.

While Robinson – and his wealth of experience – deserves some of the credit for helping to improve the Sharks defensively, the players did their part, too.

“It’s a lot of work,” Sharks head coach Todd McLellan told reporters during that first-round sweep of the Canucks, as per Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province.

“A commitment level from the players and you can only defend so many different ways. The players have to make a decision collectively that they’re prepared to sacrifice to prevent goals.”

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: All that’s been announced about Silfverberg is that he’s under evaluation and will not return.