The San Jose Sharks aren’t getting too far ahead of themselves after beginning the 2013-14 season with a bang.
“We’re happy,” head coach Todd McLellan told CSN Bay Area after 4-1 wins over Vancouver and Phoenix. “Are we satisfied? No. But, we’re happy.”
The Sharks opened the year with a solid effort against the Canucks, the same team they swept out of the opening round of last year’s playoffs. They out-shot Vancouver 35-22 and had seven takeaways to the Canucks’ zero.
In Saturday’s 4-1 win over Phoenix, even more things went well. The power play, which went a ghastly 0-for-8 against Vancouver (despite having extended time with a two-man advantage), rebounded to go 2-for-4 against the Coyotes. What’s more, San Jose had an even bigger disparity in shots — 51-23 — meaning the club has now out-shot opponents by 41 this season.
McLellan again reiterated he was happy with the style of play, but felt there was room for the Sharks to play even better.
“When we look at how we want to play, yes [we’re happy],” he said. “We want to be fast, we want to be hard, we want to be aggressive.
“Pretty supportive group right now, amongst each other, and that always happens when you’re winning.”
Part of this tempered enthusiasm could be due to last season. The Sharks opened the lockout-shortened campaign with a perfect 7-0-0 start, only to go 0-4-3 over their next seven.
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.
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.