Mike Brown

JohnScott2

Sharks beef up, sign Scott: one year, $700,000

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The San Jose Sharks might let their fists do the talking next year.

Having already re-upped with noted pugilist Mike Brown on a two-year deal, the Sharks inked enforcer John Scott to a one-year, $700,000 deal on Wednesday. Scott, 31, is widely regarded as one of the NHL’s most feared individuals, thanks in large part to his stature — 6-foot-8, 259 pounds — and fighting ability:

“John brings a physical, no-nonsense element to our lineup,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson said in a statement. “As we integrate more younger players to our team, John’s presence alone can act as a deterrent and help keep teams and opposing players honest.”

While there’s no denying Scott can do those things, it’s still unclear exactly why Wilson chose to go this route. Scott’s hardly a regular, having never played more than 56 games in any of his six NHL seasons and while he’ll add to the toughness department, it’s a department that didn’t seem to need an upgrade — the Sharks already had Brown, Andrew Desjardins, Adam Burish and Raffi Torres in the mix.

(Brown and Desjardins combined to fight 21 times last year, FYI.)

Sharks sign Stalock, Brown to two-year contracts

San Jose Sharks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Six
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The San Jose Sharks have re-signed unrestricted free agent goalie Alex Stalock (press release) and UFA forward Mike Brown (press release) to two-year contract extensions.

Stalock, 26, went 12-5-2 with a 1.87 goals-against average and .932 save percentage while backing up Antti Niemi during the regular season.

Stalock also started Game 6 of the Sharks’ first-round series versus the Kings — allowing four goals in a 4-1 loss — before Niemi returned to the net for the Game 7 defeat that sent San Jose reeling into the offseason.

Brown, 28, was traded to San Jose from Edmonton in October. A gritty bottom-six forward, he finished with just two goals in 48 games for the Sharks, but had 121 hits.

Here’s David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News with the financial details:

Kings must ‘make [Gibson’s] job a lot harder,’ says Richards

JohnGibson
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John Gibson’s first-ever Stanley Cup playoff appearance went great, posting a 28-save shutout.

But if the Kings have anything to say about it, his second will be much more difficult.

“I know he’s calm and cool or whatever, but it’s our job to make his job a lot harder,” Mike Richards said, per the L.A. Times. “It’s a tough situation that he’s put in, with [Saturday] night maybe, possibly, their season on the line.

“It’s now a best-of-three series, so it’s a lot of pressure to put on a young kid.”

The Kings are familiar with the “get-after-the-goalie” narrative, especially given what Jonathan Quick’s faced this postseason. In the opening round against San Jose, the Sharks made getting in Quick’s kitchen a priority and Mike Brown was the main instigator in the early part of the series, twice sending Kings players into Quick in the opening two games.

From CSN Bay Area:

For the second straight game, Brown shoved a Kings player into Jonathan Quick, this time sending Tyler Toffoli flying into the crease in the first period.

“That’s the way I have to play. I didn’t think he was next to the goalie,” Brown said of the play. “I think Quick just fell back. Nothing intentional. I obviously want to get in and kind of rattle him, but it was nothing intentional. Just playing the hockey game.”

Here’s the second, the aforementioned Toffoli shove:

Getting in Quick’s head — or, at least attempting to — was San Jose’s M.O. throughout the series, though you could certainly question the strategy given 1) the Sharks underwent one of the biggest collapses in Stanley Cup playoff history, and 2) Quick got better the more they bumped him.

Still, the Ducks also made a point of getting physical with Quick after he stopped 69 of the 72 shots he faced in the first two games of the series, and had some success with it. Prior to Game 3, big-bodied forward Patrick Maroon explaining exactly what the Ducks planned to do.

“[Quick’s]seeing a lot of pucks. We need to get in his eyes, get in his head a bit,” Maroon said, per the L.A. Times. “We need to crash and bang, go to the net. We need all 20 of us. It’s what we’ve been doing all year. I think we have the character to do that.”

Since then, the Ducks have scored five times on 33 shots and chased Quick from Game 4.

Now the Kings are vowing to increase traffic in front of Gibson.

“We need to do more to get to him. We gave him too many easy shots and we didn’t crash the net and get people in front of him,” Drew Doughty said. “He played good, but we’ve got to do a better job.”

Ducks want to ‘get in [Quick’s] eyes, get in his head’

Jonathan Quick
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Jonathan Quick has stopped 69 of the 72 shots Anaheim’s fired on net thus far, good for a .952 save percentage.

In order for that last number to fall, the Ducks say they’ll have to try something different.

“He’s seeing a lot of pucks. We need to get in his eyes, get in his head a bit,” forward Patrick Maroon said, per the L.A. Times. “We need to crash and bang, go to the net. We need all 20 of us. It’s what we’ve been doing all year. I think we have the character to do that.”

Anaheim, down 0-2 in its second-round series with Los Angeles after dropping both home games at the Honda Center, is a desperate team heading into Staples on Thursday. Game 3 is a virtual must-win and, to get it, the Ducks might turn to a strategy employed by the Sharks in Round 1 — jostling Quick whenever possible.

Mike Brown was the main instigator in the early part of the series, twice sending Kings players into Quick in the opening two games.

From CSN Bay Area:

For the second straight game, Brown shoved a Kings player into Jonathan Quick, this time sending Tyler Toffoli flying into the crease in the first period.

“That’s the way I have to play. I didn’t think he was next to the goalie,” Brown said of the play. “I think Quick just fell back. Nothing intentional. I obviously want to get in and kind of rattle him, but it was nothing intentional. Just playing the hockey game.”

And here’s the second, the aforementioned Toffoli shove:

Getting in Quick’s kitchen — or, at least attempting to — was San Jose’s M.O. throughout the series, and you can certainly question the strategy given the Sharks underwent one of the biggest collapses in Stanley Cup playoff history.

What’s interesting to note is how Quick responded. He seemed to get sharper as the series went along and actually began physically responding to the bumps and jostling, most notably versus Joe Thornton in Game 6:

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf didn’t specifically call for his teammates to get in Quick’s head, but did acknowledge more traffic in front of goal was needed.

“We’ve got to get bodies in front of him,” Getzlaf said, per the Los Angeles Daily News. “Last game, I didn’t think we did as good a job as Game 1. (Monday) night, he saw a lot of the pucks and there wasn’t that many opportunities after that.

“If he sees the puck, he’s going to catch it nine times out of 10.”

Mike Brown back in for Sharks in Game 7

Mike Brown
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San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan, looking to avoid coughing up a 3-0 series lead in the seventh and deciding game against the L.A. Kings in this first-round match-up, is shaking up his lineup.

As per Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area, Mike Brown is in the lineup for the Sharks and Martin Havlat is out. Brown has a goal and assist in this series (see his goal here), each coming in the first two games. The rugged forward has also been a physical presence in the game’s he’s played in this series.

In goal, the Sharks are going back to Antti Niemi, who didn’t start Game 6 after being pulled in the previous two games – both losses for San Jose.