It’s been a busy summer for the San Jose Sharks, as they look to get back to the playoffs after failing to qualify this past spring.
The Sharks and general manager Doug Wilson acquired goalie Martin Jones and then signed him to a three-year contract extension. They also signed veteran forward Joel Ward and defenseman Paul Martin.
However, with the new additions, it’s the core group of players, including Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, that forward Logan Couture seems to believe in as San Jose looks to get back to the post-season, despite what has been an overall lack of success that time of year.
“I talked to Doug a couple times throughout the summer, and we want to win,” Couture told The Hockey News.
“San Jose does. That’s our goal. We realize our best players, Jumbo and Patty, are getting a little bit older. I think we have the core to win, and Doug went out and got some very good players. Paul, Martin Jones, Joel, they’re just going to help us.”
Lacking a player with a “C” on his sweater was far from the only sign of dysfunction in San Jose last season, but new head coach Peter DeBoer said the Sharks will get that captain question out of the way in 2015-16.
NHL.com transcribed his interesting thoughts on the subject, which he expressed during an appearance on San Jose’s 95.7 The Game on Wednesday.
“I feel very confident by the first game of the season, we’ll have a captain,” DeBoer said. “It’s not something we are going to drag around as a distraction this year. We’re going to move past that. I think the players are ready for that too; they just want to play some hockey and get this thing back on track.”
Even with a captain likely to be named, DeBoer believes that the Sharks will continue to “lead by committee,” much like other teams. He noted that you only see a Mark Messier-type leader every now and then (even with that annual award and all).
Quite a bit has changed in San Jose, but the go-to guys remain largely the same, include former captains Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.
The 2014-15 campaign was something of a meltdown at times, and if nothing else, the hope is that DeBoer will provide stability to a team that still seems to boast playoff-level talent. Cutting down on drama seems like a worthy effort, really.
The Dallas Stars are counting on Patrick Sharp’s Stanley Cup-winning experience to help put them over the top.
“Going back two seasons ago, we sat down and we’re trying to figure out our organizational depth chart,” GM Jim Nill said Monday, per the Dallas Morning News. “We knew we had a young core coming along, but the one missing piece we knew was going to be, how do you find these experienced guys that have won Cups, who do things right?”
In Sharp’s case, they found him in a trade with the cap-crunched Blackhawks.
“I’m all about resumes and the resume that he has, that’s what we need,” Nill said. “We’ve got some great young players here that are going to learn from him. I think the young players are going to energize him also.”
Sharp didn’t disagree with that last point. The 33-year-old winger said that “coming to a team like Dallas, with so many young players and so much enthusiasm, it kind of reignites the passion to play hockey.”
The Stars also added Cup-winning experience in free agency, signing both defenseman Johnny Oduya and goalie Antti Niemi.
Sharp won three Cups in Chicago, Oduya two, and Niemi one.
“The Chicago Blackhawks have not won three Cups in the last six years because they have played the way they wanted to play,” Nill said. “They all bought into playing the right way and that’s how we’re going to play.”
It was just two days into free agency when Martin St. Louis announced his retirement from professional hockey — and it turns out there were some suitors for his services during that 48-hour window.
“I knew there were teams interested,” St. Louis said on Monday, while meeting the media to formally call it a career. “I can sit here and be proud that my last year I scored 21 goals and the year before I scored 30, so do I think I can still play? Yeah.
“But it’s time to move on and do something else.”
It’s unclear which teams were interested in the 40-year-old Rangers winger, but it’s easy to see why some would be. Despite a “down” campaign offensively, St. Louis still scored more goals than Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Patrick Marleau and Bobby Ryan; it’s also possible a team would’ve looked to him as a mentor for some of its younger prospects, especially given St. Louis’ renowned physical fitness (I mean come on, look at those trunks.)
Geography, though, probably limited potential suitors, as part of St. Louis’ earlier move from Tampa Bay to New York was so he could be closer to his family. In fact, spending more time with his wife and children was something he referenced in explaining his decision to walk away from the game.
“My whole family has been so supportive of me and it’s been all about me a lot,” St. Louis said. “Now it’s time for it to be about someone other than me. My wife will be happy to have another full-time parent alongside her.
“The focus is on my kids, and I am excited about that.”
Related: Curtains on Broadway: Martin St. Louis calls it a career
With the latest rule changes to the structure of overtime, has it become so different from the rest of the game that those 3-on-3 minutes should be kept separate statistically, just like shootouts? New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider argued in favor of such a distinction.
“It’s going to be interesting for the goalies,” Schneider said of the decision to adopt the new overtime format, per ESPN. “I was a passenger during that discussion. I suggested a side category where a goalie’s 3-on-3 stats could be hidden away and not put into your main stats, because it’s going to be tough. There’s so much talent in the NHL and sometimes 5-on-5 opens up, but 3-on-3 is going to open up and fans are really going to love it. It’s going to be up and down the ice. It’s going to be hard for us goalies, so we’re going to have to be really sharp and ready to go.”
Of course, the hope is that 3-on-3 overtime has the impact Schneider is suggesting as that would lead to fewer games being decided by a shootout. It also has the potential to hurt the statistics of goalies for the very same reason.
As far as whether or not that’s reason enough to separate those statistics is open to different opinions. As it is there are a lot of different situations that play out over the course of an NHL game that get lumped together if you only look at the base numbers. In 2014-15, Joe Thornton’s five empty-net goals were worth the same as Tyler Toffoli’s five shorthanded markers as far as overall statistics were concerned, just as 3-on-3 play during regulation time would be counted together with 5-on-5 actions.
That being said, with the rise of analytics fans have the luxury of filtering out certain scenarios if they choose to do so. For example, if you want to attempt to evaluate players on a more consistently level field by only looking at 5-on-5 play, you can do that. So in a way, each person will get to decide for themselves if the new overtime play should be counted alongside everything else.