The 2019-20 San Jose Sharks were missing numerous ingredients. Will adding Kurtis Gabriel help the mix?
The 6-foot-4 Gabriel hopes so: Besides his trademark toughness and locker room presence, the right-hander has been working on faceoffs and penalty killing this off-season.
Gabriel joined San Jose Hockey Now for a far-ranging chat: He shared what made his pre-2013 Draft interview with the San Jose Sharks so memorable, why you don’t want Evander Kane fighting Ryan Reaves and how he can help that, if he’s worried about the long-term effects of concussions, how he approaches teammates with far different social and political beliefs than his, and why players shouldn’t be afraid to speak their minds about such issues.
He also throws in a sweet “Pacific Rim” reference!
Sheng Peng: Why were the San Jose Sharks your first choice as a free agent?
Kurtis Gabriel: It’s quite obvious the type of player I am and why I’m brought onto teams. I’ve been lucky enough that every time I’ve hit free agency, I’ve gone to my number-one choice.
I’m a physical player and teams that are lacking in that aspect, whether it be on the big club, in the organization, they look for a guy like me.
I bring that, I guess, unique element to today’s game.
I just think I can add a lot to a team. My enthusiasm and passion for the game. My love of the process and the work, and obviously, the physical aspect. You don’t want Evander Kane having to fight Ryan Reaves just so your team doesn’t get bullied.