It was an eventful practice for the San Jose Sharks today – San Jose Hockey Now was on site to catch a sneak peek of the new forward lines and power play groups that the Sharks will be trying out tomorrow:
Also, San Jose Sharks PA rep Logan Couture shared his thoughts about Robin Lehner’s Tuesday press conference. Lehner accused the NHL of reneging on a promise to the players that everyday life restrictions would loosen for them if they got vaccinated.
While Couture couldn’t corroborate Lehner’s accusation, he agreed with a number of the Golden Knights’ goaltender’s points about the mental health hurdles that players have faced this season. Couture also, unprompted, shared his vaccination status, and noted it is his belief that a loosening of restrictions for players is tied into how many of them get vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Evander Kane also spoke about Derek Chauvin being found guilty for the murder of George Floyd. The creation of Kane’s Hockey Diversity Alliance was spurred in part because of the Floyd murder.
Kane acknowledged some progress by the NHL and its players, in terms of discussing and learning from situations like the Floyd murder, but believes there’s still a lot to improve. The San Jose Sharks winger also gave a Hockey Diversity Alliance update.
Logan Couture, on Lehner’s comments:
A lot of what he said, I agree with. It’s tough to go the rink and that’s it. You’re not going grocery shopping or going out for dinner, you’re not spending time watching your kids play sports.
I did like what he said also that a lot of people in the world are going through tough, much tougher things than we are as pro athletes. So we got to put that in perspective at the same time.
He said he’s fully vaccinated. In a little different situation than than I am. But I was one of our guys that did get the first shot of the vaccine. So hopefully soon, I’ll be be fully vaccinated. We’ll see if they do end up changing some of the rules down the line here. But yeah, it’d be definitely nice to do some stuff outside of the rink.
Couture, on if there was ever any indication from the league of the PA that things would loosen up once players got vaccinated:
I don’t know about the vaccination part. I don’t believe that has been discussed. At least I haven’t been a part of those discussions. I do believe, at the start of the season or around that time, there were talks about, if things start to loosen up, then rules would change. But I’m not exactly sure what the language is on it. I have to look back and discuss with the PA more. As far as I’ve been told, right now, we’ve got to abide by the same rules that we had at the start of the season.
Couture, on if the mental health of NHL players has declined as the season goes on:
I can’t speak for other players. I think for myself, it’s been difficult.
In my spot, I have family that travels often out here to San Jose to just spend time with me, to watch me play. I have local friends that I hang out with, a lot of friends back in Canada that come out here. Not seeing them for a while is difficult.
But like I said, we got to put ourselves where we’re at in the world, though. So there’s a lot of people that are suffering way worse than we are.
At the rink here, we definitely make sure to check in with each other and see how everyone’s doing. I mean, it’s more than just a ‘Hey, how you doing?’ It’s, ‘Hey, how are you really doing?’ So I think as a group, we’ve done a good job in that aspect.
Couture, on if the NHL, NHLPA, or the San Jose Sharks have acknowledged the mental toll that the season might have inflicted and made things easier on the players in some ways:
I’ve talked to our PA rep. He said that they’re working on it. I believe it does depend on vaccinations. If you look at the NBA, some teams that are fully vaccinated, they’ve had some of the rules changed, or restrictions lifted. I think it depends on that. I think it depends on how many guys are vaccinated.
Couture, on if he’s heard that if 85 percent of a team’s traveling party has been completely vaccinated, that restrictions would begin to lift on the team:
I haven’t heard any numbers when it comes to that.
Evander Kane, on his reaction to Derek Chauvin being found guilty for the murder of George Floyd:
I wasn’t surprised. I think anybody that saw that video and even vaguely listened to the facts of the case, it was pretty evident and extremely clear that he was guilty of all the charges. It was nice to see some sort of justice carried out for the Floyd family.
Kane, on how much progress that he’s seen from the NHL and its players, in terms of their ability to converse and grapple with events like the Floyd murder:
There’s been some change in attitude. I wouldn’t say it’s enough. It’s been a little stagnant as an entirety.
There’s been other entities and certain players that maybe have taken it upon themselves to truly educate themselves and understand what’s going on, not only in hockey and sports, but in the world.
[But] for me, and our entire group, when you talk about the HDA, we still feel there’s a big gap in where things need to be, especially in hockey.
Kane, on where things are, in terms of bridging that “big gap”:
Part of bridging that gap is getting people to understand and truly care and get on board. I don’t think we’re even close to that in terms of as a league, but at the same time, there have been improvements.
Our group has made a lot of steps throughout the hockey season, which is tough to do, in terms of putting together programs and creating partnerships with a lot of big sponsors to help grow these initiatives that we’ve talked about in the past. [Some] actually have them come to fruition. Scotiabank, being being one of our biggest sponsors, and really stepping up to the plate. So those are encouraging signs. We continue to work at it.
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.