Marc-Edouard Vlasic remains defiant.
Despite mounting evidence – from the 35-year-old’s advancing age to being demoted to the bottom pairing last year and this season – the ex-Olympian refuses to acknowledge, at least in public, any drop in his performance.
And hey, that’s his prerogative – I hope, at least, that’s he’s honest with himself, his teammates, and the San Jose Sharks coaching staff. He doesn’t owe us anything.
Speaking of Bob Boughner and company, Vlasic was complimentary of Boughner’s work over the last three years: “I like the coaching staff. It’s a lot of fun to play for them. Direct, simple, efficient, I really enjoyed it.”
He also liked some of what he saw from the San Jose Sharks this season and expects the Sharks to return to their winning ways: “It’s an encouraging season. I know we’ve played some good hockey this year. We’re going in the right direction. I know it’s unfortunate three years in a row not making the playoffs.
“But we’ll be back because it’s an expectation to make the playoffs. It’s not a hope.”
Of course, we’re all wondering if Marc-Edouard Vlasic will be back in San Jose next season. He’s got four years left on his contract at $7 million dollars per season. He actually looked solid as a bottom-pairing defenseman this season, but the cap-strapped San Jose Sharks need cap space, and buying out your $7 million dollar AAV No. 5 at best defenseman would be a reasonable way to achieve that goal.
However, at least in public, Vlasic wasn’t considering that possibility. Credit to Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News and Charanbir Mahal of INDTVUSA for asking the hard-hitting questions in Vlasic’s exit interview availability — this is the unedited exchange:
Reporter: Is there any concern on your part that the organization might buy out the rest of your contract?
Marc-Edouard Vlasic: No.
Reporter: What gives you so much confidence that they won’t?
MEV: Why would they?
Reporter: To save money on the cap. That’s why teams do that.
MEV: Well. How many guys on the team? 25. So it’s 25 guys.
Reporter: They bought out Martin Jones last year.
MEV: Well, I’m not worried at all. I signed here, they signed me, so I honor the deal.
Reporter: What did you think of your personal form this season?
MEV: Considering I had limited minutes, third on the back-end in points. More physical this year. So imagine if I played more?
Reporter: Why do you think there were limited minutes?
MEV: That’s not for me to tell you.
Reporter: Of course, you want more ice time, right?
MEV: That’s not for me to tell you. I just go out there and help the team win. If I’m on the ice, no matter how many minutes I get. That’s my job, to help the team win. I’d never complained about ice time. I just go out there and do what I have to do to help this team.
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