This afternoon, the NHL and the NHLPA officially announced their plans for the 2020-21 regular season and playoffs.
Shortly thereafter, Doug Wilson answered questions about how the San Jose Sharks will tackle what’s going to be an especially challenging season for them.
Oh, there are so many questions:
Wilson couldn’t answer everything, but here are some key points from his media availability.
He did confirm that the San Jose Sharks will hold training camp at the Ice Den in Scottsdale, which they’ll share with its normal tenant, the Arizona Coyotes. Camp opens on December 31st.
He noted that the training camp roster will be comprised of 36 skaters and as many goalies as he wants. He offered “40-41 players” as his training camp size, which suggests the Sharks may add one more goalie to their ranks.
Wilson, on where San Jose Sharks will start regular season:
Not yet determined where those will be played. A lot of factors to go into that. If they can’t be played in Santa Clara, there are a couple potential options that we’ve been exploring. Could be a hub city — could be us playing in another NHL city for a while.
Wilson, on how much confidence he has that the Sharks will be able to play at SAP Center this season:
Do I feel, in my heart — having listened to the health officials & medical people — that the light’s at the end of the tunnel? I do.
We feel we will be back, in our community practicing and playing games. We just don’t know when.
Wilson, on 56-game regular season schedule, which he expects to be released mid-week:
What they’re trying to do is limit the travel — you go into cities and probably play a couple times.
Flexibility and adaptability are going to crucial.
The first part of the schedule is what we’re mostly concerned with. Where you have your training camp, where you travel — I do think you’ll be going into cities and playing those teams a couple of times, especially earlier in the year. We will have a road trip earlier in the schedule.
But we want the flexibility to get back playing games in our building at SAP as soon as possible. Practicing there as soon as possible.
The league has listened and worked with us in crafting that type of schedule.
I do doubt we’ll play the same team eight times in a row though. (laughs)
Wilson, on if he expects any Sharks to opt out:
Any of the players that I’ve talked to, that’s not on the table right now. But if anything changed, obviously we’d certain understand.
Wilson, on adding another a goalie to the taxi squad:
We’ve always felt, coming into camp, that we had four goalies. [Goaltending coach Evgeni Nabokov is] extremely excited about Melnichuk and Korenar. We’re going to have a little leeway before American Hockey starts. Then we’ll make that decision.
With the four goalies, we should be able to get through every situation.
Wilson, on his criteria for selecting the taxi squad:
I think it’s players who can step in and play. We’ve structured our roster that way, we think we have a lot of depth. We have a lot of guys that we don’t have any problem plugging in to play games.
Wilson, on size of training camp roster:
You’re probably going to have a lot of players here because you have no exhibition games. You want to have enough players for healthy scrimmages. We’ll have a couple Teal-White games. Knock on wood, everybody stays healthy.
I see keeping the majority of the players around almost all of camp.
Wilson, on if any San Jose Sharks players have contacted COVID-19:
We’ve had some players playing over in Europe who did. But since players have been coming into our protocol, no. We haven’t had anybody that’s come into San Jose or under our medical staff test positive.
Wilson, on how county of Santa Clara’s course has forced the Sharks out of San Jose:
It hasn’t been easy. We’re sensitive to our community & our fanbase & even the county. It hasn’t been easy on anyone, but we’re not the only business that has had to make adjustments to its operations. County officials are doing what they think is in the best interest of the community & we certainly respect that.
Wilson, on quarantine rules in Arizona for players heading directly there:
We have a group of them that are coming in directly to Arizona. You’ve got local, county quarantine here in Arizona, but you also have a league protocol and quarantine that is still being hammered out.
Wilson, on chatting with San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch about the challenges that the 49ers have faced during their forced re-location to Arizona:
I talked to John Lynch the other day.
In their case, it was a little different because it was the end of the season. Ours is a training camp.
He shared his experiences, some of the things he did well, some of the things they maybe would’ve approached differently.
He shared some valuable information with us.
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