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Preview/Lines #7: Bonino Wants to Create More Offense, Hatakka Close to Playing

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On today’s San Jose Hockey Now Podcast, we talked about why Nick Bonino’s offense is so important to the San Jose Sharks’ success this year.

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The third-line center had an interesting quote about how changing his mindset might yield more 5-on-5 offense for his line: “We can create more, for sure. It’s funny, I went from Minnesota to here, given a lot more responsibility this year.

“My mindset’s almost been defense, all defense. When you think that way, you don’t play offense. You almost play more defense than you should.

“Trying to get back to playing both ends of the ice, getting my focus when I’m on offense thinking offense, not thinking who to be above, stuff like that. Instead of being one-and-done in the o-zone, trying to retrieve pucks, keep offense alive, and wear the other team down.”

There’s good reason for him to think defense first: Per Natural Stat Trick, Bonino leads all San Jose Sharks forwards in Defensive Zone Faceoffs. He and Logan Couture have received the lionshare of these draws this season.

Bonino will line up with defensive stalwart Andrew Cogliano and playmaker Kevin Labanc tonight. Bob Boughner is hoping this first-time unit can be effective two ways.

Speaking of Boughner, he talked about getting rookie Santeri Hatakka into a game.

It won’t be tonight – it will be Hatakka’s seventh straight healthy scratch. The 20-year-old defenseman has yet to make his NHL debut.

“I want to get him into games,” Boughner said. “There was serious thought about putting him in tonight.”

Boughner noted Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Radim Simek, or Jake Middleton as blueliners who could have sat in favor of Hatakka. San Jose’s surprising 4-2-0 start may have contributed to keeping Hatakka on the bench.

Unclear is the organization’s plan this year for the Finn. While Hatakka is eligible to play in the AHL, there’s talk that he will bolt back to his pro team in Finland if he’s not in the NHL.

San Jose Hockey Now is following up on this.

Regardless, Hatakka needs to get in some games soon, be it in San Jose or Finland – it’s been almost three weeks since his last appearance, the Sharks’ Oct. 9 preseason finale.

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