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Sharks Locker Room: Cooley Takes Us Behind His Mistakes, Has Bordeleau Arrived?



Credit: Dean Tait/Hockey Shots

In the big picture, it doesn’t matter that the San Jose Sharks lost.

I’m not talking just about the Macklin Celebrini sweepstakes. Obviously, the Sharks’ 5-4 OT loss to the Chicago Blackhawks helps San Jose’s odds for the best chance at the 2024 Draft’s likely No. 1 pick.

But just as important as better odds – once again, not a guarantee – for Celebrini?

The possible, very real arrival of Thomas Bordeleau as a part of the Sharks’ immediate future.

It’s not just about the two goals that Bordeleau scored – or the five goals that he’s notched in just nine games since his Mar. 7 recall.

It’s not wishing and hoping on Will Smith or Quentin Musty or whoever’s future contributions.

“He’s playing NHL hockey. It’s not just about points,” San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn said. “He’s put himself in good positions defensively and managing the puck and not chasing offense and he’s playing real big boy hockey. It’s great to see him get rewarded.”

Really, it’s not about the goals. If you read my Game Notes from tonight’s game or Tuesday’s loss against the Nashville Predators – Bordeleau is a different player.

Sharks Blow 4-0 Lead, Cooley Loses Home Debut in OT

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He’s much better than his struggles earlier this season and last year in the NHL. He’s even better than his 2021-22 NHL debut, which was packed with highlights, but also, marked by immature hockey.

Season Review: The Promising Micro-Stats Behind Bordeleau’s Sharks Debut (+)

What’s Bordeleau Got to Improve to Take Next Step?

Bordeleau is still just 22, he’ll have to prove he can be consistent at this level.

But tonight? It’s easier than ever to imagine Bordeleau with fellow young forwards Fabian Zetterlund (two goals tonight to hit 20 for the first time) and William Eklund as the here-and-now future of the Sharks.

David Quinn

Quinn, on Bordeleau’s growth from the beginning of the season to now:

Really happy for him and proud of him too.

He’s playing NHL hockey. It’s not just about points. He’s put himself in good positions defensively and managing the puck and not chasing offense and he’s playing real big boy hockey. It’s great to see him get rewarded.

Quinn, on Zetterlund hitting 20 goals:

There’s not a more likable guy and there’s not a more caring teammate and a better person than him.

He’s really had a great season and he’s played very hard. He’s very coachable. He’s all in on your team.

He’s got a really good shot, obviously, and he’s heavy.

And there’s a lot more hockey in him too. I think he’s just scratching the surface. Really happy for him that he got to 20.

Devin Cooley

Cooley, on the goals given up:

The first one, we’ve been working on trying to be more controlled, and more like not as crazy.

The first one, sometimes, when I get in my head, oh, more controlled, I start moving slower. So I make the save, track, and it’s sitting right there. I’m like, control, just chill. All of the sudden, it’s in the back of the net.

In reality, it’s not like I’m too slow [physically]. I need to explode to that post and get there on time.

The third one, we’ve actually been working on everyday, and that’s why it’s so frustrating. When I get really excited, I start to sit back, I get really low. That opens up holes underneath.

We’ve been working to be more upright, and it seals the holes. I knew exactly what I needed to do, and instead, I sat back, and it goes right through the arm, so that’s really frustrating.

The fourth one, I need to go padlock on the post. Instead, like I went skate on post and there’s that little gap. Just went right through the hole.

Fifth one, just good shot, beat me low glove.

It’s just frustrating. I honestly thought that was my worst game of the year and that was a huge opportunity for me. So it’s really frustrating.

The guys played really well and they definitely deserved the win. They deserve better. So I’m gonna do everything I can to continue to build off that and continue to work and improve, and so next time, I can be better for the guys in front.

Cooley, on the experience of his first start at SAP Center:

It started off really great. Now, it’s a little bit embarrassing. (laughs) Maybe [wish] this one wasn’t at home.

Obviously, it was super-special, going through the Shark Head and seeing the crowd and everything. It’s something I’ve dreamt of my whole life, and I wish it was a better result, but you know, it’s still really cool. It’ll be cool to look back on.

Cooley video courtesy INDTVUSA

Thomas Bordeleau

Bordeleau, on his improved puck management:

Yeah, I feel good. Feel confidence on the ice. Trying to play my best, try to help the team win. I feel comfortable out there. There’s no issue there.

Bordeleau, on perhaps playing wing for the foreseeable future:

I’m a forward, so I’ll play wherever.

Bordeleau video courtesy INDTVUSA

Fabian Zetterlund

Zetterlund, on reaching the 20-goal mark:

Yeah, obviously nice. But it’s not fun to lose.

Zetterlund, on William Eklund’s pass to him for his second goal:

We talked about it before and it worked out.

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