Nick Bonino, you’ve got a friend in Andrew Cogliano.
The 34-year-old Cogliano went to bat today for Bonino, who he grew up with on some very strong Anaheim Ducks squads from 2011 to 2014. Bonino is currently mired in an 18-game pointless slump.
“When I shoot, it doesn’t go in. When I pass to someone, it doesn’t go in. No bounces, nothing,” the five-time 15-goal scorer Bonino lamented on Nov. 11.
Almost two weeks later, Bonino is still searching to make the scoresheet.
Count Cogliano as a San Jose Sharks player who isn’t worried.
“A lot of times when guys go through slumps and players don’t score, guys start cheating. That’s human nature to start cheating and looking to really score and push that side of it — your whole game ends up kind of going down the drain at that point,” the veteran mused. “But Bones isn’t that type of player. He knows he needs to play the right way every night. That’s why I think you’ll see him score soon.”
What does Cogliano mean by playing the right way?
“The good thing with Bones, he brings other parts of his game that are very important,” Cogliano said. “He block shots, he plays penalty kill. He’s strong defensively.”
Here’s an example from Monday:
Notice how Bonino (13), reading the pressure coming from behind, times his dive so he can put as much force behind it and get the puck past Tony DeAngelo (77) and all the way down.
Unprompted, Cogliano reminded us of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017 : “Bones holds intangibles that people don’t see. He’s a two-time Stanley Cup champion for a reason, right? I think people forget about that.”
Cogliano is looking forward to when Bonino gets off the schneid:
“People should realize that Nick Bonino, he’s a player that when you have in your dressing room, he makes your team better and makes other guys better.
“When you’ve done things that he’s done and you’re a winner like that, you demand a lot of respect. I think a lot of people have perspective in our room. You’re going to see his offensive side come out and his whole game round into something that this team really needs.
“I think you’ll see one of the best two-way players in the league. For a long time, I think Bones has been one of the most underrated players in this league and you don’t really realize that until you play with him.”
The San Jose Sharks are waiting on bated breath. Bonino, along with Cogliano, were GM Doug Wilson’s key free agent signings up front, with the hopes that they could add secondary scoring, help team defense, and set a good example for a young locker room.
Two out of three ain’t bad, but a relatively-shallow San Jose Sharks forward corps desperately needs the trifecta.
“I know how much pressure he’s putting on himself,” Cogliano shared. “He’s disappointed with the offensive side of things this year. So far. It’s still 18 games into the season. So it’s very young.”
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