Anthony Duclair has seen this kind of beginning to the season before.
In 2017-18, his Arizona Coyotes lost their first 11 games, a 0-10-1 start.
This year’s San Jose Sharks are almost there at 0-8-1.
“We had kind of a same situation, younger team, rebuilding team, and got off to a rough start,” Duclair recalled today.
Duclair, on the cusp of his 500th NHL game tonight, shared what those Coyotes concentrated on to play themselves out of this losing spiral. Arizona actually played almost .500 hockey after this 11-game season-opening losing streak, going 29-31-11.
The 22-year-old winger wasn’t a part of the complete turnaround – he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in the middle of that season – but the same lessons apply to the sputtering Sharks.
“Keeping the morale up, keeping the positive energy up, I think is key,” Duclair said. “I was a little younger, obviously, a different mindset [for] a younger player. My goal at the time was just to be in the line-up everyday and trying to have a roster spot.”
But the more things change, the more they stay the same.
“Now, 500 games in, it’s kind of a different mentality. But at the same time, the goal stays the same,” he said. “You just want to try to be the best player you can be for your teammates. Once you see one guy working hard, [it’s] contagious, the other guys follow suit.”
Every locker room needs this can-do attitude. For the Sharks, the now-veteran Duclair is counted on to be one of those guys. Alternate captain Mario Ferraro is another obvious torchbearer.
Who did a young Duclair have to look up to?
“Shane Doan, one of the best leaders I’ve ever came across,” Duclair said, without hesitation.
Doan retired right before the 2017-18 campaign, but Duclair played with Doan during the long-time Coyotes captain’s last two seasons. Doan captained the Coyotes from 2003 to 2017.
“If you get to know him, that’s the best guy, the most positive guy around. When I had a captain like that, just being around him every single day, it obviously grows on you,” Duclair said. “I learned a lot from him. Obviously, a guy like that, soon as I got in [my] rookie year [in 2015-16], I looked up to him so much.”
Duclair has carried Doan’s example into a San Jose Sharks room that’s desperate for all the positivity that it can get.
“Doesn’t matter at all what happened the night before, the shift before, whatnot, he stays even-keel and tries not to get too high,” Duclair said. “Worry about the next shift, worry about the next opportunity that comes by, and just put your best foot forward.
“Just to see how he carries himself each and everyday, with a positive attitude, is something that you try to emulate, for sure.”
San Jose Sharks (0-8-1)
My guess is Mike Hoffman and Nikolai Knyzhov are scratched. Kaapo Kahkonen will get the start.
My projected lines, I feel pretty confident about the forwards, less so about the defensive pairings:
Vancouver Canucks (6-2-1)
Andrei Kuzmenko — Elias Pettersson — Ilya Mikheyev
Phillip Di Giuseppe — J.T. Miller — Brock Boeser
Dakota Joshua — Pius Suter — Conor Garland
Nils Hoglander — Sam Lafferty — Anthony Beauvillier
Quinn Hughes — Filip Hronek
Ian Cole — Mark Friedman
Carson Soucy — Tyler Myers
Where to Watch
Puck drop between the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks is 7:30 PM PT at SAP Center. Watch it live on NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.
Get SJHN in your inbox!
Extra Hour Hockey Training
Cathy’s Power Skating
What Long-Term Defensive Lessons Must Eklund, Sharks Learn? (+)
SJHN Daily: Emberson, Carpenter Placed on IR
3 Plays I Liked From Addison Last Night (+)
Sharks Locker Room: Starting To Score, Still Not Defending
Sharks Almost Author Great Comeback, Lose 6-5 to Rangers
Patrick Marleau’s Favorite San Jose Restaurants
Everything Grier Said: From Plattner to Quinn to Celebrini (+)
SJHN Daily: Ex-Jr. Sharks Coach Kevin Whitmer Arrested for Sexual Assault on Minor
Winners & Losers From Calen Addison Trade
What’s NHL Scout’s Take on Calen Addison? (+)
Should Sharks Trade or Keep Blackwood?
Sharks Locker Room: Hertl, Quinn Bemoan Powerless 5-on-3
Sharks Locker Room: Quinn Likes How Team Stood Up to Wilson, Bailey ‘Starving’ for NHL Shot
Sharks Locker Room: Quinn Praises Eklund’s ‘More Complete’ Game, Hertl on Blocking Out Outside
Sharks Locker Room: Duclair, Ferraro, Quinn Talk Turkey of a Performance
Sharks Team & Cap Info
SJHN on Facebook