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Sharks Locker Room: What Can We Learn From Predators?

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NASHVILLE – “In the NHL, when you’re not battling hard, that’s how it looks like.

That’s how Mikael Granlund summarized the Sharks’ embarrassing 8-2 loss to the Nashville Predators.

It looks even uglier when you’re the worst team in the league, and your margin of error is so thin.

When a better team takes a period off, they can get away with it. When the San Jose Sharks take a period off?

They allow seven unanswered goals, four in 4:51. They get outshot 14-3 in a third period that began with just a two-goal deficit. They get a 3:30 shift from Jan Rutta and Henry Thrun.

Of course, this is what a rebuild looks like, and the Sharks are knee-deep in it.

What will it look like on the other side?

While the Predators don’t have any championships to their name, they’re certainly greener pastures than the Sharks.

Granlund starred for Nashville from 2019 to 2023, and until last year, had made the playoffs in nine-straight seasons.

What’s a thing or two that the Preds have that the Sharks need to replicate in the coming years?

“It’s pretty obvious with Nashville, how they play, pretty much as long as they’ve been in the league, they defend hard, they play hard every single night. It’s never an easy team to play against,” he said. “Obviously, they’ve been having for many years, Pekka Rinne and [Juuse] Saros, they’ve been having unbelievable goaltending. That’s two keys.”

Being harder to play against, that’s a short-term goal that GM Mike Grier can go back to addressing this summer. “Unbelievable goaltending” – that’s, uh, a long-term goal for the Sharks.

(I should add that there’s some hope within the organization that Mackenzie Blackwood, when healthy, can provide that).

Anyway, this is what a rebuild looks like. Hopefully, it ends sooner than later. But you don’t want to rush it either.

For what it’s worth, sure, Nashville is riding high on a 13-0-2 streak, which matches the franchise record for longest points streak – but they’ve also only made it past the second round just once in their previous 24 years of existence. They’ve been true Cup contenders for just a handful of those seasons.

If you can look past some of these eyesore losses for the Sharks – I think Grier has his sights set higher.

Mikael Granlund

Granlund, on the 8-2 loss:

We were spending too much time in the D-zone. We weren’t closing quick enough…that was pretty embarrassing.

We’re not hard enough. We’re not defending hard enough. In the NHL, when you’re not battling hard, that’s how it looks like. That’s a shame.

Granlund, on what he’d bring from Predators’ culture over to the San Jose Sharks:

It’s pretty obvious with Nashville, how they play, pretty much as long as they’ve been in the league, they defend hard, they play hard every single night. It’s never an easy team to play against.

Obviously, they’ve been having for many years, Pekka Rinne and Saros, they’ve been having unbelievable goaltending. That’s two keys.

Luke Kunin

Kunin, on snowball effect of goals going in and Sharks’ effort:

At the end of the day, you gotta go out and have your next best shift and put that behind you and you can’t let it snowball. There’s still opportunities for us to go and get some goals back. But yeah, just very embarrassing, that last bit of the game.

David Quinn

Quinn, on when the San Jose Sharks lost control of this game:

I thought right after the power play, midway through the second period. I thought we were playing a pretty good game.

I thought we did a good job in the first 30 minutes and just really got away from giving ourselves any type of chance.

It demoralized us. (Reporter: You start chasing offense from that point on.) Yeah. It was bad.

We know what we are. We know who we are. They get a power play. They don’t score, but they get momentum. We get a power play, and we’re lucky we didn’t give them a short-handed goal.

Quinn, on what went wrong, giving up four goals in the last 10 minutes:

Everything. Brutal puck play. Not paying attention mentally, where you should be. Just cashing in, really the last 10 minutes, it was really disappointing.

Quinn, on how to address the Sharks quitting in the last 10 minutes of the game:

Like we have in the past. And as you’ve witnessed. Usually, we respond under these circumstances. We’ve got a couple of one-off’s here over the last month and a half under difficult circumstances. We usually respond. I fully anticipate us responding again.

Quinn, on if Thomas Bordeleau had a good game, at least through 40 minutes:

Yeah, Bordy is growing. He’s playing National Hockey League hockey, or trying to. I give him a lot of credit.

 

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