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Sharks Locker Room: Quinn on Going 13-5, Describes Granlund’s Dramatic Injury Return



Credit: Dean Tait/Hockey Shots

PITTSBURGH – Mikael Granlund isn’t Tomas Hertl or Logan Couture.

But on and off the ice, he’s been a true leader since the San Jose Sharks traded alternate captain Tomas Hertl on Friday. On the same day, injured captain Logan Couture shut himself down for the season.

On Saturday, Granlund’s game-winning blocked shot sealed a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators, snapping a nine-game losing streak.

Tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he assisted on Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Klim Kostin goals, almost set up another that was waved off because of an Alexander Barabanov high stick, and hit a post.

He also made a dramatic comeback from a scary second period injury.

“We can only hope that this is not as bad as it looks,” San Jose Sharks play-by-play announcer Randy Hahn said.

Minutes later, Granlund was back on the ice, missing just a single shift.

“[Assistant coach Brian Wiseman] goes, Granny’s on the ice,” head coach David Quinn reported. “I said, you gotta be kidding? I was stunned.”

He added: “You can just feel the big relief on the bench and certainly gave us some energy.”

Granlund promptly set up Barabanov’s disallowed goal and Kostin’s first in teal, both high-skill set-ups, making it 3-3 heading into the third period.

“He’s just a really smart, skilled player,” Quinn said.

The Sharks would lose 6-3, but Granlund showed the Penguins, who couldn’t wait to trade him this past summer, what they lost in him.

Since Nov. 25, Granlund leads the San Jose Sharks with 38 points in 39 games. He also leads all forwards in Overall, Power Play, and Short-Handed Average Time On Ice since then.

In essence, he’s doing everything that Hertl and Couture did, except that Sharks fans don’t know him as well yet.

And that includes off the ice, too.

There’s a reason why Granlund and Luke Kunin were named alternate captains after the All-Star break, with both Hertl and Couture out with injury.

“He’s huge for our group. Obviously, his play on the ice is pretty evident,” fellow alternate captain Mario Ferraro said. “His off-ice, he’s just one of the classiest guys I know.

“He’s always positive and he brings out good energy and we’re very fortunate to have him in our locker room.”

Look, the San Jose Sharks probably aren’t going to be good in the foreseeable future. But that makes a guy like Granlund all the more critical, someone who makes the players around him, especially the younger ones, better on and off the ice.

Mikael Granlund

Granlund, on his injury:

I guess I got lucky there. Worst things could happen.

Granlund, on getting tangled up with Bryan Rust:

Hockey play. Just got stuck. Nothing too big.

Granlund, if this game against the Penguins, the team that traded him this past summer, meant a little more to him:

You want to try to show up for every game. Honestly, first time back here, I have nothing but great things to say about this organization. You don’t really think about it. You just go out there. Try to do your thing.

Granlund, on Klim Kostin:

I’ve liked his game. Big body, he has some good skill, and he can skate. I’ve been really pleasantly surprised.

Mario Ferraro

Ferraro, on Granlund:

He’s huge for our group. Obviously, his play on the ice is pretty evident, what he can do for us and what he’s done in this league. He’s been a huge part of this team, he has been this year, keeping us positive and keeping us going.

His off-ice, he’s just one of the classiest guys I know. He’s pretty quiet. But he’s never negative. He’s always positive and he brings out good energy and we’re very fortunate to have him in our locker room.

David Quinn

Quinn, on when he found out that Jacob MacDonald couldn’t play tonight:

About 5:30 PM.

Quinn, on why the San Jose Sharks didn’t recall today or travel an extra defenseman earlier on the trip:

Couldn’t get here on time. Thought Rutta might be able to play.

Quinn, on if the Sharks will recall a defenseman for the upcoming back-to-back:

Probably not because Rutta’s probably gonna be able to play and I’m sure MacDonald will feel better.

Quinn, on what San Jose Sharks players should be doing if they break a stick, like Nico Sturm and Justin Bailey early in the second period:

That’s something we talked about, getting to the bench if you can 4-on-4. It just never got to the point…we blocked a shot and it’d go right to them. That’s something we’ll address again.

Quinn, on Granlund:

It was hard to watch the second time. Granny keeps going. He’s like the Energizer bunny.

[Assistant coach Brian Wiseman] goes, “Granny’s on the ice.”

I said, you gotta be kidding? I was stunned.

You can just feel the big relief on the bench and certainly gave us some energy.

Quinn, on Granlund’s game:

He’s just a really smart, skilled player. He’s always doing the right thing, plays with the right intentions.

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