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Sharks Locker Room: Quinn on Gregor’s Growing Maturity, Couture or Hertl to Wing Next Year
CALGARY — The San Jose Sharks put up a good fight against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome, but ultimately fell short in what ended as a 3-1 loss.
Things started out quite well for David Quinn’s club in this one, as Noah Gregor banged home a rebound off his own shot, from a Radim Simek pass, to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission. The Flames answered back in the second, however, as Nikita Zadorov beat Kaapo Kahkonen on a nice passing play between himself, Andrew Mangiapane, and Mikael Backlund.
Zadorov would then go on to add two more in the third for his first career hat-trick. With the loss, the Sharks see their record fall to 22-43-16 in what has been a frustrating season. As for the Flames, they were able to give one of their top prospects (and Gilroy native) Dustin Wolf his first NHL start, and he was fantastic, kicking aside 23 of the 24 shots he faced. Even better in a losing cause was Kahkonen, who set a career-high with 46 saves.
After the game, Kahkonen talked about what he’s added to his game in-season, Gregor thinks his consistency has improved recently, San Jose Sharks head coach praised Kahkonen and Gregor, and as a bonus, we got Wolf’s reaction to beating his childhood team.
Kaapo Kakhonen, on what he’s worked on in order to improve his game:
Yeah, there was a few things. I don’t really want to go into details, but there was a few major things that I wanted to work on. I started feeling way better at the end of the year. Got some help from another person for a few certain things, and yeah, it felt great.
Noah Gregor, on his hot stretch as of late:
I think me and [Nico Sturm] have been playing pretty strong together, I think we’ve built a little bit of chemistry. We had some good chances with [Kevin Labanc] in some of those games as well. Once the first one goes in, you kind of get that confidence where you feel good with the puck. I think that’s kind of what’s happening right now.
Gregor, on David Quinn saying his consistency and compete has risen:
Yeah, I think so. That’s definitely something I’ve been working on my whole career is just trying to find my consistent game. I think the last 20-25 games, I’ve played some solid hockey. The production wasn’t always there, so it’s nice that it’s came a little bit here to finish. So yeah, I’d agree with that.
Gregor, on what impressed him about Wolf:
Yeah, he was good. I played against him in junior a little bit, he’s always been a good goalie. Congrats to him on his first game he played.
David Quinn, on Kakhonen’s improvements as of late:
I just think he looks more comfortable. I think as a young goalie you continue to grow and you try to add to your game. I think him and [San Jose Sharks goaltending coach Thomas Speer] have done a good job working together. Relationships are built over time, and I think he got more comfortable with the adjustments that we’ve asked him to make. It’s becoming more natural for him. You see the fruits of his labour.
Quinn, on Gregor playing like he wants to receive a qualifying offer:
The players always make that decision, and he’s certainly taken a huge step forward here in the last few months. I really liked his game tonight. And the thing I liked about it was that he didn’t have a great night the other night, as did a lot of our guys, but I liked the fact that he bounced back, he didn’t let one tough game turn into two. That’s a great sign of maturity on his end of it. He’s done a lot of good things over the last two and a half months.
Quinn, on Tomas Hertl taking draws over Logan Couture tonight, though he was listed as the wing on that line, and if Quinn might move one of them to wing next year:
It’s gonna depend on what our roster looks like.
Didn’t tell either one of them to take the faceoffs. They’re two guys that have been in this league for a long time. They figure that out. That’s a guy who’s feeling it. Last time I checked [Hertl] was in the top 20 in faceoffs in the league.
The way we play, our systems, our forwards are interchangeable so you may line up for a face off but be the low guy coming back in our end. So, that was on them. With their experience, the way they know each other’s games, they made that decision.
Quinn, on feeling for Fabian Zetterlund have a goal taken away and still being goalless as a Shark:
Every passing game that goes by, you can see him pressing. I think it’ll be a huge relief when he does get his first one. Hopefully, it’s tomorrow night.
Check out Dustin Wolf’s full interview here
Dustin Wolf, on how he thought his NHL debut went:
I felt good. I thought I was maybe a little shaky in the first period, but then kind of settled down. Not a lot of shots, so just tried to stay into it, and had a good third period. I was happy with that.
Wolf, on the difference in skill between the NHL and AHL:
Definitely a lot of skill out there, right? They’re the best players in the world. I think the American League is maybe a little bit easier, but I think it was good for me to get a game here and go back down and hopefully win a Calder Cup.
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