“It’s going to be the hardest camp these guys have had in a while.”
That what San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner said after the first training camp on-ice sessions today.
You could seeing some of the Sharks struggling after these end-of-practice bag skates:
Shark race pic.twitter.com/BdBy2JprSE
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) September 23, 2021
Both Boughner and San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson took questions: Was Evander Kane a locker room issue for the San Jose Sharks year? What’s going on with impending UFA Tomas Hertl? What did aging vets Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Erik Karlsson do differently in their training this summer?
Here are some of the highlights from their pressers.
Doug Wilson, on the sexual assault and domestic battery allegations levied against Evander Kane:
It’s not ideal, but there is an ongoing investigation from the NHL. We released our statement yesterday. The focus has to be on our group here, the guys that are here today, and the things that we can control. But also respect the process of going through dealing with some very serious allegations, some things that need to be addressed.
Wilson, on locker room accountability last year and reports that players complained to him about Kane last year:
We talked with the full group. Boogie and I did have a conversation about that. And again, you go into last season, it was different. Some of the rules were even adjusted because of COVID protocols, the meals were not [in person], they were grab and go.
Players asked for an altered dress code with sweatsuits and things like that. There’s no doubt when you have team rules, they have to be enforced by the head coach and by the general manager.
And I think we’ve all established the fact that, as we return, knock on wood, to some level of normalcy, that it allows you to have complete clarity on what’s acceptable, what’s not. And that applies to everybody.
Wilson, on how Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic look after changing up how they train this summer:
I think [Erik is] extremely healthy. [I liked] his commitment to being here all year in training, not just for himself, but for his teammates, too. I think he’s going to have a really good year.
And Marc-Edouard, I think he would be the first to admit that, again, whether there was lack of icetime opportunity for him back in Quebec during the pandemic, and things like that, he didn’t really get back on top of his game until later in the year. He’s certainly committed and altered his training. Mike Potenza worked with him on some speedwork and everything.
Marc-Edouard is 34 years of age, has been healthy all his career. There’s no reason why he can’t reset his game.
Wilson, on talks with impending UFA Tomas Hertl:
I’ve had several conversations with his agent. And when you have conversations with agents, they’re always kept in confidence. The rhythm of the negotiation, the time and place of it. Tomas knows how we feel about him.
Tomas and I are going to talk in the next little while.
Wilson, on why he didn’t re-sign Hertl earlier and the term that the San Jose Sharks center may be looking for:
I don’t think anybody forecast that a pandemic would come into play, impact the cap the way it has. Every team has to deal with it. I mean, every team has to explore options to become compliant, whether it be buying players out or making decisions.
That’s what makes this time unique. It impacted the the cap in many ways, and the cap may stay flat. There’s only so many players in this league.
You try to be proactive and give guys contracts that satisfy their needs. But you’re in a window now that it’s just different. I think you’re trying to explain that and say let’s try to find a solution. That’s what we’re trying to do.
Wilson, on if he wants Hertl to stay on the San Jose Sharks long-term:
I love Tomas Hertl. But it has to be one of those things that works for everybody. We’re dealing with some unique dynamics.
Wilson, on the challenge for 18-year-old William Eklund to make the NHL team:
Look around the league, it’s a different time. These kids, the way they train and the experiences that they have.
It’s really between the ears. I’ll never forget when Logan came in and Pavs came in, you could just see that they thought the game at such an advanced level. It’s usually between the ears that enables them to play at a young age. And William is a really mature kid. How he processes things, how he sees the game is really impressive.
Doug Wilson on if the #SJSharks are fully vaccinated: "We are completely compliant with the NHL protocols, and the state and county protocols. Staff also. So we're in a good position going forward."
— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) September 23, 2021
Bob Boughner, on the camp positional battles that excite him most:
As you know, we have six returning D that are NHL D that played here last year. One of these guys, they’re going to get an opportunity to stick around. It could be seven or eight D that we need.
And upfront, on the forward line, I think there’s a battle up the middle, that fourth-line center.
I think there’s gonna be a battle in at least two wing spots, a center spot on the fourth line, and one or two defense spots.
Boughner, on John Madden taking over the defense:
We’re going to shift John Madden back to run the defense. Everybody will probably say, why would you do that? John Madden was with Gerard Gallant in Florida and he actually ran the D in Florida. And they had good numbers, good analytics. That brings me comfort to know that he’s already done that.
The one great thing about John Madden, as we know, that’s how he played his whole career, as a detail guy. Former Selke winner, so if anything, he sees the game through a defensive mindset.
Boughner, on the chip of Vlasic, Burns, and Karlsson’s shoulders and their summer training:
We’ve asked some guys to voluntarily come back early and be ready for the start of the season.
Karlsson lived here all on the off-season, didn’t go home. He was at the rink here almost everyday training. He looks good, he looks like he’s in great shape.
Same thing with Vlasic. He’s come back earlier than he’s ever come back. He started skating this summer earlier than he’s ever skated before. So he’s taking accountability in that area.
And Burnzie is just a guy, you never have to worry about Burnzie with a little chip on his shoulder. He’s got so much pride.
Knyzhov and Pasichnuk day-to-day per Boughner
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) September 23, 2021
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