What choice do the San Jose Sharks have, but to stay positive?
I may as well start every story with that question, as the losses mount.
After a 3-1 defeat to the Washington Capitals, the Sharks are now 0-8-1. One point through nine games, that’s tied with 1993-94 for the worst start in franchise history. Their next game is on Thursday, so that means they’ve just had a winless month of October.
But the Sharks can’t afford to dwell on all that. Instead, they need to focus on their improvement from Thursday’s 6-0 shellacking at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning to now, a game that they played well enough to win.
“I felt tonight was probably our best game,” Mikael Granlund said, “scoring chances-wise.”
All they can do is build on that, they’ve got 73 games to go.
San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn talked about staying positive but also being honest.
“It’s a balancing act from a coaching standpoint because you got to be honest and positive all in the same breath. So you got to deliver some bad news. But you also got to tell them that listen, if we do A, B, and C, there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “I think that’s what they’re seeing. I think they feel better about what happened tonight.”
Ty Emberson agreed: “I think we played the way we wanted to play.”
Underscoring that, here’s how the Sharks looked through two periods at even strength. They looked…even.
Scoring chances look a little lopsided because of the power play, but this is the best 5-on-5 work that I've seen from #SJSharks this year. They actually look, gasp, competitive. Granted, this isn't #ALLCAPS powerhouses of years past.
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) October 29, 2023
Yes, the bar is lower. It’s not about dominating, it’s about getting better and competing. That’s the reality for this rebuilding organization – this ain’t your older brother’s San Jose Sharks.
More of this, they’ll win some games. Not a lot of games, mind you.
But at least, they shouldn’t suffer any more winless months.
Luke Kunin, the Sharks’ lone goal scorer, talked about the return of center Mikael Granlund.
Emberson, who scored his first NHL point, a primary assist on Kunin’s goal, talked about his family getting to see him in his first NHL games.
Granlund talked about the team’s better breakout tonight.
Quinn discussed scratching Nikolai Knyzhov, and sending down Thomas Bordeleau and Jacob Peterson.
Kunin, on Granlund’s impact:
He’s great. He holds onto pucks out there. He kind of controls the pace of play, is a big driver for any team he’s on. You saw a lot of the offensive chances were because of him tonight, that’ll be a big boost for us.
Kunin, on San Jose Sharks breaking puck out better and having more support:
I thought we got out of zone pretty good in the first couple periods there. We had more pucks I thought we could have done a better job with the entries, as far as keep skating and not slowing down as we crossed the blue.
Kunin, on Emberson getting his first NHL point:
Yeah, he’s a good player. Really steady back there. I think he’s only going to continue to get better and good for him to get that out of the way.
See the full Emberson interview here.
Emberson, on his family coming out to see him play on this road trip:
My grandpa has been able to make it to two games. My dad has not been able to yet, just logistics and everything, but I’ve got a couple of people at a couple different games so far. It’s been fun to have some support from my family.
Emberson, on tonight’s effort:
I think we played the way we wanted to play.
We made sure that we broke the puck out well. We joined the rush. Attacked the numbers and really possessed the puck down low.
Granlund, on the San Jose Sharks’ struggles to start the season:
We haven’t really generated any offensive zone chances. That’s the first thing, get ourselves in those situations we can actually score. To be honest, I felt tonight was probably our best game, scoring chances-wise.
Granlund, on the team’s improved breakout:
Yeah, think about the way the games have gone lately, there’s a lot of chip the puck out and you chase the puck.
I think we did pretty good job tonight. Making those passes. Get up the ice with speed. That makes it easier and you don’t need to spend time chasing pucks and playing in the D-zone the whole time. In my opinion, it was a step in the right direction.
Quinn, on the San Jose Sharks’ improved breakout:
We spent a lot of time on it in the video session. We got to do a better job supporting each other. I thought we did a much better job of that tonight. There was a lot more awareness. We would get to a puck and there’d be people available. We worked harder for each other on our breakouts.
Quinn, on how to coach in the midst of a long losing streak:
It’s a balancing act from a coaching standpoint because you got to be honest and positive all in the same breath. So you got to deliver some bad news. But you also got to tell them that listen, if we do A, B, and C, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I think that’s what they’re seeing. I think they feel better about what happened tonight.
Quinn, on why he sat Nikolai Knyzhov:
Coach’s decision. He’s got to be better.
Quinn, on sending Thomas Bordeleau and Jacob Peterson down:
We felt like that’s going to be best for their development. Get more puck touches, getting down there, and get their confidence back. Listen, it’s been a tough go for us here for the first three weeks. Those guys played a lot of hockey, I think they’ve lost a little bit of their confidence. So it gives them an opportunity to go down there and play with more confidence.
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.
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