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Sharks Locker Room: Kunin Is a Leader, Quinn Addresses Addison’s Emotions

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Credit: Dean Tait/Hockey Shots

In a post-Tomas Hertl world for the San Jose Sharks, Luke Kunin has emerged as a real leader.

After the All-Star break, both captain Logan Couture and alternate captain Hertl out with injuries, the Sharks named Mikael Granlund and Kunin as alternate captains, joining Mario Ferraro in that post.

It was a little bit of everything from Kunin this weekend: On Saturday, a big hit on Jake Neighbours that led to a Justin Faulk instigator penalty and a William Eklund power play goal. On Sunday, a big hit on Travis Dermott – honestly, an uncalled boarding penalty – that nonetheless led directly to a Kunin goal, when a perhaps dazed Dermott didn’t cover him.

It wasn’t enough for the Sharks, who dropped a 5-2 decision to the Arizona Coyotes, but it was clear example of what the much-maligned player has to offer.

“Especially with [Tomas Hertl] being gone and [Logan Couture] not being as present as we’re used to, Kunny’s really stepped up in that role. You see it every night,” rookie Henry Thrun said about Kunin’s leadership.

Look, everybody knows that Kunin shouldn’t be a second-line center like he is now, that’s not the proper place for him in a line-up. But a third or fourth-line winger who hits, fights, kills penalties, is sound positionally at both ends of the ice, stands up for his teammates, and can score a little is very valuable, especially for a rebuilding team that’s trying to be harder to play against.

Granlund, who’s played with Kunin on the Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators, would know.

“He’s an absolute team guy. I love the guy. Everybody loves him,” Granlund said. “What he brings, he brings that physicality. He does the right things on the ice all the time. That’s what do you need, this type of guy, this organization as well.”

“These games, it’s not like we’re trying to get in a playoff spot. For him to show up every night, check, score goals, fight. it’s something that I look to add some that in my game. I think a lot of guys on our team should,” Thrun said. “Because it’s something that you really can’t put a value on it.”

Thrun, obviously, isn’t talking about actual fights, but a fighting spirit that the Sharks need more of as they try to also infuse the roster with young, high-end skill.

If you’re rebuilding, and you want to build a team-first attitude that should lead eventually to winning, you could do a lot worse than Kunin, who’ll drag you into the fight, and back it up with his fists.

Not so coincidentally, Kunin’s a pending RFA. It’s a good bet you’ll see him back with the Sharks.

David Quinn

Quinn, on what happened with Addison:

We’ll talk about that later.

Quinn, on if he has to talk with Addison about controlling his emotions:

Yeah.

Quinn, on if there’s a concern that Addison is developing a bad reputation with the officials:

I don’t know.

Quinn, on Graf:

I liked his game. I thought he created some offense for us. He’s really poised with the puck.

Just a lot of poise in his game, the puck’s on his stick, and good things have been happening.

Quinn, on where Thrun has improved on the power play:

His overall game has grown.

That element of it, I think there’s more of a comfort level for him. He’s not overwhelmed or intimidated by it. So it’s good to see.

Mikael Granlund

Granlund, on Kunin’s leadership:

He brings that every single night. I’ve known him, third team with him, we were in Minnesota and Nashville and now here.
He’s an absolute team guy. I love the guy. Everybody loves him. What he brings, he brings that physicality. He does the right things on the ice all the time. That’s what do you need, this type of guy, this organization as well.

From the beginning since I’ve known him, he hasn’t changed. He’s the ultimate team guy. Like I said, inside the locker room, every single person loves him, what he does for the team and what type of person he is. I have nothing but utmost respect for him and you love to have those type of guys on your team.

Granlund, on if leadership needs to talk to Addison about controlling his emotions:

He’s a smart guy. I’m sure he knows.

Henry Thrun

Thrun, assesses where his game is at right now:

I’ve liked my last couple of games. I think that I had a good start when I came back up. Put some good hockey together. When I came back from injury, I think I had a little bit of a stretch where I got into bad habits where I wasn’t being as assertive as I could. It’s something that happens and that’s part of being a pro. Just trying to learn, work through that.

Thrun, on Kunin’s leadership:

It’s everything. Especially with [Tomas Hertl] being gone and [Logan Couture] not being as present as we’re used to, Kunny’s really stepped up in that role. You see it every night.

These games, it’s not like we’re trying to get in a playoff spot. For him to show up every night, check, score goals, fight. it’s something that I look to add some that in my game. I think a lot of guys on our team should. Because it’s something that you really can’t put a value on it.

Thrun, on playing with Collin Graf:

He’s someone that I’ve skated with since we were probably eight, nine years old.

He’s always been a good player, and when we got to college, he really took off, so I was super happy for him. We didn’t really know in the moment if he was going to get credit with the assist or not, so we’re happy to see that go up on the video board. It’s a cool moment. Congratulations to him.

Thrun, on if it’s true that Graf was 5-foot-8 as a junior in high school:

5’8″ might even be like a stretch. He was always a good player. But he was one of those guys you remember as being, oh, that’s the small kid. He was a year younger, and he actually played up, I think, with our age group, some different tournaments and at various times, but even when he was small, he was always a pretty crafty player.

Luke Kunin

Kunin, on his leadership of San Jose Sharks:

I don’t really want to talk about me. I think, as a group, we’ve done a better job of competing together.

Kunin, on declining to fight Josh Brown:

I don’t want to fight every night. I think time and a place. Didn’t really, like I said, see a reason.

I thought we had some good momentum. We scored. We were feeling good about our game. Like I said, I’m not looking for it. You play, physical, you play hard, those things are gonna happen.

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