NASHVILLE – At the outset of training camp, there was so much emphasis by the San Jose Sharks to have a better start to this campaign, after beginning last year 0-5-0.
The Sharks are now 0-4-1 this season after dropping a 5-1 decision to the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
Tomas Hertl scored the Sharks’ lone goal, but he wasn’t celebrating. Instead, after the game, the alternate captain was hot at his teammates for letting Filip Forsberg body slam goalie Mackenzie Blackwood late in the game without any repercussions.
Forsberg (9) literally jumps on a loose puck after Blackwood was clipped by Roman Josi (59). In Forsberg’s defense, he’s already in the air when the whistle is blown. The goal would be called back for goalie interference.
However, what galled Hertl and San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn was more that Forsberg could get away with this affront without nary a protest. Ex-Forsberg teammate Matt Benning, alternate captain Mario Ferraro, Kevin Labanc, Jacob Peterson, and William Eklund were just milling about the scene.
“It just can’t happen,” Hertl said. “Especially last five minutes, nobody cares if anybody takes an extra two minutes [of a retaliatory penalty].”
“You got to protect your goalie. I don’t care if you’re friends or not,” Quinn said. “You got to protect your goalie.”
Wisely, Predators head coach Andrew Brunette, just 3:51 left in the contest and up four goals, kept his top-scoring winger off the ice for the rest of the game.
After the game, Hertl maintained that the San Jose Sharks locker room is good, but thinks they have to show Blackwood and Kaapo Kahkonen that they’re there for them.
Sturm touched on this season’s awful start compared to last year’s.
Quinn talked about benching Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Filip Zadina’s play, the flat-lining penalty kill, and Ty Emberson’s NHL debut.
Hertl, on his disappointment that the San Jose Sharks didn’t stand up for Blackwood:
I just don’t like, the last 10 minutes, because we just left Blacky alone.
We have to just be there, more together, step it up. It’s 5-1, you have to cross-check somebody and show them they can’t do anything.
I’m more mad about the last couple minutes because we just left our goalie alone. We don’t show anything.
Yeah, I was [disappointed]. It just can’t happen. Especially last 5 minutes, nobody cares if anybody takes an extra 2 minutes.
I think the locker room is great.
But especially after our goalies stood on their heads for us, they played both really well. We have to show them that we’ll be there for them.
We have a great group here.
But this can’t happen. We have to show that nobody can do anything to our goalies.
Sturm, on how this year’s 0-4-1 start mirrors last year’s 0-5-0 start:
I think our inability to execute for 60 minutes is pretty apparent. We do a lot of good things. But we don’t do it the whole game. That’s [gonna] cost in the National Hockey League.
You see good, good things every once in a while. We got phases where you’re like, this looks really good. Today, the shot differential was a lot better. But then, we do other things worse than we did the last game.
We have all these areas and some of it feels like we’re taking one step forward and two steps back.
Obviously, it’s tough. I wish I had the magic formula.
But we’ll stick together. Show up to practice. That’s the biggest thing is not letting these things drive us apart as a group.
Quinn, on the San Jose Sharks not doing anything after Forsberg body slammed Blackwood:
That will be addressed.
You got to protect your goalie. I don’t care if you’re friends or not. You got to protect your goalie.
Quinn, on Sharks’ unsuccessful penalty kill:
Granlund and Couture would be arguably our two best killers if they were healthy.
We’re just not in sync. We’re late everywhere. We’re not on our toes. We’re not moving as the puck’s moving. There’s not a lot of anticipation, which is our problem really across the board.
We’re hard-pressed to generate any type of offense because there’s not a lot of offensive anticipation in our game. Right now, we’re a little bit flat-footed, waiting for plays to be made before we react to them, instead of anticipating.
Quinn, on benching Marc-Edouard Vlasic after midway through the second period:
He’s gotta be better. He’s gotta be harder. He’s gotta be more thorough.
Quinn, on if he’s looking for more from Filip Zadina:
Not really. It was just the way, obviously, when you got 11 forwards, sometimes the lines get disjointed. I thought some guys were playing a little bit better. It really wasn’t a conscious thing. He just got lost a little bit. He’s done a good, solid job for us.
Quinn, on Ty Emberson’s NHL debut:
Played very well. I liked his game a lot.
Quinn, on team’s mental toughness:
We have to take the positives out of here, because we’ve got to point to it and do it more often. That’s the bottom line.
We’ve got to be mentally tougher. That’s the thing that really jumps out at me. Our lack of consistency right now.
We haven’t had a lot of success in any way, shape, or form. But we’re letting that one bad stretch turn into three bad stretches, that’s why we’re in the situation we’re in.
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