PRAGUE – It doesn’t surprise me that Nick Bonino was named alternate captain of the San Jose Sharks.
It might have just been a coincidence, but I guessed it after a Captain’s Skate in mid-September. Captain Logan Couture barked out a drill for the Sharks to practice. Naturally, Couture led off, followed by alternate captains Tomas Hertl, Erik Karlsson, then Mario Ferraro. After Ferraro, taking what would’ve been ex-alternate captain Brent Burns’s turn?
It was Bonino. I don’t know if David Quinn already knew then that his new alternate captain would be his former BU player. I asked Quinn on the first day of training camp if he had selected an “A” yet, and he said it was still an open competition.
Quinn says the incumbent leadership (Couture, Karlsson, Ferraro, Hertl) will be returning to their “C” and “A” roles. A fourth “A” will be selected if someone emerges from the pack (I bet Bonino)
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) September 22, 2022
But Bonino made too much sense: He’s already considered a locker room leader, he’s the only current San Jose Sharks player (besides Nico Sturm) to have won a Stanley Cup, and he’s a Quinn ally, which might matter in the long run if the rumors that the bench boss’s New York Rangers veterans turned him off by the end of his tenure are true.
If it was an open competition, it appears that Bonino lapped the field.
“When I got here, there was an opening to add another leader to the group. It was pretty obvious that he was the guy. You talked to anybody around the building or anybody on the team, he’s the guy that everybody refers to is a guy that should fill those shoes,” the San Jose Sharks’ bench boss said on Thursday, when the news became official. “He’s a winner. He’s been a winner everywhere he’s been. It was an easy choice in a lot of ways.”
Quinn also noted that Bonino had never worn a letter, which surprised him. And that is a surprise, which is a tribute to how Bonino has carried himself throughout his career.
Anyway, for Bonino, he played off the magnitude of the honor, which is about what you’d expect.
“It means a lot to me. I try to be a leader, regardless of if I have one,” Bonino said on Friday morning. “I try to do the same things I’ve always done. We have a great leadership group here. So makes it a lot easier.”
SAN JOSE SHARKS (0-1-0)
We’ll know more about the line-up two hours before the game. I would think that Kaapo Kahkonen will get the start in the back-to-back.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS (1-0-0)
If Nashville doesn’t deviate from a winning formula, here are their lines from yesterday. But will their backup get the call tonight?
Filip Forsberg — Mikael Granlund — Matt Duchene
Nino Niederreiter — Ryan Johansen — Kiefer Sherwood
Yakov Trenin — Colton Sissons — Tanner Jeannot
Cole Smith — Cody Glass — Eeli Tolvanen
Roman Josi — Alexandre Carrier
Ryan McDonagh — Mattias Ekholm
Jeremy Lauzon — Dante Fabbro
WHERE TO WATCH
The San Jose Sharks will take on the Nashville Predators at O2 Arena tonight at 8 PM CET and 11 AM PST. Watch it live on NBC Sports California and NHL Network. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.
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