WELCOME GUEST WRITER LIZZ CHILD! LIZZ COVERS THE WHL FOR THE DUBNETWORK AND AREA 51 SPORTS.
“There’s probably no bigger step than playing in the NHL, especially coming from college.”
Jasper Weatherby knows first-hand just what that jump is like having made the transition from the University of North Dakota to the San Jose Sharks this season.
Weatherby is looking to have a triumphant return to the Pacific Northwest today and has been putting in the work to see it happen, especially with a few aunts and uncles expected to be in attendance in Seattle.
After Wednesday morning’s practice, Weatherby stayed behind to get one-on-one time with NHL development coach Mike Ricci.
Sharks head coach Bob Boughner has commented that he would like to see Weatherby use his body more and be a little harder to play against offensively. The 6-foot-4 centerman has just one goal and two assists in his last 27 games.
So Wednesday saw him working with Ricci on anticipating plays, among other things.
“Working a little bit on catching the puck, moving up ice. Working a lot on scanning and being able to anticipate plays,” Weatherby said. “Rolling off corners, taking pucks to the net, just little things that maybe you get away from during the course of a game.”
Overall, Boughner has a positive outlook on the rookie forward’s performance this season. He’s been especially pleased with Weatherby’s play on the defensive end.
“I do like what I see when he doesn’t have the puck,” Boughner indicated. “He’s above and he’s responsible and he stops his feet. He’s got a pretty good stick for a young guy too.”
But all in all, the rookie has plenty to work on, and in Ricci, he may have no better person to learn from to carve out a career as a solid bottom-six center.
“The biggest thing is he was a player. So he really understands what it’s like to be in that scenario,” Weatherby said of the former center, who played 1,099 NHL games.
There’s a lot for Weatherby to look up to when it comes to Ricci, including the time that Ricci scored five goals in a game as a member of the Quebec Nordiques against the San Jose Sharks in Feb. 1994.
“I came up to him, I was like you scored five? He said, yeah, I could have had seven,” Weatherby shared, before laughing, “I don’t think I’ve ever had seven shots in the game.”
San Jose Sharks (21-17-2)
San Jose heads into Thursday night’s game with a 3-2 record in their last five games. Most notable in those games was Timo Meier setting a franchise record by scoring five goals en route to a 6-2 Sharks victory.
Projected lines for the #SJSharks. Barabanov out of COVID protocol, Balcers in COVID protocol.
Hill in net.
Catch up on our #SeaKraken preview with Marisa Ingemi here:
— The Content Boyz (@LockedOnSharks) January 20, 2022
Hello Seattle, where #SJSharks are waiting to start their morning skate — by the way, my new Tip Jar is my Venmo, which is in my bio, 100 percent of your contribution goes to my travel pic.twitter.com/wnDKp07juw
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) January 20, 2022
Seattle Kraken (11-23-4)
The Kraken look to continue turning things around, coming into Thursday with a 1-4 record through their last five games. That one win came in Seattle’s most recent game in the form of a shootout win against the Chicago Blackhawks at Climate Pledge Arena on Monday night.
Per Dave Hakstol: Philipp Grubauer starts in net vs San Jose.
Jamie Oleksiak, who missed practice yesterday due to a non-COVID a illness, will be re-evaluated but is doubtful as of now to be in tonight. #SeaKraken
— Mike Benton (@Benton_Mike) January 20, 2022
Hakstol said a final decision on Geekie’s availability will be made after morning skate. Kuhlman will make his #SeaKraken debut.
— Alison (@AlisonL) January 20, 2022
Where to Watch
Puck drop against Seattle is 7:00 PM PT at Climate Pledge Arena. Watch it live on NBC Sports California or Root Sports Northwest. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.