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Mukhamadullin Talks Sharks’ Plan for Him, Making Dinner for Russian AHL All-Stars



Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Yesterday was surely a long night for Shakir Mukhamadullin.

The San Jose Barracuda’s lone All-Star had woken up at 4 AM in Vancouver to try to make it to San Francisco International Airport by the afternoon. But because of multiple delays and bad weather, he almost missed all of the AHL All-Star Skills Competition, making a last-minute appearance at about 6:30 PM and even scoring in the very last contest of the night. Heck, he had so little time to dress, he had to wear his athletic socks instead of his customary hockey socks for his brief appearance on the ice.

All-Star Mukhamadullin Shares Travel Ordeal, Biggest Regret About Skills Competition

Yesterday definitely called for a good night’s sleep for Mukhamadullin.

But if you think the top San Jose Sharks prospect was asleep right after the Skills Competition, you’re wrong.

Right after Skills, he invited all the Russian AHL All-Star Classic participants present (Yaroslav Askarov, Grigori Denisenko,  and Ruslan Iskhakov) over and treated them to steaks he cooked.

“It was nothing special, just hospitality,” Mukhamadullin said in Russian after the All-Star Challenge on Monday. “I think each of them would do the same. After the Skills Competition, we went to the hotel, and I told them, ‘Let’s sit down and chat at my place, I’ll make steaks. We had some quality time.’”

He said the hometown San Jose Sharks crowd at the Tech CU Arena got him so wired, he didn’t even think about sleep.

“I was super tired when I finally came back from Abbotsford, but as soon as I showed up on the ice, I got energized by the colossal amount of emotions. My body started moving, my brain started working… And when we had the Russian guys over, I didn’t even have time for sleep.”

It was just as eventful the next day when Mukhamadullin played for Team Pacific in the AHL All-Star Classic—a three-on-three tournament for four teams (Atlantic, North, Central and Pacific).

Shades of yesterday’s last-minute entrance into the Skills Competition, Mukhamadullin showed a flair for the dramatic in the Pacific Division team’s championship-winning showing at the AHL All-Star Challenge.

He scored the game-tying goal with seven seconds left to help the Pacific Division salvage a point in their second game, a 2-2 shootout tie with the Atlantic Division.

Then, in the championship tilt against the Atlantic, Mukhamadullin shook Iskhakov along the wall before delivering a spin-o-rama pass to Matt Coronato for the game-opening goal in the Pacific’s 3-2 triumph.

“It was a little different before the final game,” he said about the “70%” OT-like pace in the championship. “The coaches said that we want to win and asked to play sharper.”

When the score was 1-1, he was surprised by Iskhakov who was, well, a bit too enthusiastic trying to get the puck from Mukhamadullin.

“I then skated by his bench and asked what in the world that was,” Mukhamadullin laughed again. “Ruslan said that they needed to win. Looks like the coaches asked them about the same thing!”

Now that a few weeks of madness—including his NHL debut, travel adventures, and the AHL All-Star Classic—are over, what’s next for Mulkhamadullin?

He said he’ll stay with the Barracuda. At least for now.

When he was sent down to the San Jose Barracuda on Feb. 1, the San Jose Sharks coaching staff didn’t really tell him about what’s next.

“They just told me to enjoy the All-Star Classic,” Mukhamadullin explained.

He added that he’s going to stay with the Barracuda and will have more info from the San Jose Sharks after their break. The Barracuda return to action on Feb. 9 and the Sharks expect to start practice again on Feb. 10.

He also said that he knows what he needs to improve on after his first three NHL games. It’s… everything. He also broke down his NHL performance.

“There were too many nerves in the first game. The next two games weren’t bad. Tried to play hard, make hits and didn’t overcomplicate things offensively. I told myself that now that I have this chance, I don’t need to try and surprise everyone. I was called up because of the way I normally played, so I just needed to do what I always do.”

There’s a lot of questions about the future of Shakir Mukhamaullin, who is undoubtedly one of the brightest San Jose Sharks prospects. Will he become an NHL regular this season? Or will he continue helping the Barracuda make the AHL playoffs?

Nobody has answers yet. Even Shakir himself.

For the next couple of days, he’s not even going to think about hockey.

“Will give my brain and body some rest.”

Mukhamadullin shared his two-day break plans with us: “Will have some nice sleep and then try and go to a spa. My wife and I have a gift certificate for that.”

It’s well-deserved!

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