The San Jose Sharks opened training camp in Scottsdale this morning.
It’s a new world for the Sharks, who haven’t played since mid-March. They missed the NHL’s playoff bubble, can’t host training camp in San Jose, and franchise staple Joe Thornton chose Maple Leaf blue over teal in free agency.
Erik Karlsson illustrated some of this new reality, when asked about the team’s routine: “It starts with getting tested every morning. It’s everyday testing. We have breakfast here at the hotel. We get changed here then go to the facilities. We work out and skate. We come back here, shower in our own rooms. After that, I haven’t figured it out because it’s 12:45 here.”
Karlsson talked about his expectations for himself after a tough year, Brent Burns went off on his experience shooting “Vikings”, Tomas Hertl claimed to have bigger legs, Logan Couture spoke on what has to change this pre-season after back-to-back poor San Jose starts to the season, and Bob Boughner clued us in on how the Sharks will attack differently this year. And they all miss Jumbo.
HERTL HAS BIGGER LEGS?
A question about Tomas Hertl’s health — Hertl suffered a season-ending knee injury in January — spun into some light jabbing between Hertl and Logan Couture.
But first, Hertl on his health: “The knee feels great. I have zero issue with that. Right now, I’m 100 percent ready for games.”
He then added, unprompted: “Actually, I got even bigger size legs now. I tried my suits, they don’t even fit on me. Hopefully, I got some extra muscles on my body too after almost a year.”
Considering that Hertl already had tree trunks for thighs, that’s intimidating news.
“He told you guys that story?” Couture asked, unable to contain his laughter. “He’s been telling me that the last three days, how he can’t fit into his suits anymore because his legs are too big.”
The San Jose Sharks captain, when he was done laughing, discussed the team’s fitness and Hertl’s comment that other Sharks had gained “a lot of muscles” in the time off: “I think he’s probably talking about himself and maybe Matt Nieto. Nietsy looks a little bigger than when we saw him a few years ago.
“But I think everyone came into camp in good shape.”
COUTURE BELIEVES SHARKS MUST HAVE QUICK START
“Our start’s going to be huge and our camp’s going to be big.”
San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture says the team can’t afford another slow start.
In 2018-19, the much-hyped Sharks, fresh from trading for Karlsson, limped to a 12-10-5 start; last year was much worse, as San Jose opened 4-10-1.
“We need to get off to a better start. That’s our main focus right now,” Couture said. “With the shortened season, every game is going to mean a little bit more.”
So what’s going to change this training camp?
Couture cited two seasons, last year and the last shortened campaign, 2012-13. The captain learned about urgency from the jump last off-season:
“It was tough. We came off a Conference Finals run where we put everything into it. Those seasons are always tough to come back and be ready to go. We lost our captain in Pavs and some other guys.
“We didn’t have the best camp. We got spanked in all those pre-season games. That should’ve been a wake-up call.
“I think as a group, we waited, figured we’d turn it on once the regular season came. And that didn’t happen.”
Of 2012-13, Couture recalled the importance of a quick start:
“We came flying out of the gates. We won first six or seven or eight.
“It went a long way because we struggled for the middle part of the season, but our start propelled us to a playoff spot.”
Will history repeat itself in San Jose? Well, we don’t even know if it’ll be in San Jose — the Sharks are going to kick off the season on an eight-game road trip with no set return date to SAP Center.
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