SJ Sharks report: Joe Thornton Signs with Toronto Maple Leafs

Former San Jose Shark Joe Thornton joins the Toronto Maple Leafs after more than 15 seasons with the Sharks. Thornton who makes his home in San Jose in the off season left for Toronto Friday to sign with the Leafs (file photo from mercurynews.com)

By Mary Walsh

Joe Thornton signed a one year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs Friday. The contract is worth $700,000. Currently, Thornton is in Switzerland, playing with HC Davos of the Swiss National League. He expects to be ready to go when the NHL starts the new season.

Thornton’s absence will be noticeable in San Jose. Whether he wore the Captain’s C or not, Thornton was a leader in the Sharks dressing room. His play and his experience helped guide many younger players over many seasons. Fans came to consider him very much the face of the franchise, even if he was not drafted by San Jose. The Sharks team Twitter account said simply: “Going to log off for a bit. Brb. Maybe.”

Evander Kane tweeted : “Man I’m going to miss ya, but feel very fortunate to play with you and become great friends. So many fun memories in a short period of time. I’ll make sure to keep your seat next to me at the back of the plane vacant until you come back.”

Brent Burns tweeted: “Daaaamn…. going to miss a lot more then just laughing with this guy… ultimate teammate, friend and guy to learn from..@MapleLeafs got a great one coming!”

Joining the Maple Leafs is more than leaving San Jose for Thornton. A Toronto Sun headline today reads: “Greybeard Joe Thornton comes home to join Maple Leafs.” The Maple Leafs are iconic to the hockey world, but Thornton was born in London, Ontario, so Toronto means family and a return to his roots.

Thornton is the leader among active players in points with 1,509. He scored 1,055 of those with San Jose over 15 seasons. He won the Hart Trophy and Art Ross Trophy in 2006, for his performance during season that saw him traded from Boston to San Jose.

Patrick Marleau tweeted (by way of his wife’s account):

For more than two decades, Jumbo and I have been friends, with the vast majority of those years being teammates, too. I now consider him a brother. Toronto has gained a tremendous influence, and we will miss his presence here in San Jose. Good luck in TO! -PM

Marleau has just signed a one year contract with San Jose. Three seasons ago, he signed with Toronto and played two seasons there. According to NHL.com, Marleau said at that time that it was possible Thornton would sign with Toronto as well. Marleau had a three-year contract with Toronto, a deal that San Jose was unprepared to match.

One would think that the Sharks would have been willing to offer $700,000 for one more year of Thornton. Whether they did make that offer or not, Thornton’s absence signals significant changes to come in San Jose. After recent disappointments, that is probably a good thing in the long run. Whatever the future holds, the Sharks family will miss Jumbo Joe Thornton.

Sharks Report: Sharks Sign Marleau, Other Familiar Faces

Returning for the third time the San Jose Sharks Patrick Marleau is back after playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins last season. Marleau also played for the Toronto Maple Leafs after leaving San Jose the first time. (image from @SAPSports)

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks have been busy signing and re-signing familiar players. Patrick Marleau and Matt Nieto return from their 2020 pandemic playoff teams. Kevin Labanc and Stefan Noesen were resigned. The Sharks also added a goaltender, trading a 2022 fifth round pick to the Minnesota Wild for Devan Dubnyk and a 2022 seventh round pick.

Of Dubnyk, the Sharks press release said: “Over his 11-year NHL career, the three-time NHL All-Star (2016, 2017, 2019) has appeared in 520 NHL games, earning a 247-195-52 record with a 2.58 GAA, .915 save percentage and 32 shutouts. He has also appeared in 26 Stanley Cup Playoff games, all with Minnesota, earning an 8-18 record with a 2.72 GAA and .904 SV% with two shutouts.” Minnesota retained 50% of Dubnyk’s salary. This is the last year of that contract.

Sharks General Manager, Doug Wilson said: “Devan has been one of the League’s top goaltenders for many years and after playing so many years in the Western Conference, is someone our hockey staff is very familiar with. As we head into what will surely be a unique season, his acquisition gives us a high-quality and experienced tandem of netminders.”

Patrick Marleau resigned a one-year contract with San Jose after playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins from the last trade deadline through a 2020 playoff run. Last season, Marleau joined the Sharks after the season started and had a good start, which faded along with the rest of the 2019-20 Sharks team. Despite that, he reached a number of milestones in 58 games with the Sharks. The team press release ennumerated them:

“In his first game back in teal, Marleau scored two goals to become the eighth player in NHL history to score a goal in his teens & 40s with the same franchise on Oct. 10 at Chicago. On Dec. 12, 2019 vs. the New York Rangers, he and Joe Thornton became the first set of teammates in NHL history having 1,600 regular-season games to their resume to play in the same game. Marleau appeared in his 1,700th NHL game on Jan. 11 vs. the Dallas Stars to become the fifth skater to reach the mark and scored his 100th career game-winning goal as a Shark the same night. On Jan. 27, he collected his 1,100th point as a Shark, achieving his 22nd consecutive season of at least 10 or more goals.”

Matt Nieto has also returned after playing 70 games with the Colorado Avalanche, including a playoff run in the Edmonton bubble. Nieto as drafted by the Sharks in 2011. Of the move, Doug Wilson said in a press release:

“Matt’s a player we’re obviously familiar with having been here for our Stanley Cup Final run in 2016 and he plays with speed and energy. His quickness and defensive responsibility made him one of the top penalty killers on Colorado and we feel that those assets, along with his decision making and playmaking, will bring a lot of elements to our team. We’re excited to have Matt back in San Jose.”

Kevin Labanc was re-signed to a four-year contract. Per ESPN, Labanc’s contract is worth an annual $4,725,000. Wilson said of the young forward:

“Kevin brings a rare level of offensive skill and creativity to our line-up and has established himself as a top-six forward in our league. His Game 7 playoff performance last season is one of the most iconic moments in Sharks history and is a perfect example of the impact he can have on a hockey game. Kevin has shown a consistent ability to perform at a high level in both the regular season and the playoffs and he will be a big part of our club in the coming years.”

Stefan Noesen was also re-signed from last year’s roster. Last season, Noesen joined the Sharks December 19 after being claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh. In the foreshortened season with San Jose, Noesen scored seven goals and to assists, and took 32 penalty minutes. He was the first Sharks player since Timo Meier to score a goal in his team debut.

Of Noesen’s return to the team, Wilson said:

“Stefan came in here last season and made a pretty seamless transition both on and off the ice. He plays the game with a high tempo and energy and isn’t afraid to stick up for his teammates. We think he fits well with how we want our team to play and are happy he is returning to San Jose.”

One very familiar face is still missing from next season’s roster: Joe Thornton. He has not yet signed with an NHL team, but is playing in Davos, Switzerland to prepare. He has not ruled out coming back to San Jose, but it is far from certain at this time.

San Jose Sharks Stick with Boughner

San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner will get another season behind the bench for the Sharks as general manager Doug Wilson is happy to bring him back for 2020-21 (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

On Tuesday, the San Jose Sharks announced that Bob Boughner would be their ninth Head Coach. Boughner took over as Interim Head Coach for the Sharks half way through last season, replacing Peter DeBoer.

In Tuesday’s press release, the Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson assessed Boughner’s time as Interim Head Coach. “Bob did a tremendous job last season, getting our group back to playing with an identity and structure that we need in order to be successful,” said Wilson. “We saw a marked improvement in our play in several key areas during the second half of the season, before losing some key players to injury.”

After a long NHL playing career and several successful seasons coaching Junior Hockey, Boughner joined the Sharks in 2015 as an assistant coach. In 2017, he was named Head Coach of the Florida Panthers. Two seasons later, he was replaced by Joel Quenneville in Florida and returned to the Sharks as an assistant coach. As a Head Coach in the NHL, his record is 94-82-25.

In the partial season as Interim Head Coach for the Sharks, Boughner saw his team win just 14 of 37 games, continuing the abysmal trend they were on when Peter DeBoer was fired. To make an already terrible season worse, the team lost Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture and Erik Karlsson to injury shortly after Boughner took over.

After the announcement Tuesday, Boughner thanked the Sharks owner and General Manager for bringing him back:

I’m very excited about the opportunity to return to the San Jose Sharks organization as head coach. I want to thank Hasso Plattner and Doug Wilson for their trust in me. Last year was a difficult season for everyone but I think we learned a lot about ourselves as a group and we made some positive strides over the second half of the year.

The roster that Boughner will have when regular play resumes will be somewhat changed from last season. While the injured players will likely be back, some long-time Sharks were traded at the deadline, such as defenseman Justin Braun and forward Barclay Goodrow. After struggling as the team did through the abbreviated 2019-2020 season, the Sharks would likely benefit from change. Whether the new Head Coach is enough of a change remains to be seen.

The Sharks also added Rocky Thompson as associate coach and John Madden as assistant coach. Of Thompson and Madden, Wilson said: “We’re also very pleased to add Rocky and John to our staff. Both come with a wealth of experience, both in playing the game and as teachers and leaders. With a healthy and motivated group of players, we are confident that this staff will do a terrific job leading our group in the coming years.”

Bob Boughner looks forward to working with his new coaches. In the Sharks press release, he said:

Rocky and John will bring some fresh energy and excitement to our group. Both have been head coaches, worked on coaching staffs in the NHL and have lots of experience working with and developing young players. It was important that anyone we brought in from the outside come from a culture of winning, which is what we are used to in San Jose. Rocky and John have the credibility and work ethic to help us get our talented team back to that level.

The coaching staff is rounded out by Evgeni Nabokov as goaltending coach, Dan Darrow as assistant video coach and Charlie Townsend as analyst/assistant to the NHL coaching staff. All are returning from last season.

Covid 19 Sports podcast with Matt Harrington: It’s a matter of time people will be mandated to quarantine

photo from narcity.com: Chase Center sits empty in San Francisco during the NBA Coronavirus epidemic all operations ceased since March 12th

On the Sports Quarantine podcast with Matt:

#1 Matt first weekend in history that all of sports is froze out due to the nationwide policy of banning of crowds

#2 As a reporter who covers the San Jose Sharks and also works for the Sharks and formerly the Oakland Raiders what’s it been like for you not to go to work there

#3 Speaking of work taking a look at the Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks day of game staff operations many employees who depended on income will now not only suffer through this pandemic but also will not receive a check and can’t pay bill up to 15,000 employees just the ones who work at Chase Center

#4 Warriors owner Joe Lacob did address there will financial hardships and this is the time that the employees who keep things going at NBA and sports sites going need help

#5 Matt it’s March 14th and on Friday the 13th players and staff from the San Francisco Giants were seen loading up equipment and going to their homes hanging up baseball for at least two weeks in a pandemic that could last until the hopefully the very latest end of May.

Matt Harrington will be updating us for all the latest on the pandemic of 2020 for the Sports Quarantine podcast every Saturday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NHL, Sharks, Suspend All Games Due to COVID-19 Concerns

The Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Capitals NHL hockey club, sits empty Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Washington. The NHL is following the NBA’s lead and suspending its season amid the coronavirus outbreak, the league announced Thursday (photo from usnews.com)

By Mary Walsh

On Thursday the NHL announced a pause in the season. They released a statement that read, in part:

In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019-20 season beginning with tonight’s games.

The move came on the heels of the NBA’s decision to suspend their season after one of their players tested positive for the new virus. Other leagues and events in the US are being suspended or cancelled daily due to concerns over the virus.

The San Jose Sharks had previously announced that March games would be played without fans and only limited media access, consistent with Santa Clara County’s March 9 ban large gatherings of people. After today’s NHL announcement, the Sharks released the following press release about the status of games and tickets:

The National Hockey League has announced today that the 2019-20 NHL regular season will be paused for the safety of its players, employees, and fans in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharks Sports & Entertainment is fully supportive of the NHL’s decision.

With NHL games now being placed on hold as opposed to played without fans, ticket holders are asked to hang on to their tickets until additional information from the NHL becomes available.

As new developments arise, we will communicate with our fans and partners. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

The AHL has also suspended play, which puts the San Jose Barracuda and Stockton Heat and their fans in the same state of limbo as the Sharks.

The NHL expressed the hope that the season could resume at an appropriate time. There are 189 regular season games remaining, as well as the Stanley Cup playoffs. For the complete statement, go to the NHL website.

Sharks’ skid continues on road; Blackhawks unload on SJ 6-2

photo from sfgate.com: Chicago Blackhawks’ Alex DeBrincat (12) battles San Jose Sharks’ Noah Gregor (73) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (44) for a loose puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Chicago

~ By Pearl Allison Lo

~ With their fourth straight loss and fifth consecutive on the road, San Jose slid further in a 6-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. 

It was the Sharks’ most goals given up since a month ago on February 10 versus the Calgary Flames. 

San Jose goalie Aaron Dell himself is mired in a five-game slump, with an average of over three goals given up meanwhile. 

Chicago star Patrick Kane led with two goals and a season-high 11 shots. He has had five goals in his last five games.

The Sharks scored in the opening and closing periods while the Blackhawks scored a trio of goals in the second and the third. 

The Blackhawks perhaps got their mojo going when they scored the second and third of a combined three special teams goals to start the game off.  Previously, Chicago was 0-for-14 with the man advantage.

First, though, it was San Jose’s turn. Chicago set the stage with two penalties taken 15 seconds apart, starting at 8:55. Dylan Strome was called for tripping and Ryan Carpenter whistled for hi-sticking. The Sharks’ Joe Thornton, situated in the right faceoff circle, passed it to Evander Kane, who was able to deflect the puck to the right side of goalie Corey Crawford into the net. This occurred with six seconds left on Strome’s penalty. 

The next four goals belonged to the Blackhawks. Alex DeBrincat got assists on the first three. 

After exchanging passes with Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith struck from the point with the help of a screen at 4:33. This came a minute after Antti Suomela was penalized for hooking.

Chicago went ahead for good when Kane scored his 32nd goal. He accomplished it with all the attention focused on DeBrincat, even though Kane was corralled by defenseman Radim Simek. The Sharks’ Brent Burns was in the box at the time for roughing. 

Brandon Saad made it 3-1 at 17:58 to end the second and Alex Nylander pushed the margin to three goals to open the third at 1:31. 

San Jose experienced a bit of relief when Timo Meier tacked on a goal at 6:39.  

Kane added his second goal at 16:19 and rookie Dominik Kubalik finished the game off with his 30th goal at 18:03. 

Up Next: The Sharks potentially (amidst coronavirus concerns) head to Saint Louis to hopefully cure their blues at 5pm on Friday for game two of their four-game road trip. 

San Jose Sharks podcast with Len Shapiro: Will the NHL suspend the rest of their season?

The Colorado Avalanche’s Nathan McKinnon (29) tries to put one past San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones (30) on Sunday night at SAP Center in San Jose (ap photo)

On the Sharks podcast with Len:

#1 The Sharks are coming off three straight loses to Minnesota, Ottawa, and Colorado after winning three straight games

#2 The injury in the first period to Logan Couture taking a puck off a deflected pass had to be scary for the Sharks, Len gets us an update to Couture’s condition.

#3 In the win the Avalanche got four goals from Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Vladislav Namestnikov and Joonas Donskoi.

#4 The Sharks goalie Marty Jones faced 24 shots but stopped 20 was this a matter of an off night for Jones or he was not getting much defense in front of him last Sunday night.

#5 The Sharks start a four game road trip starting tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center Len sets this game up for us.

Join Len for the Sharks podcasts each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NHL orders players to limit contact with fans; Sens CEO fired domestic abuse; plus more

nationalpost.com photo: Former Ottawa Senators CEO Jim Little said he swore at Senators owner Eugene Melnyk on Valentines Day which led to his firing Friday

NHL podcast with Daniel:

1 Coronavirus concerns: NHL urges players to limit fan contact; Report – NHL settling on date for draft lottery

2 Senators uncover domestic abuse claims against recently fired CEO

3 Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad pops in 5 goals vs. Capitals

4 Sharks help fan live out her Make-A-Wish dream

5 RIP Henri Richard, Pocket Rocket dies at 84

Daniel Dullum does the NHL podcasts each Sunday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

 

Headline Sports with Barbara Mason: Girls basketball canceled due to virus related issues; Sharks have they turned the corner?; plus more Sharks

ap photo: The San Jose Sharks Kevin LaBanc puts one on net against the Minnesota Wild’s goaltender Alex Stalock (32) last Thursday night at SAP Center in San Jose

On Headline Sports with Barbara Mason:

#1 Girls basketball game between Menlo Park-Ahterton and O’Dowd Oakland in the Interscholastic Federation Girls basketball league was canceled due to related concerns regarding Coronavirus.

#2 San Jose Sharks showing signs of improvement have won three of their last four games. They play back to back games this weekend Saturday and Sunday.

#3 Pac 12 Women’s Tournament in Vegas is underway the Cal Bears got a 71-67 win over Arizona State University. Cal senior Jaelyn Brown led Cal with 22 points.

#4 St Mary’s mens will play on Saturday a 9:15pm tip vs. Pepperdine in the WCC Tournament. St Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett said the WCC Tournament is meal to meal event.

#5 Oakland A’s pitcher AJ Puk was given a good news regarding his shoulder. Dr. Neal Elatrache said there are no structural issues.

Barbara Mason does Headline Sports each Saturday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

San Jose Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa Walsh: Sharks just missed it by a goal; Team credit’s Jones for effort in goal; plus more

On the Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa:

#1 The San Jose Sharks took a loss Thursday night to the Minnesota Wild 3-2. The Sharks down 3-1 scored in the third period but fell a goal short.

#2 Sharks goaltender Martin Jones stopped 25 shots on Thursday night against the Wild a tough 3-2 loss and a close game.

#3 Jones has stopped 76 out of 80 shots during the Sharks three game win streak.

#4 Jones had struggled during the season and the Sharks Logan Couture said the team knows he’s turned it around, “he’s rewarded us with how he’s playing”

#5 Sharks have back to back games this Saturday and Sunday at SAP Center first it’s the Ottawa Senators at 4:00pm and on Sunday the Colorado Avalanche at 7:00pm

Join Mary Lisa for the Sharks podcasts at http://www.sportsradioservice.com