Monday, August 31, 2009

Max Giese: San Jose Sharks Top 33 Prospects is proud to release our rankings of the Top 33 Prospects in the San Jose Sharks organization. The list combines two criteria for consideration - the player's long term potential and their proximity to making the NHL roster.

1. Logan Couture C 6-1 195 20 Worcester Sharks (AHL)
2. Nick Petrecki D 6-3 215 20 Worcester Sharks (AHL)
3. Jamie McGinn LW 6-0 185 21 San Jose Sharks (NHL)
4. Thomas Greiss G 6-1 195 23 San Jose Sharks (NHL)
5. Derek Joslin D 6-1 195 22 Worcester Sharks (AHL)
6. Mike Moore D 6-1 200 24 Worcester Sharks (AHL)
7. William Wrenn D 6-1 190 18 Denver University (NCAA)
8. Alex Stalock G 5-11 180 22 Worcester Sharks (NCAA)
9. Justin Daniels C 6-2 170 20 Northeastern (NCAA)
10. Taylor Doherty D 6-7 218 18 Kingston (OHL)
11. Frazer McLaren LW 6-5 225 21 Worcester Sharks (AHL
12. Jason Demers D 6-1 185 21 Worcester Sharks (AHL)
13. Steven Zalewski C 5-11 190 23 Worcester Sharks (AHL)
14. Henrik Karlsson G 6-6 215 25 Färjestad (SWE)
15. Tyson Sexsmith G 5-11 210 20 Worcester Sharks (AHL)
16. Harri Sateri G 6-1 190 19 Tappara (FIN)
17. Patrick White C 6-1 200 20 Minnesota (NCAA)
18. Kevin Henderson LW 6-3 210 22 Worcester (AHL)
19. Benn Ferriero C 5-11 192 22 Worcester Sharks (AHL)
20. Tommy Wingels C 6-0 184 21 Miami Ohio (NCAA)
21. Brandon Mashinter LW 6-4 225 20 Worcester Sharks (AHL)
22. Julien Demers D 6-1 215 20 Ottawa (OHL)
23. Phil Varone C 5-10 186 18 London (OHL)
24. Samuel Groulx D 6-2 185 19 Quebec (QMJHL)
25. Patrik Zackrisson LW 5-11 190 22 Linkoping (SWE)
26. Daniel Rahimi D 6-3 220 22 Worcester Sharks (AHL)
27. Joe Loprieno D 6-3 220 22 Worcester Sharks (AHL)
28. Justin Braun, D 6-1 190 22 Massachusetts (NCAA)
29. Marek Viedensky C 6-4 185 19 Prince George (WHL)
30. Dominik Bielke D 6-4 200 18 Berlin (DEL)
31. John McCarthy LW 6-1 195 23 Worcester Sharks (AHL)
32. Matt Jones RW 6-4 200 23 Worcester Sharks (AHL)
33. Drew Daniels RW 6-2 175 20 Northeastern (NCAA)

1. Logan Couture
Position: Center
Vitals: 6’1” / 195 lbs.
Birthdate: March 28, 1989
Hometown: Guelph, Ontario
Acquired: San Jose’s first choice (9th overall) in the 2007 draft
Scout Comments: “The kid is a solid hockey player. Logan is a slot player, meaning you can play him anywhere at any time. I think he’s a complete player. He’s a playmaker and makes players around him better. He’s always in the right place at the right time.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
Scouting Report: His hockey sense is state of the art and this will allow him to play in all-situations .. universal player with deft hands and artistic playmaking abilities .. has an endearing work-ethic and is as gutsy player who will play through injury .. ever aware and conscientious defensively, has a keen sense where he needs to be and always supports the puck .. unselfish team player but needs to work on his skating .. propelled by a short, wide stride, but could use better overall speed and first-step quickness .. has successfully added subtle enhancements to his footwork to help compensate such as stutter-steps, speed changes, and diagonal bursts .. needs to work on balance and add some strength so he isn’t so easily pushed off of the puck.
Projection: 1st/2nd line center that plays on both special teams

2. Nick Petrecki
Position: Defenseman
Vitals: 6’3” / 215 lbs.
Birthdate: July 11, 1989
Hometown: Schenectady, New York
Acquired: San Jose’s second choice (28th overall) in the 2007 draft
Scouts Comments: “He can skate, he’s physical, and he can shoot. Players like him tend to be overaggressive but that’s fine. His personality is to do anything it takes to help the team, he won’t hurt the team.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
“He’s a real solid defenseman, he’s strong and has a really good shot. He’s very physical and is one of those kids that wants it so bad. He’s just a monster and his decision making has improved.” – San Jose Sharks scout Pat Funk.
Scouting Report: An intimidating physical force noted for his hulk-like strength and frightening mean streak .. a commanding skater with remarkable buoyancy on his feet for a player of his size .. a man child that one has to see live to truly appreciate the power he has on the ice .. sculpted out of concrete .. will be a fan favorite for his destructive physical play and opponents will absolutely hate to play against him because he’ll have their forwards hearing footsteps all night .. activates himself offensively when the situation calls for it and he has a hard shot .. must continue to work on his decision making with the puck and making the first pass .. needs to become more disciplined physically and eliminate the bad penalties.
Projection: Top-four, physical shut-down defenseman.

3. Jamie McGinn
Position: Left Wing
Vitals: 6’0” / 185 lbs.
Birthdate: August 5, 1988
Hometown: Fergus, Ontario
Acquired: San Jose’s second choice (36th overall) in the 2006 draft
Scouts Comments: “The coaching staffs in both San Jose and Worcester love him. He’s a guy that that goes to and stays in front of the net, tips a lot of pucks, screens goalies. He does a lot of things that makes a line go and he’s a deceptively powerful hitter.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
Scouting Report: Has great character and can play the game anyway you need him to .. a physical winger that will crash and bang and he plays bigger than his listed size .. plays a heavy game down low in the offensive zone, excels making plays along the boards, and has an underrated touch around the net .. hard-nosed guy that won’t give up and is a natural leader that is good in the locker room. .. steady skater, solid and efficient on his feet with decent speed .. diligent and responsible defensively – takes up solid support positions behind the puck .. goes in spurts as a physical presence, as he can lay out some hammering hits though not all the time .. his body still needs to catch up physically so he will need to continue to get stronger, faster, and also work on his defensive play.
Projection: Energetic second line winger that can score and hit.

4. Thomas Greiss
Position: Goaltender
Vitals: 6’1” / 200 lbs.
Birthdate: January 29, 1986
Hometown: Koln, Germany
Acquired: San Jose’s second choice (94th overall) in the 2004 draft
Scouts Comments: “Greiss has taken a lot of steps and is ready for the NHL right now. Goaltending is so much about dealing with adversity because as a goaltender you’re going to get beaten down, Greiss has the calmness and ability to overcome that now.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
“I feel Greiss is ready to make the jump to the NHL. If you look at his career path he has progressed every year. Last year he got to play a lot of games in Worcester and in the last 15 games or so of the season he played very well and carried that team to the playoffs.” – San Jose Sharks Goaltending Development Coach Corey Schwab.
Scouting Report: A hybrid goaltender that mixes a calm demeanor with an aggressive approach .. athletic with trunk-like legs that give him fast lateral movement .. a great skater and a good puck handler .. instinctively challenges shooters and is capable of making astonishing kick saves .. economical in style yet conjures up spectacular saves due to his excellent athleticism and reaction speed .. one of the best goaltenders in shoot-out situations period, Greiss is extremely calm and stoic when facing shooters one-on-one .. has a golden glove hand that is uncanny quick .. prone to kicking some bad rebounds back into the slot area .. confidence has been an issue in the past but doesn’t seem to be anymore.
Projection: Starting NHL goaltender or capable back-up.

5. Derek Joslin
Position: Defenseman
Vitals: 6’1” / 205 lbs.
Birthdate: March 17, 1987
Acquired: San Jose’s fifth choice (149th overall) in the 2005 draft
Scouts Comments: “He has earned Coach McLellan’s trust after spending 12 games with him last season. He’s still developing. He’s got a pretty good hybrid type of game. He’s got an offensive part and physical part of his game. I think he’s going to be a good player for years to come.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
Scouting Report: Two-way defenseman that moves the puck into the offensive rush and takes the body physically .. solid defensively and closes gaps quickly thanks to strong lateral movement .. moves the puck out of his zone with stick-to-stick passes, elusive hands, and long strides .. shows a sense for how to infuse himself into the offensive attack .. flourishes on the powerplay as he is very adept at shifting laterally to alter his shooting lanes .. has a great point shot with impressive velocity that he keeps low and gets it on net .. progressing faster than expected, but his game still requires an added coat of polish to it yet and he needs to eliminate the stinker shifts that plague his game time-to-time .. will need to show more confidence in himself and make quicker decisions this year at the NHL level.
Projection: Two-way that defenseman plays on the powerplay.

6. Mike Moore
Position: Defenseman
Vitals: 6’1” / 200 lbs.
Birthdate: December 12, 1984
Acquired: Signed as a free agent by San Jose on April 8, 2008
Scouts Comments: “Moore has been everything we expected him to be. He was a mainstay in the Worcester lineup and is physically ultra competitive. He’s a special kid, a solid citizen that cares about and protects people. He didn’t play but we called him up once already and believe he’s close to being NHL ready.” San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
Scouting Report: A thunderous hitter that is tough to play against and can change the game with one single hit .. a special person and a good hockey player .. type of defenseman that keeps the opposition honest with his open ice hits and he’s a willing fighter that stands up for his teammates .. can also be asked to line up against the oppositions top offensive threats and shut them down .. pounding physical force wins one-one-one puck battles and protects his crease .. very good defensive zone awareness .. a character guy that is good for the locker room and in the community .. has a heavy slap shot and is a strong four-way skater .. joins the offensive rush when appropriate and exploits opening seems .. must improve on his finesse passing skills and needs to consistently execute better, quicker decisions with the puck when under pressure in his own zone.
Projection: Physical shut-down defenseman.

7. William Wrenn
Position: Defenseman
Vitals: 6’1” / 190 lbs.
Birthdate: March 16, 1991
Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska
Acquired: San Jose’s first choice (43rd overall) in the 2009 draft.
Scouts Comments: “He’s a great leader. He’s going to be a shut-down defender in our league but I believe he can do more too. He has good hands and really began to come on late in the year and just kept getting better as the season progressed. Above all he’s a leader and a stopper.” - San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
“He’s an excellent skater that moves the puck quickly and makes good decisions. He does not shy away from physical confrontations and plays with good overall technique in his own zone.” - San Jose Sharks scout Jack Gardiner.
“Wrenn is a solid two-way defenseman that shows good leadership qualities. He has good mobility and makes smart decisions with the puck. He will get excellent coaching at Denver.” – San Jose Sharks scout Pat Funk.
Scouting Report: Solid and efficient in every facet of the game, plus he’s a real character kid too .. at his best in his own end, where he uses a very active stick and a distinctly physical style to be a disruptive force in all important defensive areas .. gets his head up quickly, moves the puck efficiently and swiftly .. has good size, very aware defensively with his head on a swivel, and is rarely out of position .. obvious leader on the ice and in the room communicating with his teammates .. contains his man well in coverage down low in the corners and in front of the net .. his game is not about flash-‘n-dash and won’t wow you .. will never be confused for an offensive force .. needs to physically get stronger and continue to progress his burgeoning offensive skills.
Projection: Craig Rivet 2.0 Second pair shutdown defenseman and team leader.

8. Alex Stalock
Position: Goaltender
Vitals: 6’0” / 185 lbs.
Birthdate: July 28, 1987
Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota
Acquired: San Jose’s third choice (112th overall) in the 2005 draft.
Scouts Comments: “Al is a student of the game and he simply loves hockey. He was in Worcester to finish the year and he’s ready to play there, our guys that worked with him raved about him.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
“He’s a real good athlete and works hard at his game. He’s cocky but in the right way. He has that mentality where if you beat me you’re not going to beat me again. He’s developing well and we are happy with his progress not only as a hockey player but as a leader.” – San Jose Sharks scout Pat Funk.
“He’s very competitive and has great hockey sense which goes into his puckhandling, which I think might be his strongest attribute.” – Sharks Goaltending Development Coach Corey Schwab.
Scouting Report: A brilliant skater and puck handler that is blessed with high-end athleticism .. similar to Marty Turco, Stalock relies on his outstanding reactionary quickness, an acrobatic glove hand, and great instincts to make most of his stops .. more disciplined in his technique now and was the best goalie in the NCAA last season .. a natural born leader and this translates to the ice .. capable of stealing a game on his own and often rises to the occasion and will play his best in the most important game .. can be reckless at times between the crease chasing after pucks and at times he’ll overhandle the puck .. will have to become accustomed to the grind of professional hockey and adjusted to handling the puck with the trapezoid.
Projection: Starting NHL goaltender or back-up.

9. Justin Daniels
Position: Center
Vitals: 6’2” / 170 lbs.
Birthdate: June 7, 1989
Hometown: Suffern, New York
Acquired: San Jose’s first choice (62nd overall) in the 2008 draft.
Scouts Comments: “You’re going to have to give us a break on Justin Daniels, he will be a good player in a couple of years once he gets stronger. He’s a guy that has hockey sense, play making ability and range. His body is still trying to catch up with him.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
“He’s a good skater and a very tough kid. Justin’s an excellent playmaker and goal scorer with a tremendous shot.” – San Jose Sharks scout Jack Gardiner.
“Justin is a playmaker who really sees the rink. He’s going to be a good college player at Northeastern next year.” – San Jose Sharks scout Pat Funk.
Scouting Report: A terrific playmaker with soft hands and rangy puck handling skills .. has outstanding vision and patience with the puck .. his finesse skills and creativity are exceptional .. has a tall frame to grow into and can already escape out of congested areas with possession of the puck .. a swift skater that boasts good speed with the puck and long strides .. will require another 3-4 years of patience because he severely needs to add strength to fulfilled his promise .. defensive play isn’t bad but it needs work and he needs to become more assertive in traffic areas.
Projection: Skilled, finesse playmaking second line center.

10. Taylor Doherty Position: Defenseman Vitals: 6’7” / 218 lbs. Birthdate: March 2, 1991 Hometown: Cambridge, Ontario Acquired: San Jose’s second choice (57th overall) in the 2009 draft Scouts Comments: “He’s a big kid and bigger guys take longer to develop. We believe eventually his athleticism is going to come through and I don’t mind that he’s facing some adversity right now with Kingston; I like to see how players handle it. Often times the kids that are on bad teams that are trying to do too much are often hungrier and turn out pretty good because of it.” - San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
“Doherty has tremendous size and is a steady defender. He’s a stay-at-home defenseman that is a good puck mover and is strong in his own end.” – San Jose Sharks scout Rob Grillo.
“He has great size and mobility. He’s a good skater for his size and uses his size and reach well. He’s a solid shut down defenseman that moves the puck well.” – San Jose Sharks scout Pat Funk.
Scouting Report: Doherty has the type of size that is rare to find in a player that can skate and handle the puck as well as he can .. his physical gifts are exceptional, as he’s a huge specimen that can really skate .. can be an intimidating physical presence and can also push the puck up the ice with his skating ability .. has the potential to develop into a very good shut-down defender .. can dominate when he plays aggressively and with confidence .. struggles with his decision making and a lack of confidence .. prone to not processing the game quick enough and will cough up the puck in bad spots .. lots of potential in this young rearguard that already has extensive international experience.
Projection: A complete boom-or-bust proposition.

11. Frazer McLaren
Position: Left Winger
Vitals: 6’5” / 225 lbs.
Birthdate: October 29, 1987
Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Acquired: San Jose’s eighth selection (203rd overall) in the 2007 draft.
Scouts Comments: “Frazer has great size and is a tough kid that will go to the net. He really improved a lot last year and really worked hard on his skating. He will be competing for a spot with the big club this year.” – San Jose Sharks Scout Pat Funk.
Scouting Report: He is an imposing combination of a gigantic sized frame, incomparable toughness, and a talent for fighting .. he’s a huge man that knows how to fight and land body checks that energize his squad .. solid defensively and a good penalty-killer .. his long reach and active stick allows him to disrupt the oppositions passing lanes .. bulldozes his way to the net and stations himself there .. doesn’t always give himself enough credit and really became a player late last season .. skates well for a player of his size and can swallow up a lot of ice with his elongated strides, but he must continue to work on his agility .. was a scorer in junior and is capable of going to the net and whacking one home once in awhile .. rapidly developing into one of those rare enforcers that can play too, helping his team five-on-five and on special teams.
Projection: Enforcer that can chip in on the penalty-kill and crash the net.

12. Jason Demers
Position: Defense
Vitals: 6’1” / 185 lbs.
Birthdate: June 9, 1988
Hometown: Dorval, Quebec
Acquired: San Jose’s sixth choice (186th overall) in the 2008 draft
Scouts Comments: “You could say that he’s coming faster than expected, but remember he’s already 21 years old and was the best defenseman in the Quebec league when we drafted him. He contributes in a lot of ways that helps teams win.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
Scouting Report: Slick, confident rearguard who shines at moving the puck and has articulate hockey-sense.. a quick thinker that makes smart/confident choices on the ice .. budding powerplay quarterback with quick hands and a quick point shot .. twists and turns to avoid forechecking pressure and feeds his teammates with stick-to-stick passes .. lacks explosive footspeed but has dependable acceleration .. underrated a bit defensively and physically .. fearless going to the corners and will pop guys in the open-ice .. not as strong of a player in his own end as he is offensively .. makes some questionable decisions in the defensive end, especially down low, and will hold onto the puck for too long at times .. needs to keep getting stronger.
Projection: Solid two-way puck moving blue liner.

13. Steven Zalewski
Position: Center
Vitals: 5’11” / 190 lbs.
Birthdate: August 20,1986
Hometown: Utica, New York
Acquired: San Jose’s fifth choice (153rd overall) in the 2004 draft.
Scouts Comments: “He got hurt last year and he’s a kid that never got hurt before. He will do whatever the team needs to win. You want him to check he’ll check, he will do a lot of the things that teams need but don’t show up on the stat sheet.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
Scouting Report: An intelligent, well-rounded forward who plays a competitive two-way game .. a detailed player with strong playmaking abilities and sports a terrific shooting release .. patient and always accountable defensively – stays behind the puck, supporting his wingers and making timely thrusts into deep offensive positions .. can kill penalties .. sees the ice well and while he’s not overly big or assertive, he does bounce off checks exploiting his good balance .. stays involved thanks to his sharp positional sense .. will need to work on his conditioning and strength, as it was obvious that he hit the rookie wall half-way through last year .. decent skater, just lacks dynamic wheels .. needs to stay healthy and work on his faceoffs.
Projection: Third or fourth line center

14. Henrik Karlsson Position: Goaltender Vitals: 6’6” / 215 lbs. Birthdate: November 27, 1983 Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden Acquired: Signed as a free-agent on August 12, 2009. Scouts Comments: “”He has good blocking skills and ability to use his size and stay patient.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
“He’s obviously a big guy but he moves pretty well too. He’s a patient goaltender and doesn’t just hit the butterfly on every save. Our scouts have tracked him over the last couple of years and liked his progression.” – Sharks Goaltending Development Coach Corey Schwab.
Scouting Report: A colossal sized goaltender that moves quickly on his feet, Karlsson is also a calm and patient goaltender that makes shooters commit the first move .. a modern, blocking style goaltender with a quick glove hand and great net coverage .. tends to go down a bit early but covers large portions of the net with his expansive 6-foot-6 frame, as he can expand his upper body to fill the top corners while down on his knees .. smooth and imposing moving laterally into his butterfly and is difficult to beat low thanks to his strong legs .. just aggressive enough, Karlsson could challenge more in certain situations as he tends to stay back deep in his crease and rely heavily on his size and reactions.
Projection: Starting goaltender or capable back-up.

15. Tyson Sexsmith
Position: Goaltender
Vitals: 6’0” / 210 lbs.
Birthdate: March 19, 1989
Hometown: Priddis, Alberta
Acquired: San Jose's fourth selection (91st overall) in the 2007 draft.
Scouts Comments: “Sexsmith is very mature for his age far as reading the game goes, his hockey sense, and being right on the puck. He’s athletically advanced too and plays a butterfly, combo style.” – San Jose Sharks Assistant General Manager Wayne Thomas.
“He’s a technically sound goaltender with no wasted movement and he’s proven he can handle a heavy workload.” – San Jose Sharks Goaltending Development Coach Corey Schwab.
Scouting Report: Smooth hybrid goalie who plays a calm, economical style .. has the tools to be a future leader in the net at the NHL level .. boasts mental maturity and toughness .. poised under pressure with few unneeded movements .. mechanically polished, very competitive, and his athleticism is underrated .. fast and fluid going in and out of his butterfly .. compact and quick moving laterally .. proven workhorse with great experience already and remains composed in tense situations .. has always had the benefit of playing behind a great defense in Vancouver, so it’s going to be an interesting to see how Sexsmith handles the adjustment of facing a greater variety of difficult shots this year in the AHL.
Projection: Starting NHL goaltender or back-up.

16. Harri Sateri
Position: Goaltender
Vitals: 6’1” / 190 lbs.
Birthdate: December 29, 1989
Hometown: Toijala, Finland
Acquired: San Jose’s third selection (106th overall) in the 2008 draft.
Scouts Comments: “People don’t give him enough credit for the year he had last season. He played in a top men’s league on a poor team and put up good numbers. There is no rush in bringing him over to North America.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
“He moves well and has strong fundamentals. He’s got a solid and strong build with a good presence in the net. He’s been very receptive to coaching.” – San Jose Sharks Goaltending Development Coach Corey Schwab.
Scouting Report: He’s a very quick and well trained butterfly goaltender .. an intelligent netminder with a polished technique and good instincts .. has fast lateral movement and his athleticism enables him to make sprawling saves .. as with all European goaltenders, the ability for Sateri to adjust to the North American rinks is a question mark .. exposes parts of the net when sliding laterally, especially up high, where he’s too easily beaten and needs to continue to work on his glove and blocker .. prone to allowing the occasional bad goal.
Projection: Starter in the NHL or a career European leaguer.

17. Patrick White
Position: Center
Vitals: 6’1” / 200 lbs.
Birthdate: January 20, 1989
Hometown: Grand Rapids, Minnesota
Acquired: Trade with Vancouver on August 28, 1989
Scouts Comments: “He’s a former first-round pick and we feel he gives us more depth at the forward position. We will keep monitoring him during his junior season at Minnesota.” – San Jose Sharks scout Pat Funk.
Scouting Report: Has good size, skills, and a great shot, but has underachieved since being drafted because of his soft play and unsatisfactory competitiveness .. has silky hands and boldly employees electric stick fakes to freeze defenders .. can stickhandle through traffic and maintain possession .. more of a goal scorer than a player maker (has a great shot, quick/lively release with excellent torch, and precision accuracy), but he does see the ice well and can pass the puck up ice without losing stride .. skates with swiftness while in possession .. defensively aware of his assignments but too often he forfeits the puck over to hungrier opponents .. lacks any physical dimension to his game and must begin to compete .. will never make it to the NHL if he doesn’t begin to battle harder in one-on-one situations .. must shed the label of being a soft player.
Projection: 2nd line scorer or bust.

18. Kevin Henderson
Position: Left Wing
Vitals: 6’3” / 210 lbs.
Birthdate: December 3, 1986
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Acquired: Signed as a free agent by San Jose on April 22, 2009
Scouts Comments: “Henderson is a kid that we liked when he was in junior with the Kitchener Rangers. He has made a lot of progress since then and his team won the championship this year. He’s going to be a solid two-way winger that can also score some goals.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke
Scouting Report: A versatile two-way forward that can play either wing or center, Henderson is a fast skater that always keeps his feet moving .. will drive his way to the net and score some goals, but he has limited playmaking ability and vision .. a great forechecker that uses his speed and size to win loose pucks .. has a strong work-ethic and can kill penalties .. a smart/enthusiastic player that is around the puck every shift .. he's a nice addition of depth to the Sharks organization and should see NHL duty in the near future because of his size and skating.
Projection: Two-way winger that can play in all situations.

19. Benn Ferriero
Position: Center
Vitals: 5’11” / 192 lbs.
Birthdate: April 29, 1987
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Acquired: Signed as a free-agent by San Jose in August, 2009
Scouts Comments: “He’s a skilled guy, a competitor with skill. Guys like him tend to overachieve and it’s hard to predict just how far he will go.” – San Jose Sharks scout Pat Funk.
Scouting Report: A competitive forward with some skill, Ferriero projects to be a solid grinder who can chip in the occasional offense .. has a pretty good hybrid game-he’s got an offensive part and gritty part of his game .. well balanced skater with a solid top gear and a decent first step but lacks explosiveness .. owns an accurate wrist shot with a good release and is an adequate play maker that quarterbacked the powerplay in college .. moves the puck well, has decent vision and mild creativity .. has average size but he’s relentless in pursuit of the puck and finishes all of his checks .. strong on the forecheck and plays feisty physical game .. executes well in traffic with the puck, creates space for himself on the cycle, and will score goals from in close because he fearlessly crashes the net.
Projection: Competitive third/fourth liner who can score some too.

20. Tommy Wingels
Position: Center
Vitals: 6’0” / 185 lbs.
Birthdate: April 12, 1988
Hometown: Evanston, Illinois
Acquired: San Jose’s fifth choice (177th overall) in the 2008 draft.
Scouts Comments: “He really came on in the NCAA tournament in the spring of 2008. We looked at him in his first draft year in the USHL, but we were worried about his offense. He got into college in his first year and answered the offense question and he’s a competitor.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
Scouting Report: A clutch performer that elevates his play in the biggest of games .. a valued penalty killer that can also provide timely offense .. moves his feet and gets activated on the forecheck with his quick, lively acceleration .. displays a good feel for the game and a gift for exploiting space .. takes pride in his defensive play and is a timely shot blocker .. he’s not all that big but is deceptively sturdy on his skates and on the puck because he moves his feet well to work off of checks .. offensive ceiling at the NHL level will always be the question mark.
Projection: Versatile third/fourth liner in the NHL that can play center or wing.

21. Brandon Mashinter
Position: Left Wing
Vitals: 6’4” / 235 lbs.
Birthdate: September 20, 1988
Hometown: Bradford, Ontario
Acquired: Signed by San Jose as a free agent on March 3, 2009
Scouts Comments: “He is more of a physical force and a huge kid, but with added ice time he produced more offensively and has some ability.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.

Scouting Report: He’s a colossal sized winger and could make a living chucking the knuckles .. excels in a bump and grind role that makes life difficult for the opposition .. he’s a massive body and a physical force that causes formidable containment problems when battling to find open space and harnessing his superior size .. not flashy, yet has nice hands and can finish with a tricky wrist shot .. can chew up a lot of ice with just a couple of strides but he needs to keep working on his acceleratory quickness.. physical and adds a presence to the ice that opens up room for his linemates .. a great kid with a lot of character that will dig in to do what it takes to improve .. needs to play with continuing intensity, as his play does waiver at times .. it was impressive to see Mashinter progress offensively last season, now he needs to prove he can do it in the pros.
Projection: Big and rugged winger that can fight and create space for his teammates.

22. Julien Demers
Position: Defense
Vitals: 6’1” / 215 lbs.
Birthdate: September 25, 1989
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario
Acquired: San Jose’s fourth choice (146th overall) in the 2008 draft.
Scouts Comments: “He’s a real physical and tough kid with a good blend to his game. He needs some work to refine what kind of player he’s going to be. He’s got some offense and physicality, but we need to get him focused on a type of role.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
Scouting Report: A well built two-way defenseman that saw all facets of his game improve last year .. can contribute at both ends of the rink by making life difficult for the oppositions top offensive threats and can also create some offensive chances as well .. suitably defends deep within his own zone and uses his size to lean on opponents .. his agility and quick stick allows him to flick the puck out of harms way .. naturally aggressive and does a good job neutralizing his man in front and intimidating the opposition without taking bad penalties .. his vision and hockey sense are just average .. his agility and footwork have come a long way in a short amount of time, but his skating still needs work .. must continue to play within his limitations, as he can get into trouble when he begins trying to do too much.
Projection: Solid #5-7 NHL defenseman.

23. Philip Varone
Position: Center
Birthdate: December 4, 1990
Hometown: Vaughan, Ontario
Acquired: San Jose’s third choice (147th overall) in the 2009 Draft.
Scouts Comments: “We kept watching him get better and better last year and then he had a great playoff. He’s sturdy on his feet and makes a lot of plays. His size doesn’t concern me because he’s thick and is an offensive guy that can execute in traffic. We wanted him but we didn’t want to reach on him either and we are happy with the value that we got. Because he’s a guy that spends a lot of time in traffic people come to the conclusion that he’s an abrasive guy, but he knows how to pick his spots. He’s going to put up some big numbers in the OHL this year.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
“Varone is a skilled two-way forward that can kill penalties and play in all-situations. He’s a good skater and has good hands. He plays with a lot of grit and had a great playoff.” – San Jose Sharks scout Rob Grillo.
Scouting Report: A quick, abrasive forward with good hands and offensive skills, Varone is a streaky scorer with a goal scorer’s mentality .. has quick hands and very good release .. his individual skill set and creativity allows him to play either wing or center .. makes clever plays with the puck .. surprises defenseman with his determination and can also create plays off the rush .. can gain separation with his speed .. motor is always running and isn’t afraid to stick his nose into dirty areas .. lacks size and some wonder if his body will break down because of his feisty style of play .. mature kid off the ice, looks you in the eye when he speaks .. a true gamer and competes hard, especially in offensive situations.
Projection: Organizational depth guy who can put up good numbers in the minors, but with his determination and grit you can’t put anything past him.

24. Samuel Groulx
Position: Defenseman
Vitals: 6’2” / 185 lbs.
Birthdate: June 28, 1990
Hometown: Gatineau, Quebec
Acquired: San Jose’s second choice (92nd overall) in the 2008 draft.
Scouts Comments: “He’s a solid defenseman that is difficult to play against. He’s a very good shutdown defenseman and is conscientious at his game. We feel his offense is starting to come around. He has an edge to him when he plays and he’s not a crazy player, but he makes you pay.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
Scouting Report: Groulx is the type of rearguard that is lined up against the opposition’s top offensive threats and is asked to shut them down on a nightly basis .. his strengths are his hockey sense and his competitiveness .. he has good size and is only going to get stronger .. able to sustain tight gaps defending the rush and wears opponents down with his steady and efficient physical play .. right now he lacks strength and has a funny skating stride .. he needs to get a little bit lower in his stride .. despite seeing some time on the powerplay in junior, Groulx didn't progress much offensively last season and still needs to work on his skills.
Projection: Third pairing shut-down defenseman.

25. Patrik Zackrisson
Position: Center
Vitals: 5’11” / 190
Birthdate: March 27, 1987
Hometown: Ekero, Sweden
Acquired: San Jose’s fifth choice (165th overall) in the 2007 Draft.
Scouts Comments: “He had a pretty good year last season. In fact, he made it on to the national team and played in some exhibition games. Now that doesn’t guarantee that he will be a player in the NHL, but it’s often a good sign when their national team likes him and it helps his progress. We will see what happens this year, but there is no rush to bring him over. He’s a player who has really come on since his draft year.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
Scouting Report: An industrious two-way player and a smooth skater with good agility and swift acceleration .. his anticipatory skills and hockey sense enable him to be positionally sound .. possesses underrated hands and moves the puck well with above-average vision of the ice .. a reliable player away from the puck and a solid penalty killer that maintains an active stick .. back checks hard and while he’s not always the first guy in on the forecheck, he reads the oppositions breakout well and does a good job intercepting outlet passes .. lacks a fast top gear and could be more selfish with the puck, but he does have good technical skills and will go into traffic areas .. lacks prototypical size and would be much higher on this list if he was definitely committed to coming over to North America.
Projection: 2nd/3rd line forward or he will stay home in Sweden.

26. Daniel Rahimi
Position: Defense
Vitals: 6’3” / 215 lbs.
Birthdate: April 28, 1987
Hometown: Umea, Sweden
Acquired: Trade with Vancouver on August 28, 2009
Scouts Comments: "There will be talks with Rahimi's agent as to whether the defenseman will play in the AHL or return to Sweden next season." - General Manager Doug Wilson.
Scouting Report: Big and strong stay-at-home defenseman that is good in his own end with no hesitation to play physical .. more efficient and steady than flashy, Rahimi's game is defense .. has a good reach and range .. positions himself well in the defensive zone and protects the defensive line whenever possible .. his foot quickness needs work .. skating is the issue, as it is average at best, although it did improve over the course of last season .. won’t provide much offense, as he is defensive conscious even up ice .. puts the puck in good places in the offensive zone, but not a threat to score .. makes good short, little plays with the puck, rather than try to throw the home run pass .. does not handle the puck for long, instead he tries to get rid of it quickly.
Projection: 6th or 7th defenseman on an NHL roster.

27. Joe Loprieno
Position: Defense
Vitals: 6’3” / 225 lbs.
Birthdate: October 8, 1986
Hometown: Bloomingdale, Illinois
Acquired: Signed by San Jose as a free agent on March 30, 2009. Scouts Comments: “He’s a big, physical defenseman that shoots the puck hard and has a physical nature to him. We wanted a big defenseman with a right handed shot and he fills that for us.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
“Joe is a tough, physical player who has shown a tremendous amount of progress in the Merrimack hockey program.” – San Jose Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson.
Scouting Report: Has great size and strength to go along with a hard to play against-physical game .. protects his net militantly, exploiting most opportunities to initiate contact .. loves to look for big hits and is physical in the corners .. has a hard right-handed point shot .. a valued penalty-killer that uses his long reach well .. a decent to good skater, but is not blessed with great quickness or footspeed, yet compensates with his strength and tenacity .. must continue to work on his transition game and first pass, although both saw marked improvements over the last season.
Projection: A big and physical stay-at-home defenseman.

28. Justin Braun
Position: Defenseman
Vitals: 6’1” / 180 lbs.
Birthdate: February 10, 1987
Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota
Acquired: San Jose’s seventh choice (201st overall) in the 2007 draft.
Scouts Comments: “Back at the draft we wanted to get another defenseman and we thought he was the one guy that we were willing to take.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
Scouting Report: Intelligent and mobile two-way defenseman that plays around 25 minutes a night in college .. boasts encompassing mobility and marries that with soft hands .. composed under pressure – able to dissolve forechecking heat and make a safe first pass .. his fluent skating allows him to escape oncoming dangers .. has the offensive instincts to quarterback the powerplay .. defensively has solid positioning and good anticipation .. more of a puck mover than a stopper, Braun needs to strengthen his frame and begin to play more physical .. his slender frame will always be a concern until he bulks up and it’s a slight against his game that won’t be disproved until he gets it done at the AHL or NHL level.
Projection: Third pairing puck-moving defenseman or career AHL powerplay quarterback.

29. Marek Viedenskey
Position: Center
Vitals: 6’4”/ 185 lbs.
Birthdate: August 18, 1990
Hometown: Handlova, Slovakia
Acquired: San Jose’s fourth choice (189th overall) in the 2009 Draft.
Scouts Comments: “He’s more of a two-way guy and we actually had him rated highly in his original draft year. We really liked him at the World Juniors and we made our guys follow up on him in the WHL. We went in and saw him on the road and saw him in the playoffs with Prince George and there is definitely something there in Viedenskey. He’s a guy who is going to put up some points in his league next year and really come on. He plays the whole sheet of the ice and we had him targeted so we made sure to get him.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
Scouting Report: Has size but lacks mass and is very wiry .. savvy two-way centerman who does a studious job at positioning himself on the defensive side of the puck .. useful penalty-killer that suffocates his man with his defensive coverage .. skates with long strides that eat up a lot of the ice once he gains a head of steam, although he needs to add more explosion to his first step which is a bit slushy and he still suffers from some co-ordination issues .. puck skills are erratic but serviceable, as his long arms can let go a crisp snap shot at full speed and he receives difficult passes well .. subtly skilled - more efficient than flashy .. not a soft player and does own a long reach, but the immediete needs are to add strength, more sandpaper, and improve his puck protection.
Projection: Third or fourth line center.

30. Dominik Bielke
Position: Defenseman
Vitals: 6’3” / 200 lbs.
Birthdate: October 23, 1990
Hometown: Berlin, Germany
Acquired: San Jose’s fifth choice (207th overall) in the 2009 Draft.
Scouts Comments: “He has a little bit of Ehrhoff in him. We really like his range, he has a good reach, has a good stick, and he can shoot the puck. We liked him at the World Juniors and we had our guys follow him in the second half of the season. We saw him again at a Swedish tournament late in the year and all of our reports were very consistent. This kid is in a good situation over there for his development. His skating needs work, like all tall kids we need to get him to bend his knees more and get him stronger.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
Scouting Report: A good sized defenseman with promising offensive skills .. has a heavy point shot, sees the ice well, and can move the puck out of his own zone with a crisp breakout .. has some natural instincts and tools that can’t be taught .. innately identifies when to pinch into the offensive attack and acts as a triggerman on the point .. a blossoming presence with the puck and shelters it well with his big frame .. a hungry defender that gets himself into trouble trying to do too much .. activates his long stick well, however his feet are heavy and he doesn’t change directions fluidly .. can be beaten wide with speed off the rush and has trouble staying with guys in the corners who can change direction quickly .. inconsistently uses his size, could be meaner in front of the net.
Projection: His size and offensive tools give him a chance to be a player.

31. John McCarthy
Position: Left Wing
Vitals: 6’1” / 195 lbs.
Birthdate: August 9, 1986
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Acquired: San Jose’s fifth choice (202nd overall) in the 2006 Draft.
Scouts Comments: “He’s a kid that plays really hard and he’s the kind of player that does what coaches ask him to do. He really does a lot of dirty jobs for a hockey team.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
Scouting Report: An unselfish player that doesn’t care about how many points he gets, McCarthy’s in it to win it and can kill penalties .. more than the sum of his parts and his sharp hockey sense helps make up for his lack of dynamic physical ability .. mature and responsible defensively – stays in lanes and is conscientious in support .. leads his teammates by example and is a disciplined shot blocker .. unassuming offensively but helps keeping plays alive and can set picks to open up ice for his teammates .. likely won’t ever be overly productive offensively – lacks power in his skating stride and needs to work on his hands and finishing on the offensive side .. his hockey sense and hard work give him a shot to play on a checking line someday.
Projection: Fourth line winger or organizational depth player.

32. Matt Jones
Position: Right Wing
Vitals: 6’4” / 205 lbs.
Birthdate: January 13, 1986
Hometown: Kentwood, Wisconsin
Acquired: Signed as a free-agent by the Sharks on March 28th, 2009
Scouts Comments: “This kid had some bad luck last year, in his first year of professional hockey he gets a broken jaw and a concussion. We think he will come back strong this year and have a good season.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
Scouting Report: A big winger that has some skill and can score, but his offensive production was dismal in his rookie year with Worcester .. has quality hands and he sees the ice well and makes smart plays with the puck .. defensive awareness is progressing and he’s gotten better at covering his assignments, but the reads in his own zone still don’t come instinctively to him .. a bow-legged skater with decent speed once he gains a head of steam, however he’s slow changing directions and still must get quicker and improve on his agility .. has great size but he needs to get stronger and play more physical.
Projection: 3rd line power winger or career minor leaguer.

33. Drew Daniels
Position: Right Wing
Vitals: 6’2” / 175 lbs.
Birthdate: June 7, 1989
Hometown: Suffern, New York
Acquired: San Jose’s seventh choice (194th overall) in the 2008 Draft.
Scouts Comments: “It wasn’t so much trying to get both Justin and Drew together, but Drew was still there and we figured it was good value so we took them both. We think that they’ve been growing the last few years and getting a lot stronger and they’re skilled players.” – San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke.
“Drew’s strong points are his corner work and ability to make plays in traffic. He’s going to be a good player at Northeastern next year.” – San Jose Sharks scout Pat Funk.
Scouting Report: Was drafted four rounds later than his twin brother because he is not as skilled or creative as Justin .. an adequate skater and his stride has decent strength behind it, but he lacks first step quickness and doesn’t have a dynamic gear of speed .. hands are good enough to allow him to maintain control of the puck in traffic .. shots have velocity and bite, but he is more of a grinder than a skill forward .. okay penalty killer .. does a good job winning puck battles along the wall, aids in breaking the puck out of his own end .. gritty and physical, Drew’s game should begin to blossom once he adds requisite strength.
Projection: Fourth line right winger.

San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks release rookie rosters for mini-tournament Sept. 7-9 at Sharks Ice

San Jose Sharks Anaheim Ducks NHL rookie tournament Logan Couture

The San Jose Sharks announced their roster for the 3-game rookie tournament against Anaheim from Sept. 7-9th. Hosted at Sharks Ice in San Jose, tickets for up to 850 fans will be sold onsite the day of the games at 5PM. All proceeds will be donated to the San Jose Jr. Sharks College Fund.

Rookies will report to the Sharks training camp on September 5th, veterans will report to training camp following the rookie tournament on September 12th. The 4-team Pacific Division Rookie Tournament/Shootout (Anaheim, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose) was twice won by the Phoenix Coyotes (2003, 2006) and the Anaheim Ducks (2004, 2005 in SJ).

The Ducks and Sharks split scrimmages at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas last year, but Anaheim earned a 3-2 win over the Sharks in the lone exhibition game in front of 2,304 fans. Mike Morris and P.J. Fenton scored the lone goals for San Jose, and goaltender Tyler Sexsmith stopped 18 of 21 shots in a losing effort.

Representing San Jose in the rookie games will be 2007 1st round draft picks Logan Couture (center) and Nick Petrecki (defenseman), hulking 235-pound forward Brandon "Mash" Mashinter, 2008 defensive draft picks Samuel Groulx (4th round) and Julien Demers (5th round), and 2009 2nd round draft pick Taylor Doherty (defenseman) and 5th round draft pick Philip Varone (center). Participating for Anaheim will be 2007 San Jose Sharks 3rd round draft selection Timo Pielmeier. The German goaltender was acquired by Anaheim along with Nick Bonino for veterans Travis Moen and Kent Huskins on March 4th. 2009 Anaheim 1st rounder Peter Holland (center), 2007 1st rounder Logan MacMillan (center) and 2006 1st rounder Mark Mitera (defenseman) are scheduled to compete for the Ducks.

San Jose Sharks rookie roster:



76 Carter Bancks 5-11 180, Calgary, Alberta
75 Rigby Burgart 5-10 205, Fort St. James, BC
39 Logan Couture 6-1 195, Guelph, Ontario
70 Daniel Erlich 5-6 150, Thornhill, Ontario
71 Kevin Henderson 6-3 210, Toronto, Ontario
67 Luke Judson 6-0 190, Emo, Ontario
72 Brandon Mashinter 6-3 235, Bradford, Ontario
43 John McCarthy 6-1 200, Boston, Massachusetts
62 C.J. Stretch 5-11 195, Irvine, California
73 Dean Strong 5-9 175, Mississauga, Ontario
74 Philip Varone 5-10 185, Vaughan, Ontario
58 Marek Viedensky 6-4 185, Handlova, Slovakia


56 Marc Cantin 6-1 190, Omemee, Ontario
61 Julien Demers 6-0 215, Ottawa, Ontario
77 Taylor Doherty 6-7 220, Cambridge, Ontario
51 Michael D’Orazio 6-1 210, Richmond Hill, Ontario
57 Samuel Groulx 6-2 165, Gatineau, Quebec
79 Louis Liotti 6-1 195, Westbury, New York
42 Joe Loprieno 6-3 225, Bloomingdale, Illinois
80 Brodie Melnychuk 6-3 195, Balgonie, Saskatchewan
54 Nicholas Petrecki 6-3 225, Schenectady, New York


33 Thomas Heemskerk 6-0 170, Chilliwack, BC
31 Tyson Sexsmith 5-11 210, Calgary, Alberta
30 Alex Stalock 5-11 185, St. Paul, Minnesota

Anaheim Ducks rookie roster:



46 Logan MacMillan 6-1 205, Charlottetown, P.E.I.
70 Josh Brittain 6-5 217, Milton, Ontario
64 Brandon McMillan 5-11 185, Richmond, BC
57 Nicolas Deschamps 6-2 193, Lasalle, Quebec
39 Matthew Beleskey 6-0 208, Windsor, Ontario
65 Bobby Bolt 6-3 220, Thunder Bay, Ontario
49 Maxime Macenauer 6-0 203, Laval, Quebec
74 Peter Holland 6-2 187, Toronto, Ontario
67 MacGregor Sharp 6-1 180, Vancouver, BC
51 Guillaume Goulet 5-9 163, Laval, Quebec
42 Dan Sexton 5-10 170, Apple Valley, Minnesota
61 Matt McCue 6-5 218, Calgary, Alberta
63 Dustin Sylvester 5-7 170, Kelowna, BC
69 Mike Stuart 6-6 230, Hampton, Virginia


71 Stefan Warg 6-3 206, Stockholm, Sweden
45 John de Gray 6-4 216, Richmond Hill, Ontario
56 Eric Regan 6-2 205, Ajax, Ontario
62 Stu Bickel 6-4 210, Chanhassen, Minnesota
43 Mark Mitera 6-3 210, Royal Oak, Michigan
75 Scott Valentine 6-0 196, Ottawa, Ontario
73 Matt Clark 6-3 211, Lakewood, Colorado
79 Matt Konan 6-2 177, Tustin, California


68 Marco Cousineau 6-0 200, St. Lazare, Quebec
33 Timo Pielmeier 6-0 165, Deggendorf, Germany
72 Sebastian Stefaniszin 6-0 185, Dusseldorf, Germany

[Update] Irvine's Stretch gains invite to Sharks' Rookie Camp - California Rubber Magazine.

Stretch, an ’89 birth year and former California Wave player, finished ninth in the Western Hockey League in scoring this past season with 86 points (29 goals, 57 assists) in 72 games.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Max Giese: Who is Daniel Rahimi?

When the Sharks acquired prospects Patrick White and Daniel Rahimi in exchange for NHL defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich, it was the former first-round pick Patrick White that garnered the initial attention and curiosity of Sharks fans. However, that shouldn't take away from the fact that Swedish born defenseman Daniel Rahimi is a quality prospect himself and has a shot at playing in the NHL someday.

A third round draft choice (82nd overall) by the Vancouver Canucks in 2006, Rahimi is an internationally experienced rearguard who represented Sweden at two World Junior Championships (06-07). Rahimi has spent the last two seasons playing in the American Hockey League with the Manitoba Moose. There NHL pro-scouts have been able to evaluate him on North American ice.

"Rahimi is a big young kid who is not flashy by any means, but a steady, efficient player," says a Western Conference NHL executive who agreed to share his scouting report on Rahimi in return for remaining anonymous. "Defense is his game, plays physical with smart positioning and good range. Skating is the issue here, it's average at best and foot quickness needs work. It is improving however. Don't expect much offense, as he is defensive conscious even up ice. Not a threat to score, tries to get rid of puck quickly, and makes good short plays with the puck. Looks like a prospect to be a 5th or 6th defenseman on an NHL roster. Does not look like he will climb any higher than that."

While playing for the Manitoba Moose, Daniel Rahimi visited Chicago, Milwaukee, and Rockford of the AHL where I was able to get a firsthand look at him. Here is the scouting report that I submitted on Rahimi.

December 2008, D, Manitoba Moose (AHL) - Big and strong Swedish stay-at-home defenseman with a mature defensive game .. pivots well for a big man allowing him to maintain a tight gap before angling his man properly to the wall .. aggressive and physical defender that is tough down low along the wall and near his own crease .. smart defender that likes to stay back and effectively front the puck to block shots .. not a mean-spirited player but he gets full results out of his superior strength, as he is not easily bulled over by the opposition .. not a naturally gifted offensive defenseman, Rahimi keeps his decisions with the puck simple and makes a crisp first pass that is often on the mark .. does not fumble the puck and is not shy to skate himself out of trouble if need be .. if he continues to work on his mobility and puck skills, typical maturation will make Rahimi into an NHL-caliber defenseman down the road.

Former San Jose Sharks writer for Hockey's Future Kevin Wey now scouts the AHL for McKeen's Hockey and filed this report on Daniel Rahimi last season.

Split 2007-08 between Manitoba and Victoria , but now trending toward NHL capable .. makes crisp pass, after crisp pass, after crisp pass .. not averse to making crisp board passes .. keeps a wide base backwards and stays fairly low to give himself a power position to engage physically .. lets his gaps shrink by the top of the face-off circle, where he’ll play the body .. uses 6-foot-3, 213-pound frame to muscle opponents off the puck .. saw a little bit of power play time, but was a regular on the penalty kill .. possesses a decent slapper and snapper from the point .. appears to have the makings of an NHL defensive defenseman who plays a fairly physical game and reliably moves the puck .. had 1 goal and 4 assists in 36 games as of Jan. 19.


On Monday August 31st, will release our rankings of the top 33 prospects in the Sharks organization.

The Sharks have invited 19-year-old defenseman Michael D'Orazio to their rookie camp. After spending the previous three years with the Owen Sound Attack, D'Orazio surprised the Ontario Hockey League by recently requesting a trade. Below are what two OHL scouts think about D'Orazio.

Kitchener Rangers scout Ed Roberts on Michael D'Orazio. "Good size, decent four-way skating ability but he's a bit soft and has a bit of an entitlement sense about him. Supposed to be an offensive defenseman yet never produces anything. Poor decision-making, panics under pressure. Has the tools to become a decent pro but lacks the toolbox and the grit or gusto/jam necessary. Bails when the going gets tough."

Sarnia Sting scout David Burstyn on Michael D'Orazio. "He's demanded a trade out of Owen Sound. He wants to play for either London, Windsor, or Missisauga. His play on the ice has regressed, not good defensively and unable to put up points, supposed to be an offensive guy but makes too many mental errors."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Max Giese: Who is Patrick White?

The San Jose Sharks sent defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for prospects Patrick White and Daniel Rahimi. In Patrick White, the Sharks acquired a talented prospect with good size, skills, and a great shot, but the former Canucks' first rounder has underachieved since being drafted because of his soft play and lack of competitiveness.

"I'm not a fan of his at all, had my GM asked me if I would trade for this guy I would've said no," says an Eastern Conference NHL scout based out of Minnesota, who agreed to share his off the record report on White in return for remaining anonymous. "He's a soft player, he doesn't compete, and he looks scared to upset anyone because he might have to battle them for the puck. He looks like he should be a player. He has some size and skills, a really great shot, but he doesn't compete and doesn't win battles. I also can't believe the Sharks traded that Bonino kid, the kid's a stud!"

White was a highly regarded prospect coming into the 2007 NHL Entry Draft where he ended up being selected by the Vancouver Canucks with their first draft choice, 25th overall. McKeen's Hockey had White ranked 21st overall in their pre-draft rankings and an NHL scout was quoted in their draft guide saying "He's a very, very skilled kid. He didn't win a lot of battles and he needs to add strength. A guy with a lot of talent, very talented, great hands, a good shot."

International Scouting Services had Patrick White ranked 23rd overall. "He has a solid frame and is strong on his skates. Has a hard wrist shot with a quick release. It's a pro-caliber release and he handles the puck well in traffic."

In the fall of 2007, White began his collegiate career with the Minnesota Gophers where he has mostly disappointed scouts since. He hasn't been as offensively productive as expected and White must begin to compete harder during one-on-one puck battles. That lack of physical fortitude was noted in my scouting report of Patrick White after a game against the Wisconsin Badgers "still lacks any physical dimension to his game."

White's coach at the University of Minnesota is Don Lucia, the father of San Jose Sharks' prospect Tony Lucia, and he had this to say about Patrick White in a recent article for "The biggest issue is he's got to learn to compete harder one on one," said Lucia. "He's a really nice kid, great student, comes from a wonderful family, but ‘Mr. Nice Guy' has got to go away when he steps on the ice. When he learns to battle consistently he'll take a step as a player. That's been his struggle over two years. We've talked to him about it. He understands it."

Lucia saw signs of improvement in White's game during the second half of his sophomore season and expects bigger things from him this year. "Sometimes it's not till the back-half of the sophomore year that kids start to get it. He had a pretty strong finish for us and I'm hoping that carries forward. I think he's got a chance to be a really good player. You watch him in practice and you can see he can score goals. He's got that natural ability."

All is not lost for Patrick White and he could turn things around in a hurry this year with a strong junior campaign with the Minnesota Gophers. The skills he possesses are NHL caliber but now he needs to begin to compete with more consistency to reach his potential. The Sharks are anxious to see how White progresses in his development "He's a former first round pick and we feel he gives us more depth at the forward position," says San Jose Sharks scout Pat Funk. "We will keep monitoring him in his junior season at Minnesota."


While scouting for Redline Report and previously McKeen's Hockey over the past several years, I was able to see Patrick White play a dozen times. Below are the scouting reports that I submitted on White and it's interesting to see the development path he has taken up to this point. Everything from how promising he looked while playing in the USHL during his draft year, to his struggles early in his collegiate career, and most recently his game beginning to come around as a sophomore are noted below.

October 2006, C, Tri-City Storm (USHL) - White has a lot of skill and offensive instincts .. thinks the game at a fast pace, can execute a nice pass at full speed, and can create a nice play .. strong on draws and is a natural center .. has soft, quick hands with some real tricky moves .. has the look of a pure goal scorer .. has a strong snap shot that he releases quickly with sneaky velocity and precise accuracy .. with a strong high school season he could be a first round pick for his pure offensive gifts.

November 2007, C/RW, Minnesota Gophers (WCHA) - Skilled forward has the offensive instincts NHL teams covet and you can see that he knows what to do he just isn’t doing it quick enough .. his early struggles can be attributed to him thinking he has more time to execute with the puck then he really does .. owns a skilled pair of mitts with the ability to twist and turn while maintaining possession to evade the opposition in traffic .. lacks the top gear to get around the oppositions defense .. defensively he’s guilty of leaving the zone prematurely .. off to a slow start as a freshman.

March 2008, C, Minnesota Gophers (WCHA) - Has had a trying freshman season that has seen him stuck on the fourth line and struggling to score .. stand-out quality is his lively release that produces the impressive torch of a natural goal scorer .. a sluggish skater that probably should be playing in the USHL this season as the natural raw ability is evident but he’s physically not ready to be a difference maker at this level and is getting beaten in every facet of the game .. the hockey sense is there .. has been besieged in this learning season and next year will be a big one for his development and confidence.

March 2009, C, Minnesota Gophers (WCHA)- Talented sophomore that is beginning to get his game back on track after a disappointing freshman campaign .. is now seeing a regular shift on the power-play and is more dangerous offensively this season .. no longer the plodding skater he was a year ago and is moving with more swiftness while in possession .. skating the puck with confidence and is greasy to defend coming down the wing with his ability to handle the puck while fully extending his reach, a quality that enables him to shield the puck well .. has soft hands and is beginning to boldly employee his electric stick fakes to freeze defenders, in the process buying himself more time to operate .. more of a goal scorer than a play-maker, but he does see the ice well and can pass the puck up ice without losing a stride .. still lacks any physical dimension to his game, must commit himself more defensively, and he needs to begin to unload that lively shot of his more often.

Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich traded to the Vancouver Canucks for Patrick White and Daniel Rahimi

San Jose Sharks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff traded to the Vancouver Canucks

The San Jose Sharks traded defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich to the Vancouver Canucks for 2007 1st round draft pick Patrick White and Swedish defenseman Daniel Rahimi. "We are pleased to be adding Christian and Brad to our defensive group," Vancouver Canucks President and GM Mike Gillis told the official website, "defence has been an area we wanted to add skill and depth to and this trade has strengthened our group considerably."

Ehrhoff, originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, is one of several young homegrown players the Sharks have been patiently waiting to have a breakthrough season from. Despite a career-high 34 assists and 42 points on a third defensive pairing with Douglas "Crankshaft" Murray in 2008-09, defensive lapses and inconsistent offensive production limited Ehrhoff's impact in the stretch run and in the playoffs. A late season and playoff Dan Boyle/Christian Ehrhoff power play tandem showed enormous offensive potential, joining together two of the quickest skating defenseman in the NHL.

San Jose Sharks EVP/GM commented on the move, "This trade speaks to the confidence we have in the young players coming up through our system who have earned the right to compete for a spot on this team." Wilcon continued, "It also creates some flexibility in our team payroll for potential future transactions as the season progresses and adds two more talented players to our reserve list that can help this organization in the future."

Ehrhoff boosted his .4 pts/game average to .54 pts/game last year, and the German blueliner has been a stalwart in the lineup registering 300 games played over the last 4 seasons (75/games a season average). He experienced success modifying his slapshot last season, cutting down the backswing to snap quicker shots on goal from the point. Ehrhoff could see a familiar figure set up in front of the net on the Vancouver power play in former Sharks forward Steve Bernier. Veteran offensive defenseman Mathieu Schneider was also signed to a 1-year contract today by the Canucks, making a possible Schneider-Ehrhoff power play tandem a formidable one.

Trade rumors have surrounded Christian Ehrhoff this offseason, with potential deals to Ottawa (Ehrhoff, Cheechoo, 1st for Heatley) and Columbus (Ehrhoff for Jason Chimera) being leaked by the media. San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson was angered by both leaks, and in Ottawa's case the leaks have been a regular occurance dating back several years.

Brad Lukowich added a veteran presence and depth to the Sharks blueline last year, which turned over more than 50% with the additions of Rob Blake, Dan Boyle, Kent Huskins and Brad Lukowich. Huskins, acquired in the trade with Anaheim along with Travis Moen, signed a 2-year $3.4 million contract over the summer and could be a possible defensive partner with Dan Boyle. General manager Doug Wilson was impressed with Huskins' tenacity and physical play, and compares him to heart-and-soul former Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi.

Ehrhoff and Lukowich could be seen as salary cap casualties as the Sharks were a million over the NHL salary cap with multiple players left to sign. According to, the Sharks are currently $4.3 million under the $56.8 million NHL salary cap with 10 forwards, 5 defenseman and 2 goaltenders under contract. Expect a mature Derek Joslin ($516,666) to be the favorite for the 6th defensive slot, with a flamboyant Mike Moore ($1,000,000) and a quickly developing Nick "Terminator" Petrecki ($1,125,000) to be contenders in training camp. Torrey Mitchell (RFA), Brad Staubitz (RFA) and Jed Ortmeyer ($550,000) are the favorites heading into training camp for the remaining forward positions. Along with the captaincy and alternate captain leadership roles, competition is expected to be intense for each roster spot.

Minnesota-native Patrick White (20 years old) registered 26 points in 81 games played for the University of Minnesota as a freshmen and a sophmore. 6-foot-3, 220-pound Rahimi (22 years old) registered 11 points and 86 PIMs for Manitoba in the AHL over the last 2 seasons.

More information on Patrick White and Daniel Rahimi will be forthcoming from's Max Giese. HockeyBuzz opinion columnist Ryan Garner comments on the trade here, and will host a special edition call-in show at 4PM to discusss the trade.

[Update] Sharks get younger, cheaper; ship Ehrhoff to Canucks - Greg Wyshynski for's Puck Daddy blog.

[Update2] Canucks add three defencemen; Sharks dump two - James Mirtle at

[Update3] Players not returning to San Jose after last season (more than 12 regular season games played): Christian Ehrhoff (77GP), Tomas Plihal (64GP), Mike Grier (62GP), Brad Lukowich (58GP), Marcel Goc (55GP), Alexei Semenov (47GP), Jeremy Roenick (42GP), Brian Boucher (22GP), Travis Moen (19GP for SJ), Claude Lemieux (18GP) and Lukas Kaspar (13GP).

[Update4] Deal with Vancouver paves way for future trades, competition in training camp - David Pollak for the Working the Corners blog.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Max Giese: Interview with San Jose Sharks Scout Pat Funk recently caught up with San Jose Sharks scout Pat Funk to discuss the upcoming prospects tournament at Sharks Ice, where many of the top prospects from the San Jose Sharks organization will participate in games against the prospects from the Anaheim Ducks organization.

Working with the San Jose organization since its inception in 1991-92, Funk is responsible for scouting Western Canada, U.S. juniors, U.S. colleges and high schools for the Sharks. He has also worked with the New York Rangers and Minnesota North Star organizations, and has coached high school and college hockey in Minnesota for 20+ years. It has been a pleasure of mine to bump into Pat around the rinks over the years and he benefits the Sharks with a unique way of looking at young prospects and the game of hockey.

Max Giese: Have you stayed busy this summer with the USA Hockey select festivals etc.?

Pat Funk: A little bit. They moved all of those from Minnesota out to New York so Tim Burke and Jack Gardiner have been taking care of those for us. I’ll be going out to San Jose only for the rookie camp and then it’s back home to scout the amateurs.

Max Giese: Looking back to June’s draft, are you satisfied with the crop of players you came away with?

Pat Funk: Yes. The guys we got were who we had targeted going in. We kept trying to move up but we couldn’t, so we felt lucky with the guys that were still there available to us. We think Wrenn has a really good chance to play in the NHL and he’s going to good program. Denver’s coach George Gwozdecky and his staff do an awesome job. We look into where these kids are going and we see it as a bonus when they’re going to a good program like Denver. Last year Wrenn was always playing against the other teams’ top lines and we talked to all of his teammates and they all had unbelievable things to say about him. Doherty is a huge kid that can really skate and we think as he matures he will have a good chance at playing for us. Our European guys are excited about Bielke and think he was a steal getting him that late. We definitely saw something in Viedenskey last year with Prince George and at the World Junior Championships. Varone is a small but competitive and talented kid from the London Knights.

Max Giese: In just the last two years, the Sharks have signed eight free-agent prospects such as Brandon Mashinter, Kevin Henderson, and Joe Loprieno. As an organization, has there been more of a concentrated effort to find players this way?

Pat Funk: We always keep looking for players and with not having a lot of picks over the last couple of years because of trades we have to find other ways to get these players. These are guys who fell through the cracks and matured at a later time than their peers that were drafted. For the college kids especially it’s about them getting an opportunity and running with it. All kids are different and some figure it out a little bit later.

Max Giese: Management has firmly said that the July development camp you guys run is only for the development of your prospects, so is the rookie games against Anaheim for evaluation purposes or is the development of these players still in focus?

Pat Funk: It’s both. We use it as an evaluation tool to see how these guys stack up and how much they have developed over the summer. Some of these guys will be competing for roster spots at the main camp and this also gives us a good opportunity to evaluate the free-agents we have playing for us.

Max Giese: Could you describe what you as scouts will be looking for out of the prospects such as Logan Couture, who have played in these prospect games multiple times before and are close to competing for an NHL roster spot, and then compare that to what you're looking for from those like Taylor Doherty and Phil Varone who are putting on the Sharks jersey for the first time in a game situation?

Pat Funk: For the guys that will be receiving a long look at our main camp it’s another opportunity for us to evaluate them to see how they stack up and it provides them with more experience heading into the main camp. These players will have a chance to play for us or in Worcester, so it’s a real good evaluation opportunity for us. For the younger guys we continue to use this as a teaching tool and it helps verify what we’ve been telling these kids what they need to work on. These players aren’t dumb and they pick up on what they need to work on to get to that next level and learn a lot about themselves playing in these games.

Max Giese: When it comes to the free-agent prospects who were invited to play with your guys, players like Luke Judson and Brodie Melnychuk, are they there because Sharks scouts like yourself see something in these guys potentially to draft or sign them later, or are they brought in more because they bring something to the table that will help your prospects beat Anaheim’s?

Pat Funk: The free-agents are here because we see something in them and in the case of the major junior guys we can either sign them to a contract or possibly draft them later. It’s a good opportunity for us to continue to look at them and we have a window through training camp to sign them or else they go back into the draft.

Max Giese: How anxious are you to see Nick Petrecki begin his pro-career this season and how do you think his game will translate?

Pat Funk: With Nick we decided it was time for him to move on. He learned a lot playing college hockey but now is the time for the next chapter of his development. He’s a big and tough defenseman who is a great teammate. He’s one of those guys that you never have to tell twice. You ask him to do something and he’s working on it. He will get a real good look at training camp and the rookie games will be his first real test. That’s the problem with the college kids; they don’t have the benefit of someone like Logan Couture who has been here at our camp already a couple of times. This will be the first time going through training camp for Nick.

Max Giese: You guys recently signed Nick Petrecki’s teammate out of Boston College, former Phoenix Coyotes draft pick and free-agent Benn Ferriero, could you describe how he stayed on your radar and what type of player he is?

Pat Funk: We watched Boston College quite a bit and kept our eye on him. When he didn’t sign with Phoenix we jumped on him immediately and think he has the possibility of competing for a job with the big club soon. He’s a skilled guy, a competitor with skill. Guys like him tend to overachieve and it’s hard to predict just how far he will go.

Max Giese: Frazer McLaren seems like a player that just keeps getting better and better, and he had an excellent finish to the season last year, is he one of the guys that are close to challenging for a roster spot in San Jose?

Pat Funk: He’s going to get a really long look at camp and is going to be competing for a spot with the big club this year. He really, really improved a lot last year and listens to everything you tell him to work on as a player. He’s a tough kid that worked really hard on his skating over the last couple of years. He’s definitely going to compete for a spot on our hockey team.

Max Giese: Finally what do you think of the Slovakian kid playing in Prince George, Marek Viedenskey, and do you think he will break out offensively this year playing with Brett Connolly (a top prospect eligible for the 2010 draft)?

Pat Funk: Viedenskey and Connolly played very well together last year and the two of them could be two of the better players in the WHL this year. Viedenskey is going to put up some big numbers in that league this year. It’s questionable whether or not he will be playing in the rookie games because of his recovering knee.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

GJ Berg: Circus in the Desert (8/25 update)

In the past weeks, there has been a flurry of filings (in advance of 9/2 hearing), many rushed to be submitted before Judge Baum left on vacation (so he could have some reading material).

But today two big things happened.

First, the Glendale Hockey (Reinsdorf, Kaites, Tavares) group bowed out of bidding.

Second, the NHL submitted a bid.

Also, today, the Ice Edge group submitted a bid. Previously this week, Balsillie also submitted an updated bid (with a deadline of 9/14 for all issues; and he still claims that the team can play in Hamilton, regardless of the 21 back-to-back situations the Coyotes and their opponents are involved in based on the upcoming schedule).

But what does all this mean?

Primarily, it ensures at least one viable (local) bid for the Phoenix Coyotes franchise, to take the organization out of bankruptcy. (If the NHL takes over, it allows them all the time they need, without court oversight or deadlines, to find a new owner, and get all the financing and other issues worked out before owner transfer.)

The NHL still contends that the disapproval of Balsillie by the Board of Governors negates his bid. (This is one main subject of contention to be handled at the 9/2 hearing.)

One other issue still outstanding for the 9/2 hearing is the issue of the amount of equity or debt owned current majority owner Moyes.

With the Ice Edge group now in contention, the NHL Board of Governors needs to complete their due diligence and approve or disprove the group as potential owners.

Max Giese: Sharks Prospect Profile - Kevin Henderson

Kevin Henderson File
Ht/Wt: 6-3/210
Position: C/LW
Shoots: Left
Birthday: December 3rd, 1986
Team: University of New Brunswick/ Worcester Sharks
Scouting Report: A versatile two-way forward that can play either wing or center, Henderson is a fast skater that always keeps his feet moving .. will bulldoze his way to the net and score some goals, but he has limited playmaking ability and vision .. a great forechecker that uses his speed and size to win loose pucks .. has a strong work-ethic and can kill penalties .. a smart/enthusiastic player that is around the puck every shift .. he's a nice addition of depth to the Sharks organization and should see NHL duty in the near future because of his size and skating.

Henderson Report Card
Size/Strength: A-
Skating: A
Shot/Scoring ability: B-
Puckhandling: B-
Hockey Sense: B
Competitiveness: B
Leadership: C
Defence/Physical play: B-
Composure/Poise: B-

Kevin Henderson is ready to take the next step in his still-young hockey career. With two years of college hockey now under his belt, Henderson is prepared to make the move into the pro ranks this fall and the Sharks felt the same when they signed the free agent forward to an entry-level contract in April. “San Jose watched Kevin throughout the year, but really focused on him at the National Championships and our play-offs” says Henderson’s coach at the University of New Brunswick Gardiner MacDougall.

Henderson, 6-foot-3, 208 pounds, played both center and wing the last two seasons with the University of New Brunswick in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), where he totaled 50 points (including 19 goals) in 2008-2009. “Kevin really used his speed and size to win loose pucks on the forecheck and attack the net,” said MacDougall. “He has a very strong work ethic and showed consistent improvement especially in his offensive production throughout the season. As with most players as his game grew last year so did his confidence and he is a very enthusiastic player to watch on the ice. His feet are always moving and he gets around the puck the majority of his shifts.”

While Henderson will take his best shot at landing a job with San Jose out of training-camp, more than likely he will first need to spend some time in the American Hockey League. The jump to the AHL isn’t a small one but Henderson is prepared for it. “As a pro his best assets to start should be his speed, puck pursuit skills, and strong work ethic,” said MacDougall. “Hopefully this can be his foundation and he can grow the other parts of his game around these qualities.”

The Sharks considered it quite the coup when they landed the services of Henderson over other bidders such as the Florida Panthers. He’d been past over in three previous NHL drafts but San Jose’s scouts had Henderson on their radar a couple of years now. “Henderson is a kid that we liked when he was in junior with the Kitchener Rangers,” says San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke. “He’s made a lot of progress since then and he’s going to be a solid two-way winger that can also score some goals.”

The Sharks envision Henderson playing on the wing in the pros but MacDougall believes his game really blossomed when they took him off of the wing and played him at center. “He moved to center for our team last year and I think this move was a huge benefit to his development as it allowed him to free lance more and be more active on the puck,” said MacDougall.

Nothing is ever certain in hockey, but whichever hand the 2009-2010 season deals Henderson, he’s sure to be ready for it. “Kevin is a great addition to our organization and we are looking forward to continuing his development as a professional hockey player,” said Sharks General Manger Doug Wilson. “He’s someone who can play in all situations and we commend the job that UNB Head Coach Gardiner MacDougall and his staff have done.”


McKeen's Hockey released their 2009-10 Pool Yearbook this week. The publication offers exclusive rankings of the top 150 NHL prospects. The Sharks only had two prospects make the cut. Center Logan Couture, ranked in at 60th overall and is projected to see plenty of playing time in San Jose this season (58-4-7-11). Also making the list is goaltender Thomas Greiss, who is ranked 14th overall amongst the top 30 goaltending prospects.

[Update] UNB's Kevin Henderson signed by NHL's San Jose Sharks -

Henderson spent the last two seasons with the University of New Brunswick and in 2008-09, finished T-5th in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) in regular season scoring with 50 points (19 goals, 31 assists) in 28 games, tops on the team. He also added 28 penalty minutes and finished as a plus-31. Overall in 49 games , Henderson had 27 goals ,42 assists for 69 points. In his rookie season with UNB he had 13 goals, 16 assists for 29 points in 44 games.

The rangy, fleet skating Henderson won the UNB most improved player award and was among the most improved players in the country. He was also voted as an Atlantic Conference 1st team All-Star forward and received Honourable Mention as a CIS All- Canadian. He played a key role in the success of the Varsity Reds the past two seasons helping them recently win the 2009 National Championship after being the 2008 National Silver Medalists.

Max Giese: Ranking the Pacific Division Prospects

Los Angeles Kings goaltending prospect Jeff Zatkoff ECHL Ontario Reign
LA KINGS PROSPECT JEFF ZATKOFF WITH THE ECHL ONTARIO REIGN will be releasing our exclusive rankings of the Top 30 San Jose Sharks prospects beginning Monday August 31st with the prospects ranked 21-30. Before we get to the Sharks development system though, it's important we take a look at what other teams in the Pacific Division are amassing in their developmental systems. Below is the ranking of how the other four teams in the division stack up against one another and each team’s top five prospects.

1. Los Angeles Kings
If you include young NHL talent, Los Angeles has the best depth of prospects in the NHL.

1. Brayden Schenn, C
Projects to be an elite two-way center that combines offensive smarts with unbeatable effort.
2. Jonathan Bernier, G
- Calm hybrid goaltender that relies on sound positioning and a wide butterfly.
3. Colten Teubert, D
- A monster to play against with great strength and a nasty mean streak.
4. Thomas Hickey, D
- A reach at 4th overall, this undersized rearguard displays efficient mobility and quality skills, but lacks urgency on defense.
5. Andrei Loktionov, C
- Clever, imaginative playmaker has quick hands but lacks size.

Overrated: Jeff Zatkoff, G – Has good size and decent athletic ability, but he’s prone to having mental melt downs in big games.
Underrated: Kyle Clifford, LW – A Chris Neil clone, Clifford offers a very projectable mix of size, skating, and toughness.

2. Phoenix Coyotes
Boedker, Mueller, Turris, Tikhonov, and Hanzal could make them scary good up front for years.

1. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D
- Like watching poetry in motion, Larsson is incredibly smooth and athletic with the potential to blossom into a franchise defenseman.
2. Maxim Goncharov, D
-A tall, smooth puckhandling defenseman with a powerful slap shot and one-timer.
3. Chris Summers, D
- A thoroughbred skater that projects to be a solid two-way defenseman in the NHL.
4. Nick Ross, D
- If playing physical and proactive offensively, Ross is a force, but that’s a big if.
5. Brett MaClean, LW
- Similar to Jonathan Cheechoo, MacLean has great scoring instincts but skates with cement in his boots.

Overrated: Jared Staal, RW – Great size and bloodlines don’t make up for his passive nature and lack of skills/speed.
Underrated: Chris Brown, RW – Prototypical big bodied winger with a mean streak and a heavy wrist shot.

3. Anaheim Ducks
Not only did they embarrass the Sharks in the playoffs, they also purged one of San Jose's top prospects in Nick Bonino at the trade-deadline.

1. Jake Gardiner, D
- A dangerous offensive defenseman with coast-to-coast, dynamic skating abilities.
2. Peter Holland, C
- Needs to become more assertive, but he has great athleticism and a dangerous snap shot that he can fire while in top gear.
3. Kyle Palmieri, C
- In the Chris Kunitz mold, Palmieri is a talented grinder with high energy and skills.
4. Nick Bonino, C
- Sharks will regret trading away this handsy, cunning, and burgeoning two-way centerman.
5. Mark Mitera, D
- Large-bodied blueliner is a steadying influence that plays a conservative game.

Overrated: Nicolas Deschamps, C – Maybe a quality third-liner someday, but he seems to have hit a plateau in his development and rested on his laurels last season.
Underrated: Marco Cousineau, G – A competitive, polished, and instinctive butterfly goaltender that was a workhorse last year in the QMJHL.

4. Dallas Stars
Scouting staff has a knack for projecting/developing gangly forwards into terrorizing big-men at the NHL level.

1. Scott Glennie, RW
- Could be a home run once he fills out; has nice hands, a strong work ethic, and underrated offensive creativity.
2. Jamie Benn, LW
- A pure goal scorer that can dangle with soft hands and has impressive anticipation around the net.
3. Ivan Vishnevsky, D
- Smallish, offensively skilled rearguard that operates with a shooters mentality.
4. Alex Chiasson, RW
- Huge winger that plays physical and packs a heavy shot. Just needs to develop into his lanky frame.
5. Raymond Sawada, RW
- Strictly a north/south powerforward that overwhelms opponents with his size and strength.

Overrated: Nico Saccchetti, C – Former second round draft choice is smallish and struggling to produce offensively in college.
Underrated: Tom Wandell, C – Progressed exponentially last season, can play all three forward positions, and boasts a deceiving skill set.

[Update] Tyler Maxwell and Brandon Kozun invited to Los Angeles Kings Rookie Camp - California Rubber Magazine.

[Update2] Dallas Stars 2009-10 organizational depth chart - Andrews Starspage.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Max Giese: Karlsson signing a net gain for Sharks

All eyes will be on goaltender Henrik Karlsson when Färjestad begins their season in the Swedish Elite League this year. Färjestad lost their highly regarded starting goaltender from last season, Jonas Gustavsson, to the Toronto Maple Leafs and found their replacement in Henrik Karlsson. A 6-foot-6, 215 pound native of Stockholm, Sweden, Karlsson was signed by the San Jose Sharks to a one year contract in August.

Playing in the second highest league in Sweden for a number of years, Karlsson finally got a well deserved breakthrough at the end of the 2007-2008 season when he first left Hammarby for Malmö. He played well for Malmö last season but the team had financial problems so they had to release Karlsson among other players in early January, 2009. He was then picked up by Södertälje in the Elite League. He played very well for them during the spring and saved their Elite League status with his stellar play. Now primed to be the starting goaltender this year for Färjestad in the Elite League, Karlsson will benefit from the same great coaching that Jonas Gustavsson received from Erik Granqvist, a highly regarded goaltending coach in Sweden.

The Sharks targeted and tried to sign Jonas Gustavsson this summer but immediately began to court Karlsson, who some feel will be as good as Gustavsson in time, after Gustavsson chose to sign with Toronto. "Our scouts have tracked him over the last couple of years and liked his progression," said San Jose Sharks Goaltending Development Coach Corey Schwab. Sharks Director of Scouting Tim Burke and Sweden based scout Shinn Larson deserve the credit for discovering this late bloomer. "We like that Karlsson has good blocking skills and the ability to use his size and stay patient," says Tim Burke.

The Sharks signing Karlsson came as a bit of a surprise, not because Karlsson isn't worth it, but more because the timing of it. The Sharks will leave Karlsson in Sweden this year and won't be able to get a view of him in training camp. The contract is constructed only to have the rights to Karlsson next season and be able to match any offers from other NHL-teams such as the Dallas Stars, who lost out on Karlsson's services to the Sharks.

As far as Karlsson's playing style is concerned, it's easy to identify one of his strengths by just looking at the stat line. Karlsson has tremendous size at 6-foot-6, 215 pounds. That massive frame is likely why it took longer than normal for him to enjoy his breakthrough. "He plays a modern, blocking style and has a really quick glove," said Redline Report's Sweden based scout Pär Larsson. "He tends to go down early but thanks to his size he is still able to keep his shoulders up when in the butterfly which doesn't leave much room upstairs. Smooth and nearly impossible to beat down low with strong legs. He's just aggressive enough and often stays calm and makes the shooter commit the first move."

Corey Schwab believes the young net-minder has what it takes to be a successful goaltender in the NHL someday. "He's obviously a big guy but he moves pretty well too," said Schwab in an August interview with Sharkspage. "Sometimes that's an issue for these larger goalies. They will have great coverage of the net but they just hit the butterfly for every save. He's not like that and he's a pretty patient goaltender. In the NHL you can't hit the butterfly on every save and he doesn't."

A classic late bloomer, Karlsson is still raw and hasn't been tested much at the higher levels of play yet. But, most believe he will play with Sweden's National Team during this season and San Jose will pick up his rights for the 2010-2011 season. “We are very excited to have Henrik join our organization and look forward to his continued development,” said Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson. “There were a number of goaltenders that we had our eye on this summer and Henrik was near the top of the list. Our guys really like him a lot and think there is a lot of potential there. We will continue to monitor his progress.”


Marek Viedenskey, the 6-foot-4, 185 pound centerman, who the Sharks drafted in the seventh round (189th overall) in the 2009 Entry Draft had this to say about his recovering knee. "My knee is good right now and I'll start my WHL camp with Prince George on August 28th. I'll see what will happen in September, but I really want to be a good Shark."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gilroy's Robert Guerrero earns third world title with win over Klassen on HBO Boxing After Dark

Gilroy native Robert Guerrero earned IBF Jr Lightweight Title on HBO Saturday

Gilroy's Robert Guerrero (25-1-1, 17KOs) earned his third world championship with a 12-round unanimous decision win over South African Malcolm Klassen (24-5-2, 15KOs) on the undercard of Saturday night's Diaz-Malignaggi HBO Boxing After Dark broadcast.

Guerrero had to overcome adversity en route to the IBF Jr Lightweight title when he broke his hand in the 5th round of the 12-round affair, and suffered his third cut in three straight fights in the 7th. The southpaw built an early lead with a determined inside attack, and an equally determined gameplan to circle off Klassen and create a perpetually moving problem inside the ring. Guerrero threw more than twice the number of total punches (1200-518), and landed 171 power punches to Klassen's 130. According to official Compubox numbers, it was the second most punches thrown by a Jr Lightweight since they started recording the statistics.

"I just used my jab - that was my game plan - and felt like I won every round," Guerrero told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I did my job and proved all my doubters wrong." The 2-time IBF Featherweight titleholder was criticized by ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas in his June 12th win over veteran Efren Honojosa. Atlas criticized Guerrero's jab as pawing, infrequent and ineffective, but against Klassen it was crisp and snapping.

It was the second HBO appearance of the year for "The Ghost", and it was an opportunity to earn a measure of redemption against a gathering horde of media critics. Guerreo started slowly against unconventional Indonesian Duad Yordan on the March 7th HBO tripleheader from HP Pavilion in San Jose, but after repeatedly lunging on his way in Yordan headbutted Guerrero and opened up a gash over his right eye. The cut required more than 23 stitches to close. When the fight was stopped and ruled a no decision, HBO's Max Kellerman took issue with the lack of protest from Guerrero and called him a "quitter" who used the cut as an excuse to get out of a bout that was not going his way.

Normally precient and insightful on HBO, Kellerman repeated those suspect comments on Saturday night. Occam's razor states that, "when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better." A simple explanation for Guerrero's actions in the Yordan fight? When was asked if he could see, and when he said blood was filling his eye, he told the truth.

Malcolm Klassen turned in his best round of the fight in the 5th, as the work rate from Guerrero slowed and his movement was not punctuated by punches. Guerrero told Ring Magazine that he broke his hand or suffered a sprain in the "thumb area" in the 5th, a fact that was not picked up on by the HBO broadcast crew. The 5-foot-4 Klassen had two modes in the fight, hands up defense or long power punches from the outside. With the height and reach advantage squarely in Guerrero's corner, Klassen kept plodding forward, leading with his head and looking to land the big shot.

A cut opened up to the side of Guerrero's left eye at the end of the 7th, but he told the Gilroy Dispatch that it did not affect him in the fight:

Klassen stalked and landed flush punches on the Ghost's face, swelling both eyes and opening a cut over his left eyebrow that streamed blood down his face for the remainder of the bout.

"The cut didn't bother me at all," Guerrero said. "I have a great cutman who did a great job and it gave me no problems."

Guerrero absorbed Klassen's increasingly on target power punches in the later rounds, and despite lacking the patented straight left and left uppercut the Gilroy native earned the better of Klassen in the decisive 11th and 12th. Judges Charles Phillips, Isaac Tshabakala and Luis Rivera scored the bout 117-111, 116-113, 116-112 in favor of Guerrero. HBO's Harold Lederman scored it 117-111, Sharkspage had it 117-111, and the Houston Chronicle's Bernardo Fallas scored it 115-113, all for Guerrero. With the Yordan no-decision and a 2006 loss to Orlando Salido nullified by the NSAC after Salido tested positive for steroids, Guerrero is undefeated in his last 11 fights (9-0-2, 6KOs).

Houston native Juan Diaz earned the NABO Jr Welterweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision over Paulie Malignaggi in the main event (118-110, 116-112 115-113). Malignaggi bluntly challenged the objectivity of the Texas judges before the fight, and offered whithering criticism on the current state of boxing in his post-fight comments. Brooklyn's Daniel Jacobs earned the NABO Middleweight title with a 10-round unanimous decision over former "The Contender" reality series boxer Ishe Smith (100-89, 96-93, 96-93). Hot Philly prospect Danny Garcia also remained undefeated at 14-0 with a 3rd round KO over Oscar Leon.

The Ring Magazine's Michael Rosenthal notes that Guerrero will set his sights on #1 ranked Humberto Soto (WBC Champ), #4 ranked Roman Martinez (WBO Champ) and #6 ranked Jorge Linares (WBA Champ) to unify the Jr. Lightweight Division. Robert Guerrero is currently the 8th ranked Jr Lightweight by Ring Magazine, a position sure to increase after he knocked off the 2nd ranked Klassen. Questions about whether Guerrero's power will translate to 130 pounds after he moved up in weight will have to be answered in subsequent fights after the hand injury. Three problems with the HBO broadcast: first the replay of the Yordan stoppage was shown from an angle where the cut was not visible (if you are going to make an issue of the cut, show it), Lederman's scorecard was incorrectly labeled 116-112, and third an incident in the stands that caused a large portion of the stadium to rise to their feet and even Klassen looked at in a clinch was not mentioned.

[Update] Diaz gets back on win track, Ex-champ posts unanimous decision over Malignaggi - Houston Chronicle.

[Update2] 8-14 Northern California Notebook - Mario Ortega Jr. for

Max Giese: Sharks sign former Boston College center Benn Ferriero

The Sharks have signed free-agent forward Benn Ferriero, a former 7th round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes, to a two-year deal worth $635,000 a year. Ferriero played the last four seasons at Boston College, where he was highly productive accumulating 64 goals and 139 points in 165 games. Phoenix had until August 15th to come to terms with Ferriero, but he became a free-agent this summer and the Sharks have always gravitated towards Massachusetts players and prospects out of the Hockey East conference.

In years past Ferriero was a highly regarded prospect in the Coyotes’ organization, especially after his sophomore season in which he scored 23 goals and averaged more than a point a game. He followed that season with a strong junior campaign, but like the rest of his teammates, Ferriero took a step backwards in 2008-2009 and only scored 8 goals in 37 games, during what was a disappoint season for the Boston College Eagles.

Ferriero projects to be a solid grinder who can chip in the occasional offense. He’s got a pretty good hybrid game-he’s got an offensive part and gritty part of his game. A well balanced skater who has a solid top gear and a decent first step, Ferriero just lacks explosiveness. He boasts an accurate wrist shot with a good release and is an adequate play maker that quarterbacked the powerplay in College. He moves the puck well, has decent vision and mild creativity. At 5-foot-11, 192 lbs., Ferriero has average size but he’s relentless in pursuit of the puck and finishes all of his checks. He’s very strong on the forecheck and plays feisty physical game. He executes well in traffic with the puck, creates space for himself on the cycle, and will score goals from in close because he fearlessly crashes the net.

Overall Ferriero is a good addition of depth to the Sharks organization, especially if he bounces back after the tough year he had in 08-09. He's primed to contribute in Worcester this year and potentially in San Jose down the road.

[Update] Sharks sign former Boston College standout Benn Ferriero - Sharks Hockey Analysis.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Max Giese: Interview with San Jose Sharks Goaltending Development Coach Corey Schwab

Former National Hockey League goaltender and Stanley Cup winner Corey Schwab enters his second season as the goaltending development coach with the San Jose Sharks. Schwab, 37, assumes the goaltending coaching duties for Sharks prospects in Worcester (American Hockey League), Kalamazoo (ECHL) and amateur leagues. He works closely with Wayne Thomas, whose responsibilities as the vice president and assistant general manager of the San Jose Sharks and general manager of the Worcester Sharks include coaching the goaltenders at the NHL level.

Before joining the Sharks organization Schwab spent three seasons as the associate goaltending coach and scout for the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he worked with the organization’s goaltending prospects.

The Sharks are smart and lucky to have Corey Schwab a part of their organization. He knows the goaltending position inside out and I wish I could've had someone like him in my corner back when I played goal. It was my pleasure speaking with Corey, he was a considerate and insightful interview. Below is the transcript of the interview in which I talked to Schwab about his coaching techniques and the goaltending prospects in the system.

Max Giese: Warren Strelow is a man that is held in high regard by anyone around the Sharks and I understand he was your goaltending coach in New Jersey. What kind of lasting effect did he leave on you and do you use any of that in your goaltending coaching today?

Corey Schwab: My first goalie coach was Warren Strelow. It was my first professional season of hockey, I was in the Devils organization playing for the Utica Devils (AHL). He set the foundation for the way I played throughout my career and now it gives me something to pass along to the younger guys. Working with him was the first time I had a goalie coach and someone to work with after practices. It was the first time someone worked with me on goaltender specific drills, like game situations where there is traffic and screens in front of the net, or mini in tight breakaway situations. He also stressed working hard every day and trying to be the best goaltender that I could every day. He also wanted me to make the shooters I was facing better by trying to make every stop. Now I pass that along to the younger guys how to be aware of certain things as the play evolves. The goalies also need to work on specific things in practice and not just work for the sake of working hard. We work with them based off of things that pertain to their play at a specific time. This way they can enter the next game confident and comfortable, and knowing that they worked on what went wrong last game and they got better at it.

Max Giese: Seems like from what I read about NHL goaltending coaches, is that each of them has their own unique style of doing things. So it would be great if you could expand on some of your techniques and beliefs as a goaltending coach?

Corey Schwab: The number one thing is mobility. If a guy can move in the crease he can get into position early and makes saves in a controlled manner. Technically wise, every goalie has a different style and we leave that open. Me and Wayne Thomas work together and we don't believe in a specific way to play goalie. Each goaltender has their own characteristics and natural instincts. We like goalies who have some character and compete. There are different situations though that we coach how they should be positioned and it's important to teach them how to make the saves.

Max Giese: How much of what you do is the mental side of the position and do you think you have an advantage in relating to these guys because you were drafted, played junior hockey, and spent some time in the minors before making the NHL?

Corey Schwab: The mental side of the position is huge. Goaltenders today for the most part are all technically sound because they've had goaltending coaches when they were in college or playing junior hockey and even some had them when they were playing midget hockey. Wayne and I try to decide what certain things will work for certain guys. Experience is huge far as the mental part of the game. With my career path I had to fight for every job, whether it was in junior or in the American League or in the NHL. I bounced back and fourth often from the AHL to the ECHL then the back to the AHL before making the NHL. I pass along those experiences to the younger guys. I take my past knowledge and can relate it to their situations. It's important for athletes to have someone they can trust and talk to and relate their experiences with.

Max Giese: What certain attributes do the Sharks generally covet in a goaltenders?

Corey Schwab: I don't have much say in that. My job is work with the goalies that we have and focus on making them better. The credit goes to the scouts and Tim Burke for drafting guys who ended up playing in the NHL. I've noticed that they can all move really well, they compete hard and battle, they have good instincts and a natural feel for the game with great hockey sense. The Sharks organization believes in developing goalies and puts in a lot of their time into developing goalies. They give these kids the time to develop and it's important that we give them as much of our time as we can.

Max Giese: Could you describe the style of 6-foot-6, 216-pound goaltender Henrik Karlsson (Malmo - 2nd Div, 32GP, 2.45GAA, .921SV%, Sodertalje - 1st Div, 4GP, 2.49GAA, .929SV%), and what are some of his strengths and some of the things that you are going to begin to work on with him?

Corey Schwab: He's obviously a big guy but he moves pretty well too. Sometimes that's an issue for these larger goalies. They will have great coverage of the net but they just hit the butterfly for every save. He's not like that and he's a pretty patient goaltender. In the NHL you can't hit the butterfly on every save and he doesn't. I know our scouts have tracked him over the last couple of years and liked his progression and now we look forward to seeing him play in the Swedish Elite League. I don’t know yet far as if he's coming to training camp or not this year.

Max Giese: Both Director of Scouting Tim Burke and General Manager Doug Wilson have said Thomas Greiss is ready for the NHL and his next challenge. Is the plan for him to be Nabokov’s backup this year and get a few starts in the NHL this season?

Corey Schwab: I feel Greiss is ready to make the jump to the NHL. If you look at his career path he has progressed every year. Last year he got to play a lot of games in Worcester and in the last 15 games or so of the season he played very well and carried that team to the playoffs. It goes back to the mental aspect of the position. When a guy comes up to the NHL he needs to believe in himself that he deserves to be in the NHL and that he can win games there. How many games he gets in the NHL this year is not up to me, that's up to the coaching staff. But, I feel he is ready to compete and win some games for San Jose.

Max Giese: How would you describe the goaltending of Alex Stalock?

Corey Schwab: Style wise he's very competitive and battles to stop every puck. He has great hockey sense and it goes into his puck handling, which I think might be his strongest attribute. He's a great puck handler. There will be some adjustment for him there because in college he could freely go into the corners and move the puck, but in the pro's we have the trapezoid. So that adjustment will take place this year and it will take some time.

Max Giese: Could you elaborate on Alex Stalock's play last year in the Western College Hockey Association (WCHA)?

Corey Schwab: I got to see Alex for two weekends in Duluth and then watched him again in the WCHA playoffs. He's another goaltender that has progressed every year and he became a big part of that team last season. He elevated their status and was very consistent all season and finished very strong.

Max Giese: What were your impressions of Stalock when he came to Worcester at the end of the year?

Corey Schwab: He came in and was Thomas Greiss' backup for the playoffs. For him to turn pro and be able to be in Worcester and be the backup for the playoffs is going to make him more comfortable this year. He saw how pro coaches run practices and how professional players handle themselves. Alex saw how the game can be a job some days and learned how to approach the game as a pro. It was a great experience for him last year in Worcester.

Max Giese: Stalock is regarded as a student of the game and someone who really loves Hockey, did you see that in him when you worked with him one-on-one?

Corey Schwab: Definitely. Some goalies study other goalies and want to talk about them. I encourage our goalies to look at successful NHL goalies or their peers and study them. Stalock is just like that and is always talking and asking about new tricks he could use. He's really a person that wants to get better.

Max Giese: Some people think Tyson Sexsmith has been overrated because of the strong defense that was in front of him in Vancouver, what do you say to those comments?

Corey Schwab: I'm based out of Seattle so I got to see Sexsmith numerous times in Vancouver. I see it as a big plus that he played in that setting. Vancouver is a strong team and with that reputation Sexsmith was expected to win every night. There were no nights off for him and he always had to be mentally prepared. Not getting a lot of shots is a difficult thing for a goaltender. He was seeing 15-20 shots a game but people don't realize how many of those were quality scoring chances. It's easier when you're seeing 35-40 shots because you get to make some easy saves that get you into the feel of the game, but the amount of quality scoring chances against remained the same for Sexsmith.

Max Giese: How will his time in Vancouver prepare him for professional hockey starting this year with his rookie season?

Corey Schwab: That experience is a big plus for him and it will help him in the pro-game, especially with us where last year both in San Jose and Worcester we didn't give up a lot of shots. He can step in and feel comfortable in that scenario. The biggest thing is that experience in Vancouver is going to help him mentally in the pro's. His experience in winning a Memorial Cup is huge and it gives him something to fall back on whether he's having a good day or an off day. I'll use stuff like that to help him while mentoring him.

Max Giese: What's the scouting report on Sexsmith?

Corey Schwab: He's a technically sound goaltender with no wasted movement and he's proven that he can handle a heavy workload.

Max Giese: Is the plan for Stalock and Sexsmith to split the games in Worcester this year? Or is it important that they have a veteran to learn from?

Corey Schwab: I can't answer that and it's not up to me. It will be a decision for management and the coaching staff. Whatever they decide is fine with me but I feel comfortable with these two young men and don't have a problem with them being the two goalies in Worcester this year. My job won't change either way and it will be my focus to make sure they're getting better and mentor them through their experiences at any level.

Max Giese: Now what about the kid from Finland Harri Sateri, how is he developing?

Corey Schwab: I was able to watch Sateri and work with him over the past two summers at our July development camp. Working with him it's evident that he moves well and has strong fundamentals. He's a bit bigger than Sexsmith and Stalock with a solid and strong build. He has a good presence in the net and can handle playing lots of games.

Max Giese: How has he performed in the Finnish Elite League?

Corey Schwab: He's playing in a good league over there in Finland. I'm not a scout so I can't say how it compares to the AHL but a lot of players bounce back and fourth between that league and the AHL. So he's facing shots from good pro players and for a young kid to have the success in that league that he has had is great. I like how he's having to work for playing time and that he's competing with a 30 year old goalie for the starts. That's a good attribute for him to have because he's going to have to battle for a spot when he comes over here for the pro's. Nothing is handed to you over here and you have to be the best you can.

Max Giese: Has it been more difficult to work with Sateri because of his commitments to his team in Finland?

Corey Schwab: No because he's been committed to coming to our summer development camps and he's been very receptive. He wants to learn about what he might have to do and deal with over here in North America. He has been able to catch on to North American shooters habits and learn to deal with the smaller sized ice surfaces. Compared to the Olympic sized ice surfaces he's playing on in Europe, here in North America he's going to see a lot more traffic in front of the net and shots can come from anywhere. Where as in the European game usually it's a pass to the open man that sets up the majority of the shots.

Max Giese: Do you spend most of your time during the season in Worcester working with their goalies or will you make the occasional trip to San Jose to work with Greiss and Nabokov?

Corey Schwab: I revolve around Wayne Thomas' schedule so we can give these guys the most hands-on instruction and mentoring as possible. Wayne is often in San Jose working with the NHL guys so I do spend most of my time either in Worcester or watching the amateurs. Wayne is the General Manager of Worcester though and does spend some time there as well.

Max Giese: When goaltenders train in the off-season, do they have to be on the ice more than a skater does to get the repetition?

Corey Schwab: It's important that goalies take some time to get off of the ice. The body needs to rest and recover. Especially today where everyone uses the butterfly and that creates alot of wear and tear. The body needs time to recoup and the summer is about building strength. We want these guys to get stronger so they can sustain their strength throughout the year. Everyone is different though. When I played I wouldn't get back onto the ice until two weeks before training camp just to get feeling good and to get the conditioning down. All of the goalies in San Jose receive specific workout instructions from our strength coach Mike Potenza. Hopefully they follow that. Guys don't need to be on the ice all summer to enter camp in peak condition. The hardest thing really in the summer is to find pro-level shooters. In a big city where there are numerous camps around it's easier for the goalies to face pro-level shooters. If a goalie is from a small town like I was it's more difficult. It's a big step to go from junior or college hockey to the AHL and it's another big step up to the NHL. Our goalies figure that out in camp and it verifies what we are telling them over the year. They then know how you need to have good patience and feet to play in the NHL.

Max Giese: What's the year ahead look like for you? When guys like Sexsmith and Stalock were playing junior or college Hockey, how much did the Sharks send you to see them and maybe practice with them, or does Manager of Hockey Technology Paul Fink get you some video and then you email or call them?

Corey Schwab: I don't have a set schedule. I will go all over the place to see these kids play. Me and Wayne work together to provide as much coverage as we possibly can. My job is to coach these guys and mentor them. The process of getting a goaltender to the NHL is a very long one and the Sharks do a great job at providing a good setting for these goaltenders that promotes development and patience.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton lead informal Captain's Ice Practice at Sharks Ice in San Jose

San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov pad save at Captains Ice practice preseason
San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau at Captains Ice practice
Owen Nolan and Logan Couture try to shut down Devin Setoguchi in practice
Joe Thornton Sharks Ice preseason practice Owen Nolan

With news that both Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton were stripped of their captain and alternate captain leadership roles (with the ability to compete for them in training camp), both were on the ice Tuesday for the informal Captain's Ice practices held at Sharks Ice in San Jose.

Starting at 10AM on the South Rink, Marleau and Thornton lead a team white that included Devin Setoguchi, Phoenix Coyotes right wing Viktor Tikhonov and Evgeni Nabokov. Team Teal was lead by Dan Boyle, Brad Lukowich, Minnesota Wild right wing Owen Nolan, Logan Couture and Jody Shelley. Defenseman Kent Huskins and recent acquisition Scott Nichol were also on the ice today, Brad Stuart was on the ice yesterday, Torrey Mitchell and Joe Pavelski were on the ice last week.

San Jose Sharks coaches are not allowed to participate in the informal Captain's Ice practices, and occasionally local hockey players are called to step in for scrimmages. Rookies report to the Sharks training camp on September 5th, veterans report September 13th.

A photo gallery from the informal Captain's Ice practice today in San Jose is available here.

Max Giese: Joe Pavelski at the U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Orientation Camp

USA Hockey Olympic Mens Ice Hockey Orientation Camp
USA Hockey Olympic Mens Ice Hockey Orientation Camp
USA HOCKEY MENS OLYMPIC ICE HOCKEY ORIENTATION CAMP was at the Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge, Ill., where Monday and Tuesday San Jose Sharks' center Joe Pavelski participated in the U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Orientation Camp. The camp was designed to assist in the preparation of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team that will compete at the XXI Olympic Winter Games from Feb. 12-28, 2010, in Vancouver, B.C.

34 players were invited to the camp and they were split into two groups. Joe Pavelski was in Group 1 along with his former teammates at the University of Wisconsin Tom Gilbert (Edmonton) and Ryan Suter (Nashville). The Sharks' Head Athletic Trainer Ray Tufts was also at the camp and will be one of USA's trainers for the 2010 Olympics. Same goes for the Sharks Equipment Manager Mike Aldrich who will be fulfilling the same duties for Team USA. Former Sharks head coach Ron Wilson will be the teams' head coach and he orchestrated all the drills during practice.

USA Hockey Olympic Mens Ice Hockey Orientation Camp

Joe Pavelksi's familiarity with coach Wilson was evident from the start and he was always the first player in line to lead the drills. Pavelski looks a bit thicker with a broader frame compared to last season and his feet are quicker out of the gate. He now skates a little lower in his stride with better stride extension and stride recovery. His hand-eye coordination was impressive in the way he was tipping pucks knee high to the upper portion of the net over the goaltenders shoulders and he shone with his accurate shot. Pavelski was put on a line with Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane and Colorado Avalanche's Paul Stastny. Kane showed off his puck wizardry and offensive creativity for the fans. Stastny is a sniper that terrorized goaltenders with his pin-point accuracy.

Also, bad news for Sharks fans, Anaheim Ducks' winger Bobby Ryan looked extremely impressive with a scary combination of superior stickhandling range and paralyzing one-on-one moves (not to mention his barrel chested frame and his skating looks fine). Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks was also impressive with his athleticism and remarkable skating ability for a player of his physical stature.

USA Hockey is expected to announce the final roster for the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team in late December.


An interview with Sharks Goaltending Development Coach Corey Schwab is coming this week. Schwab discusses his role with the team and every Sharks goaltender in the system from Henrik Karlsson to Thomas Greiss.

Sharks top prospect Logan Couture is currently in San Jose rooming at Joe Thornton's house. Fans can see him at captain's ice.

William Wrenn, the Sharks first choice (43rd overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, was one of the forty-two players to attend the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. Redline Report's chief scout Kyle Woodlief was in attendance and had this to say on the defenseman that will play for the University of Denver this fall. "Wrenn was his usual steady, solid self. I thought he performed well, but the powers at USA Hockey felt otherwise because when they cut 13 players last Monday to go from 42 down to 29, Wrenn was one of the five defenseman let go. They originally had 15 defenseman in camp, and he didn't even make the cut down to 10."

The knock on Taylor Doherty, the Sharks second choice (57th overall) in the 2009 entry draft, has been his lack of hockey sense. But, according to a scout outside of the Sharks organization who primarily focuses on the Ontario Hockey League, Doherty's questionable decision making may have more to do with the lack of coaching he is receiving in Kingston than anything else. "In Kingston they don't even play a system. They don't coach the breakout, forecheck, or defensive structure. Nothing. I asked his teammate defensmean Erik Gudbranson about what he would do defensively in a certain situation. He responded 'man to man'. I asked him what he would do in a different scenario and he again said 'man to man'. These kids aren't getting taught the right way there and at practice all they do is scrimmage or skate."

Defenseman Kent Huskins was a pleasant surprise in the 2007-2008 season for the Sharks Pacific Division rival in Anaheim. The former Clarkson All-American established himself as an NHL regular and made his NHL debut in '06-07 after toiling in the minors for five seasons. Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson envisions Huskins becoming the next Rob Scuderi and put his money where his mouth is by giving Huskins a lucrative contract this summer. But, what do scouts outside of the Sharks organization think about Huskins? To answer that, here's a report on Huskins from a scout who focuses on the NHL. "Huskins is a reliable defenseman that is conscientious in his role and plays within his limitations. He's calm handling the puck and makes a good first pass. He's due to post mild offensive numbers and will join the attack when appropriate. Can seem like a sluggish skater in transition because of his slow feet, but he does take proficient skating routes and will use his broad frame to gain positional advantage."

That same scout offered this on Jed Ortmeyer, a potential newcomer to the Sharks fourth-line this season. "There's a chance he could play on the fourth-line and be the right winger there. He's a team first type of guy that always hustles. Milwaukee underachieved last year in the AHL playoffs but his game elevated. He still has enough speed and he plays physical, plus he's shown the ability to fit in wherever he plays."

Compared to Christian Ehrhoff by NHL scouts, German born defenseman Dominik Bielke, a 7th round draft choice of the San Jose Sharks in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, represented Germany at a Five Nations U-20 event in Slovakia in early August. A pro-scout from the Czech Republic offered this on Bielke "I saw the German team only once. Bielke has size and okay skills but not much smartness or mean streak in my opinion. He made some progress since February 2008 when I saw him for the first time though."

Brodie Melnychuk of the Brandon Wheat Kings has accepted an invitation to attend the Sharks' Prospect Camp in San Jose. Melynchuk, an 18-year old defenseman, has good size at 6-foot-3 195 pounds. He was ranked 264th overall by Redline Report and 98th overall by International Scouting Services in their 2009 Draft rankings. Here is the scouting report on Melnychuk from ISS. "Melnychuk is a towering defenseman. He uses his size well and tries to play a physical punishing game. In order to play at the next level he needs to work on his mobility and skating. Is used quite frequently on the PK unit and in defensive situations. He does not bring much of an offensive punch. A stay at home sound defensive defenseman."

Princeton Tigers goaltender Zane Kalemba was invited to participate at the Sharks summer development camp in July as a free-agent. The 2008-2009 ECAC Player of the year and Hobey Baker finalist, Kalemba is a studious goaltender that has maximized his physical tools with a great work ethic. It's unlikely the Sharks will pursue Kalemba with an NHL contract in hand after his upcoming senior season because he's an undersized butterfly goaltender. His technique and positioning are terrific, but his lack of size is a major concern and he likely would get eaten alive by NHL shooters.

A new rumor about the 2010 NHL Entry Draft has surfaced and it has Los Angeles as the host location (June 25-26 2010).

[Update] Better Know an Olympic Preliminary Roster: the U.S.A. - New York Times Slapshots blog.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Christiane "Cyborg" Santos earns first Strikeforce Women's MMA title with dominant win over Gina Carano on Showtime

Christiane Cyborg Santos celebrates with her team after defeating Gina Carano to win the inaugural Strikeforce 145 pound women's title
Gegard Mousasi enters the ring for a Showtime Strikeforce fight with Renato Babalu Sobral

Women's MMA has a new face. A relentless Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos came at Gina Carano in hard punching waves, earning a TKO with 1 second left in the first round for the inaugural Strikeforce 145-pound Women's title. In a dominating style similar to former Chute Boxe stablemate Wanderlei Silva, Santos blew through any offense Carano put in front of her and piled up the damage early.

Cyborg was a heavy betting favorite heading into the fight, but the underrated power in Carano's hands and knees was thought to be a strong deterent for Cristiane's blitzkrieg style. Less than 10 seconds into the fight, Cris backed Carano up against the cage with a strong flurry of punches and attempted a takedown. Carano was able to scramble to top position and land 3 uncontested right hands while Santos sunk in a leg lock and later a heel hook. As Carano tried to spin out, Cyborg tried a rear naked choke and then hammered her from behind.

The first 30 seconds of the fight was fought at an enormous pace, but eventually Carano got to her feet and loaded up on a left hand to the head as she tried to break free. Cyborg landed a heavy knee to the body, and took the punch without backing up or even backing on to her heels. Instead, she landed a punch/kick combination punctuated with a left hook that crumpled Carano up against the cage. Cyborg attempted another takedown but instead Gina got the best of the scramble and ended up in full mount. After landing 7 pawing punches and a final short right for good measure, she backed off to bring the fight back to the feet. With 3:46 left in the first round, it was the wrong decision.

The Compustrike statistics for the main event (Strikes landed/thrown: Carano 24/47 51%, Santos 36/64 56%) did not tell the full picture. Cyborg was landing the heavier punches, and she was able to close the gap on fellow striker Carano at will. Gina tried to time Cyborg as she came in with left hooks and straight rights, but she kept coming forward. A hard knee to the midsection from behind seemed to suck the wind out of Carano, and she attempted to roll into guard after Carano backed into the center of the cage.

A plaintiff push kick and straight right were almost ignored by Cyborg, a "superwoman" punch and a pinpoint left hook to the chin were similarly dismissed. Cris Santos took slow, plodding steps forward, loading up on her front foot and turning on huge right hands. Carano attempted another clinch, but collapsed to the mat and covered up as punches rained down on her head from behind. The technical performance may have looked sloppy at times, but in reality there were several opportunities Gina Carano could have been finished. She remained in the fight looking to cash in on a puncher's chance.

Carano struggled to create any distance between her and Cyborg, covering up while on her feet and continuing to absorb power punches in large numbers. Gina Carano missed with a hard standing elbow in the clinch, and Cyborg pressed her up against the cage and took her down to the mat. This time, Carano did not have enough energy to end up on top in the scramble. In half guard, Carano tried to push off the cage but could not break free. The former American Gladiator spun out of an Americana to a large roar from the crowd, but Cyborg gained top position up against the cage. Several power right hands from a standing Santos against a prone Carano signaled the beginning of the end. Referee Josh Rosenthal called for Carano to intelligently defend herself, but she could not. 6 piston-like right hands landed before Rosenthal stepped in and stopped the fight at 4:59 of the first round.

"She can keep 'the face of Women's MMA', because I have the title," Santos said through a translator in the post fight press conference. She noted that 13,524 fans appeared to be on Carano's side inside HP Pavilion on Saturday night, but she had god and her teammates on her side. "I was comfortable." The fight was extended to five 5 minute rounds by the CSAC for a Championship fight, and Cris Santos said she was prepared to go 25 minutes if needed. Once she had Carano hurt and turning her back, "I felt it was time to finish the fight," Cris said via a translator. She also mentioned that she pressed for the knockout not knowing there was only 5 seconds left in the round.

Highly regarded Gegard Mousasi continued to streamroll opposition with his 13th straight win over BJJ black belt Renato "Babalu" Sobral. Mousasi quickly took Sobral to the mat, gained side control, and pounded out Babalu convincingly to earn the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight title. One fight after submitting 285-pound Mark Hunt with a Kimura at Dream 9 in Japan, and two fights after knocking out Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza in the Dream Middleweight Grand Prix final with one of the most devestating upkicks seen in the sport, Mousasi impressed again at 205 pounds on a Showtime televised broadcast. "Fighting for the first time in the U.S. was a little bit of pressure, I knew I had to perform well," Gegard told the media in a post fight press conference. It is rumored that he will face former U.S. judo champion Sokoudjou in October as part of the Dream Super Hulk Grand-Prix Semi-Final in Japan.

In the third title fight, San Francisco's Gilbert Melendez avenged a prior loss to Mitsuhiro Ishida with patience and an intelligent gameplan. "The guys that beat me, Josh and Ishida, outsmarted me," Melendez told reporters after the fight. "They stuck and moved, stuck and moved and sqeaked out decisions... you have to learn how to fight smarter now." Melendez kept distance at a premium in the first round, countering with a left hook and the trademark right hand.

The pace picked up in the second round, Gilbert started to dial in strikes from the outside. An explosive sprawl frustrated Ishida's initial takedown attempt in the second, as well as a subsequent desperation takedown attempt when the Japanese veteran was rocked by a flurry along the cage. The mobility of Ishida evaporated in the third round, he was reduced to standing in front of Melendez and trying to trade. Initially successful, a right hand staggered Mitsuhiro and a bull rush by Melendez pinned him up against the cage. Ishida could not recover and the fight was stopped at 3:56 due to strikes. After the fight Gilbert Melendez said Josh Thomson is the real champion, and that he is looking forward to a rematch. On avenging one of his two career losses, "One down and one to go," Melendez said.

Heavyweight contender Fabricio Werdum reintroduced himself to the West Coast with a dominant 1st round submission over San Jose based Mike Kyle. A natural 205 pounder, Kyle shockingly went for an arm bar against the a 2-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Werdum. Werdum quickly spun out of the submission attempt. According to a translator after the fight, "(The armbar) was a surprise for him, but Fabricio is so good at Jiu-Jitsu, trains so hard in Jiu-Jitsu, he did the escape automatically, he didn't have to think about it." Werdum quickly gained side control, then cinched in a guillotine choke as Kyle tried to scramble to his feet. Asked when he would be ready to fight after the match, Werdum said the CSAC required a 7 day layoff after a fight, after that he would be ready to go. It drew a laugh from the assembled media. His preferred opponent? Fedor.

The Werdum-Kyle match was moved to the Showtime televised fight card, but unfortunately a solid match between former IFL champ Jay Hieron and one-time The Ultimate Fighter finalist Jesse Taylor was moved off the televised card. With 3 of the 4 main event fights ending in the first round, and 3 out of 5 of the undercard matches ending in first round stoppages, a Hieron-Taylor contest would have filled out the Showtime broadcast nicely. Hieron earned a unanimous 3 round decision over Taylor, and stated a desire after the fight to compete against Nick Diaz for the title.

It was an allstar collection of referees for the August 15th Strikeforce card, Herb Dean, "Big" John McCarthy, former PrideFC ref Yuji Shimada and Josh Rosenthal were on hand to call the fights. Many fighters were noticeable ringside and in the stands, as well as former Heisman winner Herschel Walker. On the Showtime broadcast Walker mentioned that he was in the gym, and that he would not be opposed to Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker arranging an MMA debut for him. In the post fight press conference, Coker said the organization remains committed to women's MMA, and that there will be 135-pound and 145-pound 8-woman tournaments on the docket for the future. The 145 pound tournament winner could win a title shot against Cyborg Santos. When asked if Gina Carano would be interested in competing in the tournament, Coker said that would be an issue for future discussion and it would depend on Carano's willingness to participate. Dream event producer Keiichi Sasahara made a few opening comments on their partnership with Strikeforce at the beginning of the post fight press conference, and said that he hopes Dream champions can come to the U.S. to fight for Strikeforce, and that Strikeforce champions can come to Japan to fight for Dream.

An event photo gallery from's Dave Mandel is available here. Another impressive behind the scenes and cageside photo gallery from Strikeforce photographer Esther Lin is available on the Showtime Sports Flickr channel. More photos from's Greg Ashman here. There is no Sharkspage photo gallery for this fight.

[Update] Strikeforce Carano vs Cyborg results:

AUGUST 15, 2009

Alexander Trevino def Isaiah Hill
Submission (Keylock), 1st round - 3:56

James Terry def Zak Bucia
TKO (Strikes), 1st round - 1:23

Justin Wilcox def David Douglas
Submission (RNC), 3rd round - 3:16

Scott Lighty def Mike Cook
TKO (Strikes), 1st round - 2:05

Jay Hieron def Jesse Taylor
Decision (Unanimous), 3rd round - 5:00

Fabricio Werdum def Mike Kyle
Submission (Guillotine Choke), 1st round - 1:24

Strikeforce Interim Lightweight Title
Gilbert Melendez def Mitsuhiro Ishida
TKO (Strikes), 3rd round - 3:56

Strikeforce World Light Heavyweight Title
Gegard Mousasi def Renato Sobral
TKO (Strikes), 1st round - 1:00

Strikeforce 145-pound Women's Title
Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos def Gina Carano
TKO (Strikes), 1st round - 4:59

Attendance: 13,524

[Update2] Strikeforce Cyborg Vs. Carano Post Fight Press Conference video -

[Update3] Cyborg's upset of Carano could bode well for women's MMA - Josh Gross for Sports Illustrated.

Santos, 24, needs fans to embrace her wild gun-slinging style, a staple of the academy out of which she trains, if she's going to be any kind of draw. For years, Chute Boxe, one of the most respected gyms in Brazil, churned out exciting champions like Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio Rua and Jose Pele Landi-Jons. Santos is their eighth and perhaps most unique world champion.

"She's very happy doing what she's doing right now," said Chute Boxe founder Rudimar Fedrigo. "I think she's very capable of receiving [Carano's mantle as] the female face of MMA. She worked hard for that and will take care of that title." Perhaps. Cyborg said since she owns the belt, a version made especially for women, Carano could keep the label.

[Update4] ‘Cyborg’ Finishes Carano in First Round -

Friday, August 14, 2009

Saturday's Carano vs Cyborg superfight and the acquisition of top heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko could help SJ-based Strikeforce reach critical mass

Gina Carano at the Strikeforce MMA weighin for a bout with Cristiane Santos
Strikeforce MMA weigh-ins Justin Wilcox
Strikeforce heavyweight contender Fabricio Werdum
vs Mike Kyle
HDnet's Inside MMA with Bas Rutten and Kenny Rice Cung Le, Josh Thomson Kim Couture

Vestigia nulla retrorsum. There is no turning back for San Jose based Strikeforce with the biggest fight in women's MMA history Gina Carano (7-0-0, 3KOs, 1sub) vs Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos (7-1-0, 5KOs, 1sub) headlining 3 title fights on the Showtime August 15th card, and the recent acquisition of WAMMA Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko.

After helping to usher kickboxing into the mainstream with many years of local events and its work with K-1 and ESPN, Strikeforce opened the doors for MMA in California with the first sanctioned card in the state in 2006. As PrideFC, the IFL, EliteXC and most recently Affliction spent themselves out of business, Strikeforce patiently built a profitable model and an industry reputation for putting together stacked fight cards. The stakes rose dramatically this summer when the top heavyweight in MMA and argueably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, Fedor Emelianenko (30-1-0, 7KOs, 16subs), declined an enormous offer from the UFC in order to sign a 3-fight contract with Strikeforce.

According to KHTK 1140AM Sacramento radio host Carmichael Dave, Emelianenko reportedly turned down a 6-fight, $30 million contract (not guaranteed) with the UFC in order to sign a non-exclusive contract with Strikeforce that allowed for co-promotion with M-1 Global (of which Fedor is part owner). "The Last Emperor" is expected to debut on October 10th, possibly on a CBS televised event. A veteran Fabricio Werdum (11-4-1, 4KOs, 5subs), a Strikeforce World Heavyweight title fight with Alistair Overeem (29-11-0, 11KOs, 17subs), or a highly anticipated matchup with up and coming knockout artist Brett Rogers (10-0-0, 9KOs, 1sub) could be the immediate future for Fedor over the next 12 months.

The August 15th card on Showtime also raises the stakes for Strikeforce and women's MMA. Gina Carano has been labled "the face of women's MMA" by fans, and a recent New York Times profile says the Las Vegas native has a "chokehold on fame." While the media can check off her numerous photo shoots or the appearance on American Gladiators, while overlooking her excellent work as a trainer on the Ring Girls Muay Thai kickboxing reality show, the real draw for Carano is the power in both hands and knees as displayed in this training video by MMAweekly in 2008.

Carano will need to be firing on all cylinders to stave off the overwhelming offensive attack of Chute Boxe trained Brazilian Cristiane Santos. Santos herself has described the media fascination with this fight as a meeting between the beauty and the beast, but Cristiane's dominate performances inside the ring have been stunning. A 4-fight KO streak included 3 in the first round, and a recent performance against a talented but much smaller Hitomi Akano showed the need for true competition in her own weight class. Carano-Cyborg has the possibility to capture media attention with fireworks inside the ring, but also the ability to inspire new women to take up the sport.

When former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett tested positive for 2a-methyl-5a-androstan-3a-ol-17-one (an anabolic steroid) 11 days before his anticipated matchup with Fedor Emelianenko, Affliction could not recover. The promotion quickly cancelled the event and returned to its role as a clothing manufacturer and a fight sponsor. Another highly anticipated matchup on the Emelianenko-Barnett undercard between Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion Renato "Babalu" Sobral and former Dream Middleweight Champion Gegard Mousasi was quickly added to the August 15th show in San Jose. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker noted that the fight was originally scheduled for Showtime, but Sobral was loaned to Affliction.

The Dutch kickboxing trained Gegard Mousasi is one of the most affable competitors in the sport, and also one of the hottest. He is riding a 12 fight winning streak with wins over Mark Hunt, Ronaldo Souza, Melvin Manhoef, Dong Sik Yoon, Denis Kand, Evangelista Santos and Hector Lombard. That is a frightening list of defeated opponents, several of the most talented fighters competing outside the UFC. In an excellent radio interview with's Jordan Breen, Mousasi (not to be confused with his 2008 New Year's Eve K-1 opponent Mushashi) described a recent trip to the Wildcard Boxing Gym in southern California to train with Freddie Roach and Michael Moore.

When previewing his fight with Renato "Babalu" Sobral, Mousasi told Sherdog, "I don't want to give him any advantage. If he is on his back, I will fight him on his back and ground and pound." In an interview on the official website, Babalu noted the advantage he has with wrestling and jiu-jitsu. "This is an MMA fight, not a kickboxing match," he said. "If he wants to stand, I will stand all day long." Renato Sobral also said the male competitors on the card should be honored to fight alongside headliners Gina Carano and Cristiane Santos. Sobral, riding his own 5 fight winning streak, will make his first Strikeforce Light Heavyweight title defense.

The third and last title fight of the evening between former Lightweight title holder Gilbert Melendez (15-2-0, 9KOs, 1sub) and Shooto/Pride veteran Mitsuhiro Ishida (18-5-1, 3KOs, 2subs) for the Strikeforce interim Lightweight title is a testament to the difficulties this card has undergone. Melendez was scheduled for a San Francisco vs San Jose rematch with Josh Thomson, the fighter who dethroned him with a 5-round striking clinic in June 2008. Delayed once due to injury, Thomson again had to pull out of this title fight after damaging a toe in training. There have been reports Strikeforce is in negotiation with Japanese MMA promoter Dream, and Scott Coker was quickly able to secure veteran Mitsuhiro Ishida as an injury replacement for Thomson.

Melendez may have circulated out of a handful of media Top-10 lists in the Lightweight Division, but if these two high level competitors are not already included Melendez and Ishida should at least be at #11 or #12. Melendez is known for relentless pressure and a big right hand, but it was solid wrestling by Ishida that handed "El Nino" his first loss at the 2007 Yarennoka event on New Year's Eve. Mitsuhiro Ishida is coming off a 2 losses in his last 4 fights, including a flash knockout at the hands of Mizuto Hirota in Shooto and a submission loss to Caol Uno in the Dream 3 Lightweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals. Ishida may be a difficult prospect on the ground, but on his feet his awkward footwork could create problems.

The Strikeforce Heavyweight title fight between Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum was scratched due to a nagging hand injury Overeem allegedly suffered outside of the ring over the summer. Werdum (11-4-1, 4KOs, 5subs), a BJJ black belt and a brown belt in Judo, as well as a 2-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion and the 2007 ADCC submission wrestling champion (99+kg) will face San Jose based Mike Kyle (12-6-1, 8KOs, 2subs) in a fight that was recently added to the televised Showtime broadcast. The PrideFC and UFC veteran Werdum will be showcased as a heavy favorite against Kyle, and should be considered first in line for the Heavyweight Strikeforce debut of Fedor Emelianenko.

The highly anticipated matchup of Stockton's Nick Diaz and the South Bay's Joe Riggs for the first ever Strikeforce Welterweight title now features two completely different fighters in a non-title affair. Riggs experienced a bad reaction to medication and had to be hospitalized as a result. After Affliction folded, former IFL Welterweight Champion Jay Hieron (17-4-0, 6KOs, 5subs) opted not to join the UFC in order to sign a dealwith Strikeforce and earn an immediate title shot against Diaz. Diaz was pulled off the monster March 2008 Cung Le vs Frank Shamrock card by then CSAC head Armando Garcia. Garcia had to navigate the thorny issue of the medical marijuana act passed by California and how that should be handled by the California State Athletic Commission with regards to how it licenses fighters.

Allegedly, an agreement between Garcia and Diaz was reached where he would be given 2 weeks notice prior to any testing. After the departure of Garcia, it was reported the agreement no longer exists between Diaz and the CSAC. They required him to submit to testing in order to renew his license before he could face Hieron. Diaz failed to show up for two scheduled tests, and was subsequently pulled off the August 15th card. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has said that the organization will continue to work with Diaz in the future, but this is an issue that should have been dealt with long in advance. If the CSAC is going to require testing for future fights, any scheduled announcement concerning Nick Diaz should not be made until he can pass testing.

Hieron will be matched up with former 'The Ultimate Fighter' competitor Jesse Taylor (13-3-0, 4KOs, 5subs). Taylor unfortunately is known by many an MMA fan for his expulsion from the 7th season of the TUF finale on Spike TV. After losing to fellow TUF castmember CB Dollaway in July 2008, the California native was released from the UFC. Taylor has been extraordinarily active, his match against Hieron will be his 4th fight in the last 4 months. On a 7-fight winning streak with 2 KO's and 4 submission since his last loss, Taylor uses his strength and dominant wrestling to put opponents on the defensive early. UFC/WEC/IFL veteran Hieron is on a 5-fight win streak of his own. The Xtreme Couture trained fighter is solid on his feet, but holds a decisive advantage on the ground.

A photo gallery from today's weigh-in from the Marriott in San Jose is available here.

[Update] The Friday afternoon Strikeforce Carano-Cyborg weigh-ins at the Marriott in San Jose were open to the public, and therefore a mad house. There were 3-400+ people waiting outside as the doors opened, but only half were able to gain entry before the available space was filled to the brim. Unfortunately, this blog was on the outside looking in but a security guard waived us in.

All the fighters made weight except for Jesse Taylor, who had to take the scales a second time after dropping 2 pounds. streamed live video of the weigh-ins as they took place and also hosted a pre-Strikeforce radio roundtable to preview the fights. Fans can call in after the fights for Beatdown After the Bell with Jordan Breen and TJ De Santis (1-800-967-9244).

Showtime filmed fighter interview segments in one corner of the conference room as HDnet's "News Cage" host Ron Kruk interviewed fighters on the other. Inside MMA hosts Kenny Rice and Sharkspage favorite Bas Rutten interviewed Kim Couture, Cung Le and Josh Thomson on another side of the conference room. For more information or for highlights, visit

[Update2] Strikeforce Weigh-In Live Coverage - Aki Kuwabara for

[Update3] Earlier this month Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was interviewed by TapOut Radio. The style of the interview may be informal but the show did cover a lot of ground.

Noted was that Fedor will fight 3 times over the next year for Strikeforce, there is no firm date for a Strikeforce MMA debut on CBS, there likely will be no title fight for Fedor in his first fight they will build up to Overeem-Fedor, in addition to the Strikeforce and UFC bidding on Emelianenko there was also 3 boxing promoters, Fedor's debut for Strikeforce will be his first time in a cage, Carano-Cyborg will be fighting for five 5-minute rounds (other states limit women to 3 minute rounds), in addition to a co-promotion arrangement with M-1 Global Strikeforce is also working on an agreement with Dream (Coker mentioned possible venues in the Bay Area, Russia, Korea and Japan), on criticism by the UFC "we have always had a very good relationship with the UFC, I hope that continues," Coker said, Gegard Mousasi signed a 3 fight contract, Jake Shields is scheduled for an interim title fight in October, Cung Le will have a title defense by the end of the year, Coker wants to bring Aoki to the Bay Area for a fight...

[Update4] Strikeforce In-Depth: Carano-Cyborg -

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Darryl Hunt: AHL announces 2009-2010 Schedule for Worcester Sharks

The American Hockey League has announced the schedules for member clubs for the 2009-2010 season. The Worcester Sharks schedule features 32 games played during the weekends, and for the first time in club history regularly scheduled games to be played on Tuesdays.

Home games are in bold:

Sat 10/3/09 7:00 PM @ Adirondack
Fri 10/9/09 7:00 PM @ Bridgeport
Sat 10/10/09 7:00 PM @ Lowell
Sat 10/17/09 7:05 PM Lowell
Sun 10/18/09 3:05 PM Albany
Fri 10/23/09 7:05 PM @ Providence
Sat 10/24/09 7:05 PM Springfield
Sun 10/25/09 3:00 PM @ Hartford
Fri 10/30/09 7:05 PM Bridgeport
Sat 10/31/09 7:00 PM @ Manchester

Sun 11/1/09 3:05 PM Springfield
Fri 11/6/09 7:05 PM Manchester
Sat 11/7/09 7:05 PM W-B/Scranton
Wed 11/11/09 1:05 PM Lowell
Fri 11/13/09 7:00 PM @ Lowell
Sat 11/14/09 7:05 PM Hartford
Sun 11/15/09 3:05 PM Providence
Wed 11/18/09 7:05 PM Portland
Fri 11/20/09 7:00 PM @ Portland
Sat 11/21/09 7:05 PM @ Providence
Sun 11/22/09 3:05 PM Norfolk
Wed 11/25/09 7:00 PM @ Springfield
Fri 11/27/09 7:05 PM @ Providence
Sat 11/28/09 7:05 PM Bridgeport

Fri 12/4/09 7:30 PM @ Springfield
Sat 12/5/09 7:00 PM @ Manchester
Sun 12/6/09 3:05 PM Portland
Fri 12/11/09 7:30 PM @ Manchester
Fri 12/18/09 7:05 PM Manchester
Sat 12/19/09 7:05 PM Adirondack
Sat 12/26/09 7:05 PM Springfield
Sun 12/27/09 3:05 PM Lowell
Tue 12/29/09 7:05 PM Manchester
Thu 12/31/09 5:30 PM @ Portland

Sat 1/2/10 7:00 PM @ Lowell
Sun 1/3/10 3:05 PM Bridgeport
Fri 1/8/10 7:05 PM Hartford
Sat 1/9/10 7:05 PM Providence
Sun 1/10/10 3:05 PM Portland
Wed 1/13/10 7:05 PM Springfield
Fri 1/15/10 7:00 PM @ Portland
Sat 1/16/10 7:05 PM Manchester
Sun 1/17/10 1:00 PM @ Bridgeport
Sat 1/23/10 7:30 PM @ Syracuse
Wed 1/27/10 7:05 PM Manitoba
Fri 1/29/10 7:05 PM Manitoba
Sun 1/31/10 3:05 PM Lowell

Wed 2/3/10 7:00 PM @ Springfield
Fri 2/5/10 7:05 PM Lowell
Sat 2/6/10 7:05 PM Providence
Sun 2/7/10 2:05 PM @ Providence
Fri 2/12/10 7:00 PM @ Bridgeport
Sun 2/14/10 3:00 PM @ Manchester
Tue 2/16/10 7:00 PM @ Springfield
Fri 2/19/10 7:05 PM @ Binghamton
Sat 2/20/10 7:00 PM @ Hartford
Wed 2/24/10 7:05 PM Portland
Fri 2/26/10 7:05 PM Abbotsford
Sat 2/27/10 7:05 PM Abbotsford

Tue 3/2/10 7:30 PM @ Manitoba
Wed 3/3/10 7:30 PM @ Manitoba
Fri 3/5/10 7:30 PM @ Abbotsford
Sat 3/6/10 6:00 PM @ Abbotsford
Wed 3/10/10 7:05 PM Hartford
Fri 3/12/10 7:05 PM Binghamton
Sun 3/14/10 4:05 PM Hershey
Wed 3/17/10 7:00 PM @ Albany
Sat 3/20/10 7:05 PM Providence
Sun 3/21/10 4:00 PM @ Lowell
Tue 3/23/10 7:05 PM Syracuse
Fri 3/26/10 7:00 PM @ Hershey
Sat 3/27/10 7:15 PM @ Norfolk
Sun 3/28/10 3:05 PM @ W-B/Scranton

Thu 4/1/10 7:00 PM @ Hartford
Fri 4/2/10 7:05 PM @ Providence
Sat 4/3/10 7:00 PM @ Lowell
Wed 4/7/10 7:00 PM @ Hartford
Fri 4/9/10 7:05 PM Hartford
Sat 4/10/10 7:05 PM Providence
Sun 4/11/10 4:00 PM @ Portland

Max Giese: Interview with San Jose Sharks strength and conditioning coordinator Mike Potenza

The 2009-10 season will be Mike Potenza's third year as the Sharks strength and conditioning coordinator. He is responsible for the team's overall strength and conditioning programs, including the creation of individualized postseason workout programs and assistance in the rehabilitation efforts for all injured players. Before coming to San Jose, Potenza served as the strength and conditioning coach for the University of Wisconsin men's and women's hockey teams, both of which won 2006 NCAA National Championships. There, he worked with current Sharks center Joe Pavelski. Potenza also had responsibilities with Wisconsin's wrestling and softball programs.

Mike's a quality guy and was a great interview, answering all of my questions and then some. Back in 2005, when Mike was still working at the University of Wisconsin, I personally got to work out with him at a Badgers Hockey Camp. I couldn't believe the extensive and educational workout he put us through in just one hour. Even more impressive is that he did all of this with using nothing but our own body weight.

It's safe to say no one in the Sharks organization has had a busier summer than Mike Potenza and recently I caught up with Mike and discovered more about his role with the San Jose Sharks.

Max Giese: Who are some of the players that have spent the majority of their summers with you in San Jose?

Mike Potenza: Some of the guys like Evgeni Nabokov, Patrick Marleau, and Jonathan Cheechoo live out here and stay throughout the summer. Then there are guys like Joe Pavelski, Devin Setoguchi, and Torrey Mitchell who have made the commitment to spend their time here this summer. I actually wanted to talk to those three young players about spending the summer here in San Jose, but all three took the initiative and grabbed me first and asked me if they could train with me in San Jose during the summer. Which is just awesome. These are the future leaders of this hockey team and they want to embrace that by doing the right things. To see them step up and want to be leaders is great.

Max Giese: You said that Joe Pavelski made a commitment to staying out in San Jose this summer, when a player makes that commitment in San Jose or elsewhere to put in the extra work over the summer, how much of that will translate to the ice in the fall?

Mike Potenza: Well, me and Joe have a six year relationship going back to our time in Wisconsin where we won a National Championship together. Now he's much stronger and it's about me finding new ways to challenge him. Joe has great character and wants to get better, so me and him are entering a new challenge together. On the ice Joe is going to be a better, faster skater. In the pits of the ice and in the corners you won't see Pavs get knocked off his feet and lose battles as much. His legs will be stronger and he will stay on his feet. Coming through the neutral zone ice on the rush Joe had a second gear of speed last year and now he's going to have a fourth gear. He's working on getting better at faceoffs. He was already good at them last year but he wants to be elite. Joe wants to be a guy that can play 25 minutes a night. He's a student of the game and he wants to get better. Joe wants to be a leader for this team both on and off of the ice. He's so committed and has to work for everything. A guy like Patrick Marleau, who is so naturally powerful, can take two-weeks off and still be fine. Joe Pavelski can't. If he takes two weeks off it's like taking two years off for him.

Max Giese: What about the other two, Setoguchi and Mitchell?

Mike Potenza: Setoguchi actually had a great summer last year too, but it was mostly about rehabbing his shoulder. This year he's getting to exhaust his energy into getting physically stronger. For Mitchell, it's about getting his leg stronger and making sure he's absolutely 100% ready for training camp.

Max Giese: For a typical NHL player in the summer, how soon do they begin training after their previous season ended?

Mike Potenza: NHL players always start early, typically two weeks after the season ended. A lot of our guys started training especially early this summer because they didn't want to stop, they were unsatisfied with their seasons ending early and rightfully so. You can see that desire to get better in their training this summer. From May 11th through June 11th tons of the guys stayed here in San Jose to train. Then the players went back home to work with their personal trainers. Some of the players came back on July 1st. Guys like Pavelski, Mitchell, and Setoguchi went home for about a month but they didn't stop training during that time either. Mitchell for example worked out with his strength trainer from the University of Vermont.

Max Giese: How many days a week, hours a day to they train?

Mike Potenza: Some NHL teams like to have their players workout four days a week, I personally do five days a week. I found that players will work out that fifth day anyways. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are the days any NHL player goes the hardest. Where we change it up is we split the Thursday workout into two days and workout Friday as well.

Max Giese: What about the European players like a Milan Michalek, do they train with their national teams or does he come to North America?

Mike Potenza: Milan went back home to the Czech Republic to work with his trainer there for a while. Then he spends time in Montreal working out with a trainer there. We keep in touch. I made sure he started slow and did some maintenance on his body. Then got back to it.

Max Giese: Are you in touch with all of the players throughout the summer and do most come to San Jose for a week or so to workout with you?

Mike Potenza: I stay in touch with all of them in the summer and it's very busy. Then it's about staying in touch with the Worcester guys during the season. I also need to stay in touch with all of the college and junior kids. It's about making a lot of phone calls and emails. For the German guys we use Skype. Some guys like Danny Boyle, Rob Blake, and Mike Grier when he was here I don't have to worry about. Grier for example did excellent training with his old strength coach at Boston University. I develop good relations with all of their trainers so we can communicate and make sure the player is working the right way on what he needs to be doing.

Max Giese: How involved are you with the Sharks scouting staff at the NHL combine?

Mike Potenza: The prospects there get ran through a battery of tests. It's been the same standard procedure for a few years now but some of the tests are new. Mostly we are looking for red flags and mechanical flaws. For example, if a guy is doing the jump exercise and lands awkwardly on one of his knees, it usually signifies a previous knee injury. We identify which players have room to grow physically and look for if a player has already physically peaked. I do a report on the prospects there and give those reports to the scouts and the general manager. They let me sit in on some of the interviews with the kids. I want to see if these kids have ever trained before and most importantly if they're willing to.

Max Giese: What are your thoughts on the Sharks top pick this year William Wrenn, does he have the maturity that often comes with a kid from the USNTDP (United States National Team Development program)?

Mike Potenza: There is a distinct maturity with William Wrenn. That comes from training with USA's great strength coach Darryl Nelson for two years. Still, Wrenn can physically mature even more and Denver has a great strength coach. A lot of it is in the technique for these Development Program kids. They know how to properly do the work outs and we don't have to explain them the proper techniques. They already know it.

Max Giese: How about the Sharks other second round draft choice Taylor Doherty, is he the impressive physical specimen that his combine numbers would indicate?

Mike Potenza: Doherty is physically ahead of the curve. He's obviously trained hard and he's very committed to getting better. So, he's not a project but at the same time we like how he has a lot of room to grow and is even going to get much better. He has already done the training and he's willing to do the work going forward.

Max Giese: Once the prospects are Sharks property, do the scouts tell you what a player needs to work on, like quickening his feet or getting stronger and then is it up to you to develop a work out regiment for him?

Mike Potenza: Yeah they give me their evaluations. if a player needs to physically get stronger or faster, say if they get pushed around on the ice and knocked off of their feet, we will facilitate that into their individualized workout regiments.

Max Giese: You talked about how at the combine you look for players that have room to grow physically. Was that the train of thought when you guys drafted Justin Daniels and Samuel Groulx, both promising players that other teams didn't like as much because they obviously needed a few years to add strength?

Mike Potenza: For kids like the Daniels twins, they now have no excuse but to get stronger because they will be in a college program. They will be training three days a week during the season and only having two games, plus the mandatory off day on Sunday to recover. For a kid like Samuel Groulx though, it's harder. The junior kids have a game schedule similar to the pro's and it makes it difficult for them to train. Some junior teams don't even have their kids train much during the season. I make contact with them at least once a month. I push the junior kids like Groulx hard until January, and then I back off. I email all of the kids once a month with questions. Such as what's your current weight? Are there any new injuries? What kind and how much training are you doing?

Max Giese: I know Logan Couture stayed out for an extra week to work with you after the development camp, how is he progressing this summer physically?

Mike Potenza: Logan did stay out here for an extra week and that's awesome. We put out an open invitation to everyone. We wanted to see who would take advantage of it. About ten guys chose to do it. They got to train with Pavelski, Mitchell, Setoguchi, and veterans like Patrick Marleau. These kids got to see how the NHL guys train and how other guys their own ages are training. Logan has good physical tools and he's good about training. The NHL is physically taxing and he will need to be able to keep up with the pace. Junior guys don't train much in the season so it will be new to Logan when he gets up here and is training during the season. For example, a guy like Joe Thornton is training all year. Logan will also need to learn how to properly recover and how to get through that wall. Every twenty or so games for him it's going to be about getting through another wall. Ryan Suter, who is one of the most physically impressive guys I ever worked with, spoke with me over the phone when he was playing in the AHL as a rookie for the Milwaukee Admirals. He kept telling me about how he had to break through a new wall about every twenty games or so. All young guys like Logan will have to learn how to get through that.

Max Giese: Now what about a prospect like Nick Petrecki, who has been pretty much sculpted out of concrete since he was 15 years old?

Mike Potenza: Nick is well put together (laughs). I actually saw him when I was in Wisconsin and we had him come in on a recruiting visit. He was built even back then and had great physical tools. So we already know what Nick's strengths are physically. Now we need to know his weaknesses. I'm making sure we are watching and taking preventive measures against groin problems and hip flexors, stuff like that. I had an old coach say that we all need to have a big black bag full of different techniques. Nick has a big black big full of strength, now we need to get him faster and more efficient in things like skating.

Max Giese: Everyone talks about getting bigger and stronger, but can veterans also get leaner, more agile, and quicker on their feet if they work hard at it over the summer?

Mike Potenza: Absolutely, yes he can. Blake has an amazing routine and discipline to take care of his body. After we signed him he came in last summer and saw me running some guys through lateral speed drills, he came up to me and asked if I could teach him how to do some of those things. He wanted to learn more. That's great to see as a coach and as a fan. This is a guy that still wants to learn and get better.

Max Giese: How important is a players nutrition over the summer and how involved are you and the Sharks with directing the players to what and how they need to be eating?

Mike Potenza: Nutrition is very important and we educate all of the players on eating right. We always use the analogy that you don't want to put bad gasoline in a Ferrari.

Sharks Notes

The Sharks signed two goaltenders yesterday in Thomas Greiss and newcomer Henrik Karlsson. Greiss is likely going to be Nabokov's backup this year but many want to know more about the 6-foot-6 Swedish goaltender. Sounds like Karlsson could be a late bloomer discovered by Shinn Larson, the Sharks scout based in Sweden. Also, Karlsson will be back playing in Sweden this coming season. As of now I don't have anything new on him to add but I'm contacting all my sources both inside and outside of the Sharks organization trying to get any information on him that I can.

Doug Wilson on Greiss: "After a tremendous season in Worcester and an outstanding playoffs, we are excited to have Thomas under contract for the next two seasons. His development towards becoming an NHL goaltender has continued to progress. We are very impressed with the work ethic and dedication he has put forth and the results have shown in his play. Thomas has worked hard since coming to North America and we really like where his game is at. He had a great year last season and was able to play in a lot of games. We think he is ready for the next challenge in his career.”

Doug Wilson on Karlsson: "We are very excited to have Henrik join our organization and look forward to his continued development. There were a number of goaltenders that we had our eye on this summer and Henrik was near the top of the list. Our guys really like him a lot and think there is a lot of potential there. We will continue to monitor his progress.”

There is an interesting rumor going around right now within the NHL scouting community that has San Jose as a possible host location for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Apparently Phoenix was going host the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but with the ownership issues that may no longer be the case. If Phoenix does indeed fall through, the other two cities right now in contention for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft are San Jose and Chicago.

[Update] The above video of a Mike Potenza workout came from a 2007 episode of the Sharks pregame show Shark Byte. Potenza put host Amy Gutierrez through a workout program that stressed lower body balance, flexibility, and strengthening core muscles with a focus on injury prevention. More episodes of Shark Byte can be viewed on Sharks TV.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Roenick post-retirement Chronicle Live interview highlights

After his retirement press conference at HP Pavilion, complete with guest calls by Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk and Chris Chelios, Jeremy Roenick appeared on Comcast Sporstnet Bay Area's Chronicle Live hourlong sportstalk show. Hosted by Greg Papa, Mercury News opinion columnist Mark Purdy and Yahoo NHL editor Ross McKeon were guests along with begrizzled comedian Richard Lewis for a segment.

A few rough highlights from the interview:

- The money quote from the nearly hour long program was Jeremy Roenick's comments to Doug Wison and Todd McLellan on what weaknesses the San Jose Sharks needed to overcome in the postseason. "I said one of the reasons this team has struggled is because everybody is comfortable. There is no coming in and wondering what is going to happen today, or a guy getting in someone's face and yelling like we used to do in the old days." Roenick continued, "we used to get into people's faces and literally demean them to where we are going to get them passionate and get their energy flowing. We have to come in there and have a sense of uneasiness, that they know if they don't pull their weight someone is going to come after them." Roenick listed general manager Doug Wilson, assistant captain Joe Thornton, and captain Patrick Marleau as some of those that needed to hold teammates responsible among others.

- On the comparison of Philadelphia Flyers fans to Chicago Blackhawks fans, Roenick said they were very similar but also very different. He characterized Philly fans as blue collar passionate without "any fear of what they look like, or what they sound like." He added, "if you don't give an honest effort and put your heart and soul into your playing and you don't go out there and work and grind, they will boo you right out of the city." Roenick said that he was not afraid to go into and play in a city where the fans were just like him.

- On (then Philadelphia Flyers general manager) Bobby Clarke, Roenick described him as a hard nosed guy who will tell it like it is. "He would look at you and say, Jeremy your just not good enough right now, not good enough. You got to get going... Philly needs more from you." He also told a story about wearing a yellow wig and stealing Clarke's cooperalls and dressing as the former captain of the Broadstreet Bullies. "I saw him laugh harder than I have ever seen him when I stepped onto the ice."

- On playing on the West Coast, Roenick pointed out that his first tenure with the Coyotes coincided with the move of Winnipeg to Phoenix. "We had the burden of trying to sell a winter sport in a summer climate," Roenick told Greg Papa. "We had a lot of snowbirds... but there were a lot of people who did not understand the game... It was up to us to teach them. Some people cheered more for the fights than for the goals. It was difficult." He mentioned the players making a lot of public appearances in the community to help build more interest in the game. Roenick also recounted the Coyotes selling out the America West Arena, and the Winnipeg "sea of white" tradition taken up by fans in Phoenix.

- About playing in non-traditional markets, Roenick said that you can let your guard down more when the media attention and fan pressure is not as high. "I know if I had a bad game, it wasn't going to be in every paper from New York down to Philly. In Chicago there was 2 different papers and 5 different writers, they knew JR was terrible last night... people are more respectful out here, the media is more respectful. To tell you the truth they just love the game, they are not out to brutalize you because you played bad," Roenick said.

- Roenick quoted Mike Keenan, "negative energy is better than no energy at all."

- On his last 2 seasons with the San Jose Sharks, Roenick described them as the 2 most "satisfying" years of his career. They allowed him gain his respectability back and prove to critics that he could still play the game. "I was nervous... I am sure the people here in San Jose, San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area were asking what is Doug Wilson doing, bringing in this overage over the hill player." He stuck to a strict game plan of keeping his mouth shut, behaving off the ice, working hard on the ice, and serving as a mentor for younger players on the team.

- Roenick described the fans in San Jose at length, and said he was surprised how quickly a connection was made. He said the support and appreciation on and off the ice was "constant", and that he will never forget how he was treated by the 10th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. "It makes my career complete to finish where people respect me," he added.

[Update] ”Tinkering is important, bringing in some fresh faces is important. But blowing it up would be a big mistake” — Jeremy Roenick on David Pollak's Working the Corners Blog.

[Update2] Roenick's mouth, heart will be missed — Adam Proteau for The Hockey News.

Sticking it out that long took tons of guts. But what really separates J.R. from the rest – at least, for me – is his unparalleled courage in taking on the giants of the game in an effort to improve the sport.

When it came to being not only an ambassador, but a fierce advocate for hockey, there simply was no player better suited for the role than Roenick.

His heart always was there on his sleeve for all to see – and he didn’t care in the slightest if its public pumping irked those at the highest levels of the game. As long as he was speaking his mind to keep hockey in the spotlight and expand its popularity, he was as prepared to rip former NHL Players’ Association czar Bob Goodenow as he was to blast commissioner Gary Bettman.

[Update3] Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski asked bloggers in Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Jose to reminisce about Jeremy Roenick's legacy in each of those cities: Roundtable: Breaking down Roenick's legacy, team by team. I contributed a few thoughts on Roenick's 2 years in San Jose. Yahoo's NHL editor Ross McKeon also breaks down Roenick's chances for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Jeremy Roenick retirement press conference notes and photos

Jeremy Roenick tears up when discussing finishing career in San Jose
San Jose Sharks general manager and Chicago Blackhawks teammate Doug Wilson
San Jose Sharks fans Jeremy Roenick press conference
HP Pavilion Jeremy Roenick NHL retirement press conference

After 20 NHL seasons, Jeremy Roenick retired as one of the top U.S.-born players to ever play the game. In an emotional press conference at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Roenick gave tribute to past teammates, recounted several colorful career highlights, and reaffirmed his dedication to the sport and the fans.

Below is a transcript of Roenick's opening remarks:

"I wanted to thank everyone for coming here. I don't want to say I looked forward to this, but I dreamed about this. I want to thank you for being a part of it. Deal with me while I tell a lot of stories, talk about a lot of friendships, talk about a lot of teams and about people who really meant a lot to me. I said I wasn't going to cry, but I will. Trust me."

"I spent a lot of time with Doug Wilson over the last 2 months trying to understand where I was in my career, where I was in my life. It wasn't that hard of a decision. It was a very easy decision to make. I had the help of a very, very good friend and the support of my family to make this decision to retire from the National Hockey League. I have been really, really blessed with the places I have played, the cities I have been in, and the players I have played with."

"I remember 18 years old coming into Chicago, 158 pounds. My agent wouldn't let me get on the scale at the draft because I was so small. He was afraid I wasn't going to be drafted. I was drafted by Chicago 8th overall as a high school kid. I had the pleasure of rooming with Mr. Doug Wilson here when I was 18. He taught me a lot about the game, a lot about what it means to be a professional. Steve Larmer, Michel Goulet, Chris Chelios and Denis Savard, these guys had such an impact on me as a youngster, I don't think words can describe how much I love and respect them for that."

"Mike Keenan, one of the craziest sons of bitches I have ever seen. Scared the hell out of me into adapting the way that I played the game of hockey. I told this story many times, he grabbed me by the throat in a game in Kalamazoo and scared me so bad that if I didn't hit the next guy I saw, that I would never play in the National Hockey League. I believed him. If you ever saw his eyes, you believed everything Mike Keenan said. I really believed, that because of him, he is why I played the game how I played it."

"One of the best captains, Dirk Graham which Doug will attest, taught me how to be a professional, taught me how to deal with my teammates, deal with the good and the bad. One of my best memories, which I think is really cool, was playing with Tony Amonte. We were high school linemates, best friends. I don't think it has every happened where linemates in high school, dominated, scored goals like crazy and had so much fun in high school got to do it in the National Hockey League as well. We did it again in Philly. That is something that might not ever happen again. Two high school kids playing in the National Hockey League and dominating the way Tony and I did."

"Then Chicago got crazy and traded me. At the time, I regretted a lot of the things that happened. I moved on and went to Phoenix, played hockey in the desert. I had to try to teach people what icings, slapshots and offsides were. That was a lot of fun, but I knew times were changing when I got a knock on the door, and one of my very good friends was there. He said, 'hi Jeremy, Richard Burke the owner of the team, I would like to welcome you to town'. He said I have some good news, and I have some bad news, what do you want first. Give me the good news. Good news is I just bought a house, bad news is that it is right next door to you. I knew that I had made it big when I was living next to the owner. Richard Burke, he is a special man I will remember forever."

"Keith Tkachuk, Teppo Numminen, Craig Janney, some of the guys I played with in Phoenix, and some of my greatest friends. Keith Tkachuk is argueably one of the best Americans to play the sport and I am very happy to call him my friend. Then I went on to Philly, Rick Tocchet, still a very close friend of mine. He convinced me to come and play for Bobby Clarke, a great ambassador for the sport and one of the greatest men I have ever been associated with. I loved his grit. I understand now why Philly fans are the way that they are. Passion that Philadelphia fans have, we had a really great bond between myself and Philly fans because it was like we were both blue collar. I like to play hard, I like to bring my energy and my passion, and they love to cheer and watch, and yell and scream. They would even boo Santa Claus if he wasn't good. These were fans I really associated myself with and made me so proud to put on a Philadelphia Flyer uniform. Mr. Snider, who I gave a hug to when he signed me. Not to often when you see a player hugging and owner, which I seem to do quite often."

"Mark Recchi, Keith Primeau, Simon Gagne are some of the players I played with when I was there are still today some of my greatest friends... they taught me a lot of things about how to deal with other people. My career kind of changed a little bit in Philly. I got hit with a slapshot in the face that broke my jaw in 19 places in February. I fought back from that and had a great playoff season. Got another concussion at the end of the playoffs and kind of seemed to change the way I played a little bit. Kind of scared to play the get in front of the net and go to the corners, my career had taken a little bit of a change."

"Then the lockout came. The Philadelphia Flyers asked me if I would move on and let Peter Forsberg come in, which I was happy to do. I believe Philadelphia deserves the best team possible to obtain their goals. So I went to LA to finish off the last year of my contract. Had a year off from playing, and it was a really difficult time for me. It was hard physically, it was hard mentally. People don't realize for 6 months I had a lot of problems with concussions, with my jaw, battling some of the injuries I sustained. LA was not very good for me. I don't want to apologize for the way I played in LA, but I do want to say that I gave my heart. I gave what I had, my passion was there. The fact that I got to play with Luc Robitaille was one of the biggest things that happened in my career. He is one of the greatest friends, and greatest people I have ever met."

"Then I moved on to Phoenix again and my career just seems to be down. I'm down. I think it is all over. I am getting ready to say I retire, maybe make a couple of texts. This is where I might get emotional. Sometimes in life you have friends that come and save you. Just when I thought it was all over, a great career, a career that I am really proud of was leaving and I wasn't able to say goodbye to it."

"Then Doug Wilson called me. I was at a golf tournament and he asked me to fly down here to San Jose. Talk with him maybe about coming here to San Jose. I was a little bit overweight, by about 20 pounds (Doug Wilson "25"). I remember he said do you think you can still play this game. I said Doug I know I can still play this game. He said do you still love the game. I said Doug, I love this game, I love this league, I love the players I have played with, I love being in front of the fans, I love doing all of the things being an NHL player brings you. He said that is all I need to hear. We will work out a deal, you will come to San Jose."

"I worked really hard for a month, and I came and I worked, and I worked. Doug Wilson and the San Jose Sharks gave me my life back. They gave me my passion back. They gave me my love for the game back. Most importantly, they gave me my respect back. That has helped me with my family, with my wife and kids, with myself alone. I can not express to you the gratitude I have for Doug Wilson, the San Jose Sharks, Kevin Compton and Greg Jamison. This city has brought me back to life. When I walk down the street, there is always a 'hi', there is always a 'we love you', there is always a pat on the back. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would have that again."

"Now I sit here being able to make my own decision about when to retire. I make my own decision to hang them up. I can move on and open up a door for another young person to come in and play. I owe that all to Doug Wilson and the San Jose Sharks. Some of the guys here, Joe Thornton might be one of the greatest people I have ever played with and one of my best friends. Joe Pavelski, Setoguchi and Mitchell were the guys that I kind of took under my wing and tried to teach them the same things that Doug, Diry, Saavy and Goulet tought to me 21 years ago. These kids are great kids. I am going to really enjoy turning on the tv and watching them grow. Getting a phone call from them and telling them they need to get their butts going because they are not playing well enough, or that they are playing out of their minds great."

"Lastly, I would like to tell you a quick story. This will tell you why I am the way I am. I was 7 years old, and I lived in Hartford, Conn. We used to go watch the Hartford Whalers skate all the time. We got off the ice and over by the glass and I would watch Gordie Howe, Mark Howe and Marty as they would for the Hartford Whalers. I had my head over and I was watching these guys skate in awe. Gordie Howe picked up a full bunch of snow on his stick and dumped it on my head. I thought that was the coolest thing that ever happened to me in my life. Then he skated around and looked at me again and he winked. For those 3 seconds it was me and Gordie Howe and nobody else. He recognized me, and did something with me and nobody else. That moment stuck with me for years and years because I know what that made me feel like."

"It was little, it was small, it took nothing out of his power or his time, but it resonated my whole life. So as a player as I grew older I tried to reach out to fans, reach out to kids, whether I am on the ice or on the street. Whether I am in a restaurant. I will throw a puck to a kid, I have been known to reach through the glass and grab some popcorn from a kids hands. I try to do little things where I can make the same impressions on a young child that Gordie Howe made with me. That is a gift. That is a gift that was given to me that I made sure that I did every single day. Without the fans, without their support the NHL would be nothing, NFL would be nothing, basketball and baseball right down the line. I hope that us as players, Seto, Mitchy, Pavs, don't ignore them. Give them your time. Give them your energy because it doesn't take very much. Some people might give you some grief and say pay attention, but it doesn't take but 3 seconds out of your day to make sure you appreciate the people who appreciate you."

"It goes a long way. That was something that was instilled in me by Gordie Howe, Doug Wilson, and all the great players I played with. It is a great day for me. I am very, very happy it is time. I had the greatest career I could imagine, I played with the best people I could imagine. My body can't do it anymore. My head still loves the game. My passion is still in the game. I know that truely in my heart it is time to leave the National Hockey League. I want to thank all of you for supporting me, for being my friends, whether it is writing, emailing or texting, it has been the greatest career I could ever possibly imagine. Thank you very much."

"One last thing, I would like to thank my wife Tracy for dealing with me for the last 21 years of NHL life, my son Brett and daughter Brandi, my agent Neil Abbott who stuck with me through thick and thin, he came to see me when I was 14 years old, he came to be my friend and second father (Neil: 'big brother'), second father, before we were even business partners. I have to thank my mom and dad. They gave so much to me when I was a kid. If it wasn't for them in the car, driving hours and hours, terrible smells in the back of the car. My dad giving up his job and moving to Boston where I would have a better place to play hockey and I wouldn't have to leave home. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here."

A photo gallery from the press conference is available here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jeremy Roenick set to announce retirement at Thursday press conference in San Jose

Jeremy Roenick San Jose Sharks NHL retirement press conference 500th goal son Brett
Jeremy Roenick San Jose Sharks NHL third leading American born goal scorer
San Jose Sharks center Jeremy Roenick set to announce retirement Thursday in San Jose

The Fourth Period and Comcast Sportsnet broke the news that Sharks center Jeremy Roenick would announce his retirement at a Thursday press conference in San Jose. One of the most flamboyant, competitive and vocal players in the game, Roenick served as a de facto ambassador for the NHL.

Two days after the San Jose Sharks were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 6 games by the Anaheim Ducks, Jeremy Roenick wore his heart on his sleeve:

[Q]Do you have another year in you?

[JR] I don't know, I need to take a little while. Have some conversations with the organization, the coaching staff, with my family. Make the decision in a few weeks, in a couple of months. Whatver I decide, it could go either way for me right now. I am not going to make any decisions quickly.

You don't understand the feeling you get as a professional athlete, being on the ice, being on the field, being in a situation where you are surrounded by as many fans as we are. The emotion, the noise, the adrenaline that goes through you. It's addictive. Standing there and feeling that this could be the last time I am in this sort of atmosphere, it was scary for me. I don't want to say it is an eye opener, you know when your whole life flashes before your eyes. I kind of had one of those feelings going through my whole career, hoping it wasn't the last time, trying to gather it all in.

The 20-year veteran became only the third American-born National Hockey League player (along with Mike Modano-543 and Joe Mullen-502, later joined by Keith Tchkuck-525) to register 500 goals on November 10th, 2007. A casual Roenick dump-in took an awkward bounce off the boards and was tapped into the net by Phoenix goaltender Alex Auld. Roenick celebrated by taking son Brett for a lap around the rink, as well as posing with him for several postgame photos in the Sharks lockerroom.

Roenick registered 513 goals and 1216 points in 1363 games played for Chicago, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Jose. The Boston native played in 9 Allstar Games (91, 92, 93, 94, 00, 02, 03, 04), and represented Team USA at the 1998 and 2006 Winter Olympics.

Roenick was signed by the San Jose Sharks on September 4th, 2007. "I feel like I've gotten a second chance at life on a team where I can fit in and just go along with the flow and try to help as much as I can," Roenick told reporters after joining the team. He repeatedly thanked former Chicago Blackhawks teammate and current San Jose EVP/GM Doug Wilson for giving him a chance to finish his career in a positive fashion. Roenick registered 14 goals (10 of them game winning) and 33 points in 69 games played his first season in Teal. A shoulder injury limited #27 to 42 games and 9 points in 2008-09, but he briefly provided a spark against Anaheim in the playoffs on a 4th line with Torrey Mitchell and Jonathan Cheechoo.

Attending the press conference Thursday will be Roenick's longtime agent Neil Abbott, Sharks President and CEO Greg Jamison, General Manager and EVP Doug Wilson, head coach Todd McLellan and several San Jose Sharks players. According to, the press conference will be streamed live at 11AM (PT) on Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area, and the official website. Roenick is also scheduled to be a guest Thursday night on the hour long Chronicle Live sportstalk program on CSNBA (5PM PT).

[Update] Q&A: Jeremy Roenick talks NHL Awards, hockey in Vegas and his place in pop culture lore, 20-year NHL veteran will present at next Thursday’s ceremony at the Palms - Las Vegas Sun.

RG: Now last question. I always told myself that if I ever interviewed you, this was what I had to ask. My favorite movie quote of all time...
JR: Swingers. The best.

RG: How many times are you reminded of that a week?
JR: Twenty times a week. Easily 20 times a week. Sega NHL 94. Greatest game of all-time.

RG: No question.
JR: It was rated one of the top three games of all-time, and if I had a nickel for every time someone said they got through college or played as me in college and won money, or played where the rules were you couldn't be Chicago or something like that, I wouldn't have to play this game for money, either...

RG: I grew up a Blackhawks fan, but always used Boston, because I thought Cam Neely ruled on that game. Who was better on that game: You or Neely?
JR: Oh I was definitely better. No question. I had a better scoring touch. Neely might have been a little tougher, but my rating was way higher than his.

"I will make Wayne Gretzky's head bleed for superfan99 over here."

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ottawa rumor mill reports Senators turned down Sharks offer of Cheechoo, Ehrhoff and 1st for spurned winger Dany Heatley

San Jose Sharks right wing Jonathan Cheechoo Ottawa Senators trade rumor Dany Heatley

Trade rumors surrounding disgruntled Ottawa Senators left winger Dany Heatley picked up over the weekend based on a Saturday report from Ottawa Sun rumormeister Bruce Garrioch: Habs could facilitate Heatley trade to Sharks.

Garrioch "reports" that Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray turned down a package of right wing Jonathan Cheechoo, German offensive-defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and a 1st round draft pick for left wing Dany Heatley. According to Garrioch, the Senators wanted no part of Cheechoo in the trade, and the Sharks for their part allegedly have never offered captain Patrick Marleau. An anonymous "league executive" speculated that a third team may be brought in to facilitate the deal, possibly the Montreal Canadiens.

The news surfaced one day after the Edmonton Oilers publicly backed out of their extended negotiations to acquire Heatley. "We gave ourselves an allotted amount of time internally... to explore every opportunity to see if there was something that would work -- it didn't," Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini told reporters during a conference call.

The latest leaked information almost assuredly comes from the Ottawa side or from player/agent sources because San Jose has locked down discussions about possible trade partners as a team policy. Earlier this summer San Jose Sharks EVP/GM Doug Wilson was not pleased when news that he turned down a Jason Chimera for Christian Ehrhoff trade proposal was made public by the Columbus Post Dispatch.

That Ehrhoff was a part of both rumored trade proposals could signal a willingness to take another direction on the blueline. Rob Blake signed a 1-year, $3.5 million contract to remain in San Jose. Boyle, Vlasic and Murray are all signed long term. If Ehrhoff is part of a trade for Heatley and Blake finishes his career in 2009-10, that would put tremendous pressure on organizational blueline depth that has been severely depleted by several offseason and trade deadline acquisitions.

One of those trade deadline acquisitions was Anaheim Ducks defenseman Kent Huskins, who did not play in San Jose due to a foot injury. Huskins has been described as a "late bloomer" and a "hockey rat" by GM Doug Wilson, and was also compared to Stanley Cup winning defenseman Robert Scuderi. The Sharks have seven veteran NHL defenseman currently under contract, and an NHL-ready Derek Joslin ready to assume a depth role. With less than $1 million left in cap space according to, at least one member of the San Jose defense will continue to surface in trade rumors for the forseeable future.

That Ottawa allegedly didn't "want anything to do" with right wing Jonathan Cheechoo according to Garrioch is short-sided and foolish. His heavy shot and quick release have not diminished in the slightest, and he remains a deadly option for any power play. Cheechoo struggled with a broken thumb and a double hernia surgery which limited his production to 37 goals and 23 goals the two seasons after his Rocket Richard winning 56 in 2005-06. This year Cheechoo was the odd man out in a numbers game that saw seven top-6 forwards in the same lineup. Cheechoo was relegated to limited minutes on a third line that was racked with injuries (Goc, Plihal, Marleau, Roenick).

Cheechoo has struggled to regain the form that allowed him to slide into open areas in front of the net, but in the proper situation he should be a lock for at least 20-30 goals. Dany Heatley on the other hand has piled up 180 goals over the past 4 NHL seasons. This latest offer by San Jose could be a matter of not enough of an offensive return for Ottawa. The options Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray has are quickly drying up, and the baggage Heatley carries with him along with the $7.5 million cap hit over over the next 5 seasons is going to significantly limit the quality of offers he will receive.

[Update] Purdy: Heatley heats up Sharks' trade rumors - SJ Mercury News.

[Update2] Heatley wanted out, but now he won't leave - Lyle Richardson for

Heatley, one of the top forwards for the Ottawa Senators, stunned the hockey world over a month ago by submitting a trade request. Apart from brief statements from his agents, Heatley hasn't publicly spoken about it.

Senators general manager Bryan Murray has tried to oblige Heatley but it hasn't been easy. The winger is heading into the second year of a seven-year contract worth over $7 million per season, which significantly limits his market value. The contract also comes with a "no-movement" clause meaning he cannot be traded or demoted without his permission.

[Update3] The Montreal Gazette's Mike Boone, also wary of the rampant Heatley trade speculation, notes on Habs Inside Out that the most recent iteration included Heatley to SJ, Mike Cammalleri and Sharks 1st to Ottawa, Cheechoo and Ehrhoff to Montreal.

GJ Berg: Circus in the Desert (8/3 update)

Just when things were looking good for a sale on Wednesday (8/5) and the end of the matter, the world blows up; somewhat.

In the past couple of weeks, Reinsdorf/Glendale Hockey LLC and Jones-LeBlanc/Ice Edge LLC have been working on finishing up their bids in advance of Wednesday's scheduled auction. But things were reaching a frenzy trying to get everything done to have final bids (with agreements with all appropriate creditors, and the basis of a new lease for the arena), and a Monday 8/3 hearing was scheduled.

Over the weekend, it is alleged that Moyes, the current majority owner, and his lawyers released confidential bid information. The City of Glendale is requesting Moyes and his lawyers found in contempt of court for this action. Reinsdorf is threatening to pull his bid due to the release of information.

So the hearing was held Monday. With an overwhelming majority of parties requesting delay of the scheduled 8/5 auction, it's been moved to September 10. And on Wednesday, the judge will determine if it's an "all comer" (non-relo and relocation) auction, or not. In addition, on Wednesday, he'll be discussing information about contempt of court for Moyes and his lawyers.

So, the saga continues. -------- Update 8/5: Contempt hearing delayed. Baum rules that 9/10 auction can include relocaion bids. Puck Daddy update.

San Jose Earthquakes earn first shutout of the season with 4-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC

San Jose Earthquakes striker Cornell Glen Seattle Sounders FC MLS Kasey Keller
San Jose Earthquakes Darren Huckerby goal Seattle Sounders FC MLS
Seattle Sounders FC fans MLS San Jose Earthquakes

The "Summer of Soccer" continued in the Bay Area Sunday with what may have been its most anticipated event. Celebrating the 35th anniversary of the original NASL Earthquakes, a weekend of related activities was capped off with several former players being honored at halftime during the San Jose vs Seattle Sounders FC match in Santa Clara. Asked by this blog how Buck Shaw Stadium compared with the bruising confines of Spartan Stadium, one former player said it was "hotter and smaller". The NASL alumni festivities, along with a Gold Cup double header featuring Mexico, and exhibitions by Club America, Chivas, Barcelona FC and Inter Milan have kept the soccer calender busy this summer. The San Jose Earthquakes and FC Gold Pride have failed to build on that excitment, as each languishes at the bottom of their respective conferences.

Before many fans finished taking their seats at Buck Shaw Stadium, Cornell Glenn lifted a pass in front of Ryan Johnson down the right wing. Johnson controlled the ball with a mid-air touch on the fly, and a centering lob deflected off Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso passed keeper Kasey Keller. The goal in the second minute was a portent of things to come for San Jose. The Earthquakes pressed hard with goals by Cornell Glen (54th minute, Shea Salinas, Ramon Sanchez), Darren Huckerby (78th minute) and Chris Wondolowski (84th minute, Shea Salinas) to earn a 4-0 win, and register their first shutout of the MLS season.

Sunday's matinee against Seattle FC also was the debut of new Brazilian midfielder Andre Luiz Moreira. The 34-year old former national team member and veteran of quality sides in Brazil (Sao Paulo, Corinthians, Cruzeiro, Fluminense), France (Olympique de Marseille, Paris Saint-Germain FC and AC Ajaccio) and Spain (Tenerife) was signed by Earthquakes general manager John Doyle Friday. Luiz was joined in the midfield by El Salvador national team captain Ramon Sanchez, who was acquired by SJ a week earlier.

The pair added stability up the middle despite a scare for Luiz early in the first half. After going up to challenge for a header, a Seattle player came down on his elbow. Luiz returned to finish out his first game in San Jose. Last season the Earthquakes added Darren Huckerby, Arturo Alvarez, Scott Sealy and Francisco Lima in-season to provide more scoring punch up front. This season, San Jose is second worst in the MLS with 35 goals against. They were winless in 4-games leading up to Sunday, and they remain winless in 9 attempts on the road with a crippling -13 GF/GA ratio.

Luiz and Sanchez provided patience under limited fire Sunday. The Seattle Sounders FC registered only 2 shots on goal, the best coming when Joe Cannon mishandled a ball played back to him in the 26th minute. As Cannon tried to reverse direction, the ball carried behind him and he was forced to hold the opposition to prevent a goal against. With the additions of Luiz and Sanchez, along with the play of McDonald and Hernandez on the back end, San Jose went a long way towards addressing their defensive liabilities in a very short period. "I think the new players did a good job of not so much making the spectacular play, but keeping the team moving the ball, and being in the right spot at the right time," SJ head coach Frank Yallop said after the game.

The loss of Ronnie O'Brien in the offseason and an earlier injury to Huckerby broke up the Earthquakes creativity on the wing. In that role, midfielder Bobby Convey has been a disappointment. At times Convey has struggled on set pieces, and both the effort and the accuracy has not lived up to expectations for the USMNT and EPL veteran. To date, he has registered only 1 goal and 1 assist in 16 games played.

Trinidadian striker Cornell Glen may have played his best game as a San Jose Earthquake. Glenn appeared to be testing his range early. He launched a hard shot from outside the box early in the 1st, followed by a second shot later in the half that forced Kasey Keller to punch the ball over the crossbar. Early in the 2nd Glenn slid to an open spot to receive a pass from Salinas, dropped a defender to his knees with a hard ball fake, and buried a left footed shot just inside the post to give San Jose breathing room and a 2-0 lead.

Seattle FC was playing down a man after defender James Riley received a red card for a hard tackle in the 33rd minute. In his first MLS season, longtime USMNT and EPL goaltender Kasey Keller kept the Sounders in the game with several critical saves. He finished with 10 on the match to Joe Cannon's 1. Huckerby served a touch pass to Glen along the goalline in the 72nd minute as the Sounders defense tried to push forward for an offsides. Keller held on to the near post (pictured above) as Glen set up a teammate for a hard blast over the top of the net.

The Quakes were able to punch through twice more. Two quick passes set up Darren Huckerby for a point blank shot in the 78th minute. Keller and a defender were there to block the play, but they could not control the rebound. Huckerby, his legs always moving, was first to the ball despite being surrounded by 3 Sounders. He buried a tap-in goal from 3 feet out for his 3rd goal of the season. Shea Salinas earned his second assist, and earned player of the match honors, setting up Chris Wondolowski for the final goal in the 84th minute.

A small photo gallery from the game is available here. Video highlights from the MLS are available with Spanish audio here. Another photo gallery from's Joe Nuxoll is available here.

[Update] Quakes pound Sounders, 4-0 -

“Obviously, it was a much-need three points for us, given the situation we’re at in the table,” said Yallop. “The performance…it was a follow-on to the second half against D.C., and I think hopefully we can have that standard every game.

“You can’t play well all the time, but the standard was there from our endeavor, our fight, and our scrapping, which we’ve been maybe missing a little bit this year.”

[Update2] Longtime South Bay writer Gary Singh authored an awesome look back at the Quakes of old in cover article for the latest issue of the San Jose Metro: Summer Shakers. Singh also included a photo of himself with former Quakes star Laurie Calloway from a soccer camp. I also participated in 2 soccer camps with former Earthquakes players, and in the highlight video of George Best's fantastic goal at Spartan Stadium you can actually see me and my brother Chris Swenson at the 41 second mark. That video was shown during halftime at the San Jose vs Seattle match.

[Update3] Seattle falls to San Jose -

[Update4] Sounders FC stumbles against lowly San Jose 4-0, Early own goal, red card help send Seattle to its worst loss of season - Seattle Times.

The elements were certainly in place for Sounders FC to fall victim to a trap game. And Seattle fell head-first to the worst team in Major League Soccer's Western Conference. Sounders FC began the second half of the season in woeful fashion, falling 4-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday at Buck Shaw Stadium.