San Jose Sharks Hewlett Packard “Chalk Talk” question and answer session with Todd McLellan, Devin Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski
Sharkspage still has an email out to the team on the status of the State of the Sharks, but earlier this month head coach Todd McLellan, Devin Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski held a question and answer session with employees from title sponsor Hewlett Packard. Due to the rough cameraphone video quality, a few quotes from the “chalk talk” will be posted shortly.
A partial transcript from the Chalk Talk:
San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan:
We are signing different players, we are trying to find the right ingredients to make our team work for a full nine and a half months, not just the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We have to get there first and we are building it. I am sure that happens here everyday as well, with your HR people and your management team. Everybody is important, everybody has a role to play. As soon as it gets weak and some link, nothing happens with our hockey club. I am sure that can be the same here at HP.
How are we going to win the Stanley Cup? I guess we have to win 8 more games than we did last year. Like every year, we have a ton of pressure on our hockey club in the first round of the playoffs. This year Colorado gave us a scare, but it is something we are accustomed to, we are used to it. We end up being one of the top seeded teams every year in the playoffs and there is a big target on your back. The sporting world and the media world loves an underdog, so often you are not picked to succeed. We found a way to get by Colorado last year, we want on to play one of our nemisis and Joe Pavelski was a big part of that, and Devin Setoguchi.
We went on to play against our nemisis in Detroit. I thought that was a real growth moment for our organization to eliminate the Red Wings and to move on and play against Chicago. That is the part of the playoffs I am looking back on, hoping we can take a step forward. Obviously the Chicago series we went out 4-0. I don’t think anyone in our organization or their organization thought it would be 4-0. It didn’t feel like a 4-0 series, it was very close. Unfortunately we were on the short end of it. We have some work to do, we think we are growing. We think we have a group that is still learning how to win, and still learn how to compete. These two are a big part of it.
Rob Blake was a real steadying influence in the locker room and on the ice. We have to find a way, not to replace him, but to fill a little bit of his hole, and everybody else has to pick up some of the slack. We feel we have some young defenseman in our organization, Jason Demers is one of them that has spent 30-40 games with us now. We expect him to put a full year in. Derek Joslin, who played in Worcester, our minor league affiliate can also come in and do the job. As you mentioned, Doug (Wilson) is still out there sniffing around at possible options that still may exist. I do believe that growth has to come from within, we can’t keep going outside the organization and chasing the next star and throwing money at them. We have a responsibility as an organization to develop some of our own draft picks. That is where Joslin and Demers have to come in and perform, Mike Moore is another name you might hear. There are a number of others in the minor league system that we think are close. It is a matter of what they do at training camp, and how they fit in.
…the situation in Worcester is a little different than it is here in San Jose. I was luckly enough to experience that a little in the American Hockey League as a coach. You have two forms of winning down there. You have to win by winning games and championships, that is your ultimate goal. But you also win by finding a way to develop players for the parent club. A lot of times those players are put in situations where they can experience success or failure. Some of them may not normally play on the power play when they come to San Jose, but they get a lot of power play time in Worcester. The coaching staff and the management staff there has to be given a little bit of leeway to mould their team the way they see fit to achieve both winning goals. Ultimately when we talk about playing a certain system or playing like these guys would, we sit down with the coaches and give them our terminology, our system, but we do give them that freedom to wander a little bit so they can have the success they need.
Obviously I expected to take a couple of questions on the Nabby situation. Nabby gave us everything he absolutely had for a number of years. He was a big part of our family, and a big part of the community, and we wish him well. It is just the way business is, you can tie that in to HP. Sometimes decisions have to be made that aren’t popular. Sometimes they are business decisions, money decisions. Sometimes they are just ability decisions. We had to make one, and Nabby had to make one this year. He moves on, and we wish him well. To fill his hole, we signed a Finnish goalie Antero Niittymaki. He has played in the NHL about 6 years. Spent a lot of time in Philadelphia, a single season in Tampa Bay last year. We also talked about the Olympics earlier, the Olympics prior to this year he was actually the MVP and he lead Finland to a very good showing. He has the ability to come in and play. With that being said, we also have Thomas Griess. Thomas didn’t get an opportunity to show his teammates, his coaching staff or you as fans how strong he is as a goaltender last year, we rode Nabby. It was a decision we made as a coaching staff and an organization. Thomas will get more of an opportunity this year to assume a bigger role. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter to me who plays in goal as long as they are competitive, pulling their weight, and doing what they can to win.
San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski:
Both teams (Chicago and San Jose) have improved, each team has more experience now. Chicago won a cup, and you have all those players… That being said, you look at our team and we didn’t lose many guys. I think 5, and we added a couple more pieces. Our team has that same experience and that same drive. Hopefully that is going to put us towards a cup this year.
We played 6 or 7 games (for Team USA at the Olympics), then we had a couple of days off. That kind of intensity and excitement, and especially being in Canada the way it is scrutinized. You have to put yourself in every game, all out. You definitely raise your game at times. If you didn’t, you were going to get left behind. Came back and I think we had 3 games before a 5 or 6 day break. When you came back you were definitely drained, when you left Vancouver it was just the Whole Olympic experience, the buzz, the energy around town. You came back and it felt real still. That is just what the Olympics is all about, and why it is great. In a way you take from it and you learn, and it made me a better player.
You can’t let up at any moment (against Chicago). If we score a couple more goals in the first game, it is a totally different series. It is one or two bounces. We saw it happen against Detroit on the power play. Any time they took a penalty, we were able to capitalize. You can put teams down in a hurry.
San Jose Sharks winger Devin Setoguchi:
It is going to start with what Pavs said, it is all about experience and a learning curve. For myself, this will be my third season going into the NHL. In the first three years I learned a lot, from a lot of different players starting with Jeremy Roenick, Claude Lemieux, Rob Blake… all those guys. You see what it takes for them and what they go through every game to prepare, and mentally be engaged in the game. I was always taught that the game is 98% mental, and 2% physical. For myself last year I had a couple of injuries that mentally kind of drained me throughout the season. Now this is a year where for myself and for the team, I want to play a bigger role and move forward, and do the things I did before. For myself it is a big year, and a big year for the team. We have all the pieces we need to get to where we need to be. It starts next month during training camp, and it is a process that is going to build. We move forward every day, you just have to learn from your experiences.
Video courtesy of friend of the blog ST. Also thanks to the printer division at HP, which helped this blog in the past without even knowing about it, as well as the HP division near Moffett in Mountain View.