SAN JOSE — Mid-to-late December is a busy time of year off of the ice, and is even busier for the San Jose Sharks on the ice. The Sharks will play nine games in the month’s final 20 days, including a four-game, eight-day road trip that begins tomorrow when the Sharks fly to Toronto.
“There’s a lot of things going on in December,” head coach Pete DeBoer said. “Christmas and families and distractions, and we’ve still got six or seven games here where we have to make sure we take care of business and show up.”
Normally, a road trip is a chance to get away from it all. For many of the Sharks players and coaches, the busy nature of the holidays will follow them.
With stops in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Chicago, many Sharks will be returning to the areas where they grew up. Seven Sharks players are from Ontario, one is from Quebec, and one is from Illinois.
DeBoer and assistant coach Steve Spott are both from Ontario as well. The head coach is excited to see some snow and his family, but thinks the off-ice business has a greater chance to affect his players than his coaching staff.
“This is really the season of distractions,” Deboer said. “It really is. The teams that can stay the most focused and on task usually have success.
“If you’re at home, it’s visitors and tickets, and things like that. If you’re on the road, especially going through Canada, there’s a lot of noise with that.”
Schlemko skates, Vlasic remains “day-to-day”
David Schlemko skated at the Sharks’ optional practice this morning. Schlemko has not played since he picked up an injury in a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens nine days ago.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic was among the many players that did not skate, a day after he left the second period of the Sharks’ 4-3 win over Carolina. Vlasic’s status has not changed since after the game last night, but he has gotten better and will travel on the road trip, according to DeBoer.
“I would call him day-to-day,” DeBoer said. “[He made] a big improvement today, but we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
“[We’re] almost as comfortable as with our forward depth,” DeBoer said. “You’ve got obviously [Dylan] DeMelo. He’s been here all year, steps in seamlessly. Mirco Mueller is chomping at the bit to get a look. There’s some other guys down there, I’ve heard [Tim] Heed is playing very well. There’s some guys down that are waiting in the wings there for an opportunity.”
Mirco Mueller was reassigned to the Barracuda this morning ahead of their game today against the San Diego Gulls. Tim Heed leads the Barracuda’s defensemen in scoring (15 points), and is tied for ninth in the AHL in defensive scoring.
Quote of the Day
I asked Pete DeBoer if homecoming road trips back to Ontario ever get old:
No, it never gets old going through those Canadian cities. Growing up there, I think you’re born a Toronto Maple Leaf fan. I was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs. I just think it’s a special place, and so is Montreal, and so is Ottawa. So, we’re excited.