Friend of the Blog Kevin Kurz took some time out of his busy schedule to answer four questions for us. You can find his work at CSNBayArea.com and his Tweets @KKurzCSN.
1. What impressed you most about the Sharks in the first round?
Martin Jones’ performance stands out, since the biggest question mark for me headed into the series was how he would match up against his old mentor. But, the way the Sharks played in their own zone in front of Jones was just as impressive. They were fully committed to getting in front of shots, and did a great job clearing pucks and bodies out of the way from in front of the net, too.
2. I know you picked San Jose in the first round — of the remaining playoff teams, who should scare the Sharks the most?
I would still pick the Blues to come out of the Western Conference at this point. I think the Sharks could give them a series, but I consider St. Louis the favorite. They’re just as healthy as San Jose, knocked off their biggest rival in the first round, and are probably feeling pretty confident headed into their series with goalie-impaired Dallas. I know Bret Hedican loves their blue line, too, and he’s obviously a pretty good authority on that stuff.
3. What's the vibe around the team like in the locker room this year as opposed to previous seasons?
It’s definitely been different since the first day of camp. If you rewind back to the end of last season, there were some pretty telling quotes coming from the dressing room on locker clean-out day. Logan Couture called the culture "not great." Joe Thornton was clearly not seeing eye-to-eye with Todd McLellan, and we already knew him and Doug Wilson were at odds.
To everyone’s credit, though, they all appeared ready to move forward from the first day of camp under Pete DeBoer - especially Thornton, and we’ve seen that reflected in his play.
4. Does Martin Jones start until he has a bad game? Or do you expect James Reimer to get a game to spell him regardless?
I think at this point Martin Jones has earned the right to have one subpar game and not get pulled right away. If he struggled early in the Kings series I could have seen Reimer getting in, but if Reimer makes an appearance now and it’s not due to a Jones injury, we’ll know the Sharks are in trouble.