Breaking down the first day of Sharks training camp

"Nothing against Todd, but maybe it was time to get a new voice in here," Joe Thornton said.Head Coach was only one the changes the Sharks saw this offseason. Compared to last season, the attitude on day one of camp may be one of the more significant ones.

Energy and excitement were consistent themes among the players throughout the Sharks new locker room at Sharks Ice for the first day training camp "There's a good energy in the room when you walk into the building," Joe Pavelski said.

That building was expected to change a bit with the addition of a locker room and training facility for the AHL's Barracuda. But the Sharks locker room and surrounding facilites got a beautiful new facelift as well. "Hasso has really stepped up in a big way for this organization," Doug Wilson said. "The facilities, the city lease, the payroll additions that we did bring with the Barracuda. Not just the facility cost, but bringing that team."

Having the Barracuda players in the same building adds a little incentive for rookies and veterans. "I think that its going to be the most competitive camp since I've been here," General Manager Doug Wilson said. "Players can count." They know that there are more players than starting spots in the lineup. Rookies are within a stone's throw of the NHL, literally. And that makes the veterans fight harder too, knowing replacements are just down the hall. "I don't think you can expect to be in a certain position based on the previous year," Tommy Wingels said. "I think you have to re-earn it every single year."

The Look of a Peter DeBoer Team

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Here is how the <a href="">#SJSharks</a> are split up tomorrow for the first day of school with Mr. DeBoer <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Kevin Kurz (@KKurzCSN) <a href="">September 18, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Based off the splits of training camp groups and how they were running today, it looks like new head coach Peter DeBoer wants to start with familiar lines. "Bottom line is not everything here is broken," DeBoer said. "That doesn't mean we're married to combinations for the entire year."

Changes to the overall coaching system seem to be relatively minor as well."We're not changing the entire program here," DeBoer said. The biggest differences will show on "5 on 5 play, defensive zone coverage, forecheck, being tougher to play against defensively in front of our net and in front of their net offensively." Multiple players seemed to be excited for the new adjustments and slightly more aggressive style. New addition Joel Ward recalls playing against Peter DeBoer led teams in the past: "It's a hard-nosed team on the back-end and a good transition team," Ward said. "It's a lot of getting the puck out of your own zone as quickly as you can."

It'll be a tough task for DeBoer to replace Todd McLellan. He was gone from this year, but not forgotten. "Todd was a good coach," Wingels said. "He had good systems and he had us play aggressive. But there were definitely times we got away from it, and I think Pete's going to have us be more disciplined within our systems." After years and years togetherm the message can start to get muddled or loss. Players can get too comfortable. "Nothing against Todd, but maybe it was time to get a new voice in here," Joe Thornton said.


DeBoer has said previously that this Sharks team will have a captain again. That might help the team for a reason other than not having to answer with constant media questions about it. "Our highs were a little too high, and our lows were too low, and too long," Joe Pavelski said. "We never really got anything established of true momentum that carried us through the season." Pavelski has to be the front-runner for the captaincy, but there are plenty of options for letters throughout the team: Thornton, Marleau, Vlasic, Burns, Martin and Wingels could be options, as well as Logan Couture. A letter won't change Couture though. "If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't," Couture said. "I haven't changed since I came into this league, and I don't plan on changing going forward."

Jumbo and Doug Wilson

This was pretty close to the biggest non-story of camp. Tensions between Joe Thornton and Doug Wilson seemed non-existent. Wilson dismissed that there was anything lingering."Nah, that was addressed by both Joe and I," Wilson said. "That was taken care of that day." Thornton, who seemed to be in a great mood and excited to be there agreed that the hatchet was buried. "We pretty much did last year when the little situation arose," Thornton said. "Me and Doug are cool."

Raffi Torres Injury Update
Last weekend at FanFest, Torres announced to a crowd that he was 100% to start the season. Today, we got a few more details. Torres said he felt good after the first day, but wasn't sure if he would play in the preseason. "I'd like to, but that's not my call," Torres said. "Just talking with my surgeons, everything is just moderate." One thing is sure, he was excited to be back. "It was brutal last year," Torres said. "There are times when you don't think you're ever going to get back or get over the hump." The team hopes he can contribute significantly to the team once again. "We missed him; the physicality, the energy," Wilson said. "He, Mike Brown, I think those components you really need."

Free Agent Additions
Most of the excitement seemed to stem out of the major free agent additions to the roster in Martin Jones, Paul Martin and Joel Ward. In net, Martin Jones finds himself in a battle for starts with returning netminder Alex Stalock. Jones will surely get more games than in the past backing-up Jonathan Quick. "Looking forward to the opportunity here and my mentality stays the same: I'm coming to training camp and I'm going to fight for minutes," Jones said.

Paul Martin seems to be a natural fit to the team in the room. The only question will be how he's able to play with probable defense partner Brent Burns. "I'm sure he'll be up the ice a little bit more than I will," Martin said. "So its picking the right spots and making sure we're covering for eachother." Marc-Eduoard Vlasic joked about the two's likely dynamic, but clarified his point by saying: "One likes to join the rush, the other one will back him up."

Joel Ward found himself on day one riding shotgun with the forward pair of Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau. His physical play should complement the skillsets of his linemates pretty well. "Kind of an underrated physical guy that gets in on the forecheck," Couture said of Ward. "Today was the first day, but I already feel comfortable with him." The compliments for Ward didn't just come from his probable linemates. New teammate and former Penguin Paul Martin got to play against Ward quite a bit when Ward was in Washington. "He's one of the premier power forwards in the game," Martin said. "His ability with his hands is underrated. He's got a quick release if he finds his way around the slot."

Bottom Line

The team is certainly in a better mental place this year than last. Their energy and mood are a welcome sight after the disastrous offseason a year ago. And that may be true physically as well. "You don't want to have that long of an offseason, but you've got to take advantage of it," Patrick Marleau said. "I know I tried my best to get ready and get into the weight room to get those numbers back up to where they haven't been in a while." Hopefully that translates to on-ice results as well.