Jabber Jaws: End of the season interview with Mario Ferraro

Mario Ferraro talks about his outlook for next season, whether he felt pressure to replace Brent Burns this season and what he can do better as a team leader moving forward.

Jabber Jaws: End of the season interview with Mario Ferraro
Photo by Matt Botsford / Unsplash

Mario Ferraro talks about what he saw this season and the feel of missing the playoffs for another year. He dives into whether or not he felt pressure to replace Brent Burns on the blueline and what he can do better in his role as a team leader. Later, he talks about his confidence in the team's management and what it's been like working with a rotation of defensive coordinators over the past few years.

Ferraro on how the season ended and his outlook

"Yeah. Taking a couple days, it's obviously not an easy time of year when you see teams, you know, move on and you're not one of them, but I think it was a growing year for our group. Obviously, you know, we've experienced a lot of change. And we've gone through ups and downs throughout the season, but I think that our locker room has really taken a step. And I think that we have a good genuine connection with each other in this room and we care for each other. And, you know, one thing that we can say is that we've maybe been out of the playoffs for quite a while at the end of the season, but you know, we continue to battle and to show emotion coming to the rink and you know, it may seem like that's an easy thing to do, but when you're out of a playoff spot, it hurts and it sucks and you know, it takes a lot of character to come to rank the rink and compete and battle and continue to do those things."

"And, you know, that's what I think we're, you know, that's one thing that we can say that, you know, we're proud of, because at the end of the day, you know, next year, next September, October, it's going to be 0-0-0, so fresh start for us. So you know, always having that mentality, that no matter what, once you know, it’s a growth mentality. We come to the rink and we improve and we continue to push and be better. It’ll, you know, we believe it'll pay off, so those are the positives that we can take out on the ending of the season."

Ferraro on missing the playoffs

"I mean, it's definitely frustrating. I'm a guy who...everybody loves playoff hockey, I especially do and I feel like my playstyle revolves around that and it's hard when you know, all these guys in this room in the NHL grew up playing on good teams, because you're, you have good impact on that team. And you're usually playing playoff games before you get here and then, you know, it's a tough league to make the playoffs. And we obviously, we haven't been able to do that and it sucks."

"It's frustrating, but the only thing we can do is just continue to look for ways to make it happen the next year. So it can be frustrating but it's not something that brings me down and hopefully doesn't bring anybody else down in this room because, at the end of the day, you know…I'm actually more motivated now to turn things around and think I came into this year you know, signing a new deal. I was…I think I was pretty emotional and wanting to have an impact and make that change. You know, I still know in this room, I believe in this group. I believe in what we have, and I know it's a growth mentality and it's coming and, you know, I have faith in this group. So I'm excited to get back to work and to come into next September with an even bigger chip on my shoulder to make that push."

Ferraro on whether he'll watch the playoffs

"You know, playoff hockey's you know, it's fun to watch and it's even more fun to play and, you know, I obviously want a taste of that at the NHL level and you can learn things, right? I can learn from other players that the game is a lot faster in the playoffs and you can learn from ways that you can improve and stuff like that. Yeah, I'm sure it's difficult to watch but we do keep our eyes on the road. We're always trying to grow and get better as players. So it's our job you know, watching film is one of it and watching playoff hockey is a way that you can learn, this whole group can learn from those kinds of things and we'll be ready when that time comes."

Ferraro on whether he felt pressured to replace Brent Burns

"I don't think there was...there was no pressure to replace him. I don't...I think I just, I always put pressure on myself, regardless of the situation. It's just the first couple of years in the league. I'm just happy to be in the NHL. And you know, I'm trying to do what I can to not only stay here but to have a positive impact on the team. And now that I've been here for longer, my goals...I want to have an even bigger impact. I feel like I can, you know, support this team even more. And with Burnsie [Burns] leaving, I was just motivated, definitely, for the opportunity for this group. Again, I just...three years ago by, you don't make the playoffs, you want to prove people wrong, right? You want to make it a different year, and push for success, so yeah, I was definitely putting that pressure on myself as I usually do. I think it's a good thing just controlling those emotions and understanding that when things do go south. It's just part of the process of getting better. And getting to where we need to be."

Ferraro on his role as a leader this season

"I think, I hope the rest of the group can agree with me on this, it's hard to speak for myself, but I think that I'm a good teammate. I get along with guys real well, especially off the ice. I have good relationships with guys. You know, myself as a leader, I do want to be a verbal leader but I want also lead by example, in terms of my hard work and my compete and I like to sacrifice out there. I like to block shots. I like to play hard and I hope that I can have...that that's had an impact and it can have an impact moving forward."

"I want to be better at controlling my emotions. I think this year, it got frustrating, for sure. It's a frustrating season. You know, nobody likes to lose and we don't accept losing. I think I let my emotions get the best of me a little bit out there and that's something I want to do a better job of controlling and I believe in myself to be able to do it."

"I love every guy in this room. Genuinely. We do have a really solid group of players that give it their effort, their 100% effort out there. You know, it's easy to be excited about learning and becoming a better leader around, you know, a group of guys like this, that I have a lot of respect for and that have respect for me."

Ferraro expands on controlling his emotions

"I think, you know, a good one is focusing on the next shift, maybe. I think sometimes with our group as a whole when one thing happened it was kind of a domino effect in games. I think we got better at it as the year went on. And, you know, I think that you know, every individual can have an impact on that and I want to do a better job at, you know, controlling that for us as a team and helping us balance that out. Helping us realize, you know, hey, like, other teams are gonna make good plays too. Things are gonna happen throughout the game, you know. They're gonna get bounces; they're gonna get chances, you know, we can level, we can weather the storm and we can come back and use it to our advantage. And stay positive throughout the game. So that's a big area of it for sure."

Ferraro on how playing the end of the season will help Henry Thrun develop

I think it's going to help him a ton. Like you said, I didn't get a chance to experience that before the next season. But I was actually talking with a couple of guys and they were saying based on their own experiences that you know, even at the end of the season, these games may not mean much for us as a team, statistically, when guys get in there and they get their first game or they get called up at the end of the year. It sends them off to the summer with a lot of motivation and excitement to come back in September and say, 'Hey, I can play in this league. You know, I can play in the NHL.' So I think you know those games mean a lot to these younger guys and especially like Henry [Thrun]."

"I thought he did a great job coming in. He showed a lot of confidence. Played well. He played very well with Karlsson. He can move the puck; he's got poise. And, you know we've had some get togethers here as of late some end of the year get togethers and he's gotten along real well with the guys. I see him being a future leader. I like to say everybody in the team can lead regardless of whether they have a letter on their jersey or not, and he's obviously no exception. So, I'm excited for him and his offseason to see what he can do for us next year. He's a solid player and a solid person to have in your locker room by your side for sure."

Ferraro on his confidence in Sharks' management

"I'm confident in what they're doing...I don't have expertise in that area. I'm just a player. I'm here to give it my all on the ice and you know when we see that for sure we're excited. I mean, I'm excited. The guy [Henry Thrun] can play and it should be no surprise to us. They know. That's their job and they're supposed to align the pieces together and you know that's a good start. And yeah, it gets us excited for sure whenever you get a good player coming in, and having an impact."

Ferraro on the coaching changes over the past few years

"It's definitely not easy. I've gone through a lot of coaching changes something I really...you don't experience in the other levels. Obviously, I think it's more because going from juniors to college, that's where the coaching changes come in. So, I haven't experienced something like this over the last four years before and I have a good relationship with Warso [Ryan Warsofsky]. We get along really well. He's someone...he's a coach who I can really talk to."

"I can talk to all of these guys. You know, Quinny [Quinn] is very respectful in that manner and off the ice and around the locker room, greeting the guys. 'How you doing? How's your day going?' And that comfort level is really good, it just builds a relationship with us from players to coaches, the staff. Like you said, Warso, he's someone that he's going to challenge me to be better. Even in some moments where I might challenge him back a little bit, he's been really, really solid this year and I'm excited to have another opportunity to be able to play on the defensive end with him right over my shoulder. And I think the rest of the D corps can definitely agree with that. So yeah, it'll be nice."

Ferraro on working with different defensive coordinators

"Yeah, I think it's just a different look, maybe slightly different roles. Last year, I was with Burnsie [Burns], and we were line matching more. And this year, obviously, the D corps changes, so things will change. I think I had a lot of different partners this year, which is, you know, it's normal. Sometimes guys are coming in and out, you have injuries and stuff like that. We've had to battle a bit on that third pairing, playing with two left handed defensemen quite a bit."

"So I think from year to year, and just a difference in this year and last year, the biggest thing is just not having as consistent as a partner. So, sometimes that is hard to do chemistry-wise and getting a feel for who you're playing with. But at the end of the day, it's still up to me as a player and my partners as a player to adjust and to be ready for those changes. So, it's a challenge to adapt and to be ready for different situations. And that's something that I want to continue to grow and improve at."

Ferraro on possible offseason changes

"I don't know. That's not something I really need to worry about. My focus is just on me getting better and giving, you know, the Sharks the assets that I bring. That's really out of my control and out of my focus. I just want to be better next year and come in more solid."

Ferraro on a possible Karlsson trade

"Karl's [Karlsson] very evidently a big part of this team. I'm super, super proud of him and the year that he's had. I know that he's...wasn't happy about the couple years before, and he holds himself to a really high standard. And it's something that myself and a lot of the other guys learn from is the standard that he holds himself to."

"It's super, super awesome to see an outstanding year, a career year. He's a big part of our offense and our defensive core, of course, and even our leadership. Guys look up to him. He's about to have three Norris trophies and guys looked up to that. He brings a lot of motivation, and he brings a lot of confidence to the group because he's a very confident person and player. So, you know, you can't really put into words. I think we all know the impact, the loss that we're gonna have if he's not here."

Ferraro on plans for the summer

"Last year I battled a couple of surgeries. Well, one surgery, my hernias, and then I got injured. So, I'm just, I'm really, really excited to, you know, hopefully, crossing my fingers, aside from getting some teeth adjustments here, I can have a healthy summer training and mentally preparing for this year."

"I'm hoping for it to be a smooth ride there and going home for a bit and train with my trainer I grew up with and skate there. And then I'm coming back here in the middle, mid-July about and get back to work here as well."