SAN JOSE — Coach Pete DeBoer emphasized that the forward lines and defense pairs the Sharks went with Friday for their first day of training camp are hardly set in stone.
Still, there was some intrigue, namely seeing the longtime shutdown pair of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun practicing in different groups, with Vlasic skating in the morning session and Braun in the afternoon.
Does that mean the two will find themselves with different partners — Vlasic with Erik Karlsson, for instance — in some preseason games and perhaps even on Opening Night on Oct. 3 when the Sharks host the Anaheim Ducks?
Not necessarily, DeBoer said.
“We separated everybody in camp,” he said. “Particularly on defense. That was the plan coming. We wanted to make sure young guys were playing with veteran guys. We wanted to give some young guys looks with veteran guys.
“Our philosophy in camp the last few years was trying to get continuity and get guys used to each other. But I think our group is used to each other now. … There’s no more than that to it.”
DeBoer said he communicated with Karlsson early Friday and said the two-time Norris Trophy winner was hoping to speed up the process of getting a work visa to come to the U.S.
“I don’t know if that means he called Donald Trump personally, trying to get him in,” DeBoer said with a laugh. “But he said he was trying to work on speeding up the immigration (process). I’m sure he’s in a long line here in the United States.”
Who Karlsson, acquired Thursday from the Ottawa Senators, ends up playing with during the preseason — and how he meshes with the team — will be one of the more interesting storylines of training camp.
For complete Sharks coverage
follow us on Flipboard.
“The great thing about getting him now as opposed to the trade deadline or with two months left is we have time to figure out how this puzzle fits,” DeBoer said. “There’s no easy answers, but they’re all great options. You’re not trying to fit a poor player up in the lineup, you’ve got world-class defenseman. You just got to see how the puzzle fits.”
“We were good to begin with,” Vlasic said of Karlsson. “Now we’re even better with him in the lineup.”
Brent Burns was paired with Joakim Ryan, Vlasic started out with Tim Heed and Brenden Dillon was with rookie Ryan Merkley.
Perhaps it seems silly to say, but could a Karlsson-Vlasic pairing work, given that Vlasic has been Braun for several years?
“We’ll see. Coach will decide who plays with who,” Vlasic said. “It’ll probably be righty-lefty throughout the d-pairings, so we’ll see what he does.”
Center Antti Suomela took part in his first full day of practice with the Sharks on Friday when the team opened training camp in San Jose. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)
THE KARLSSON EFFECT: The acquisition of Karlsson had quite the positive effect on ticket sales, according to the Sharks. Although the team did not provide exact …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports