San Jose head coach Todd McLellan told us before the start of the season about the challenges of putting together a lineup with players who were at varying degrees of readiness, some having played extensively in Europe or the AHL, some having played a bit and others not at all. Whatever McLellan is doing, it’s working: The Sharks were one of two undefeated teams in the Western Conference through Thursday's games (Chicago was the other). Patrick Marleau, who did not play during the lockout, had three straight two-goal games to lead the league in goals; linemate Joe Thornton, who played in Switzerland during the labor impasse, leads the NHL with nine points. Will the Sharks, off the Stanley Cup radar for the first time in years, make skeptics pay with their first championship, regardless of who played where and how much during the lockout?
Through three games, the San Jose Sharks forward has six goals. He has three multi-goal games, the first player to pull that off in a season's first three games since Peter Stastny of the Quebec Nordiques in the 1982-83 season.
Getting some insight into NHL culture. (And I'd guess making him really hungry for when he finally does get NHL debut. Irwin was called up last year and didn't play.)
Nothing beats playing in games at any level. But just being able to live the every day grind of an nhl season, how the nhl guys get ready game in game out. Practicing with the nhl club comes close to playing 20 mins in the ahl every night.