• Elite Hockey Experience

The Shallow End: December 2018


Sick and tired of deep dives? Have no fear, "The Shallow End" is a place for news around the San Jose Sharks organization, in a form that's short and sweet.

Collision Course

It's still incredibly early, but the Barracuda have a major challenge looming with three of their next four games being against the Stockton Heat; although the 'Cuda turned their NorCal neighbours into a speed bump in a first-round sweep last year, the Heat spent the offseason shoring up their roster in some key areas. Most notably, the goaltending duo of Dan Vladar and Vitek Vanecek—which combined for an .885 save percentage in that first round loss—has been replaced by the exponentially stronger tandem of Tristan Jarry and Joonas Korpisalo.

Now the Heat have burst out of the gate with a 3-0-0 record, outscoring their opponents by a combined total of 14-6, while controlling the shot clock by an insane count of 124-74 over that span. Can the Barracuda, who have looked unconvincing despite winning two of three so far, prove they're still the big fish in the Pacific Division pond? Only time will tell, but the next week should be an interesting preview of what's in store for the rest of the season.

Home (Might Be) Where the Heart Is

The Sharks were gifted a five-game homestand to kick off their schedule, and have leveraged that into a respectable 2-1-0 start. Of course, they've needed a heroic .936 save percentage from Sergei Bobrovsky to manage the feat, but that doesn't come as much of a surprise given how the team is constructed. Expectations remain modest for the Sharks, but the early returns are encouraging, and fans are buying in so far—as evidenced by the current 100% attendance rate at SAP Center.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

After what seemed like an ironclad guarantee from GM Kyle Phillips that Roy Sommer would return as head coach of the Barracuda, there was some surprise when the team moved on from their Calder Cup-winning bench boss in order to make room for the unproven Mike Vellucci.

Off the record, some in the organization have said in no uncertain terms that there was disappointment in Sommer's commitment level over the course of the offseason; tactical preparation was a particular sore point, with whispers that Sommer had spent too much time celebrating while failing to keep up with trends around the league. Still, there don't seem to be any hard feelings for the man who guided the Barracuda to a .615 winning percentage over four seasons and 248 games.