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No Calder for Couture
Sharks pre-season schedule released
6/23/11 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks may have been one of the top teams in the NHL, but they were shutout by voters on Wednesday night at the NHL Awards Show from Las Vegas. Not that the Sharks were primed to win much anyway having only a lone finalist, but the reality of a Conference Finalist getting zero recognition confirmed the notion that west coast teams are an afterthought for most NHL voters.

Logan Couture, the Sharks Calder Trophy finalist, was the runner-up to Carolina's Jeff Skinner for top NHL rookie. Couture received 41 first-place votes to go along with his 908 points. Skinner received 94 of the 127 first-place votes for 1,055 points.

Skinner's margin of victory was the smallest since 2003. Couture graciously congratulated Skinner via Twitter immediately following the announcement, also thanking fans for their roll in his nomination and breakout rookie season.

The Sharks forward was 2nd in scoring during the regular season (32 goals, 24 assists), trailing Skinner by 7 points (31 goals, 32 assists), but Couture was also second among rookies in scoring during the playoffs (7 goals, 7 assists) while Skinner was polishing his golf clubs.

Carolina failed to even make the playoffs, but voting completes during the first week of the playoffs. Couture's importance to the Sharks was critical early in the regular season when San Jose had issues scoring goals.

Skinner amassed the majority of his numbers later in the season, but even that was too little too late for the Hurricanes to make the playoffs. They finished 2 points behind the New York Rangers for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Couture helped San Jose qualify for the Conference Finals with big goals during the Sharks playoff run.

Lace 'Em Up All Over Again

If you're already going through hockey withdrawals, fret not. The 2011-12 pre-season schedule was released on Wednesday. San Jose will kick off the prelude to their 21st season with a tune-up on September 21st in Anaheim.

The Sharks will then play their pre-season home-opener two days later against the same Ducks.

San Jose will play Phoenix on September 24th, before squaring off with the Vancouver Canucks in a home-and-home series on the 25th and 29th. They wrap up the pre-season on October 1st against Phoenix in Arizona.

The regular season schedule will be released on Thursday. The Sharks regular season home-opener will be on October 8th against the same Phoenix squad.


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