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Training Camp opens
Sharks look to gel quickly
1/13/13 - By Mike Lee -

It started four months late, but training camp finally kicked off in San Jose on Sunday. 28 players amassed at the San Jose Sharks training facility on 10th street before a packed house, ready to make up for all that lost time. Blink and you'll miss this year's abridged camp, intended to give teams an opportunity to get before the regular season starts next Saturday.

Most teams open the regular season on Saturday, but the Sharks were able to milk an additional day out of the league, launching their quest for a playoff spot on Sunday in Calgary, where they get to square off against the Flames. San Jose will then travel to Edmonton to play the upstart Oilers, before coming home to re-open HP Pavilion during a six-game home stand.

A familiar lot took to the ice on Sunday, focusing on basics and a new penalty kill that will be implemented in an attempt to turn around the league's second worst PK. In addition to the Marleau's and Thornton's, Sharks fans were introduced to a couple of new additions and an old familiar face.

Unlike seasons past, San Jose didn't make any major roster changes, even though they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. San Jose will make a go at it with most of the players that earned the 7th seed in the Western Conference last year.

Former Sharks first round draft pick Brad Stuart makes his return to the Bay Area after a seven year detour through Boston, Calgary, Los Angeles and Detroit. The defenseman signed a three-year deal last summer, returning to his off-season home, and starting his second stint with the Sharks. Stuart starts his 13th season as an NHL defenseman.

Adam Burish donned a Sharks practice jersey for the first time, eager to skate with his new teammates. The right wing spent the last two seasons playing for the Dallas Stars, playing on a checking line. Burish isn't going to make a run at the NHL goal-scoring title, but rather bring s the edginess that San Jose needs.

He touched a nerve with reporters on Sunday, telling that he intends to play a "mean" brand of hockey. When was the last time you heard any Shark use the word "mean" to describe their game?

If you plan to attend camp, there are two novelties worth checking out this week. The first being James Sheppard, the long lost forward that San Jose acquired a year ago from Minnesota for a 3rd round draft pick next summer. Sheppard was the 9th overall pick for the Wild in 2006, and was a lock to turn the NHL on its head with his scoring acumen.

Sheppard blew up his knee in 2010 in an ATV accident, and spent the next 18 months nursing himself back into playing shape. In 34 games this season for the Worcester Sharks, Sheppard has scored 8 goals and 15 assists. San Jose is hoping Sheppard turns into that bona fide blue chip player that can help generate some scoring.

They had hoped to see him last season, but the knee didn't cooperate. He played 4 games in Worcester before aggravating something. San Jose chose to protect their investment in the centerman and shut him down for the season.

The other player worth checking out is defenseman Matt Tennyson, a free agent that San Jose inked last March. What makes Tennyson a novelty is that he was born in Pleasanton in 1990. He was only a year old when the Sharks joined the league, and would be the first Bay Area native to play for San Jose.

It's unlikely that Tennyson will crack the Sharks roster, but he could make the trek between San Jose and Worcester throughout the season should the big club need a defenseman in a pinch.

The Sharks will have some of the training camp sessions open to the public, including Monday's noon practice at Sharks Ice.


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