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Camp Notes: Day 4
Burns breaks the ice
1/16/13 - By Mike Lee -

Day 4 of the Sharks Training Camp concluded on Wednesday, as the Sharks prepare for the season opener on Sunday. That opener was pushed up by an hour by the league, which means that Bay Area viewers need to be parked in front of their televisions by 3pm PST on Sunday if they want to catch the start of the Sharks - Flames game.

As for the television schedule, all 48 regular season games will be televised in HD this season. The first 47 games will be covered by some derivative of CSN (California, Bay Area, Plus, etc.), and the regular season finale will be carried by NBC on its national broadcast. That last game will be in Los Angeles as both the Sharks and Kings close out the regular season.

One key player that you won't see in the lineup on Sunday, is defenseman Brent Burns, who continues to nurse the effects of his off season hernia surgery. CSN Bay Area columnist Kevin Kurz reported that Burns would be unavailable for the game.

Speaking of Burns, his off-season recovery has apparently included instructions from his doctor to stay as far away from a barber shop as possible. Burns official team mug shot was released on Wednesday, and from the looks of things, the disheveled defenseman won't be appearing on the cover of People Magazine anytime soon.

Mountain man meets Chewbacca would be a good description for Burns look. All I can say is, that guy has one cool wife. Mine threatens to leave me if I go two days without shaving.

Not much to report on the camp front. There are 28 guys skating around a sheet of ice for a couple of hours each day. Hopefully they're spending more time than usual, focusing on the penalty kill. That was the main reason the team brought in Larry Robinson.

When asked if he thought the penalty kill would be better while on a radio interview with 95.7 The Game on Tuesday night, Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlassic responded with undoubtedly the best quote we're heard all camp.

"It couldn't get an worse."

Call it like you see if Marc-Edouard. Call it like you see it.

GM Doug Wilson did make a minor move on Wednesday by shipping farm hand Brandon Mashinter to the New York Rangers for forward Tommy Grant and a conditional 7th round draft pick in 2014. Mashinter was given a shot at proving himself at the NHL level during the 2010-11 season. He appeared in 13 games for San Jose without recording a single point.

Grant spent the last two season playing on the left wing for the Connecticut Whale of the AHL. He scored 11 goals in 72 games for Connecticut last season, and has 9 through 34 games so far this year. He was immediately assigned to Worcester.

Finally, I wanted to say a few things about former Sharks owner George Gund III. King George, as he was affectionately referred to by the Bottom Feeder staff in the early days, passed away on Monday after a long bout with cancer. For all the Sharks pitfalls in the first few years in the league, it was still Gund who had the foresight to understand that hockey could thrive as a professional franchise in the Bay Area.

There are plenty of affluent cities in North America that could support a professional sports franchise, but Gund knew the Bay Area, and understood that the South Bay was more than equipped to take on an NHL franchise.

You have to admit that surrendering his rights in what was then the Minnesota North Stars to take on a new franchise was a pretty gutsy move. The NHL hadn't expanded in almost 20 years, and there were no revenue guarantees.

He could have easily placed his team in Oakland, but he understood the economy that Silicon Valley spawned, and the hunger for pro sports by the those long neglected in San Jose. The Giants used San Jose as a pawn in the 80's to try and work a new stadium deal out of San Francisco, but Gund recognized that there was a fan base just waiting to be tapped.

It takes a lot of money to build a tea from the ground up, and being handcuffed by that financial burden made it tough for Gund to build a consistent winner. Gund also understood when it was time to get out, but he sold the team to an ownership group that was committed to building a winning team.

It's unfortunate that Gund never lived to see a Stanley Cup hoisted in San Jose. I trust that the Sharks would have extended an invitation to him, to help celebrate a championship, had they won one during his lifetime.


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