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Sharks brace for frenzied final two months

Feb 7, 2012, 3:08 PM EDT

Patrick Marleau Joe Thornton AP

CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz caught up with some Sharks players to get their thoughts on San Jose’s down-the-stretch schedule. The Sharks will play 32 games in 59 days over the final two months, which includes a nine-game road trip and six back-to-backs.

“It’s the way the schedule is. We got to be at home for Christmas and New Year’s, and now we’re paying the price for it,”defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. “It’s the way the scheduling goes. Other years we’ve had it packed at the beginning, and this year it’s packed at the end.”

/muffled laughter

On Sunday, the Sharks will embark on a nine-game, 14-day road trip, becoming just the 19th team in NHL history to embark on a roadie of nine games or longer. (The Blackhawks recently became the 18th and they’re still in the midst of theirs, off to a dismal 0-2-1 start.)

San Jose will start its trip in St. Louis before going to Washington, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Detroit, Columbus, Toronto, Nashville and Minnesota. The Sharks will play the Blues-Capitals, Lighting-Hurricanes and Predators-Wild in back-to-back situations.

While the trip sounds awful (mostly because it is), Sharks head coach Todd McLellan says he doesn’t want to hear about how tough it’ll be on his club.

“I don’t want to hear about it anymore. I want our group to come to the rink and get prepared to play one game at a time,” he said. “The part that I was really worried about was the part before All-Star break, when we played nine games in 15 days. We’ve slowly caught up, and we should be able to handle ourselves.”

The mammoth road trip isn’t the only scheduling nightmare for McLellan and Co. The Sharks have a four-game roadie in mid-March (Dallas, Phoenix, Edmonton and Calgary with the final two games being — yep, you guessed it — back-to-backs) and close out the year playing four of six away from HP Pavilion.

  1. nogoodtomedead - Feb 7, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    I think travel is sometimes considered more of a factor then it should be, but it is also true that west coast teams get the short end of the stick. When a team like Detroit wants to switch conferences to cut down on its travel you have to believe that organizations witness the effect. I know creating schedules for 30 teams is difficult, but this sucks for San Jose. To have that workload heading into the most grueling post season in professional sports is nothing but a disadvantage. If they run out of steam in the conference finals I know it’ll be all the choker talk again, but imagine having the same travel schedule as a northeastern team and how much less they have to deal with this issue. Looks like an uphill battle for a team that has trouble getting over the hump.

    • finfan88shark - Feb 7, 2012 at 7:19 PM

      How is our teams workload more then other teams? We have just 3 games in hand against SOME teams, and 1 or 2 vs others. Does not seem like much of a disadvantage to me.

  2. finfan88shark - Feb 7, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    This whole article is just a built in excuse. Sharks ownership chooses to have the SAP OPEN at the arena built for the Sharks every February. So when I see people complaining about long road trips, there is no one to blame except the ownership group who puts their greedy priorities ahead of the Sharks.

    As for the number of games left. It is not like it is a vast difference 3 games more at most then some teams, but 1 or 2 games vs other teams.

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