The Mercury News Weekend
Sharks in need of a productive training camp
Erik Karlsson described what his daily routine will be like once the San Jose Sharks’ training camp in Arizona gets fully underway.
Karlsson will get up, and like everyone else on the Sharks’ roster, go for his daily COVID-19 test and have breakfast at the team hotel. The Sharks will then get changed into their hockey gear at the hotel and be driven to the nearby rink before they begin practice. After practice, they’ll come back their hotel and shower in their own rooms.
“After that, I haven’t really figured that out yet because it’s only 12:45 (p.m.) here,” Karlsson said. “So we’ll see what the rest of the day gives us.”
The next two weeks will no doubt be an adjustment for just about everybody, as the Sharks prepare to start camp at the Ice Den in Scottsdale, Ariz., hundreds of miles away from Solar 4 America Ice in San Jose.
The experience of being away from loved ones for an extended period of time — longer than the average road swing, anyway — is a new one for most of the Sharks, who were not part of the NHL’s Return to Play earlier this year. The exceptions include Ryan Donato, Devan Dubnyk, Matt Nieto and Patrick Marleau, who were all on playoff teams and inside designated bubbles in either Edmonton or Toronto.
“Obv iously it’s dif ferent,” Sharks captain Logan Couture said. “We’re going to be limited to what we can do and how much time we can spend around each other. But still, being on the road, distractions are kind of on the side, we can just focus on hockey here. I’m looking forward to it.”
The Sharks will hold nine practices and two scrimmages over the next 13 days — with two off days mixed in — before their Jan. 14 regular season opener against the Arizona Coyotes.
Jerseys, sticks, helmets and pads for 40 players — and every other piece of hardware the Sharks felt they needed — was loaded onto moving trucks and transported to Scottsdale last week. The Sharks will utilize a ballroom inside the hotel where they are staying for meetings and
“Instead of guys just leaving and going home for the day, they have a lot of dead time as well in the afternoons,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “We’re trying to come up with some ideas to keep these guys busy, but for the most part, it doesn’t change what I do on the ice.
“We’re going to be doing a lot of our work as a coaching staff (at the hotel) and basically just going to the rink to put the skates on, getting on the ice and coming right back to the hotel.”
For now, the Sharks say their focus is maximizing the time they have available in camp to help avoid the slow start they had at the beginning of last season.
“I thought the veterans were probably guilty of trying to ease their way into
camp ( last year), feel their way around and start trying to press the on switch when it comes to the first game of the season, and it just doesn’t work that way,” Boughner said. “I stressed ( Wednesday) night the importance of making sure that (we’re ready) day one when we get on that ice.”
The Sharks took their physicals Thursday and will be on the ice as a team for the first time in nine months today. Everyone will be available to practice, Boughner said, except for forward Alexander True, who had a lower body injury while training in Denmark and is considered day-to- day.
Keeping everyone available throughout camp in the midst of a pandemic will be one of the Sharks’ biggest challenges.
Players who test positive for the coronavirus and exhibit symptoms will be required to isolate until medical clearance is obtained. Contract tracing would be
Players who test positive but are asymptomatic will be isolated and with contact tracing starting immediately. A test to confirm will be conducted 24 hours later and if that test is negative, a second test will be conducted the following day. If that next test is negative, a third confirmatory test will be conducted after another 24 hours.
If any of those tests are positive, the player will remain isolated and contact tracing will continue. If all three confirmatory tests come back negative, the player will be free to rejoin his team and resume training, and close contacts will also be released from isolation.
Even if players only have to isolate for a few days, that could affect the Sharks’ hopes of getting off to a good start.
“It (won’t) be easy, that’s for sure,” Sharks center Tomas Hertl said. “Everybody’s used to hanging out
with guys and getting dinner. But now it’ll be a lot of time in the room, reading books or watching movies. It’ll be for sure not easy, but we have to go through it.
“It’s not just us, it’s all on of the teams. If we do it right, it’s going to help us win games because if other teams don’t do it, they can get more guys sick that can hurt the team. So we have to be really careful about this.”
Couture said the Sharks have been given the necessary information about staying safe. Now they just have to get used to their new routine.
“The thing with this virus is you never know when it’s going to strike and who it’s going hit,” Couture said. “All you can really do is be as careful as you possibly can. Like I said, there’s so many things that are going to get thrown at different teams this year, and just try and be safe, try and be careful and then hope that it’s not us.”