Anyway, my happiest Sharks news of the day is that Marc-Edouard Vlasic is staying with the team!!! *squeals* I went to the rookie tournament looking out for Lukas Kaspar, and instead was totally smitten by Vlasic's play. I feel all proud, like a mommy. :) Speaking of mommy, both daddy and mommy Vlasic were defensemen! *squeaks*
Marc-Edouard Vlasic is only 19 but the San Jose Sharks are keeping him
Canadian Press Oct 23, 2006, 6:05 PM EDT
(CP) - Patrick Roy is sorry to lose Marc-Edouard Vlasic, but he's happy for the 19-year-old defenceman, who has played so well for the NHL's San Jose Sharks that they've decided to keep him rather than return him to Roy's Quebec Remparts junior team.
A decision was required before Vlasic played 10 NHL games and GM Doug Wilson announced before the ninth on Monday that Vlasic is staying. "We're very happy for Marc-Edouard," Roy said from Quebec. "He deserves a lot of credit.
"He worked extremely hard. His dream was to play at the NHL level and now he has that opportunity. It's a huge loss for our junior team. At the same time, that's what we're here for. It's good for our program. It shows we're going in the right direction."
Wilson said he spoke with Roy, agent Bob Sauve and the teen's parents during the weekend to let them know what he wanted to do. Vlasic can handle it, said Wilson. He played 104 junior games last season, logged more than 30 minutes ice time a game, was used in all critical situations, and helped the Roy-coached Remparts win the Memorial Cup.
"Those experiences have really fast-tracked his growth as a player," Wilson said from Columbus, Ohio, where his team played Monday, during a conference call. "We feel he's ready."
Vlasic averaged 19:59 ice time in his first eight games with the Sharks. He moves the puck well and is one of San Jose's top six defencemen. Fellow rookie Matt Carle, an American, also cracked the lineup.
One attribute in particular stands out in Wilson's mind when he assesses Vlasic.
"He's got an amazing amount of poise," he said. "He does the right thing just about every time he's on the ice.
"He's got an advanced, very mature hockey mind. He's mature beyond his years. His mom and dad are former defencemen. Maybe that's where all his brains come from."
Asked if the Montreal-born teen might be released to Canada's junior team for the world tournament this winter, Wilson said it was a distinct possibility because the Sharks encourage their players to play internationally.
"We'll make that decision as we go forward," said Wilson.
The six-foot-one, 190-pound blue-liner was San Jose's second choice, 35th overall, in the 2005 entry draft.
Vlasic will billet with a family. He is under contract to the Sharks for US$735,000 a year for three years.
Wilson lauded Roy's role in Vlasic's emergence.
"It was a great experience for Marc-Edouard to play in Quebec City for Patrick Roy," said Wilson. "I can not give enough credit to him for what he's done to help get Marc-Edouard to this point."
Vlasic was first among defencemen and eighth among all skaters in the QMJHL scoring race last season with 73 points including 57 assists. He had a plus-minus rating of plus-41 in 66 regular-season games. In 23 post-season games, he had five goals and 24 assists.
"I expected him to have a good training camp with San Jose," said Roy. "I don't think they thought he would make their team but he responded to every challenge.
"He's very disciplined. He's smart on the ice. He reads the play well. When you're telling him things, he catches on fast."
Vlasic has been so impressive that the Sharks couldn't send him down.
"We think he'll be a very good defenceman in this league for a long, long time," Wilson said.
It's really crazy how good his decision-making is out there. He's better than most defenseman in the league and he looks like *points at icon*
Sharks to keep 19-year-old Vlasic in NHL
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the San Jose Sharks' promising 19-year-old defenseman, has earned a roster spot with the club.
General manager Doug Wilson decided Monday to keep Vlasic with the Sharks instead of sending him back to the Quebec Remparts, his junior team for the last three seasons.
Vlasic helped to lead coach Patrick Roy's team to the Memorial Cup last summer, but the Sharks believe he's ready for bigger challenges after playing well in San Jose's first eight games.
"He's got an amazing amount of poise," Wilson said before his club faced the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night in the opener of a five-game road trip. "He moves the puck very well. He does the right thing almost every time he's on the ice. He's mature beyond his years."
Vlasic scored 73 points for the Remparts last season after the Sharks selected him in the second round of the 2005 draft. He made the Sharks' opening-night roster this fall with an outstanding training camp, beating out a handful of more experienced defensemen.
Vlasic is scoreless in eight NHL games with a minus-1 rating, but his statistics don't reflect the Sharks' growing confidence in him. The teenager has played in every situation, contributing steady passing and solid hits while playing nearly 20 minutes per game - third-most among San Jose's defensemen.
In his NHL debut in a home game against St. Louis, Vlasic was on the Sharks' three-man penalty-killing team during a two-man disadvantage stretching nearly two minutes.
Wilson debated sending Vlasic back to get another year of seasoning in Quebec City, but decided a winning NHL atmosphere would be even more beneficial than another year under Roy's tutelage. San Jose won six of its first seven games to start the regular season while relying heavily on Vlasic and 22-year-old defenseman Matt Carle.
Vlasic will live with a San Jose family during the season - a strategy that worked well when the Sharks promoted then-21-year-old forward Milan Michalek last season. Wilson also said Vlasic might be allowed to play for Canada in the World Junior Championships, which begin Dec. 26 in Sweden.
"He's here to play," Wilson said. "It defeats the purpose if he doesn't play. ... You can't really put a value on a winning environment. I'm not going to put any limitations on what he can become."
I love that Ron put him in all those situations and played him that much, to see what he can do. After all, we're stuck with him the whole way, pretty much, so it's collecting information on whether to keep him or not.
Petr's line was amazing tonight. I'm really liking the addition of Thoresen! Other teams might start keying in on their line which will lower their production, but it's been fun to see Petr scoring after his miserable season in Anaheim last year. Four point night, tying his career high, first star of the game, second star on nhl.com. *cries* I love the way he races to the goal scorer and flings his arms around his neck in celebration like 5 seconds before anyone else gets there.
And kissing the ring. After he scored a goal, when he got back to the bench, he looked at his wife (who was at the game), kissed his wedding ring, then raised his hand towards her. *misty eyed*
Sometimes, I scare myself:
harleymae: Maybe his wife was at the game! hehe
harleymae: But he probably would have gestured at her if that was the case
greatkate: Dude! It was his wedding ring, and as he did it, he nodded to his wife in the seats. They showed her right after he scored and she wasn't too far from the Oil bench if I recall. We were talking about this exact thing as we watched.
And if I didn't feel enough love, there's this article:
Curing Pronger Syk-ness
Petr Sykora makes Edmonton 'hockey happy' again after defenceman's summer exit
By TERRY JONES
Petr Sykora is the cure for the Chris Pronger Condition.
The guy is helping cure the deep depression in which Pronger left Edmonton when he asked for a trade only hours after the Oilers played in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.
He's made Edmonton "hockey happy" again.
Actually, that's how Sykora described his own condition after putting together a four-point night to lead the Oilers to a 5-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.
"It's not about points. It's about being hockey happy,'' he said.
"I'm being put in a situation where I have a chance to score all the time. When you play with Ales Hemsky, goals are going to come. I'm just very hockey happy. It's not about how many, it's about how happy.''
Tomorrow night the Oilers go against Pronger in Anaheim and the mood and attitude in Edmonton makes it less of an occasion.
WHAT A START
Sykora, so far full value for his $2.9 million US, has been brilliant in helping his new team get out of the gate with a 6-2 record.
"I've never had a start like this before," said the native of Pilzen, otherwise the home of Pilsner beer.
"I don't really want to think about it," he added of a start which projects to beat his best season with the New Jersey Devils - a 35-goal, 81-point year in 2000-01.
Sykora has six goals and seven assists for 13 points in eight games.
With a two-goal, three-point night against the Calgary Flames, he opened the season with a bang.
He's had a league-leading three game winners. He's had four multiple point games. And he's put up points in six of the eight games.
The player Kevin Lowe signed with the extra money left over from Pronger's $6 million-a-year US contract, has been a steal of a deal.
"He's been a good fit," said Lowe last night.
"Getting Petr is a result of the coaches' analysis of what the team needed. In our minds he was multidimensional. He could play the point on the power play and fill part of the void left by Pronger and Jaroslav Spacek.
"He's a Ritch Winter client and he really wanted to play here and he'd spent his summers here when he was young. We didn't have to sell him on playing in Edmonton."
Sykora came here and said the right things right off the bat for the city which had been crushed by Pronger's request for a trade out of town.
"I like the city. When I was 15-16-17, I lived here in the summer with a family. I really like the city," said the Czech who was selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft here in 1995.
"I don't know who would not like to play here. This is a great organization with an unbelievable history. It's something special and I'm very excited about it."
Playing on a line with Hemsky and now Patrick Thoresen is what may make him want to stay here for the future.
"That line was really special for us,'' said coach Craig MacTavish.
"Ales was really special tonight as well as Petr. And Thoresen ... I don't know if we have a player who plays his position as well as he does,'' he said of Norway's hockey hero."
MacTavish says what's happening with that line proves something that Sykora can't help but notice.
"You can't do it by yourself. You have to have the chemistry. Petr has that shot and is a smart player offensively. Thoresen has really meshed in. And there's not much Hemmer can't do."
Sykora is on a one year contract.
Could he be leaving at the end of this season, too?
Considering Pronger's departure has been blamed on wife Lauren not liking it here, inquiring minds need to know how Renata, the woman he married last year, likes it here.
"She's been here for three weeks," he said. "I think she likes it."
MacT's use of the word "special" to describe Ales and Petr is very appropriate, both ways. *chortles*