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The Invincible M.A.E.


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Sharks
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Devin Setoguchi


From Some post-Dallas analysis:
*** It’s hard to get specifics sometimes when coaches or GMs or players themselves talk about somebody being “good in the room.” But here’s a look at the kind of contribution a guy like Jeremy Roenick can make, courtesy Ron Wilson in his post-game conference:

“JR made the two guys (Setoguchi and Kaspar) before the game stand up and give a little speech about playing in their first game so that was kind of cool. And Seto said, ‘I’ve waited 20 years for this. We’re going to win tonight.’ Who knew?”

Setoguchi’s parents, by the way, were supposed to drive from their farm in Taber, Alberta to Edmonton on opening night to see their son’s first NHL game. But when his ankle forced him out of the lineup that morning, they stayed home instead. No, they didn’t make it to Dallas, but Setoguchi said he was pretty sure friends and family had access to the game on TV and had been watchng.

From Setoguchi stars in debut as Sharks beat Dallas:
DALLAS - Ron Wilson was surprised the Dallas Stars lost a late lead. Imagine the Sharks coach's astonishment that it was a rookie who led his team's rally Monday night.

Devin Setoguchi scored two goals in the third period of his first NHL game to help the Sharks come from behind and beat the Stars 4-2.

"We're playing a team that's like Tupperware. Once they close the lid and burp it, you're done," Wilson said. "In the past, we haven't had games like this where we've stormed back on Dallas."

The Sharks came into the game 24th in the league with 25 goals, and they had scored just one in each of their last two losses.

The slump continued as San Jose trailed 2-1 despite firing off 25 shots through two periods on Dallas goalie Marty Turco.

But the 20-year-old Setoguchi scored twice in a span of 2 minutes, 34 seconds to turn a one-goal deficit into a 3-2 lead.

"It's definitely thrilling," Setoguchi said. "I never would have dreamed for it to happen this way."

Setoguchi, the eighth overall pick in the 2005 draft, tied the score at 2 when he beat Turco at 11:53 of the third.

He then took a pass in front of the net from Joe Thornton, who had two assists, and put the Sharks ahead 3-2 at 14:27.

San Jose added an insurance goal 17 seconds later from Steve Bernier.

The Sharks scored their final three goals on three consecutive shots.

Setoguchi could have easily had three goals, but he missed an open net in the first.

"I was definitely nervous in the first period," Setoguchi said. "I was just kind of scrambling out there. But I settled down and Coach gave me a chance in the third."

Setoguchi stole the show from Dallas center Mike Modano, who moved within one of tying the NHL record for most points by a U.S.-born player. Modano had an assist in the second period to give him 1,231 points, behind only Phil Housley.

"I want to get it behind us and move on," Modano said of approaching the mark.

Evgeni Nabokov stopped 27 shots for San Jose. Turco, who faced 16 shots in the first period, made 31 saves.

Matt Niskanen, the 28th overall pick in the 2005 draft, scored his first NHL goal thanks to a fortunate bounce at 5:14 of the second.

Modano passed the puck to Niskanen, who lofted a shot from near the blue line. The puck changed direction after it hit a San Jose defender's stick and went into the net past Nabokov.

That gave the Stars a 2-1 lead after two periods. This was the third time this season that Dallas has lost a third-period lead.

"Some mistakes were made on our end by people we rely on to shut people down," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "Then they put the puck in the back of the net."

Mike Ribeiro gave the Stars a 1-0 lead with his fourth goal at 10:20 in the first.

Philippe Boucher's shot from the right circle went off Nabokov, and Ribeiro picked up the rebound and slipped the puck past the goalie.

The Sharks tied it about two minutes later on Joe Pavelski's goal, which came when he beat Turco for a loose puck by the net.

The 37-year-old Modano, who was coming off a two-point outing Saturday night against Phoenix, has two goals and three assists this season.

San Jose center Jeremy Roenick did not score and remains two goals from being the third American-born player with 500.

From Sharks rookie Setoguchi dream debut puts Shark in the spotlight :
By Mark Emmons
Mercury News
Article Launched: 11/02/2007 01:40:34 AM PDT

It's a good thing this whole hockey business looks like it might work out for Devin Setoguchi. The family business sure wasn't a fit.

Setoguchi, the Sharks' first-round draft choice in 2005, was raised on a farm in Taber, Alberta, which is known throughout Canada for its corn. His father grows potatoes.

Whatever the crop, "I'm not a farmer," Setoguchi said. "I can't tell you how many acres we have or what kind of tractors we drive."

Only once did he get up at 5:30 a.m. to work the fields - and he didn't exactly endear himself that day by knocking off early to play golf. He also managed, at age 13, to get a couple of fingers jammed in farm machinery.

So he learned how to handle a hockey stick instead.

Setoguchi, 20, made his NHL debut Monday night and it came straight from the dreams of every Canadian boy who ever laced up skates. He scored two goals to spark the Sharks' 4-2 victory over Dallas, providing a glimpse of why he has been a much-heralded prospect.

"I've only played one game in this league, so I haven't really proven much at all," he said. "I've got a lot more to do if I want to stay around."

Expectations, which already were high, have only grown since the show Setoguchi put on in Dallas. He provided an instant jolt of energy for a team that has done a good deal of sleep-skating through the season's first month.

That's why he was the center of attention this week. Jeremy Roenick grinned as he sauntered by, watching Setoguchi address reporters.

"Holding court," Roenick said. "I love it. That's the way it should be."

Setoguchi clearly is savoring the moment even as he keeps repeating that he's a veteran of a single game.

"This is exactly the way I pictured it," he said. "I'm getting to play on a line with Joe Thornton, and that's the kind of thing you wish about when you're a little kid. But you never actually think that you would be playing alongside him one day."

The Sharks pretty much envisioned it this way. Team officials have been touting Setoguchi - a 6-foot, 205-pound right wing - since they made him the No. 8 pick two years ago. He earned a roster spot with a strong training camp this summer - only to badly roll his ankle in the final exhibition.

"To have Ronnie Wilson call you into the office to tell you that you just made the team and then that night hurt yourself, it was definitely frustrating," Setoguchi said.

The injury set him back three weeks . . . and to a minor league rehab assignment to work on conditioning. He returned with a bang. Two bangs, to be more precise.

Wilson moved him to Thornton's line in the third period against Dallas, and the results were incandescent. Thornton twice found Setoguchi crashing the net for goals.

The performance had all the Sharks recalling their debuts.

"On my first two shifts," Wilson said, "I got an assist and then a goal. Then it went downhill from there."

The coach was poking fun at himself. But he was making a subtle point, too. Setoguchi needs to build on this.

"I obviously don't expect him to score two goals every game," Wilson said. "He just needs to keep working hard. But it's something to be proud of, something that's been rarely done and it can never be taken away from him."

Hockey also is something of a family business. Setoguchi's father, Dale, was named the Alberta Junior Hockey League MVP in 1979 and later played a year in Japan. He is still playing senior hockey.

Dale coached his son as a youth, emphasizing the two most basic skills.

"He always stressed to me skating and shooting," Setoguchi said. "He said if you could shoot the puck and skate, you're going to be a good hockey player."

Setoguchi takes pride in being one of the few players of Japanese descent to reach the NHL. That ancestry comes from his father's side of the family, and Setoguchi's grandparents were caught up in a sad chapter of Canadian history. During World War II, Canada - like the United States - rounded up citizens of Japanese heritage and sent them to internment camps.

"They were only allowed to take what they had in their hands and got shipped off," he said. "I haven't talked to them too much about that. It's a touchy subject with my grandma. They ended up near Taber and started farming."

Ah, yes, the farm.

"He was pretty scarce around here," said Dale Setoguchi. "We sure didn't see him out in the fields much."

By the way, Devin, the family operation is 700 acres, according to Dad. But agriculture's loss proved to be hockey's gain.

"To see him out there on the ice now, I'm still trying to figure out if it's real or not," Dale Setoguchi said. "It's almost too unbelievable when he's playing with Thornton, (Patrick) Marleau and (Jonathan) Cheechoo. It's like a dream come true."

When Setoguchi called home late Monday night, his first words to his father were: "How about that!"

Indeed. How about that.