March 2, 2015 By Paul Gackle

Sharks Say Players-Only Meeting Was About Work, Not ‘Fun’

SAN JOSE — After laying everything out at a players-only meeting on Sunday, the San Jose Sharks are looking to turn words into wins on the ice.

The Sharks canceled practice on Sunday after the team initiated a players-only meeting to figure out a way to turn the ship around when the Montreal Canadiens roll into SAP Center on Monday. The team compiled a 3-8-2 record in the month of February.

“I think it was productive,” forward John Scott said. “We, obviously, haven’t been producing near to our capabilities the last month, month-and-a-half, so we, basically, went over that and just said, we’ve got to get our act together if we’re going to do something with the season.”

While the Sharks declined to discuss the specifics of the meeting, they agreed, in unison, with Scott’s assessment that it was a productive get together.

“Any time you lay things out there, it’s a good thing.” defenseman Scott Hannan said.

While the Sharks received a day off from skating to hold the meeting, defenseman Matt Irwin said the purpose of the team get together was worked related.

“We came to the rink, got what we needed to get the legs going, so we weren’t sitting stagnant and then we took care of business off the ice,” Irwin said. “It was anything but a “Sunday Funday”; it was a work day. We just did it a little differently.”

Several players took exception with a headline on a major media website that suggested the team canceled practice to hold a “Sunday Funday” in the midst of their struggles on the ice.

The term, “Sunday Funday” typically refers to drinking alcoholic beverages throughout a Sunday afternoon.

“I think, probably, that comment’s pretty disrespectful to the group, to be honest,” alternate captain Joe Pavelski said. “Sunday Funday, it wasn’t. Obviously, we’re trying to push in the right direction and build on it. Bottom line: guys were getting together and understand where we’re at. We’ve been pushing, we understand we need to bring it and produce and that’s what it was about.”

Head coach Todd McLellan expressed similar sentiments about the headline.

“It wasn’t ‘Sunday Funday’ by the way,” the Sharks coach said. “Just to clarify that. There’s not a lot of fun going on around here right now.”

Trailing the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings by two points for last playoff spot in the Pacific Division (3rd place), Scott said fun is the last thing on the Sharks minds right now.

“By no means was it fun. It’s not fun to be in this situation,” Scott said. “But, I think, sometimes when you start losing it kind of wears on you a little bit and you kind of have to take a step back and look where we are in the big picture. We’re not in a terrible spot, we’re obviously not in the playoffs, but string a couple wins together, we’re right back in it.”

Logan Couture said the Sharks just needed a day to discuss things amongst themselves.

“It was meeting,” he said. “We talked about certain things, certain issues and that was that. It wasn’t a fun day.”

Tommy Wingels suggested that the media blew the cancelation of practice on Sunday out of proportion.

“I think a big deal was just made out of the guys getting together and discussing a few things,” he said. “It happens quite often during the year, more than people think, and it was just good for us to sit down and talk about a few things.”

Will the meeting produce the type of turnaround that the Sharks are looking for with only 19 games left on the schedule? Will it catalyze the team as it attempts to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs for an 11th straight year?

Only time will tell.

“I think we need to see them play for a while,” McLellan said, referring to whether the team meeting produced desired results.

He went to say: “You’d like to think that positive things come out of that.”