March 1, 2015 By Paul Gackle

Transcript of James Sheppard Interview Regarding Trade Deadline

The San Jose Sharks traded forward James Sheppard to the New York Rangers on Sunday for a fourth-round pick in the 2016 NHL draft.

Sheppard registered 16 points (5g, 11a) in 57 games with the Sharks this year.

Here’s what the 26-year-old said about the Sharks’ mood regarding the looming trade deadline in a brief conversation on Saturday at 10:48 a.m.

The Ottawa Senators beat the Sharks 4-2 later that evening.

Gackle: Does the trade deadline looming tonight change the mood of the room in here today?

Sheppard: No, not at all. We’ve got our team here and if we get a new teammate or lose one, we’re still going to be a team. I don’t think any of us are thinking about it, really. We’ve got a lot of other stuff on our plate right now that we’ve got to worry about besides trades.

Gackle: Is it more us on the outside paying attention to that than you guys on the inside?

Sheppard: “Yeah. We don’t have time to look at that, you know.”

Gackle: So this could, technically, be some players’ last night with the team, game with the team, but it’s just business as usual for you guys?

Sheppard: “I, honestly, never even thought of it like that. Yeah, we’re in not in a playoff spot right now. All that we’ve got to worry about is getting to the playoffs.”

The questions were also posed to goalie Antti Niemi and forward Andrew Desjardins, who are, like Sheppard, both slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer.

Here’s what Niemi said (10:55 a.m.):

Gackle: Does the trade deadline looming tonight change the mood of the room in here today?

Niemi: “What do you think Braunie (poses the question to defenseman Justin Braun)? No. I don’t think people, guys, are not thinking about that too much. I think they’re thinking about the game tonight more.”

Gackle: It’s more us on the outside speculating about that than you on the inside? For you guys, it’s just business as usual?

Niemi: “Yeah. Yeah. We’ve got how many game we’ve got left and we’ve got to get points. That’s all.”

Gackle: So no thought’s crossed your mind that this could be your last start with the Sharks?

Niemi: “No (laughs). No. No.”

Here’s what forward Andrew Desjardins said (11:00 a.m.):

Gackle: Does the trade deadline looming change the mood at all for a game like this?

Desjardins: “I don’t think so. I mean, everybody’s here to do a job and everybody’s here to their job. I think, yeah, there’s always that trade stuff going on, but I think most guys — except for some of the young guys haven’t been involved in it — but most guys have, you know, kind of, are used to it.

You’re just coming in and doing your job and trying to win games. I mean, I think that’s the main thing right now. I don’t think we have to have that in the back of our mind.”

Gackle: A lot of players say that we speculate a lot on the outside, but for you guys, it’s just going to work and if you get tapped on the shoulder, you get tapped on the shoulder?

Desjardins: “Yeah. I mean, it’s one of those things. You’re not in control. You’ve just got to come to the game and do what you do. You know, it is what it is, it happens every year (laughs).”

Here’s what head coach Todd McLellan said regarding the mood in the room prior to the trade deadline (approximately 11:11 a.m.):

Gackle: “With the trade deadline looming over, does that change the mood in the room at all for a game like this?

McLellan: “You know what? Our mood right now better be about the lack of success and not worrying about the trade deadline.

And I addressed this a little bit the other day, there is the human element to rumors and to potential deals, and that does affect families, that affects individuals. But when we all sign up in this league, we know that day comes every year and we have to deal with it. So, I’m more concerned about our win-loss-commitment-level mood than the trade deadline mood.”