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Sharks practice from a fan’s perspective

by Marc Lachance || AHL On The Beat Archive

The Worcester Sharks got back to practice today [Tuesday] at the DCU Center after having a day off Monday. Today’s objectives were to take different angles on shots for the forwards and for the defensemen to take away the center of the ice from opponents.

Practice began with having four groups of one-touch passing inside the circles, followed by a series of odd-man rushes.

The Sharks participated in a 4-on-4 scrimmage, then spent a great deal of time on their conditioning with several sets of sprints.

“That’s what you get for two days off,” said Roy Sommer, Worcester’s head coach and San Jose’s top affiliate head coach for the last nine years. “It was really just one day off because they skated on during a charity event on Sunday. Today was a good practice for the most part.

During the sprints toward the end of the practice session, veteran goaltender Nolan Schaefer and rookie Thomas Greiss pushed each other to skate harder. Schaefer played in seven games last year for the NHL’s San Jose Sharks with a record of 5-1-0. He also picked up a shutout while he was up there.

Although San Jose has one of the best goaltending duos in the NHL, Schaefer talked about what it will take for him to get back to the NHL level.

“I just have to keep working and concentrating like I do every day,” said Schaefer, whose leadership and mentoring is a plus for Greiss, who is expected to develop and mature into a solid NHL goaltender.

Worcester’s assistant coach David Cunniff led the defensemen during practice and taught the young Sharks positioning in different situations. Two of the veteran players, Scott Ferguson and Patrick Traverse, reinforced what Cunniff taught them by leading the various drills.

Although Traverse was recently acquired from Montreal in a trade that sent Mathieu Biron to the Hamilton Bulldogs, he’s already stepped into a leadership position with the team.

“Traverse is a guy that can give you a lot of minutes, a lot of safe minutes. He’s real solid defensively and a quiet leader,” said Sommer when asked what he thought of his new blueliner.

After practice Coach Sommer commented on John Laliberte, another new Shark who was signed to a professional tryout contract from the ECHL’s Trenton Titans: “He shows a lot of promise, you know,” said Sommer. “He’s got a great stick and he’s really good down low, protects pucks pretty good.”

Following the on-ice practice, every member of the team was required to work out in the team’s beautifully renovated weight room. Between the on-ice conditioning and the workout after practice, the Sharks are sure to be ready for Manchester and Lowell.

Marc Lachance is student at Westfield State College. He is covering Sharks practices at the DCU Center during his winter break and providing a fan point-of-view for sharksahl.com.