Talking About The San Jose Sharks With Sheng Peng

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview San Jose Sharks reporter and blogger, Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng).

Peng writes for Fear The Fin, a San Jose Sharks blog site on SB Nation. He’s also contributed on a variety of topics/subjects for VICE Sports, NBC Asian America and The Hockey News. 

In my interview with Peng, we talked about the Sharks and how they’ve been doing in round two against the Colorado Avalanche. In addition, we discussed the Erik Karlsson contract negotiations, Joe Pavelski‘s controversial cross-check in the series against Vegas and Martin Jones’ performance in net this year.

Talking Sharks Hockey 

Josh: Martin Jones has looked a tad better than he did during the regular season, but he still isn’t looking like his old self. Are you concerned about him at all?
Sheng: For sure, his regular season was very concerning. To illustrate, since 2005-06, 272 goalies have started 45+ games. Only 14 of those goalies have finished with a save percentage (SV%) below .900. Jones’s .896 SV% (this year) was one of them.
As solid as he’s been in this Colorado series, it feels like there’s a tough stretch coming up, whether tonight or in the next series if San Jose advances. Just the law of averages, considering his regular season.
Josh: What are your thoughts on Joe Pavelski’s questionable cross-check on Vegas Golden Knights forward Cody Eakin? Do you think that the referees made the right call for awarding Pavelski a five minute major penalty?
Sheng: It wasn’t a major penalty. Even Pavelski acknowledged that in his recent media availability.
Big break for the Sharks, but it’s also on the Golden Knights to not allow four goals on one major power play. That’s only happened one other time in playoff history — the Kings allowed four in five minutes to the Blues in Game 3 of their 1998 series — and there’s a reason for that, it shouldn’t happen. 
Josh: It seems that the Erik Karlsson negotiations have stalled out. Most fans probably expect that they’ll pick up after the playoffs. What are your thoughts on the negotiations? How much do you believe that Karlsson will earn? Or do you believe that he’ll test the market?
Sheng: I believe he’ll test the market, but there’s a good chance that he stays in San Jose. From what I understand, he’s warmed to his new surroundings over the last few months.
I question how strong the market will be for him, after two un-Erik Karlsson like years. Granted, he was coming off ankle surgery in 2017-18 and had a difficult groin injury this year.
I wonder if a team will make him the highest-paid defenseman in the game like I imagine he wants. He’ll need to rally in the playoffs for that to happen, I think.
Josh: Joakim Ryan has been truly effective for the Sharks during the playoffs, he owns the highest CF% of the Sharks defensemen (aside from Tim Heed). Do you believe that Ryan should get more ice-time?
Sheng: Not really. Small sample size CF% against weaker competition doesn’t really say much.
Watching Ryan carefully, he’s a solid puck-mover, but he can get battered a bit by an insistent forecheck. 
DeBoer does tend to sit Ryan for entire third periods, lean heavily on his veterans. So, maybe give him a shift or two in the third, sure? But, that’s it.
Josh: Throughout the series against the Avalanche, has there been anyone from your perspective who has emerged and been a valuable asset?
Sheng: Vlasic struggled a bit in the regular season, but he’s bounced back in a tough, tough match-up against MacKinnon.
Josh: You wrote a great post on Brent Burns and his offensive play diminishing a tad against the Avalanche. Do you feel that Burns has broken out of his minor slump?
Sheng: I don’t think Burns himself was really in a slump. I give him credit this post-season, especially against Vegas, for taking what the other team’s forwards are giving him, instead of forcing shots into shins and jumpstarting opposition transition that way.
He’s also taken a huge defensive responsibility in this series as the primary pairing, along with Vlasic, against MacKinnon. This will sap anybody’s production.
Josh: The Kane-Hertl-Donskoi line hasn’t had a lot of expected goals throughout the playoffs and yet Peter DeBoer still has them together. Is it time for a change?
Sheng: With Pavelski and Donskoi’s injuries, I’m not sure what choice they’ve had, especially considering how well the Meier-Couture-Nyquist line has played this series and how well the Sorensen-Thornton-Labanc line performed over the last couple months. There’s some thought that Kane might be playing hurt — he’s missed a couple morning skates recently that were called optional but that all his teammates attended.
If Pavelski comes back tonight, that’ll introduce an interesting wrinkle to the lines.

Thank You Sheng!

Thank you Sheng for taking the time to talk with me. Looking forward to interview you again in the future!

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Author: Josh Tessler

Josh Tessler is the Editor and Founder of Puck77. Josh was born in Montreal, Quebec, but has spent most of his childhood and adult-life in the United States. From an early age, Josh had a passion for hockey. He spent a lot of time watching hockey with his grandfather, Sidney Schwartz. His favorite player growing up was Ray Bourque and he’s chosen to honor Bourque by using his number “77” in the blog’s name. Prior to Puck77, Josh wrote for FanSided’s Editor in Leaf (Toronto Maple Leafs blog), SB Nation’s Amazin’ Avenue (New York Mets blog) and Clark University’s The Scarlet. @JoshTessler_ - Twitter