San Jose Sharks 32-year-old rookie does it again

From college hockey in Calgary to the ECHL to the AHL, forward Bracken Kearns just kept plugging away. Brought up to the NHL for just one game last season, he knew he wanted to get back there. So, perhaps he was trying to prove a point with the Sharks’ AHL affiliate in Worcester, where he was leading the team in points (18) and assists (13) in 27 games played prior to being recalled a week ago. Now, he’s turned into a bit of scoring machine in San Jose.

On Thursday night, for the third straight game, the older-than-most rookie scored a goal. Not bad for a guy who waited until he was 32 years old to pot his first in the NHL – and that came just last Sunday against Anaheim. He did it again on Tuesday. Now, he’s unstopable.

Following San Jose’s 5-1 win over the visiting Edmonton Oilers, the first contest of 2014 for either team, here’s what was being said post-game in their respective locker rooms…

Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan:

“The role players played some pretty good roles tonight. You saw shots that were blocked, there was some physicality. They won battles. They checked well. So that was a good sign. And the go-to offensive guys were productive so it was a team effort.”

McLellan on playing with a lead:

“I thought we were good until it was 4-0 and then we got sloppy. We’ve got to get that out of our game. We talked about that too, but the response from the last game was good.”

Captain Joe Thornton on the overall game:

“We’re a team that when you lose one you like to get right back to it and get the next win. And I think we proved that tonight. We have a lot of good character guys in this room. It was “Go work hard” and that’s what we did here tonight. We didn’t feel like we worked as hard as we should have in Anaheim, and we got back to it tonight.”

Joe Pavelski on his strong play:

“The puck is going in [for me]. Jumbo creates a lot of space out there. When you score one or two you have the confidence to keep going. Couture and Braken are rolling right now. You just gotta stay on a roll when you’re on one.”

Bracken Kearns on his goal:

“It was another lucky one but I’ll take it. I thought we played well tonight. We had some good sustained pressure. We talked about getting a quick release on this goaltender and we did that. And mine found the back of the net.”

Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins:

“The game was fine, we were playing fine until the second goal. It was laid out on a platter, simple. It can’t happen. Now you’re down two against San Jose. Now it’s a big problem.”

Eakins on responding to the loss:

“We want to get to a type of game that [San Jose] plays. I’m sure our guys will rebound off the bad nights. One thing that is consistent with these good teams is the simple things. They never turn over the puck. If you’re going to beat them, you need to go the full length of the ice.”

Oilers captain Andrew Ference:

“They proved why their record is what it is, and at parts of the game, we proved why our record is what it is. They’re a very tough team. When you play a top team, they’re going to generate a lot of chances. If you want to make a game of it, you have to limit your mistakes.”

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