Hey, Barracuda fans! Nick Nollenberger here. It’s another week, which means its time for another blog.
John McCarthy has no idea what to expect when he gets to South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics on Thursday after a 12-hour flight from SFO, and his team, the San Jose Barracuda, who await the San Diego Gulls this weekend, don’t know what to expect without their captain in the lineup for the next few weeks.
Both are headed into uncharted waters. McCarthy has played in 450 games with the Sharks top affiliate (San Jose, Worcester) over his nine-year career, and he’s missed a combined two games over the last three years in San Jose, so the Barracuda will certainly look different without number 17 in the lineup.
A constant professional, McCarthy isn’t the rah-rah type of leader. He’s even-keeled, never too high and never too low. An extension of Head Coach Roy Sommer, and Assistant Ryan Mougenel, McCarthy is the perfect on-ice mentor for the Sharks prized prospects and a reason the organization’s front office holds him in such high-esteem.
McCarthy is the team’s top penalty killer, its best face-off man, and its leading goal scorer on the power play (5). So his absence in the most pivotal time of the season will be felt, only increasing the pressure placed on San Jose’s remaining veterans.
The San Diego Gulls boast the league’s top power-play and are 7-for-18 (38.9%) against San Jose this season, so this weekend is going to make it a lot clearer on where the Barracuda are without McCarthy. San Jose did win a pair of games at San Diego in late January and are 7-4-0-1 all-time at home against the Gulls.
The Pacific Division is a complete logjam, and although San Jose sits at the seventh spot in the division, a pair of wins this weekend could go a long way.
Look forward to talking to you all next weekend, and enjoy this weekend’s games.