WASHINGTON Joakim Ryan can only imagine the scene on the AHL Barracudas bus ride home from Bakersfield Sunday night.
With a 2-1 win over the Bakersfield Condors, the Barracuda earned head coach Roy Sommers 700th career AHL victory, giving the leagues all-time winningest coach plenty of reason to celebrate.
That must have been fun, said defenseman Joakim Ryan, who suited up for 139 games on Sommers blue line before joining the Sharks this season.
They might have stopped for some beers on the way. Im sure they had a good time. Roy is always happy when you win, no matter what.
The win made Sommer the first AHL coach to reach the 700-win mark. The 60-year-old set the leagues all-time wins record two years ago, passing the previous mark of 636 set by AHL legend Fred Bun Cook.
Thats a lot of fun wins, said Sharks alternate captain Logan Couture, who played in 46 games for Sommer with the Worcester Sharks. Every time you win with Roy as your coach, youre having a good time.
Sommer reached 700 wins by spending 19-plus season behind the bench of the Sharks AHL franchise. His record could be a tough one to break considering that coaches at the AHL level are usually looking for a promotion to the NHL. Its rare to find a coach whos wiling to ride buses around the country without the promise of greener pastures down the road.
It takes someone special to stick with it that long in the minors, Ryan said. Youve got to have a true love and passion for the game of hockey, which Roy obviously has. Its a true love of the game.
Sommer spent two years as an assistant coach on Darryl Sutters staff with the Sharks from 1996 to 1998, but he enjoys the process of developing young players and watching them succeed at the next level.
I think hes comfortable with who he is, Couture said. Hes had his chance to coach in the NHL and Im pretty sure hes comfortable and confident with what he does down in the AHL.
The Sharks currently have 11 players on their roster whove played for Sommer with the AHL Barracuda over the last two seasons.
In addition to developing the organizations prospects, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer indicated that Sommer plays just as important a role in building character and helping turn boys into men.
Hes part coach, part father figure, which is great at that level when you have young guys turning pro, DeBoer said.
At this point, Sommer isnt showing any signs that his enthusiasm for coaching the Barracuda is waning as he approaches his third decade behind the bench, which means he should have a lot of wins left in him.
I hope one day he gets to 1,000, Justin Braun said. Maybe hell hang it up after that, but well see. I think hell coach forever.
2. Marcus Sorensen will make his 2017-18 debut Monday night.
With Joonas Donskoi, Melker Karlsson and Mikkel Boedker sidelined by day-to-day injuries, Marcus Sorensen will make his 2017-18 debut with the Sharks Monday at the Capital One Arena in Washington.
Sorensen earned his recall to the Sharks Saturday by scoring 14 points in 17 games with the Barracuda.
The 25-year-old Swede made a splash with the Sharks late in the season last year, suiting up for 19 games while skating in all six of the teams Stanley Cup playoff games against the Edmonton Oilers. As the fastest-skating forward in the organization, Sorensen will inject some much-needed speed into the lineup.
But Sorensen failed to make the Sharks roster out of training camp, struggling to find the hard inside game that he developed midway through his first season of North American hockey with the Barracuda last winter.
Even talking to him after (training camp), he agreed that he was inconsistent in bringing that game to the rink, DeBoer said. He went down there, played really well, was their best player recently. Hopefully, he can play his game up here with us.
Tim Heed (upper body) will also be scratched with a day-to-day injury Monday.
DeBoer said that defenseman Paul Martin is very close to rejoining the Sharks lineup.
3. Joe Thorntons fine is no big deal
Joe Thornton received a $5,000 fine from the NHL Department of Player Safety Sunday, the maximum allowable under the NHLs collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Players Association. Thornton received the fine for slashing Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson on the back of his left leg at 19:51 of the second period Saturday.
It was the first time Thornton has faced supplementary discipline from the league since he received a two-game suspension in 2010 for delivering a hit to the head of David Perron.
Thorntons reaction to the penalty?
Whatever, the Sharks alternate captain said. Its no big deal.