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“Fearsome Young Sharks” Prospect Profile – William Wrenn

Photo courtesy of Alexander Zimmermann {@Alex_Z_Sharkie}

On June 27, 2009, the San Jose Sharks drafted American defenseman William Wrenn with the 43rd pick in the second round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

“My strong point is playing hard, tough defense,” said Wrenn in a June 2009 interview with John McGourty of nhl.com that was posted on the San Jose Sharks website shortly after being drafted.  “I like to hit and be physical, get in kids’ faces.  I’m good making the first pass to get out of our zone and I’m well positioned.”

A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Wrenn moved to Los Angeles, California, at the age of 14 to play for the elite Los Angeles Selects AAA Team as he said the caliber of hockey was better and got noticed by USA Hockey.  The following year, Wrenn agreed to join the United States National Team Development Program {US NTDP} team.

Over the next two seasons {2007-08, 2008-09}, Wrenn skated for the US NTDP in Ann Arbor, Michigan, playing a basic collegiate schedule against teams such as Colorado College and Michigan

Captaining the 2008-09 squad, Wrenn registered 17 points on six goals and 11 assists in 60 games while leading Team USA to gold medals at the 2008 Under-18 Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid, New York, the 2009 International Ice Hockey Federation {IIHF} Under-18 Five Nations Cup in Nykoping, Sweeden and the 2009 IIHF Under-18 World Championships in Fargo, North Dakota, the first time a U.S. team had won an international hockey tournament on American soil since the 1980 men’s Olympic hockey team.

“I had won a national peewee championship with the L.A. selects, but winning the World Under-18s were definitely the biggest accomplishment in my career,” said Wrenn in the McGourty interview.  “We worked two years for that gold medal and it actually happened.  The crowd was chanting, ‘USA, USA.’  Going up to get that trophy and then bringing it back to my teammates was the best feeling I have ever had.”

After the World Under 18s, Wrenn headed to Denver University to begin his collegiate career.  In 23 games in the 2009-10 season, Wrenn registered seven points on seven assists to go along with 107 hits and 23 blocked shots.  Unfortunately, Wrenn missed 14 games with a hip injury that required surgery.

Making a full recovery for his sophomore season, Wrenn found himself near the bottom of a seven-man rotation on defense that wasn’t to his liking.  “I just wasn’t fitting back in the lineup, no matter what I did,” said Wrenn in an April 2011 interview with Jim Beseda of oregonlive.com.  “The coaches were trying to work everybody in, but it’s hard to flow as a team with seven defensemen.  I just felt I’d hit a block and I wasn’t going to move anytime soon.”

Registering one assist and a team worst plus/minus rating of -7 in 18 games, Wrenn felt his game wasn’t developing fast enough and with no guarantee from Denver University head coach George Gwozdecky or the coaching staff that his scarce ice time would increase, Wrenn opted to walk away from one of the nation’s top Division I hockey programs to play major junior hockey for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League {WHL}.

“It was tough to leave a school like that and the academic opportunity I had there, but I want to be a hockey player,” said Wrenn in the Beseda article.  “That’s what I’ve always wanted, so I decided to take a chance and go for it.”  You know, I can always go back to school, but the window of opportunity to play hockey stays open for only so long.”

Gwozdecky harbored no ill-will towards Wrenn, stating in a January 3 interview with the Denver University Athletics website that “William feels he will have a better opportunity to play on a regular basis and contribute in a more important role at the junior hockey level.  He was a good teammate and was well liked in our locker room.  William will be missed by our program.”

On January 4, 2011, Winterhawks General Manager and Head Coach Mike Johnston welcomed Wrenn to the Winterhawks, the same team who had listed then 14-year old Wrenn on their 50-player protected list in May 2006 following the 2006 WHL Bantam Draft despite Wrenn telling everybody at the time of his intentions to play college hockey.

Getting Wrenn when they did proved to be a blessing for the Winterhawks as three weeks after Wrenn’s arrival, veteran defenseman and team captain Brett Ponich needed surgery to reconstruct a torn cruciate ligament in his left knee, sidelining Ponich for the remainder of the regular season and most of the WHL Memorial Cup Playoffs.

Having to quickly adjust to the demanding WHL schedule, Wrenn was paired with defenseman Taylor Aronson and together, the duo became a steady force on the blue line as they led the Winterhawks to the WHL Finals {The Kootenay Ice defeated the Winterhawks in five games to win the series} and were consistently used against the opposition’s top forward lines.

“If you’re a forward and you’re going to play against William Wrenn, you’re going to have to really compete hard, because he battles hard and he’s got a competitive edge to him,” said Johnston in the Beseda article.  “We were very fortunate that we got him when we did from Denver.  He’s been a huge addition.”

Wrenn finished the regular season with 13 points on two goals and 11 assists in 29 games to go along with 17 penalty minutes and was named the Winterhawks Co-Defensive Player of the Year along with Aronson in a voting by the players.

“The team welcomed me right away and put me in a position where I could play a lot,” said Wrenn in the Beseda article.  “It’s been an unbelievable experience ever since I’ve been here.  I feel as if my game is actually progressing again and I’m slowly moving forward instead of just idling like I felt I had been at Denver.”

HIGHLIGHTS

William Wrenn 2009 NHL Draft Video  {Courtesy of YouTube user “C1n3m4”}

William Wrenn USA Hockey Hit  {Courtesy of YouTube user “Slaphappypappy100”}

William Wrenn Goals vs. Russia at U18s  {Courtesy of YouTube user “Slaphappypappy100”}

Jacob Doty vs. William Wrenn WHL Fight Jan. 22, 2011  {Courtesy of YouTube user “hockeyfightsplus”}

Multiple Fist-Fights Jan. 22, 2011  {Courtesy of YouTube user “giddyup523”}

*Videos and information were used from sharks.nhl.com, www.denverpioneers.com, www.hockeydb.com, www.denverpost.com, www.winterhawks.com, www.oregonlive.com, www.fearthefin.com and www.youtube.com for this post entry.*

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“Teal Town Tweet Talk” for week of 6/5/11 – 6/11/11

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Sena Acolatse

“Just gained soo much respect for marchand hahahaa #gobruins #beatitnucks  {June 8}

Jamie Baker

“I totally support USA Hockey’s new hitting policy. Give players 2 more years to work on skating (balance & edging) and puck skills.”  {June 11}

Brodie Brazil

“4.5 hour #sfgiants game…? I love baseball, and sports, but… come on!”  {June 6}

Logan Couture

“Will Lebron score more than 25 in a Finals game? #livinginDwaynesshadown  {June 7}

Carter Hutton

“Glen Healey’s job is color commentator he sounds like he works for Van, turn his mic off”  {June 6}

James Marcou

“Why even watch the first 3 quarters of basketball #boringgggg  {June 5}

Jamal Mayers

“Off to gym to workout with Mike Potenza! (Sharks Strength Coach)…gotta do the work there’s no magic to it!”  {June 10}

Jamie McGinn

“One of my new least favorite birds is the #canadagoose… Keep poopin on my lawn and #illgetya”  {June 8}

Sean Sullivan

“The nose face killer with a sick goal. @Coreycgriffin start stretching Van needs a goalie to back up Schnides. #bwuins!”  {June 6}

SJ Sharkie

“Touchdown and a 2-point conversion for the bruins!”  {June 6}

Tommy Wingels

“going home. unfortunately bringing some idiots with #derekkk #yaaaaa”  {June 10}

“Teal Town Tweet Talk” for week of 5/22/11 – 5/28/11

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Before I begin this week’s installment of “Teal Town Tweet Talk,” I would like to announce that Worcester Sharks forward, and team rookie of the year, Tommy Wingels has joined Twitter and can be followed @Tommy_Wingels.  Also, Worcester Sharks forward Dan DaSilva has changed his Twitter name to @DanDaSilva23.

Sena Acolatse

“I think I hate the radio more than I hate those bandwagon jumpin canuck fans… Nahh nuck fans are still worse, but the radio does lick”  {May 27}

Jamie Baker

“war-ri-or – noun 1) a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage or aggressiveness. 2) hockey players playing despite injuries”  {May 26}

Brodie Brazil

“Okay ladies, now that it’s over: what did you really think of the beard?”  {May 25}

Logan Couture

“Man, the season ends too quickly. Just comes to a stop out of nowhere. Feels weird not going to the rink today. Thanks for an amazing year Sharks fans. Truly blessed to play in a city where fans are so proud of their team. Thank you for the support through the highs and the lows. It was quite a journey this year. We will come back stronger and hungrier next year. #stayloud fans, we can still hear you.”  {May 25}

Dan DaSilva

“Just chuckin a tweet out there to let everyone know that im still alive and kickin”  {May 26}

Randy Hahn

“Thanks for all the passion, joy, heartache, humor and support for the team expressed here this past season. The best hopefully still to come”  {May 25}

Bret Hedican

“Thank you to all the Shark fans who supported our crew all season, & Congrats to the Canucks for advancing! Go get the Cup!”  {May 24}

Carter Hutton

“First Friday night in months and no @seansullivan37 my life is picking up #anchor  {May 27}

James Marcou

@tommy_wingels just tweet #showtime”  {May 24}

Jamal Mayers

“Just wanna say thanks to Sharks fans for all the great support this year! What a great place to play and live! We will be back!”  {May 25}

Jamie McGinn

“Finally took down the christmas tree! Some weird looks dragging that down the hall.. #neverseenachristmastreebefore?” {May 26}

Frazer McLaren

“Check out www.parktek.ca for all you who love to long board!!”  {May 24}

Sean Sullivan

@Tommy_Wingels cut the cord bud. Get a new photo. I’m sure @CarterHutton has some of you sleeping since you guys shared a room for a year.”  {May 23}

SJ Sharkie

“I’m going nuts today! Hwy 17 is closed and sjsu has graduation! Tried to get to scotts valley – now trying to get to sharks ice! #noLuck #fb  {May 28}

Tommy Wingels

“Don’t know how to use this. Getting chirped already. Feel like @andy_miele in class”  {May 24}

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BONUS TWEET TALK

Sean Sullivan

“Hotel TV is so dead to me its not even funny. If I see another episode of Law and Order I’m going through the window. #PencilDive  {May 24}

Frazer McLaren

@SeanSullivan37 learn how to read then!”  {May 24}

Logan Couture

“Goodbye Mr. @JamieMcGinn64. Goodbye.  {May 26}

{Photo courtesy of @logancouture}

Jamie McGinn

“I miss him already ha 6 years as teammates and counting @Logancouture: Goodbye Mr. @JamieMcGinn64. Goodbye.”  {May 26}

“Hits and Misses” for Sharks at Canucks Game 5 WCF 5/24/11

Result:  SHARKS 2, Canucks 3 {Double Overtime}    {Sharks lose series 4-1}

The San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks shake hands during the tradtional post series handshake as the Canucks won the series 4-1. Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports.

HITS

Patrick Marleau – Marleau scored his eighth goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 53rd of his career, at 9:57 of the second period with the Sharks on the Power Play to tie the game at 1-1.  With Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa in the penalty box for “high sticking,” Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle fired a shot on net from the blue line that deflected off the glove of Canucks defenseman Keith Ballard in the slot, ricocheted off the stick of Marleau, who was cutting into the slot from the side, and passed Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo for the goal.

Devin Setoguchi – Setoguchi scored his seventh goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 14th of his career, at 0:24 of the third period to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead.  With the puck inside their own zone, Sharks defenseman Kent Huskins chipped the puck out to center ice, where the puck bounced off the stick of Sharks forward Joe Pavelski and passed Canucks forward Henrik Sedin, who was positioned at the blue line of his own zone.  Pavelski quickly got passed Sedin and pursued the puck into the Canucks zone as Luongo came out of his crease to poke the puck away but Pavelski beat Luongo to the puck with a diving effort and got the puck over to his right side, where Setoguchi fired the puck into the open net for the go ahead goal.  Setoguchi also had a game high nine hits!

Joe Thornton – Even without the use of one of his hands, the Sharks captain gave an awesome individual effort as he had a game-high seven shots on net and logged the most ice time for the Sharks, playing 32:15.  Any critic or naysayer that continues to label Thornton a choker by bringing up his past playoff failures is misinformed because Thornton not only finished with 17 points this post season {3 goals, 14 assists} but he totally revamped his game by becoming a complete three-zone player as the result of spending time on the Sharks Penalty Kill unit and developing a relentless back check.

Antti Niemi – After allowing four goals on 13 shots in a lemon of a game on Sunday afternoon, Niemi once again showed his mental toughness and resiliency by having an outstanding bounce back game in stopping 31-of-34 shots on net.

Joe Pavelski – Pavelski was the only Sharks player to have a multiple point night, registering two assists, and had a five blocked shots.

Sharks Defensemen – Of the Sharks 26 blocked shots, the defensemen were responsible for 19 of them as both Niclas Wallin and Ian White had a game high six, Douglas Murray had four, Marc-Edouard Vlasic had two and Huskins had one.

Sharks Team – After a disappointing effort Sunday afternoon, the Sharks tonight played like a team you want to support and get behind as they manned up and gave a hell of an effort.  There’s no one on the Sharks team that anyone can point a finger at and say they didn’t empty out their tank.  Yes, it sucks that the Sharks are eliminated and their season is over but when one thinks back to that horrendous six-game losing streak in January, no one, not even Sharks fans, thought the Sharks were going to even going make the playoffs, let alone a second consecutive trip to the Western Conference Finals.  Yet the Sharks did just that and did so by taking accountability in their play and realizing that the only people who were going to end that losing streak were themselves.  If nothing else, look how much this team matured from the start of the season back in October to now, especially rookie forward Logan Couture, who entered this season as a boy and is entering the off-season as a man and the building block of the Sharks future.

MISSES

Referees – Just when it looked like the Sharks were going to kill the clock and head back to San Jose for Game 6, the referees put their “stamp mark” on the game by making a HORRENDOUS call that Sharks fans are not going to forget anytime soon.  With less than a minute to go and trailing 2-1, the Canucks pulled Luongo for the extra skater in the hopes of tying the game and forcing overtime.  With only 30 seconds remaining and the puck behind Niemi’s net, Boyle rimmed the puck around the boards and down the ice, which the referees INCORRECTLY ruled icing as the puck DEFLECTED off the shoulder of Daniel Sedin inside the Sharks zone before going down the length of the ice.  The Canucks won the ensuing face-off inside the Sharks zone and Canucks forward Ryan Kesler got himself to the front of the net, where he deflected Henrik Sedin’s slap shot from the blue line passed Niemi for the game tying goal with only 14 seconds remaining in regulation.  Speaking of referees, can someone explain how all four referees did not see Boyle’s clear attempt deflect off the shoulder of Daniel Sedin but all four knew exactly where the puck was when Canucks defenseman Alexander Elder fired a shot on net in the second overtime period that everyone, referees included, thought had deflected into the netting, only for the puck to be in the net behind Niemi four seconds later?  The replay did show that the puck deflected to Bieksa at the top of the point, who quickly fired a shot on net that squeaked past Niemi for the goal as everyone was looking up into the netting but I don’t think any of the referees knew where the puck was or they wouldn’t have huddled together after the goal to discuss whether the goal was good or not, which is why I’m still scratching my head because I thought the rule in hockey was a play was whistled dead if the referees lost sight of the puck? 

Power Play – While the Sharks did get a Power Play goal and finished 1-for-4 on the night with the man advantage, the Sharks squandered a golden opportunity in the first period with a 5-on-3 advantage that they should have scored on.

Coach McLellan – If what Brodie Brazil tweeted before the game was true that Sharks defenseman Jason Demers, who had not played since Game 7 of the Detroit Red Wings series, did not play tonight due to a “coaches decision,” then Coach McLellan deserves a miss because Demers, who said yesterday and today that he was ready to go, should have been in the line-up.  What would it have hurt to put Demers out on the ice and see what he could have contributed?  I said it a few posts ago and I’ll say it again in this one, Demers earned the right to be in the line-up after how played in the Red Wings series, where he made me a fan of his as the result of his solid play and high hockey sense.