SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Kyle Wellwood's smile midway through his answer said it all.
"It's been a real nice transition for me from Russia to San Jose," Wellwood told ESPN.com on Wednesday after practice.
Do you think? Six months ago, his NHL career appeared over as he plied his trade halfway around the world. Now he's entering the NHL playoffs on a Cup contender, his NHL career seemingly salvaged as he's meshed on a third line with Joe Pavelski and Torrey Mitchell.
"Certainly what's happened this year makes you realize how quickly things can finish for you, finish your career," Wellwood said. "To get a chance now to play on a contending team is something special. I hope Lady Luck smiles on this team and it's the year."
Marleau at center
Patrick Marleau took most of the line rushes at center between Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi at Wednesday's practice. Usually Thornton is the center on that top line, although late in the regular season, Marleau took a lot of faceoff draws.
"We're all interchangeable in our system," Marleau shrugged when we asked him about it after practice.
Sharks coach Todd McLellen said he felt it important Marleau get some work in on faceoffs the last few weeks, because he'll be needed in the faceoff draw come playoff time.
Eager for a repeat
Rugged fourth-line winger Ben Eager hopes to make it two springs in a row with a perfect ending. He won a Stanley Cup in Chicago last year and sees parallels in the team chemistry with the Sharks this year.
"I think the room in Chicago last year was similar," Eager said Wednesday. "Everyone got along with everyone. It was a close group of guys. And everyone looks out for everyone here in San Jose. I think we've got a team that can make a long run here."