San Jose Sharks: Jamie McGinn is "Mr. Hustle"

Andy Bensch@@AndyBenschSenior Writer INovember 11, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Jamie McGinn #64  of the San Jose Sharks warms up before the preseason NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on September 26, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Sharks 2-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

On Oct. 30, 2008, an extremely unknown rookie winger was playing in just his second career game.

After receiving just 5:35 in ice time two days earlier in his first career game, it wasn't likely that Jamie McGinn would see much more time on the rink against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings.

But while playing just a little over seven minutes, McGinn scored his first career goal to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead about half-way through the second period.

The young forward would later add an assist, but it was his hard-working goal that made almost all Sharks fans cheer while asking the same thing: Who the heck is Jamie McGinn?

In total, McGinn appeared in just 35 games last season, contributing a pedestrian six points (four goals, two assists) and a minus-six plus/minus rating.

However, his work ethic and tenacity on the fore-check in limited time with the Sharks allowed for fans to have some heightened expectations for McGinn coming into this season.

But early on this year, the McGinn who came out of nowhere to score that clutch goal against the Red Wings was nowhere to be found.

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McGinn started out tentatively the first few games which caused him to bounce back and forth from the Sharks minor league affiliate in Worcester.

Time spent in the minors has meant that McGinn, 21, has played in just 13 of the Sharks' 19 games so far this season.

Fortunately for McGinn, his performance of late is going to make it much harder for the Sharks to send him back to the minors any time soon.

Before some of the injured Sharks started returning to action, McGinn had found some chemistry on the third line alongside Scott Nichol and Jed Ortmeyer.

His play was picking up as he notched his second goal of the season on Saturday in the Sharks' 5-0 win over the Penguins.

The goal was eerily similar to that of his first career tally against Detroit. McGinn simply went hard to the net, picked up a loose puck and somehow found away to sneak the puck in from beside the net.

After his overall performance against Pittsburgh, head coach Todd McLellan stated that he finally saw the McGinn he was expecting coming out of training camp, "Mr. Hustle."

Unfortunately for McGinn, despite his improved play, the return of injured Sharks on Tuesday night would bump him down to the fourth line.

A poor performance with new line-mates could possibly earn McGinn another trip back to Worcester, especially considering Jody Shelley is due to comeback to the lineup in the near future.

However, in Tuesday night's 4-3 win over the Predators, McGinn's impressive play from the last few games continued.

Early on in the second period, McGinn was in perfect position to pick up the puck off his skate and quickly snap a shot over the glove of a sliding Dan Ellis to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead.

The tally, McGinn's second in as many games was the second of his three goals this season which also demonstrated the quality of shot the young winger possesses.

Not only can the 21-year-old skate and play the role of agitator but he also has that second-line offensive potential that is valuable if the Sharks need to pull a player up to a scoring line in case of injury.

With the current role McGinn is on, it wouldn't be surprising to see Brad Staubitz, Ryan Vesce sent back to the minors or Shelley continuing to ride the pine.

McGinn is simply playing at too high of a level to be sent down to the minors and the other young Sharks may be much more closer to having their bags packed for the AHL.

If McGinn continues to perform and the constant flux of bringing players up and down from Worcester continues without the Fergus, Ontario, native, talk about a turnaround.

At the beginning of the year, McGinn was one of the first players to be jettisoned back and forth from the minors but now his coach has named him "Mr. Hustle," possibly earning him a set spot in the lineup.

Hopefully for the Sharks, McGinn can continue his impressive ways and continue to be that energizer bunny that has helped San Jose wear down their opponents.

For the former second-round pick, his current stretch of impressive play may be the start of a very successful NHL career.

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