Boyle: Both sides holding up CBA progress

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Boyle: Both sides holding up CBA progress

SAN JOSE Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle has been one of the more vocal and outspoken NHL players when it comes to the current labor battle between the league and its players association. Already one of the more open and honest voices in the Sharks locker room when actual hockey is taking place, the 36-year-old couldnt hide his disappointment on Thursday that the two sides have yet to make an agreement.

Maybe it was the fact that hes battling a cold and not feeling 100 percent. More likely, its because he knows hes at the tail end of a fabulous career, and desperately longs to compete for his second career Stanley Cup on what is still a very solid team.

It sucks. Even though I went through it once it doesnt make it easier, said a glum Boyle, referring to the 2004-05 lost season. If anything, its just more frustrating to lose possibly a second year of my career. Careers are so short to begin with, to just have that taken away is pretty frustrating.

There was hope last week that the two sides would be able to forge an agreement and save a full season, after the league submitted an offer on Oct. 17 that included an immediate 50-50 revenue split. The players, still concerned that current contracts would be affected and rolled back in some form, responded with three proposals of their own that Gary Bettman and the owners shot down in a matter of minutes.

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That the league didnt even really consider what the NHLPA put on the table irked a number of players, including Boyle.

Sleep on it, look it over, discuss among the other 29 owners and then come back with a no, if thats the case, Boyle said.

Somewhat surprisingly, Boyle didnt admonish his own side from helping to contribute to the stalemate.

Its supposed to be a negotiation, and I think right now both sides kind of think its their way or the highway. I think youre got to give to get, and I dont know that were at that point yet, he said.

Patrick Marleau seemed especially annoyed with the leagues tactics.

The owners proposal started talks, and then they kind of shut them down as soon as we started talking," Marleau said. "They wanted 50-50, we got to 50-50, and they took 10 minutes to disregard three proposals where we actually took their offer and took some time to dissect it.

They come out and they say they want whats best for hockey, but then their actions dont back that up. Its kind of happened throughout the whole negotiations, so at this point we dont expect anything less, I guess, out of them.

Should there be no progress over the next couple of days, it's not hard to predict the immediate future. It was widely reported that the league has since taken its last proposal off of the table, now that its Oct. 25 deadline to get in a full, 82-game season beginning on Nov. 2 will quietly pass. The fear now is that the league will soon cancel another months worth of games, never to be made up, as well as the Winter Classic and All-Star Game.

When the two sides actually sit down at the negotiating table again is anyones guess, and either could retreat into the shadows.

I think thats what they want, and thats what they plan on, Marleau said. They are obviously going by a playbook that they have, otherwise wed be playing. They say they want one thing, then we come to common ground, and then they want something else. I think they are working off of some timetable that they have.

Boyle agreed, and has said in the past that he believes the leagues hard-line owners want the players to miss some paychecks. Thats all but a certainty now.

It seems that way. Again, Im not in their locker room, but it seems like theres a script there, he said. I told you months ago that I didnt think anything was going to get done until we started losing some checks. How many, is the question. I dont know. It seems like they are following some sort of guidelines, or whatever, but Im not in their heads, either. Im just speculating.

If they cared about the game, we would be playing, basically, Marleau said of the hard-line owners.

The obvious objective of having the players miss out on a few paydays is the hope that the union will begin to fracture, and internal dissent will lead to more concessions for the league when a deal is finally signed.

Boyle hasnt sensed any discord amongst the union, though.

Thats the thing is, I dont really hear that, he said. Theres escrow money coming back from last year. Obviously, everyone would like to be making money, but I just dont hear about guys whining about it, really.

Marleau said: Theres no fear of that happening.

And so, the wait continues still with no end in sight.

Rewind: Sharks get the bounces in imperfect win against Hurricanes

Rewind: Sharks get the bounces in imperfect win against Hurricanes

SAN JOSE – The Sharks’ performance over the Hurricanes on Saturday night at SAP Center won’t be one that the team re-watches and reflects back upon as a model for how they want to perform.

Still, after deserving better in last Wednesday’s loss to Ottawa, and maybe even Friday’s defeat to the rival Ducks, there was a sense that the 4-3 win was essentially an evening out of their recent luck. San Jose had just 20 shots on goal, tying their season low, but four of them beat Cam Ward. That includes the second period when their shooting percentage was a lofty 50 percent (four shots, two goals).

“It’s good to see the puck go in for a few guys,” Joe Pavelski said. “The bounces – that’s why you just have to keep playing. I would have thought we would have won the other two games before this one.”

Pete DeBoer said: “I think when you look at the week, out of the three games we played, it was probably our poorest of the three. But we found a way to win, and the other two we lost, maybe we deserved better. That's hockey.”

After falling behind 2-0 in each of their last two games, the Sharks jumped on the Hurricanes just 12 seconds in when Patrick Marleau scored on a two-on-one with Joe Thornton.

Aaron Dell was surely chuffed after that one. In a previous start against Carolina on Nov. 15, the first-year backup stood on his head but got no support in a 1-0 loss.

“It’s a good feeling to get one right away,” Dell said.

The difference in the game was the Sharks’ pair of second period goals, after they had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 wiped away. Logan Couture’s redirection of a Brent Burns shot put San Jose ahead to stay, 3-2, while Kevin Labanc’s second goal in as many nights on the rebound of a Dylan DeMelo blast was the necessary insurance, and the game-winner.

Labanc now has three goals in his last five games, generating the type of offense that was expected from others on the team, but just hasn’t come.

“It’s a confidence booster, that’s for sure,” Labanc said of scoring in consecutive games. “It’s just momentum, and you ride with it. You just keep going, and whatever opportunities come by you, you’ve just got to make sure it goes in the net.”

DeBoer said: "For a team that's had trouble scoring, he's one guy that's consistently scored for us. The puck follows him around. … He's done a great job, and he's a hard guy to remove from the lineup just because of how he's playing and how he's contributing.”

At the end of a three-game California road trip, Carolina pushed hard to start the third down 4-2. Derek Ryan’s power play goal brought the ‘Canes back to within one, and the way the ice was tilted over those first four minutes, it looked like the Sharks might be in trouble.

Instead, they buckled down in the defensive zone despite missing defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who is “day-to-day” with a lower body injury after leaving in the second period, according to DeBoer.

"They have a lot of talented guys on the team that can make plays,” said Paul Martin, who got the most fortuitous bounce of the night when his first period slap shot went in off of defenseman Brett Pesce's skate. “For us, it was just trying to find a way to win at that point, take care of our own zone, and Deller made some big key saves when we needed them."

Dell’s biggest stop came with about 20 seconds left, when he challenged Jeff Skinner on a rebound try – one of 11 shots for the Hurricanes forward – and saw the backhander hit him in the chest. He’s now 3-1 in his nascent NHL career.

“The last minute six-on-five is always a really, really long minute,” Dell said. “I think we played it pretty well.”

Carolina had plenty of zone time over the final two minutes with Ward pulled for an extra attacker. But this time, it was the Sharks’ opponent that never got that necessary bounce.

Instant Replay: Sharks make most of opportunities in win over 'Canes

Instant Replay: Sharks make most of opportunities in win over 'Canes

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – After a disappointing defeat less than 24 hours earlier, and with a four-game road trip on the horizon, the Sharks could have overlooked Carolina on Saturday night at SAP Center.

Although it wasn’t their cleanest game, and they managed just 20 shots on goal, the Sharks got past the Hurricanes, 4-3. San Jose’s modest two-game losing streak came to an end.

Twice the Sharks took a one-goal lead, and twice the Hurricanes responded. At 11:02 of the second period, Joakim Nordstrom’s shorthanded goal on a partial breakaway knotted the score at 2-2.

The Sharks tallied a pair of scores to take a 4-2 lead into the dressing room at the second intermission, though. Logan Couture redirected a Brent Burns wrist shot at 12:18, and less than two minutes later Kevin Labanc smacked in the rebound of a Dylan DeMelo shot off of Cam Ward’s pad at 14:10.

Carolina got back to within 4-3 in the third period, taking advantage of an ill-advised cross-checking minor on Brenden Dillon. Derek Ryan was left alone in front of the net, and slipped a shot through Aaron Dell’s five-hole at 3:42.

Carolina pulled Ward for the extra attacker with about two minutes to go, and Dell made a key save on a Jeff Skinner rebound with 20 seconds left to preserve the win.

San Jose beat Carolina for just the fifth time in the past 15 meetings (5-8-2). The Hurricanes won the only other matchup on Nov. 15, 1-0.

There was a flurry of goals early.

The Sharks opened the scoring just 12 seconds into the game, when Patrick Marleau finished off a two-on-one rush with Joe Thornton. Carolina responded shortly after that on Lee Stempniak’s power play goal at 1:59, but the Sharks reclaimed the lead when Paul Martin’s point shot nicked Brett Pesce’s skate and fluttered through Ward at 3:14.

The Sharks lost Marc-Edouard Vlasic in the second period. The defenseman left for a stretch in the middle frame, returned for a shift, but did not play at all after that.

Carolina went 1-1-1 on its three-game road trip through California.

The Sharks completed a stretch of eight home games out of 10, and begin a four-game road trip in Toronto on Tuesday.

Special teams

The Sharks went 0-for-1 on the power play, going up against the league’s best penalty kill.

Carolina finished 2-for-2. San Jose is just 23-for-32 on the PK in its last 12 games (71.8 percent).

In goal

Dell was making his fourth start of the season, getting both Carolina games while the other two were against the Islanders. He improved to 3-1 on the season with 30 saves.

Ward took the loss, allowing four goals on 20 shots goals. It was just his second loss to the Sharks in his career in eight decisions (6-2-0).

Lineup

David Schlemko missed his third straight game with a right ankle injury. Matt Nieto, a scratch for the previous five games, replaced Micheal Haley on the fourth line.

Burns’ three-game goal-scoring streak was halted.

Up next

The Sharks will visit Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Chicago on their upcoming roadie, playing four games in six nights, before returning home to host Calgary on Dec. 20.