Locked out -- NHL enters labor stoppage

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Locked out -- NHL enters labor stoppage

The NHL is closed for business.

The collective bargaining agreement officially expired at 9:00 p.m. PST on Saturday, putting the 2012-13 season in jeopardy. The NHL and its players association remain far apart in negotiations for a new deal, and have not yet found a way to divide revenues that reached 3.3 billion last season despite several meetings and proposals in recent weeks.

Details of the divide have been well-documented, but the main sticking point seems to be how to handle current player contracts. The owners would like an immediate reduction in salaries, whether it be actual dollars or a percentage of revenues, while the players believe they deserve every penny of the deals they signed with their respective owners.

I think there needs to be some honor in the contracts that were given out, or else dont give them out, Dan Boyle said on Thursday.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic said: They asked for a huge chunk of our salaries, and the attitude is I dont think theres one player that wants to give back any percent of their salary, which guys already did eight years ago.

RELATED: Several Sharks to consider Europe if lockout out

The NHLPA would also like to see increased revenue sharing between the big market and small market clubs in order to maintain a healthy, 30-team league.

While other issues remain, such as the owners request to limit lengths of future contracts to prevent teams from circumventing the salary cap, its believed those issues can be resolved quickly after the core economics are decided.

But, that could be awhile, as press conferences on Thursday in New York by commissioner Gary Bettman and union boss Donald Fehr only added an exclamation point to how far apart the two sides remain when it comes to money.

The dominoes will fall, I think, but obviously the main issue is the money they want back, essentially. Lets call it a rollback it is what it is, said Boyle, who is one of several Sharks that were in the NHL during the last work stoppage. I think thats the one where were sticking to it. I was there in 04 and we gave back a lot. We agreed to their model, essentially. There are flaws, were all aware of that. But, thats one of those sticking points where we cant really move on it.

While there is little optimism that the season will start on time, it is still a remote possibility. Saturday was the official end of the current CBA, but training camps were not set to open until Sep. 21 while the regular season starts on Oct. 11 (for the Sharks its Oct. 12 in Anaheim). Players would likely need at least a 10-day to two-week training camp with one or two exhibition games minimum prior to the start of the season, and the league will likely not cancel any games until the end of September at the earliest.

That is a best-case scenario, though. Its much more likely that the season will be delayed until at least Thanksgiving, or possibly New Years Day when the Detroit Red Wings host the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium for the Winter Classic.

Without a place to play, several NHL players could set their sights on Europe, including a number of Sharks. Joe Thornton has an open invitation to return to the Swiss team with which he suited up with during the last lockout in 2004-05, while young players like Justin Braun, Logan Couture and T.J. Galiardi all said this week that Europe is a definite possibility for them, as well.

Their first choice, of course, would be to wear their teal and black sweaters and play in the National Hockey League.

Youd like not to miss another year, or three months, but thats just the reality. Its part of business. The owners just dont want to let us play right now, said Thornton.

NHL Gameday: Offense-starved Sharks look for boost from rookie vs 'Canes

NHL Gameday: Offense-starved Sharks look for boost from rookie vs 'Canes

Programming note – Sharks-Hurricanes coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 15-10-1, 31 points, 4th Pacific Division
Hurricanes: 11-10-6, 28 points, 7th Metropolitan Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***Aaron Dell will start in net tonight in the second of a back-to-back. On Nov. 15 in Carolina, Dell made 32 saves but got no goal support in a 1-0 Hurricanes win over San Jose.

Coach Pete DeBoer believes that Dell's previous game against the Hurricanes should give him confidence. The backup is 2-1-0 with a 1.93 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in four games this season.

“I think for all young players coming into the league, you always want that reinforcement that, hey, I can do this. He’s done it. He’s played well when he’s gone in, and the guys are confident in him.”

***The Sharks are concluding a stretch tonight of eight games out of 10 in their own building, where they are 9-4-0 on the season. A four-game road trip begins on Tuesday in Toronto. Carolina is wrapping up a three-game trip through California, losing to the Ducks in a shootout on Wednesday, 6-5, and beating the Kings on Thursday, 3-1.

For San Jose, they'll have to avoid that proverbial trap game after a disappointing loss to a rival on Friday night, and with their next roadie around the corner.

"I think our group understands," DeBoer said. "But, at the same time these are tough games to play. Last night is an emotional loss, and when you lose a game like that you’re emotionally drained. To play a team 24 hours later that’s sitting waiting for you in your building that plays as hard as Carolina does isn’t easy."

"We’ve lost two in a row. I would expect that we’ll be a desperate team here tonight.”

***Carolina brings the NHL’s best penalty kill into the game, allowing just six goals on 75 chances (92.0 percent). San Jose has one power play goal in six of its last nine games (6-for-26, 23.0 percent), not including Brent Burns’ score on Friday, which came just one second after a power play had expired.

***San Jose has two or fewer goals in nine of its last 12 games, going 6-5-1 over that span. Of their 27 goals during that time, nearly half of them have come from Logan Couture (7g) and Burns (6g).

Burns brings a three-game goal streak into tonight’s game.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Kevin Labanc. The rookie forward, who turns 21 on Monday, scored against the Ducks on Friday for his third in 14 games. All three of Labanc’s goals have either tied the game or put San Jose ahead. The Sharks are desperately looking for players other than their stars to put the puck in the net, and Labanc seems to be gaining confidence after a brief stint in the AHL last weekend. 

Hurricanes: Teuvo Teravainen. Acquired from Chicago in the offseason, the 22-year-old center recorded his first career multi-goal game with Carolina on Wednesday in Anaheim. The18th overall pick in the 2012 draft, and a Finland native, has seven goals and 12 points in 27 games.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Mikkel Boedker – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi
Matt Nieto – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo

Aaron Dell (starter)
Martin Jones

Hurricanes
Jeff Skinner – Victor Rask – Phil DiGiuseppe
Sebastian Aho – Teuvo Teravainen – Lee Stempniak
Brock McGinn – Derek Ryan – Andrej Nestrasil
Joakim Nordstrom – Jay McClement – Viktor Stalberg

Ron Hainsey – Justin Faulk
Jaccob Slavin – Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin – Matt Tennyson

Cam Ward
Eddie Lack

INJURIES/SCRATCHES

Sharks: David Schlemko (right ankle) is questionable. Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) is out.

Hurricanes: Elias Lindholm (lower body) is day-to-day. Bryan Bickell (MS), Jordan Staal (concussion) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“If we keep playing our game, we feel confident. We’re not giving up a whole lot. Moments in the season like this you’ve got to push through.” – Joe Pavelski, after the Sharks’ 3-2 loss in Anaheim on Friday

Three takeaways: Labanc creating offense for Sharks

Three takeaways: Labanc creating offense for Sharks

ANAHEIM – The Sharks dropped their second in a row in regulation on Friday in Anaheim, as the Ducks moved into first place in the suddenly tight Pacific. What were the three biggest takeaways from the game? Here we go…

1 – Getting down early…again

The Sharks were surely aware that a good start was key against the Ducks, who have given up the fewest third period goals in the NHL (15). It didn’t happen, and Anaheim seized a 2-0 lead 15 minutes into the game. It was similar to what happened against Ottawa on Wednesday, when the Senators scored two goals in the first eight minutes and went on to a 4-2 win.

The Sharks managed to fight back and tie it with a strong second period, but they may have used up their energy tanks by the time the third period started, and the Ducks took back the momentum – and the two points.

“I think anybody in this league, let alone Anaheim in their home barn, it’s tough to come back,” Dylan DeMelo said. “We did a good job fighting back. It was just unfortunate that they got that one there with about five minutes left.”

Headed into Saturday’s game with Carolina, the Sharks are 11-4-0 when scoring first, and 4-7-1 when allowing the first goal.

2 – Labanc creating offense

Rookie Kevin Labanc was all around the puck even before his goal made it 2-2 in the second period. With three goals, he now has more than Joe Thornton, Joonas Donskoi, Mikkel Boedker, Melker Karlsson and Chris Tierney, in about half the games.

Does Labanc feel he can help fill the offensive void with so many players failing to produce?

“Everybody here can score goals. It’s just a matter of opportunities and getting the right bounces,” Labanc said. 

“Some guys just don’t have the right bounces going their way. We’ve just got to stay positive. I’m doing everything that I can to do what’s right for the team and to win the game. Whether it be scoring goals, blocking shots, I’ve just got to do my job and play the right way.”

You have to think Labanc is on the cusp on staying with the Sharks for the season, and with so many players just not getting it done on the scoresheet, perhaps it’s time some of his former Barracuda teammates join him on the NHL roster.

3 – Snakebitten Pavelski

Once again, Joe Pavelski had some great chances that he couldn’t cash in on, just like against Ottawa. There’s certainly no reason to worry about Pavelski's play, but had he been able to finish his opportunities against the Senators and Ducks, the Sharks could have at least gotten a point in the standings in each.

“We had some good looks. Myself, I had a bunch. Have to start putting it in the net,” Pavelski said. 

“It’s frustrating when you know a goal could change the game like that and you’re missing some good opportunities. [Have to] keep working for the next chance.”