Sharks notes: Havlat returns to San Jose

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Sharks notes: Havlat returns to San Jose

SAN JOSE Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle has let his strong opinions on the NHL lockout be known more than once since it began on Sept. 16. But, that doesnt mean he has a desire to join the official talks when they resume in New York on Tuesday.

Ive communicated with the people I need to on my end, and my opinion, where I stand on things. They know where Im at. Ill probably just wait and see what happens, Boyle said on Monday at Sharks Ice.

Several owners and players will sit down together without Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr on Tuesday in New York. Four owners new to the process Torontos Larry Tanenbaum, Pittsburghs Ron Burkle, Winnipegs Mark Chipman and Tampa Bays Jeff Viink will join Boston owner Jeremy Jacobs and Calgary owner Murray Edwards along with several players that have yet to be revealed by the players association. Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews could be among them, according to the Canadian Press.

The veteran Boyle is hopeful that some good comes from having new participants involved in what has been an ugly negotiation so far.

Im open to anything at this point. I would like to see a few different owners and a few different faces in there, but well take what we can right now. We just hope it sparks something positive, and hope for the best.

As for salvaging a season, Boyle said: Its been hard to be optimistic. Im just shocked were at this point to begin with. I dont even know how to feel about it, to be honest with you. You hope, you certainly hope, but I dont know.

Sharks forward Marty Havlat, who has returned to the Bay Area after several months in the Czech Republic, is more confident than Boyle.

In 1994-95 they started in January, so we have, lets say a month and a half left until we know whats going to happen. I believe still that were going to play, Havlat said. I believe in what were doing and what we stand for, and I believe in Don Fehr.

This week could be key in the labor battle for more than just Tuesdays meeting between the players and owners. The leagues Board of Governors is set to convene on Wednesday, and the lockout will obviously be the biggest topic on the agenda.

According to a team spokesman, general manager Doug Wilson, a former president of the NHLPA, and executive vice president and general counsel John Tortora will represent the Sharks at the meeting.

Speaking of Havlat, the 30-year-old forward welcomed a new baby girl, Tereza, on July 6. He and his wife Ivana had the baby here before the pair headed back to their native country shortly after. Havlat returned recently in order for his new daughter to have some routine shots.

Havlat is one of a number of NHLers represented by blunt and forthright agent Allan Walsh, who has been a vocal supporter of the players and vociferous critic of the league since the lockout began, via his Twitter page.

I asked Havlat what he thought about his agents outspokenness.

I know what hes doing, and what hes writing, Havlat said. I talk to him a lot, too. I think its been great. Unfortunately, he might be the only agent speaking out and supporting the players. It would be nice if we get some help, but hes been great. Hes doing a great job not just for his own players, but for the whole group of players.

As for his health, Havlat, who suffered a hamstring injury a year ago before returning late last season, said he was prepared for training camp had it started on time.

I feel great. I was ready to go in September and I am ready to go now. Im working out like everybody else and trying to stay in shape as much as I canwaiting for the call, he said.

Former Sharks captain Owen Nolan, a mean, physical player who could put the puck in the net in his prime, thinks the lockout and extended break could prove advantageous to players like him when (or if) the league opens its doors.

RELATED: Owen Nolan weighs in on lockout

It probably benefits the guys that play more physical because they get a longer time to heal, Nolan said. I always say when I started the season, I called it the wandering bruise. First game you got a bruise, and it just kept moving from body part to body part and it never healed until the summer came. When you play that style, you choose that style, thats what got you there, and youre certainly not going to change.

Sharks players Ryane Clowe and Douglas Murray, both of whom had off years last season, could be among those that will be rejuvenated should the NHL salvage a season if you buy into Nolans reasoning.

Worcester Sharks forward Tim Kennedy was named as the American Hockey Leagues Player of the Week on Monday, after scoring five goals in three games over the weekend.

Kennedy, who has NHL experience with Buffalo and Florida, is tied for third in the league in scoring with 23 points (11g, 12a).

Worcester is in first place in the Atlantic Division with an 11-8-1-1 mark (24 points). The club has won six of its last seven road games.

Sharks' Donskoi 'not getting frustrated' during scoring drought

Sharks' Donskoi 'not getting frustrated' during scoring drought

SAN JOSE – Throughout the Sharks’ two-month playoff run, as the team attracted a grander media horde with every round, Joonas Donskoi became more and more popular.

Who was this 24-year-old former fourth round pick of the Florida Panthers, who was such a key contributor to the Sharks’ success? Inquiring minds wanted to know.

The Finland native scored some of the Sharks’ biggest goals during that longest postseason in franchise history. In Game 5 against the Kings in the first round, Donskoi scored a third period goal that put San Jose back up to stay, after Los Angeles had stormed back from a 3-0 hole.

In the Stanley Cup Final, his overtime marker on a turnaround wrist shot in Game 3 kept the Sharks alive, and elicited perhaps the loudest cheer ever heard at SAP Center.

In total, Donskoi contributed 12 points (6g, 6a) in 24 games skating on the second line.

“It was a great run in the playoffs, a lot of great experiences,” Donskoi said.

The expectations for Donskoi were naturally raised headed into this season. Twenty goals and 50 points didn’t seem out of reach for him after the strides he took in his rookie campaign.

So far, though, those goals and points aren’t quite there. Donskoi has just two goals and six assists for eight points in 25 games, while averaging nearly 15 minutes a night. He’s also a mainstay on the second power play unit.

Sharks coach Pete DeBoer agreed with the theory that Donskoi’s profile has risen, and opponents are probably more aware of when he’s on the ice. But it’s those expectations to build on last season that may be weighing a bit on the player.

“A different type of pressure,” DeBoer called it. “When you’re a young guy coming in and no one knows you, you’re just playing and you’re not thinking about things. He knows he can be successful in this league, and there’s a different pressure with now expecting to score and put up numbers.”

Despite Donskoi’s one solitary assist in his last eight games, DeBoer has no issues with the way he is working on a nightly basis. It’s not at all comparable to the situation that arose a week and a half ago with Mikkel Boedker, who was benched for a period and then criticized by the coach for not competing hard enough.

“I know [Donskoi’s] numbers and his scoring aren’t where [he wants], but I think consistently he brings the same effort, same game, same reliability every night,” DeBoer said. “The nice thing is even when he’s not scoring, you still can count on those things. Eventually, it’s going to come.”

Donskoi has no illusions that his numbers are down and he has “a lot to improve.” At the same time, he’s not frustrated, and indicated that his production will pick up if he keeps doing what he’s been doing.

“I’m pretty happy the way I’m playing two ways. I think I’m responsible defensively and creating scoring chances, but just kind of not being able to get on the scoreboard enough. … I feel confident the way I’m still playing. I’m not getting frustrated, or anything.”

After playing exactly 100 games last season between the regular season and playoffs – he hadn’t played more than 71 games in a season in Finland before that – there’s reason to believe that the short summer and World Cup affected him, too. 

“I think the biggest thing for me [is] playing at a high level every night. I’m not there yet,” he said. “There’s a lot of guys in this locker room [that] play at a really high level every night. Those are the guys I’m trying to watch and learn [from].”

Labanc returns to Sharks after successful weekend in AHL

Labanc returns to Sharks after successful weekend in AHL

SAN JOSE – Kevin Labanc had no idea he’d get back to the show so quickly after the Sharks reassigned him to the Barracuda on Saturday.

The 20-year-old made the most of his time in the AHL, though, posting three assists in two games in San Antonio, TX in a pair of wins for the Sharks’ primary minor league affiliate. He was recalled on Tuesday morning.

“It was fun to be with the guys, work hard, get a couple points out of those two games and help the team in the standings,” Labanc said.

Labanc said he was dealing with a painful left knee that was “killing me” following a cross-check in the Sharks’ win over Montreal on Friday - an injury that forced him to the locker room for a brief stretch - and arrived at the arena in San Antonio on Saturday just a half hour before the team meeting.

“You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, whether it be going on a plane right after a game,” he said. “Just got to do it, don’t ask questions, and just work hard.”

Sharks coach Pete DeBoer decided that a weekend off, which the rest of the team enjoyed without a game for four days, wasn’t ideal for Labanc, who has four points (2g, 2a) in 12 games while averaging nearly 12 minutes of ice time. The result was three games in three days for the Brooklyn native.

“I don’t think any of these young guys have arrived yet where they’re ready for weekends off,” DeBoer said. “If they can play hockey, they’re going to play hockey.”

“I think we’ve gotten great contributions from our American League call-ups. Whether that turns into full time jobs, that’s yet to be seen, but we just go day-by-day here.”

For Tuesday’s practice, Labanc was on a line with Chris Tierney and Joel Ward. Tommy Wingels was with Joonas Donskoi and Mikkel Boedker, while the fourth line was comprised of Melker Karlsson, Micheal Haley and Matt Nieto.

Logan Couture (surgical procedure) and David Schlemko (lower body) missed practice, but both could play on Wednesday against the Senators.