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.

Sharks need to 'figure it out pretty soon' after another thrashing

Sharks need to 'figure it out pretty soon' after another thrashing

NASHVILLE – Apparently, one wake up call wasn’t good enough for the plummeting San Jose Sharks.
 
Just one day after suffering what was arguably their worst game under coach Pete DeBoer, Nashville put up a touchdown on the Sharks in a 7-2 win, giving San Jose its sixth straight defeat – all in regulation.
 
After getting outscored 13-3 the last two nights, including Friday’s 6-1 loss in Dallas, where do they go from here?
 
“In two years, last year and this year so far, we haven’t had one night like this almost. Now we have back-to-back nights,” Joe Pavelski said. “I think it’s just a reality check. A gut-check time.
 
“It’s on us as players. Bottom line is we haven’t put the effort in that we need to have right now, and it snowballed on us a little bit at times. I think we’ve got to take a deep breath and really take a look in the mirror, refocus a little bit and understand there’s hockey out there, but it’s not going to fix itself.”
 
What has to be fixed immediately is the defensive structure that has been so vital to the Sharks’ success in the Pete DeBoer era. Even when the club was going through stretches of struggling to score, as it was earlier in the season, it was still collecting points in the standings with its ability to limit the opposition’s scoring chances.
 
While the game against the Predators was actually a little better in that regard, believe it or not, it was still nowhere near the level it needs to be for the postseason. Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s absence was partly to blame for that, but the Brent Burns-Paul Martin pair has been a disaster lately. Both have a minus-nine rating during the six-game losing streak, and that number is indicative of how they’ve looked, too.
 
“We’re giving up some goals. It’s a combination of things,” DeBoer said. “Obviously it’s not good enough to win games, so we’ve got to figure it out. I don’t have an answer standing here for you, but I know our group. Every team I’ve ever coached has a tough part of the season. This is obviously ours. We’ll regroup, and figure it out.”
 
Burns, who admitted to a “bad read” on Nashville’s second goal when Roman Josi sped around him, said: “It’s a tough league when you’re not executing little things.”
 
The Sharks actually looked strong early, poised to put the Dallas disaster behind them. The first few shifts, they had the puck in the Nashville end.
 
But Tomas Hertl was outmuscled behind the net by Colin Wilson on Colton Sissons’ goal at 4:14, Burns got beat on the second, and the Sharks never recovered. Patrick Marleau’s second period power play goal offered life, but that was extinguished 24 seconds later when James Neal answered with a power play goal of his own. The Sharks never got closer than two goals after that.
 
“When things are going bad, those are the things that are happening,” Burns said of Neal’s response to Marleau’s marker. “So, you’ve just got work through it."
 
Will they be able to work through it with just seven games left in the regular season, though? That this cold spell is happening in late March doesn’t speak well to the Sharks’ chances in the postseason, which begins in just two-and-a-half weeks.
 
Burns said: “Right now we should be just tightening up everything. … We've got figure it out pretty soon.”

Sharks forward Haley could face supplemental discipline from NHL

Sharks forward Haley could face supplemental discipline from NHL

NASHVILLE – Sharks forward Micheal Haley could be in line for supplemental discipline from the league, after earning a match penalty in the third period of Saturday’s 7-2 loss in Nashville.
 
After absorbing a borderline hit from behind by Calle Jarnkrok, Haley tracked down the Predators forward and promptly delivered a left jab to Jarnkrok’s face at 12:56 of the final frame, with the Sharks trailing 5-2 at the time.
 
Naturally, there were differing opinions from the two head coaches on the play.
 
Pete DeBoer said: “When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth.”
 
Predators coach Peter Laviolette told reporters: "It's an ugly play. This isn't the wild, wild west. I mean, Calle hit him. We took a penalty. If we start doing that, we're in trouble, so hopefully it gets looked at."

The Sharks denied a request to make Haley available to reporters after the game.
 
Any player who earns a match penalty "shall be automatically suspended from further competition until the commissioner has ruled on the issue,” according to league rules.
 
In 54 games this season, Haley has two goals and nine assists for 11 points. His 110 penalty minutes is fifth in the league.
 
Jarnkrok did not return after the punch, but told reporters after the game he felt “OK.”
 
"I feel pretty good," Jarnkrok said. "Obviously, I saw him coming. There were a couple other guys coming, too. I didn't really know what to do. He got in a good punch on me.”