Boyle bothered by NHL owners' tactics

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Boyle bothered by NHL owners' tactics

SAN JOSE When the National Hockey League declared on Thursday that the first two weeks of the regular season were canceled, no one spit out his or her pumpkin spice latte in utter shock. Games through Oct. 24 are now wiped out, including five Sharks games (three at home).

RELATED: NHL cancels first two weeks of games

In what had been an anticipated move since collective bargaining talks broke off on Monday, the NHL made it official with a short press release and later a statement from deputy commissioner Bill Daly, that finished with a sentence that read the league is committed to getting this done.

Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle, though, thinks its just the opposite at least right now, doubling down on comments he made that week that the owners want the players to miss some paychecks. Players were to be paid for the first time this season on Oct. 15.

I dont think theyre serious about doing anything until we start missing some checks, Boyle repeated, after skating at Sharks Ice on Thursday morning.

Thats not all that irks the veteran defenseman.

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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has a rule in place that he needs just eight of 30 votes to veto any CBA proposals that he doesnt himself approve of, while the NHLPA needs just a simple majority in order to ratify or reject one.

Boyle, therefore, seems to believe that there is a select group of owners the big money makers, especially that are willing to hold up the entire process, ignore other owners that would be more open to the players' proposal, and cancel more and more games until they get exactly what they want. That includes, of course, an immediate reduction in current player salaries and contracts, something that the union has emphatically stated it would not accept.

I think when players make comments, sometimes its directed towards 30 owners, but I think a lot of us feel that its not across the board. Its a certain group of teams that are controlling 30 others, Boyle said.

It doesnt make any sense to me that eight teams can control the fate of 22 other ones.

Theres more. Boyle and Ryane Clowe stated last week that the players are ready and willing to make concessions, but that the NHL doesnt seem to want to listen. That includes possible caps on contract lengths, or perhaps stricter rules to prevent teams from circumventing the salary cap.

I think we have to give back. There are a lot of things that we need to fix, and we want to give back, he said.

For now, though, the two sides continue to play a childish, high stakes game of chicken. Both have stated that they are waiting for the other side to make a proposal, so the standstill persists.

Boyle is not optimistic that anything will get done before more cancellations are made official, as each side has stated its waiting for the other to make another proposal.

They say its our turn, or whatever, but they dont want to negotiate until we start missing some checks, he said.

I dont see anything happening for the next couple months. I know thats very pessimistic of me, and I really hope Im wrong. But the eight guyswhat if theres 22 teams out there that want to play right now? How do eight teams control their fate? That bothers me the most.

Light turnout at Sharks Ice

Boyle, Brad Stuart and Antti Niemi were the only current Sharks that skated on the rented ice at their practice facility on Thursday. Stuart, acquired from Detroit over the summer, had been skating separately with Brent Burns after recovering from a minor, unspecified injury.

Like Boyle, Stuart wasnt shocked to hear that the league has, at the very least, pushed back the start of the season.

Im as disappointed as anyone, but even if we started today were not going to start the regular season by next week, anyway, he said. Its no surprise given where were at. Its very disappointing. I guess the NHL has their plan and theyre putting it into effect.

Like anyone, you want it to get resolved. Its frustrating that I even have to say this, but these things take time, I guess. We put our support behind the guys in charge, and the other side is doing what they feel they have to do. At this point, were just waiting it out. Well see what happens.

According to Boyle, Ryane Clowe and Patrick Marleau will return to practice next week. But, Niemi could soon be departing. Hes been in discussions with teams overseas, including in his home country of Finland.

Im thinking about it all the time, but it takes the right place, Niemi said.

Sorensen returns to Sharks after having 'positive impact' last season

Sorensen returns to Sharks after having 'positive impact' last season

Editor's Note: The above video is from March 2, 2017

One of the Sharks’ young forwards expected to challenge for a full time roster spot this season has been re-signed.

Marcus Sorensen, who started the year in the AHL before working his way up to the Sharks, signed a two-year contract extension the team announced on Tuesday. A source told NBC Sports California that the deal is worth $700,000 at the NHL level for each of the next two seasons.

In 19 regular season games with the Sharks, Sorensen, 25, posted one goal and three assists. He appeared in all six playoff games against Edmonton, posting one goal and one assist.

In 43 games with the AHL Barracuda, Sorensen had 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points.

"The time he spent with the Sharks this season, and the positive impact he had, proved that he can be an effective player at the highest level,” assistant general manager Joe Will said in a statement.

Sorensen originally signed with the Sharks as a free agent on May 13, 2016. He was originally drafted by Ottawa in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, but spent six seasons playing in Sweden before joining San Jose.

Sorensen was a restriced free agent. The Sharks have just one RFA left to sign in forward Barclay Goodrow.

https://twitter.com/sorensenmarcus/status/887412566447628288

Mailbag: Will Sharks miss Marleau's leadership? Thornton to be bumped?

Mailbag: Will Sharks miss Marleau's leadership? Thornton to be bumped?

Now that the dust has settled on the draft and free agency, here’s a meaty offseason Sharks mailbag before my vacation…

Who will replace Patty's leadership? (philip malan‏ @pmalan1979)

Patrick Marleau was a good example for other players in that he always came to camp in great shape and took care of himself between games, allowing him to be very productive into his later years. 

But let’s not overblow it. From what I understand, Marleau preferred to avoid confrontation, and was never the guy in the dressing room challenging other players to step up. That was left more to guys like Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, with Logan Couture growing into that role in recent years, too. When it comes to veteran leadership there are other guys still in the dressing room of more value than Marleau. His leaving town shouldn’t change the dynamic.

Will Thornton be bumped from the top line center role? Who do you think will replace Marleau on the PP? (Elle‏ @LikeShiningOil)

The whole “top line” designation is something that us writers and broadcasters like to use, and I’m going to keep using it for Thornton so long as he and Pavelski are on the same line. That said, there will be plenty of games where the Couture line gets more even-strength ice time than the Thornton line. I guess my point here is don’t read too much into the labels. I don’t expect Thornton’s ice time to go down from what it was last season. He’s averaged 18 minutes and change in each of the past five seasons, and probably will again.

As for replacing Marleau on the power play, I would tab Tomas Hertl as the frontrunner, but I’m sure the Sharks will try a number of different looks there in training camp. After finishing 25th in the NHL last season they pretty much have to, right?

How will the lines roll this season, if you were to prognosticate now? (Erik Kuhre @Puckguy14)

It seems like we say this every year, but it depends on where the Sharks see Hertl slotting in. Last season Hertl started out on the wing of the top line after offseason knee surgery before moving to center fairly quickly. I know he battled through yet another knee injury during the season, but Hertl’s 22 points in 49 games was a disappointing total.

If the season were starting today, I’d put Hertl on the wing of the Thornton line again with, of course, Pavelski on the other side. Here’s what I’ve got in that scenario:

Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Timo Meier – Logan Couture – Joonas Donskoi
Jannik Hansen – Chris Tierney – Mikkel Boedker
Melker Karlsson – Ryan Carpenter – Joel Ward

Extras: Marcus Sorensen, Kevin Labanc, Barclay Goodrow

(One guy who is really going to have to fight to keep his spot is Ward. I could see him getting pushed out, but for now I’m leaving him in).

Will there be a tough guy in the lineup to protect the kids? (Jim Kelley)

The Sharks signed free agent Brandon Bollig a couple weeks ago to replace Micheal Haley, but I don’t seem him as a regular in the NHL lineup. Bollig could be a guy they recall if they think it’s necessary to dress a pugilist, like when Pete DeBoer brought up Haley late in the 2015-16 season for the sole reason of fighting Darnell Nurse, who had jumped Sharks defenseman Roman Polak just two weeks earlier for no real reason.

Do you think Chris Tierney is capable of more point production at this point in his career? (Ian Stephenson)

Count me among those that thought Tierney was ready to have a better season last year after his strong performance in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Still, he’s just 23 years old, and his line in the series against Edmonton with Meier and Sorensen was a very effective one for long stretches of play. This is a huge year for Tierney, who had to settle for the Sharks’ one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer. Perform, and he’ll get paid. Struggle, and he could be on the move.

Do you think the Sharks will trade either Grosenick or Dell? Doesn't seem Grosenick has much more to prove in AHL. (Chris Greni)

No, they’ll hold on to all three for the time being. Getting Troy Grosenick re-signed to a one-year deal was a nice move on the Sharks’ part, considering Aaron Dell still has just 20 games of NHL experience. Perhaps if they both continue to play well the Sharks could dangle one as trade bait later in the year, but it wouldn’t make sense at this point. 

Any thoughts on DW using the offer sheet to bring in scoring help? There’s several serviceable RFAs out there still waiting for contracts. (Tony Martinico)

Keep in mind that some of those high end RFAs, like Colton Parayko, Nino Niederreiter and Tomas Tatar are currently headed for arbitration, which takes the offer sheet off the table.

Purely speculation here, but I have to wonder if the Sharks have at least kicked around trying to ink Leon Draisaitl to an offer sheet. You have to think Berlin native Hasso Plattner would love to add the “German Gretzky” to the roster. I know we're settling into the part of the NHL offseason where typically nothing happens, but it was July 19 when the Flyers signed Shea Weber to a monster offer sheet five years ago.

And, of course, Doug Wilson has used the power of the offer sheet in the past, signing Niklas Hjalmarsson in 2010 and then using the threat of an offer sheet with Boston to acquire Martin Jones.

Which Cuda player, aside from Meier, Labanc and Sorensen, would you expect to be a dark horse and could make the big team out of camp? (olin @sleepymofo)

Keep in mind that the sixth and defensemen spots are open, too. I would presume that Dylan DeMelo is the frontrunner to replace David Schlemko, but Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan are coming off of strong seasons in the AHL. Perhaps one of them overtakes DeMelo in training camp.

As for other forwards than those you mentioned, Goodrow could end challenging for a spot on the fourth line. I get plenty of questions about Danny O’Regan, too, and perhaps he makes a push. The issue with O’Regan is that although he’s a skilled player in the minors, he’s probably not quite skilled enough to make up for his small frame at the NHL level. I view him more as a fill-in guy.

Any word on [Barclay] Goodrow and [Marcus] Sorenson? I'm assuming they didn't sign their QO's? (DaveBPilot‏ @DaveBPilot)

Yes, that’s safe to assume, since the deadline was Saturday. They remain RFAs, and negotiations will surely continue.

Still, it’s worth mentioning what happened last year with Matt Nieto. The forward didn’t sign his qualifying offer, as he was pushing for a multi-year deal, and ended up signing for one year for less than he would have made had he accepted the original offer. He was waived and claimed by Colorado.