Boyle: Owners want us to 'miss paychecks'


Boyle: Owners want us to 'miss paychecks'

SAN JOSE Its been nearly a week since the NHL locked its doors, but more than a week since the league and its players association sat down for formal discussions about a new collective bargaining agreement last Thursday.

Are you surprised, Dan Boyle?

No, Im not. The information Ive gotten is the NHL is saying they want to negotiate, but everything were hearing is the complete opposite, he said, after skating on rented ice at the Sharks practice facility Friday morning.

I think they want us to miss some paychecks, is what I think. For them, I guess they figure they dont have to pay us right now, so theyve got nothing to gain by settling this thing.

The first of 13 scheduled paydays for players is not until the middle of October, so Boyle is essentially predicting that at least the first month of the season will be lost. The league already wiped out its preseason schedule through September 30, but no regular season games have been formally scratched just yet.

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Joe Pavelski wasnt quite as pessimistic as his teammate, pointing out that the NHLs Bill Daly and NHLPAs Steve Fehr reportedly had some informal contact throughout the week.

I dont think there were any sit-downs in the business room, but I think there were probably some little talks at some point from the assistants, Pavelski said. Theyre always working. On our side, were always working, looking at the numbers and looking at where things can happen.

Its difficult for the common man on the street to wrap his head around the kind of money that the NHL and players are trying to divvy up. League revenues reached 3.3 billion last season, while the average player salary falls somewhere in the low-to-mid 2 million-a-season range, depending on whom you believe.

Boyle was quite frank in his explanation that the players know how good they have it when it comes to their incomes and quality of life.

People always compare their own salaries, and their 9-5 job salaries. It was the same last lockout. Greedy, rich, millionaire hockey players, and Id play for a tenth of that,' and 'its going to take me 30 years to make that much.

I just try to tell people that you cant compare apples and oranges. I dont compare my salary to Tom Cruise when he makes 20 million per movie. Its just kind of the way it works. Is it fair for a surgeon or doctor that saves lives every day to make less than a hockey player, basketball player or movie star? Its not. Its not fair. But thats the way it is. But, most people have been supportive. It sucks, I just hope it gets resolved.

Stars legend Mike Modano recently made some headlines after he told ESPN The Magazine that the previous lockout of 2004-05, in which the players sat for the entire season, wasnt worth it.

"It's money you feel you never get back. At some point, we were sold a bill of goods," Modano told ESPN. "Everybody was buying it. Everybody thought, 'Let's not let each other down. Let's do it for the future of the game. Blah, blah, blah.' You're only in the game so long."

Boyle, who was still a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning at that point and spent the lockout year in Sweden, doesnt necessarily agree.

You can think that, but if anybody digs up the research and looks back at what their offer was before we missed the year, it was a hard cap with no movement. Who knows where wed be at this point, Boyle said.

In 2004, the NHL initially requested a 35 million hard salary cap and the players getting 50 percent of revenues. By the time it was settled almost a full year later, players accepted a 39 million cap and 57 percent.

Pavelski hadnt read the Modano comments, but said: Careers and short, and you just want to play. If we didnt have this set at a certain level, and we just played, guys would play for nothing. Its what everybody loves to do. But, there have been certain standards set. It wasnt that long ago that there were huge concessions.

He continued, Hopefully we find common ground and we can play. Modano is right, its a waste and wed love to be playing, and wish it was starting up today.

It was, in fact, supposed to be the first day of training camp. Just five of the regulars were on hand in what was the lowest turnout since the lockout began, according to Boyle. Several players have already hopped on flights across the Atlantic Ocean, though, while others have returned to their respective hometowns to practice and train. Boyle, Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Adam Burish and Antti Niemi were the only players that decided use the 405-per-hour rented ice on Friday, although several players like Brent Burns, Ryane Clowe and Tommy Wingels are expected back at Sharks Ice next week.

If the lockout continues, players like Pavelski and Burish both said they are considering going overseas.

Obviously, were not in a huge rush to get over there right away, although I do realize there are a lot of guys going, said Pavelski, whose wife and young son could accompany him wherever he went. Its probably the best way to be prepared to play like that, and have that structure. As of now, were going week-by-week, or day-by-day, rather.

Burish, who signed with the Sharks this summer, arrived in town 10 days ago. Hes currently living in a hotel and preparing to move into a house, but admits that the lockout has left him bored out of his mind.

He also appears frustrated that he hasnt yet gotten the opportunity to bond with all of his new teammates, after spending the last two seasons in Dallas.

Thats the hard part, for me. When you go to a new team you want to get to know the guys, you want to hang out with them, skate with them, train with them. Usually its the first couple weeks where youre just kind of feeling things out and getting to know guys. Now, Ive got to wait. I get to know the six guys that are here still, but thats about it. I havent gotten to see the team dynamic, see how guys are together, see how guys interact. Thats kind of tough for me.

He did mention that hes been taking lots of Pavelskis money on the golf course, although Pavelski didnt seem to agree.

When I finally gave him seven-and-a half-strokes, it became fair, Pavelski joked.

But smiles are hard to come by when it comes to the lockout, as players and fans alike have to hang on before NHL hockey resumes. How long that takes is difficult to predict.

My guess is as bad as everyone elses, Pavelski said. Nobody knows.

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.

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.