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.

Boedker tops list of disappointing Sharks depth forwards

Boedker tops list of disappointing Sharks depth forwards

SAN JOSE – The Sharks didn’t make any blockbuster moves last summer, content to make another run in 2016-17 with largely the same group that came within two wins of capturing the Stanley Cup.

They still acquired a notable player, though, when Mikkel Boedker was signed on July 1 to add an element that the Sharks knew they needed more of moving forward – speed. Boedker was expected to make the team faster, after the Sharks were exposed for not having enough of that against Pittsburgh in the NHL’s final round, as well as play in a top six role. 

At the time, it was hailed as a slick, under-the-radar move that wasn’t going to change the dynamic of the club but could help push it over the top.

When Boedker was a healthy scratch in games three and four of the first round against Edmonton, the evidence became clear, though, that this was a decision that fell flat on its face. 

Frankly, Boedker – who is signed for three more years with a $4 million salary cap hit – brings back visions of Sharks bust Marty Havlat. You know the skill is there, but the desire to use it on a nightly basis while showing any semblance of a battle level is lacking. 

Should the Sharks give Boedker another chance next season, or should they do everything in their power to try and move him? That’s a question that will likely be debated in the front office over the next several weeks.

On get-away day on Monday, indications were that the Sharks were planning on sticking with the 27-year-old, who finished with 26 points in the regular season (10g, 16a) and added one goal and one assist in four games in the playoffs.

“He has the things we’re looking for: his career scoring average, his speed, [penalty killing] ability,” general manager Doug Wilson said. “Did he meet the expectations that he had for himself [or] that we had for him? No. Can we get that out of him? Pete [DeBoer] believes we can.”

DeBoer has known Boedker since he played for him in 2007-08 in Kitchener (OHL). Despite scratching him in the playoffs, DeBoer said he saw “huge improvement” in Boedker throughout the course of the season after the forward spent nearly all of his NHL career in Arizona.

“There was an adjustment. He’s played 6-7 years a certain way in the NHL,” DeBoer said. “We’ve asked him to play differently here, and there was an adjustment.”

Boedker still believes that he can be a fit in San Jose.

“I think it will be and it can be,” he said. “It’s learning period, but you’ve also got to look in the mirror yourself and see what you can change and what assets you need to bring. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m ready to do that.”

The list of Sharks depth forwads that had frustrating seasons hardly begins and ends with Boedker, though.

Veteran Joel Ward’s production dipped from 43 points last season to 29 in 2016-17, although that probably isn’t too surprising considering he’s 36. Tomas Hertl is proving to be a streaky player, too, although his season was interrupted by another a knee injury.

The bigger disappointment came from players like Chris Tierney and Joonas Donskoi, who both made big impressions in the 2016 playoffs but struggled to produce consistent offense this year. Both were mentioned by name by DeBoer on Monday.

There are some promising youngsters in the pipeline like Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Marcus Sorensen, but it’s still too early to project any of them as can’t-miss scorers at the NHL level.

“I think we’ve got a large group of guys that I like, but need to step up,” DeBoer said. “Is Sorensen [like] Donskoi next year, where he takes a step back, or [does he take a] step forward? We’ve got a lot of guys that there’s a lot of potential there – Chris Tierney. 

“There’s a lot of those guys, but they need to have big summers and take a step, and show that they’re not just one season or one month players.”

Facial fractures for Couture; Thornton undergoes surgery

Facial fractures for Couture; Thornton undergoes surgery

SAN JOSE – Just in case there was any question as to the grisly nature of Logan Couture’s mouth injury, the Sharks forward shared a picture on his personal Instagram account on Monday.

If you haven’t seen it yet, proceed with caution.

The photo was taken the night of his injury on March 25 in Nashville, showing several top teeth missing in a mouth that can accurately be described as a bloody mess, after he was hit with a defected puck while standing in front of the net in a game against the Predators.

Couture revealed on Tuesday in a conference call that there was more to his injury that just damaged teeth. He also has some facial fractures, including one above his upper lip that extends to his nasal area, and another that is under the bottom row of his teeth.

The one that’s higher in his face is still painful. 

“Still struggle to eat and sleep. … It’s not a comfortable state to be in,” said Couture, who missed the final seven games of the regular season before returning for the six-game first round series loss to Edmonton.

As for the next step, Couture has yet to sit down with his dentist, although further work is on the horizon.

“There’s going to be some implants to get the teeth fixed,” he said. “Hopefully get it done in the next few weeks, and then I’ll head back to Canada.”

Couture doesn’t yet know how many teeth need to be replaced.

“All depends on how the teeth respond,” he said.

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Joe Thornton had successful surgery on his left knee on Monday afternoon, NBC Sports California has learned, and according to a team statement released later on Tuesday he is expected to "make a complete recovery and be ready for the start of the 2017-18 season." 

According to a source, the damage to Thornton’s MCL was more significant than his ACL. The team declined to give any details about the surgery in its statement, including who performed it and where it was done. 

Thornton played four playoff games against Edmonton despite damaged knee ligaments, head coach Pete DeBoer revealed on Monday, when he said Thornton was dealing with a “torn MCL and ACL” after getting hurt in Vancouver on April 2.