Sharks

Brodie's anwers to your lockout questions

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Brodie's anwers to your lockout questions

1. How long will the lockout last?Gut instinct says somewhere near, but not long before American Thanksgiving. Both sides have a lot of dollars and momentumat stake once the calendar hits December between nationally televised games, HBOs 247 buildup, and the Winter Classic itself. Clearly,the combination of those elements add significant extra pressure to negotiations.

RELATED: Locked out -- NHL enters labor stoppage
2. Is it possible the lockout will sacrifice an entire season?Unfortunately I have to say yes, it is a possibility. Doing the math, if we dont get a resolution in principle by December 15th, Im not sure how ameaningful schedule could be logistically laid out or played out. Im looking at that mid-December date (or somewhere around it) as the breaking point for a hockey season. 3. If a resolution is reached, how quickly could the season begin?After talking with players and coaches, the best estimate is 2 weeks. This would be the barest of bare minimums. Its hardlyenough time to get a decent training camp plus say, 2 exhibition games. However I think all teams, under the same disadvantage,could launch after at least 14 official days together. 4. All those Sharks headed overseas... how fast can they come back?Instantly. The Sharks lead the NHL in players headed to EuropeRussia... and those guys all have immediate "outs" in their contracts. Essentially Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and friends... could all be on the next flight back to California. Foreign teams understand they are truly borrowing NHL players.
RELATED: Sharks headed overseas -- Murray Couture Thornton
5. Are players headed overseas just to make money?Absolutely not. In fact, between paying hefty foreign taxes, and funding their own insurance policies... players are likely to pay a large portion of the earnings they make. Players are doing this primarily to keep their routines in order, their skills sharp, and their competitive edge intact. Although I know some of the Sharks will enjoy their overseas life experience, their travels are hardly vacation-status.6. What would a condensed season look like?It will be ugly. It will be difficult on the players. Look at what the NBA did last season, slamming in 66 games across a matter of 4 months.Often, teams played 3 nights in a row. No offense to the association but Im not sure how hockey bodies would fare in thatextent given their greater physical exertion. Possibilities to ease the workload could include expanding rosters, or even increasing the amount of players that can dress on a given night. Regardless, I'm of the opinion a shortened season should contain no less than 50 games. In 1994-95, the schedule was cut to 48, but I think with anything fewer, the integrity of resultsplayoffs begin to be compromised and questioned.7. When would the regular season schedule get tossed?We already know that the first 3 preseason games for San Jose have been cancelled. It's my best guess that somewhere betweenthe 27th and the 29th, the regular season schedule has to be voided. Going back to that 2 week minimum-camp theory,it's easy to look at the NHL's scheduled "Opening Night" of October 11th, and do the math backwards.RELATED: Sharks owners release letter to fans concerning lockout
8. What again... is the main sticking point with negotiations?Money, of course. The NHL has grown to a 3.3 billion dollar per year business. However while some teams are thriving financially, others are hurting dearly. It's between the players and owners to divvy up that hypothetical pot of "Hockey Related Revenue" and keep everyone afloat. Conflicting numbers and percentages have been thrown back and forth, but the general assumption is that the gap in negotiations is currently between 500 million and 1 billion. 9. What can the optimistic fan do, in the mean time?Stay hopeful, updated, and most importantly: civil. The one thing players and owners agree on, is that the fan is losing out greatly for every missed NHL game. My suggestion... find classy, thoughtful, and impactful ways to make your voice heard. The situation can not be controlled, but your actions can. Support the inaugural season of the San Francisco Bulls (Sharks new ECHL affiliate). Support the San Jose State men's hockey team. And if you're in the greater Eastern Seaboard... support the Worcester Sharks (San Jose's AHL affiliate). If you truly love the game, don't let the disgruntled fanbase take a step backwards.RELATED: NHL deputy commissioner Daly says revenue split doesn't work
10. What will you do until there's a season?Thanks for asking! I am employed full-time by Comcast SportsNet and fortunately this lockout does not affect that one bit. Although it won't be my preferred assignment of covering the Sharks, they will inevitably keep me very busy reporting on stories or hosting studio shows. I will clearly miss working with Randy, Drew, Bakes, Heddy, Curtis, and Males... but do know that whenever the NHL is back, CSN will be ready, with bold plans for hockey season.

Five months after taking puck to face, Sharks' Logan Couture 'still pretty sore'

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AP

Five months after taking puck to face, Sharks' Logan Couture 'still pretty sore'

Nearly five months after taking a puck to the mouth that resulted in major damage, Logan Couture is still dealing with the aftereffects of his surgically repaired mouth, which now features several false teeth.

Appearing on the NHL Network this week, Couture was asked how he’s feeling with less than one month to go before the Sharks open training camp on Sep. 14.

“There’s good days and bad days,” Couture said. “My bottom teeth are still my real teeth. They’ve tried to keep them so I don’t lose them. I don’t know if I’ll be able to, they’re still pretty sore. My top teeth are all fake now – my front six, I think. So, it’s different. It just feels different in my mouth. 

“But everything else with my face and all that is healed. I’m lucky that it’s an injury that didn’t affect my training, and hopefully won’t affect me going forward.”

Couture was injured on March 25 in Nashville. He was set up just outside the crease in the offensive zone when a Brent Burns point shot hit a stick before squarely battering the now 28-year-old’s mouth.

After missing the final seven games of the regular season, Couture returned for the Sharks’ playoff opener. He managed to play in all six games of the first round loss, posting two goals and one assist for three points, although he struggled at times and was seemingly targeted by the Oilers.

Couture is currently in his hometown of London, Ontario where he’s staging a casino event for brain research. Fellow Sharks Chris Tierney and Dylan DeMelo will take part, as will other NHL stars like the Kings’ Drew Doughty.

Analysis: Sharks will need results from recent draft classes

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AP

Analysis: Sharks will need results from recent draft classes

It was late in the lockout-shortened 2013 season when Sharks general manager Doug Wilson really started to prepare for the future. Douglas Murray was dealt to Pittsburgh for a pair of second round selections. Ryane Clowe packed his bags for Broadway, in exchange for a second and a third round pick from the Rangers. Michal Handzus went to Chicago for a fourth rounder.

Wilson’s logic was sound, as it typically takes two-to-four years before draft picks have a chance to make an impact at the NHL level. The general manager figured that by then, players like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau either wouldn’t be a part of the team anymore or would be slowing down. Restocking the cupboards was essential.

From 2013-15, the Sharks made 24 selections over the next three NHL entry drafts, including seven total picks in the top two rounds. Some players have shown promise. Others haven’t. A few aren’t in the organization anymore. That’s the nature of the business.

The way the 2017-18 opening night roster is shaping up, though, now is the time that some of these young players in the system simply have to step up. Marleau and his 27 goals last season are gone, Thornton’s numbers are down and he’s coming off of major knee surgery, Joe Pavelski is now 33 years old, and the team’s offense depth is suspect at best. There have been no notable additions in the offseason.

Frankly, this season could be viewed as a referendum on the team’s amateur scouting staff, including longtime director Tim Burke. Wilson handed Burke and his staff a wonderful opportunity to provide the organization with fresh talent with the team approaching an organizational crossroads.

What has transpired so far is a bit concerning, as already two of the team’s first round picks from that span ended up being nothing more than trade bait.

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Mirco Mueller, chosen 18th overall in 2013, was a huge disappointment in San Jose. It’s been well documented that he was mishandled by the organization when he was rushed to the league in 2014-15, but even this past season, regular observers of the Barracuda had Mueller as nothing more than the AHL team’s fourth-best defenseman. He’s now in New Jersey, swapped for a pair of draft picks.

The scouting staff was so high on Mueller on draft day that Wilson traded a valuable second round pick to Detroit to move up just two places to select him. With those acquired picks, the Red Wings took Anthony Mantha 20th overall and Tyler Bertuzzi 58th overall – two forwards that have shown a whole lot more NHL potential than Mueller (especially Mantha, who has 39 points in 70 career NHL games so far).

Perhaps more concerning, though, is that the Sharks 2013 draft class as a whole is looking like a dud. Second round pick Gabryel Boudreau suffered a wrist injury and is no longer in the organization anymore, but he was trending downward even before he got hurt. None of the remaining players selected from rounds four-through-seven look to be NHL quality, either.

The next year brought Nikolay Goldobin, chosen 27th overall after the Sharks traded down in the first round, and he ended up being the key piece in the Jannik Hansen acquisition from Vancouver. Goldobin showed some flashes of offensive talent during his time in the organization, but his lack of hockey sense and on-ice work ethic helped lead to his exit. Whether Goldobin becomes an NHL regular, even with a fresh start in Vancouver, is highly uncertain.

Had the Sharks stayed at 20th overall, they could have selected Nick Schmaltz (20th overall), Robby Fabbri (21st overall), or David Pastrnak (25th overall). Instead, they moved down and took Goldobin, making it back-to-back first round failures.

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Still, unlike 2013, other players from Goldobin’s draft class have shown some promise. Second rounder Julius Bergman was a steady blueliner for a good Barracuda team last season, and although he’s probably not NHL-ready yet, he could be on the right track. Late in the draft the team found Kevin Labanc in the sixth round with the 171st overall selection, and Labanc had some nice moments with the Sharks last season. His shot and his hands make him a solid prospect, although Labanc still probably has to get a bit bigger and stronger to play in the NHL full-time.

Noah Rod (second round, 53rd overall) and Rourke Chartier (fifth round, 149th overall) are also still developing, with Rod playing against men in the Swiss league the past few seasons and Chartier a valuable player for the Barracuda last year.

In 2015, the draft provided the Sharks with Timo Meier at ninth overall, as the club drafted in the top 10 for the first time since 2007. At this point, Meier is far and away the best prospect in the organization, and he’ll likely be relied upon to play a top nine (or even a top six) role for the Sharks this season.

The 2015 draft brought other decent prospects, too. Defenseman Jeremy Roy was selected 31st overall, and after suffering a serious knee injury in juniors this year, he’ll get a chance to play for the Barracuda this year. Fourth rounder Adam Helewka and fifth rounder Rudolfs Balcers have also developed nicely since draft day. It’s still a bit too early to evaluate that draft as a whole.

It should also be mentioned that while their draft day record may be suspect the past few seasons, the Sharks have brought in European free agents like Melker Karlsson, Joonas Donskoi and Marcus Sorensen. Karlsson has developed into a versatile, hard-working forward; Donskoi has shown flashes of offensive brilliance despite a disappointing second year in the NHL last season; and Sorensen looks primed to make the opening night roster after his speed and tenacity shined through during the Sharks’ first round series loss to Edmonton.

The Sharks scouting staff has helped to keep the team competitive for a long time, and they’re as big a reason as any that the team has missed the playoffs just once in the past 11 seasons. But this is also a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business, and now is the time that the Sharks need to see some results from players that were chosen by Burke and company.