Clowe: 'There's time' to make a deal

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Clowe: 'There's time' to make a deal

Yes, there are worse things to be than a locked out NHL hockey player.

Take San Jose Sharks Ryane Clowe and Brent Burns, for example the pair continued its tour of professional Bay Area stadiums on Tuesday night by taking in the Giants-Rockies game at AT&T Park after witnessing the 49ers dominant victory together on Sunday night at Candlestick.

But first, they were gracious enough to swing by the set of Comcast SportsNets Chronicle Live. Obviously, the first topic they addressed was the ugly labor battle between the NHL and the NHLPA, which is threatening the start if not the entire 2012-13 season.

Clowe, who voiced his optimism last week before the expiration of the last CBA on Saturday, somewhat surprisingly kept that same tone with host Dave Feldman.

I think Im very optimistic. I think most guys are. The season obviously hasnt officially started as far as missing games or anything yet. We still think theres time, he said.

Its definitely frustrating right now. We feel bad for the fans who are in a bit of a holding pattern, and dont know whats going to happen. We feel optimistic. Everyone is kind of working out and skating on their own right now, and trying to stay ready.

Burns, who, along with Clowe is one of several locked out Sharks that are skating on their own at the teams practice facility, said: Its frustrating for everybody right now, but for us youve got to stay in shape and stay optimistic that it will get done, and when it does get done were ready to go.

With the league shut down, several Sharks are already on their way to Europe, including Logan Couture and Joe Thornton (Switzerland); Jason Demers (Finland) and Michal Handzus (Slovakia).

RELATED: Couture, Thornton among Sharks headed overseas

For now, Clowe is staying put in the hopes that the labor battle ends quickly.

I think you get serious after a month or so when it looks like this might be dragged on, but like I said, most guys dont think it will be that long, he said. Im not in a rush right now to go anywhere. I feel like as of right now, youre in shape and ready as if training camp was going to start, so you dont need to really go get in game shape.

Burns is also sticking around, but for a different reason the defenseman said that hes currently rehabbing, although did not specify what sort of injury hes rehabbing from. At the end of the season, Burns was listed on the teams injury report as having lower abdominal discomfort.

It sounds as if the eight-year NHL veteran would welcome the chance to go overseas if he gets healthy and the lockout continues, though.

For me, my kids are young enough where I think its a great opportunity to go and see part of the world that you maybe not get to go to, he told the San Jose Mercury News Mark Purdy. I think as players, we just want to play.

Clowe and Burns both think that the next few days are critical in the labor process, as its not expected the league will cancel any regular season games until the end of September. The Sharks are scheduled to begin on Oct. 12 in Anaheim, while the scheduled start of training camp on Sep. 21 will come and go.

I think the important time is coming up now, and thats when labor talks are going to have to take off, Burns said.

Clowe echoed Feldmans assessment that the game has grown in leaps and bounds since the previous lockout when the entire 2004-05 season was canceled.

Thats why I think most people are optimistic. You feel like theres too much to lose right now, he said. Eventually, something will get done. Right now, they could be a little bit far apart, but we need to get some talks going and get some traction. We feel like that will happen soon.

Mailbag: Which Sharks player is most likely to be traded?

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Mailbag: Which Sharks player is most likely to be traded?

No one asked, but I’m going to begin this week’s mailbag with my prediction for the Stanley Cup Final – Preds in six. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to a few of your questions…

Most likely to be moved this off-season? (Nik @niknisj25)

If the Sharks do make a move – and I’ve argued here that I think it may be time for a shakeup – they’ll surely be looking for someone up front to boost the offense. In that case, they’d likely have to sacrifice a defenseman or two.

The Sharks defense is the strength of the organization at the moment, as they had one of the best one-through-seven groups in the NHL this season. But it’s also an expensive one. The Sharks have nearly $27 million committed to their top seven defensemen next season, while Marc-Edouard Vlasic is due for a hefty raise beginning in 2018-19.

One name that could be intriguing to other teams is Justin Braun. The 30-year-old has been a part of the Sharks’ top shut down pair with Vlasic for several seasons now, and is signed for the next three years at a reasonable $3.8 million cap hit. The Sharks could potentially move him for offensive help, and slot in a guy like David Schlemko alongside Vlasic, while finally giving Dylan DeMelo a chance to play on a nightly basis on the third pair. A Vlasic-Schlemko pair could be more offensive than Vlasic-Braun, too, because as adept as they were at keeping the puck out of their own net, the Sharks didn’t get many goals from their defenders outside of Burns.

Of course, the upcoming expansion draft all but assures that nothing will happen until Las Vegas selects its team on June 21. If the Sharks lose a defenseman to the Golden Knights, they’ll be more reluctant to move another one. Still, with guys like Joakim Ryan, Tim Heed, Julius Bergman, Mirco Mueller and now Radim Simek in the pipeline, the club might be able to handle a couple departures.

How do we fix the power play next season? Bring in a coach that could help us? Change up the lines, or style of play? (adam smith @kickback408)

One thing that won’t be happening is a new coach, as Doug Wilson recently confirmed that Steve Spott would be back alongside Pete DeBoer. Bob Boughner could move on if he gets hired as a head coach elsewhere, but Boughner’s focus is the team’s defense and penalty kill.

Obviously, the future of the power play depends on who is on the roster, beginning with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. Both saw their power play production dip this season.

Thornton went from 29 power play points in 2015-16 to 19 this season (he had eight power play goals in 2015-16, and just one this season). Marleau saw a decline from 25 power play points in 2015-16 to 16 last season. Even if both return, it may be time to try other bodies on the top unit.

Do you see Meier, Labanc and/or Sorensen having a breakout season next year? Or anyone else on the Barracuda? (Colin Dunn @ColinDunnACA)

Someone better had, because this team needs to start getting younger, and soon. One of the bigger disappointments of the 2016-17 season is that none of them apparently showed the coaching staff that they were prepared to play on a nightly basis at the NHL level.

Timo Meier and Marcus Sorensen, I would surmise, are at the top of the depth chart as far as forwards go. Their line in the playoffs with center Chris Tierney was the Sharks’ best through the early part of the series with Edmonton. As for Kevin Labanc, I think he’s fallen a bit since he had a brief run of success for the Sharks in December.

While the Sharks did a good job stockpiling some young players through the 2013-15 drafts, they’ve traded away a number of picks in recent years. In last year’s draft they didn’t have a first or third round pick; this year they don’t have any picks in the second, third or fourth rounds; and in 2018 they are already without their second and third round picks. 

It’s great to accumulate young players, but at some point they have to break through. Now is the time.

Sharks, Robinson parting ways after five seasons

Sharks, Robinson parting ways after five seasons

After five seasons with the Sharks, Larry Robinson is leaving the organization.

Robinson, 65, spent the last three seasons as the club's director of player development. He served as an associate coach from 2012-14.

TSN in Montreal and the Montreal Gazette originally reported the news.

The Sharks confirmed that Robinson's contract would be expiring, and general manager Doug Wilson told NBC Sports California that the divorce was amicable, and "because of geography." Robinson lives in Florida.

According to the Montreal Gazette

Robinson’s contract with the Sharks expires on July 1, but agent Donnie Cape said Thursday that San Jose general manager Doug Wilson has given him permission to speak with other teams. Robinson lives in Bradenton, Fla., and the long travel distance to San Jose is one of big the reasons he’s looking for a new team to work for.

Robinson seemed to ponder retirement in 2014, but signed a three-year extension to remain in the Sharks' front office. He worked mostly from his home in Florida the past two seasons, making occasional trips to San Jose, including during training camp.

In the summer of 2015, Robinson underwent surgery for skin cancer.

Recognized as one of the best defensemen in NHL history, Robinson won six Stanley Cup championships with the Montreal Canadiens as a player, and holds the NHL record for playing 20 straight seasons in the playoffs. A 10-time All-Star and two-time Norris Trophy winner, Robinson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995.

Robinson was the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings from 1995-99, and the New Jersey Devils from 1999-2002 and again in 2005-06. He led the Devils to the Stanley Cup in 2000. Robinson has nine Stanley Cup rings as a player and coach.

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The Sharks did not renew the contract of pro scout Jason Rowe, who had been with the organization for the past nine seasons. Rowe focused on eastern NHL and AHL teams.