Did Sharks squirt Jackets' player with water bottle?

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Did Sharks squirt Jackets' player with water bottle?

SAN JOSE There were a couple distinct factors at play when the Sharks and Blue Jackets game devolved into fight night at HP Pavilion on Tuesday.

First, the obvious one. San Jose was ahead by a comfortable 6-0 score late in the third, and the game was already a chippy affair at that point. Jared Bolls high hit on Joe Thornton just 20 seconds into the game set the tone for a match that featured 92 combined penalty minutes. Jim Vandermeer and Boll fought early in the first period and again in the third.

Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards thinks something else added to the later nastiness, though.

As Derek Dorsett is coming down the ice, you can see a water bottle squirted on him from San Jose's bench. I don't know if that's what set him off, but as he's carrying the puck up the ice, that happens. Things erupt a little bit then and you get some emotion.

Dorsett set off a round of bouts with about three minutes to go in the third period, when he cross-checked Colin White near the Sharks blue line. Those two squared off, as did Justin Braun and Fedor Tyutin.

Thats the kind of emotion that we have to get early on in the game, too. We need that, and it can't just be one or two guys, Richards said. Boll did a great job tonight stepping up for his teammates in a tough situation. It's not an easy job. We've got to get more guys caring like those two guys.

Boll said: I think it was just frustration. Any time you're down like that, the guys are playing hard, and it's just frustration.

The Blue Jackets are buried in last place in the NHL with just 32 points in 50 games (13-31-6), and it showed in Tuesdays loss to the Sharks. They turned the puck over, goaltender Steve Mason was unable to stop much of anything and gave away rebound after rebound, and the Sharks seemed to have their way the entire night.
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A couple of the goals, three of them in particular, were self-inflicted goals. We had the puck, we had clear possession of it, and a turnover ends up in the back of our net, Richards said.

The blowout win could have be indirect positive for the Sharks, too. Columbus plays again tonight against Los Angeles, maybe only team can threaten San Jose for the Pacific Division crown.

Columbus is likely to be a surly bunch against the Kings.

That's a good thing about this sport, is we've got another one tomorrow, Boll said. We've got to come out with a better effort. We definitely have to be ready to play, and we've got another good team with L.A.

Sharks' Vlasic joins Canada for World Championships

Sharks' Vlasic joins Canada for World Championships

Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic will compete in the upcoming IIHF World Championships for Team Canada, it was announced on Friday.

The tournament runs from May 5-21 in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany. 

Vlasic, 30, a native of Montreal, has played in the tournament twice before in 2009 and 2012. He also represented Canada in the 2014 Olympic Games, helping it to a gold medal, and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which Canada also captured.

In 75 games with the Sharks this season, Vlasic posted 28 points (6g, 22a) and a +4 rating. He was second on the team in shorthanded time on ice (2:04 per game) and blocked shots (146).

A pending restricted free agent in 2018, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson called getting Vlasic signed to a long-term deal an offseason priority for the club. The two sides can begin negotiations on July 1.

“Vlasic [is] arguably one of the best defensemen in the league,” Wilson said. “[He] is still one of the most underrated players in the league in the outside world.”

The Sharks lost in the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs to Edmonton, although Vlasic and partner Justin Braun helped to keep Connor McDavid in check at even strength. The league's leading scorer had just one even strength point in the six-game series, an empty net goal with less than one second left in Game 6.

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.”