Instant Replay: Boedker's hat trick powers Sharks past Oilers

Instant Replay: Boedker's hat trick powers Sharks past Oilers

BOX SCORE

EDMONTON – Rogers Place might be the gleaming new home of the Oilers, but on Tuesday it was previously slumping Mikkel Boedker that brought some renewable energy.

Boedker scored three times, doubling his goal output for the season, in a 5-3 Sharks win over Edmonton. San Jose remains in first place in the Pacific Division, increasing its lead over the third place Oilers to three points, with two games in hand.

With the Sharks ahead 2-1 to start the second period, Boedker scored a pair of goals in less than seven minutes to push the lead to 4-1 and complete the hat trick.

At 2:24 of the second period, Melker Karlsson got Cam Talbot to commit to the shot before the puck slid over to Boedker, who easily slammed it into an open net.

Martin Jones made his best saves of the night after that, robbing Patrick Maroon on a two-on-one from Connor McDavid with a sprawling right pad, and later denying McDavid’s prime chance with about 13 minutes to go.

That allowed Boedker to give San Jose a three-goal cushion, when he got the blade of his stick on a Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot at 8:55.

Edmonton pushed to start the third, and Matt Benning’s wrist shot cleanly beat Jones just 22 seconds after the faceoff. Then at 3:45, Oscar Klefbom’s boomer from the point made its way through traffic and into the net.

Pete DeBoer used his timeout after that, and the Sharks responded when Logan Couture scored an unconventional breakaway goal. His shot was stopped by Talbot, but ricocheted through the Edmonton goaltender off of Couture’s leg as he fell to the ice at 5:06.

The Sharks improved to 2-0 against Edmonton this season, including a 3-2 overtime win in San Jose on Dec. 23. They meet again at SAP Center on Jan. 26 in the final game before the All-Star break.

Boedker opened the scoring at 1:39, when a rebound deflected to the winger at the side of the net. He waited out Talbot and flipped it home. Drake Caggiula tied it by getting in front of the net and pounding home a Benoit Pouliot pass at 15:53, but Brent Burns restored the Sharks’ lead with a shot from high in the zone just after a San Jose power play expired with 18 seconds left before the first intermission.

The Sharks’ biggest offseason addition, Boedker was a healthy scratch last Thursday against Minnesota. He returned on Saturday, and scored a goal against Detroit.

The Sharks welcomed Vlasic back into the lineup, after the defenseman missed the previous four games from taking a deflected shot to the face. Vlasic left the ice late in the season after he was whacked by Jordan Eberle’s stick, but he returned for the third.

After not scoring five goals in a game at all through their first 39, the Sharks have now done it each of the last two, including a 6-3 win over the Red Wings on Saturday.

San Jose is 15-3-3 in its last 21 games in Edmonton, although this was their first-ever game at the Oilers’ new downtown arena.

Special teams:
The Sharks and Oilers were each 0-for-2 on the power play. San Jose is just 14-for-101 with a man advantage since Nov. 1 (13.8 percent).

Edmonton is 0-for-8 on the power play in its two losses to the Sharks this season.

In goal:
Named as an All-Star for the first time in his career earlier in the day, Jones improved to 21-13-4 on the season with 33 saves. Jones, who turned 27 on Tuesday, has started 11 of the last 12 games including five in a row. He is 5-1-1 in his career against Edmonton.

Talbot, one of only other two goalies that has played more than Jones this season, took the loss with 23 saves. He’s 1-2-2 career against San Jose.

Lineup:
Dylan DeMelo was forced from the game in the second period with what looked to be a wrist issue from a slash by Zack Kassian.

Mirco Mueller was removed from the lineup to make way for Vlasic. Tim Heed was also a healthy scratch, while David Schlemko (upper body) is not on the two-game road trip.

Micheal Haley drew back into the lineup on the fourth line in Tommy Wingels’ place.

Up next:
The Sharks remain in Alberta for a game at the Saddledome on Wednesday against the Flames, with whom they are 1-1-0 with this season. San Jose is 4-2-0 in the second half of back-to-backs this season.

GMs have taken all the fun out of Trade Deadline day

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USATSI

GMs have taken all the fun out of Trade Deadline day

The NHL trade deadline came and went Monday night when the Washington Capitals went chips-in on St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

(For the record, the actual details of the trade are so absurdly complicated that all you will be permitted to know here is that the Caps got Shattenkirk).

But the fact is that, yet again, all the air rushed out of Wednesday’s trade deadline balloon for the hockey media, and the poor sods on set to babysit all the deal-lets and non-deals will weep bitterly as their phones spit out hour after hour of non-information.

At least that’s the way it is playing now. Maybe Pittsburgh will finally close that long-rumored (well, by me, anyway) Sidney Crosby-for-Phil Di Giuseppe deal, but that’s not the way to bet.

But the trade deadline has been slowly but surely dying as general managers find far greater advantage in making their deals away from the time crunch and the persistent phone calls from other general manager, agents and worst of all, media weasels.

For example, the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans broke the NBA trade deadline as well as the All-Star Game by doing the DeMarcus Cousins deal four days early and midway through the first half, in that order.

And though this wasn’t actually a trade, the Golden State Warriors broke the market back in July by maneuvering their way for the prize of the summer – Zaza Pachulia.

Oh, and the other guy.

In short, the general managers seem to have figured out the simplest way to foil the pressures of the trade deadline – by ignoring the deadline and acting ahead of time, creating their own spoiler alerts by spoiling everyone’s fun before they were fully alerted.

And that leaves the rest of us faced with an empty day of blather after we’ve all gone to the trouble of doubling down on beer and chips.

Ultimately the idea behind the coverage of a trade is to break the news of the trade whenever it happens. And the idea of the trade from the general manager’s view is to better the team and minimize the chance of being fired.

All laudable goals, by and large.

But a trade deadline without some recognizable trades is just another day when you can’t fake working, and who needs that?

What’s needed here then is a trade deadline with teeth and real tangible punishments for everyone involved. I mean, we have chips and guacamole to think of.

For instance, there is no reason why the leagues couldn’t install rules that say that no trade can be announced even to any of the principals (players, agents, medioids, et. al.) except on the day of the deadline. Any teams involved in a deal that breaks the embargo is fined a massive amount of the owners’ (as in both teams’ owners) money.

To make this work, the teams would have to agree no trade could be made between, say, Thanksgiving and the deadline. Or Christmas, depending on how you feel about tryptophan overdosing. But the point is, nothing could get done until the agreed-upon deadline, and it could only be announced to anyone on the day of the deadline.

This is profoundly unfair to the players, of course, but that little issue has never bothered management before when the alternative was money.

It is also not much fun for the media, which has to twiddle its opposables floating rumors that can’t be proven or disproven except on that one day when everyone works from midnight to midnight, wired to the eyelids on six-buck coffee and enough green tea to turn a gall bladder into a souvenir ash tray.

No, this is about making a worthwhile and ironclad trade deadline for the good of the sport, and the business.

Okay, this is about our amusement.

We all like trade deadlines. It gives order to the market, and it centers everyone’s focus on one hyper-adrenalized day to watch out for double-, triple- and quadruple-crosses from general managers wanting to jump each others’ action in search of their own personal Shattenkirks.

It spikes Verizon stock, it makes lots of business for movers and real estate vultures, it provides cheap and disposable fame for about two-thirds of the players in the league, and it makes everyone involved look like twitchy red-eyed zombies on television.

It beats the Bachelorette every time, because among other things it looks a lot more like parents do when they’ve been up all day and night with the colic farms.

In short, a trade deadline is a precious thing not to be discarded just because it’s inconvenient for a few suits and about-to-be-moved employees.

So yeah, Kevin Shattenkirk could have held another day or so. You know, for the good of the game.

 

Ahead of trade deadline, Sharks must decide on top line

Ahead of trade deadline, Sharks must decide on top line

SAN JOSE – Less than 48 hours before the NHL trade deadline on Wednesday at noon, the Sharks’ brain trust has at least one important decision to make.

Are they comfortable rotating left wingers in and out of the Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski line, or should an upgrade be attempted via the trade market? There are a number of players said to be available that could provide the team with some forward depth and scoring punch ahead of the playoffs.

Seven different wingers have played on that so-called top line, none of them lasting more than one continuous stint there than Patrick Marleau from Nov. 21 – Jan. 3. 

In total, seven different players have started a game on that line, including Marleau (25 games), Tomas Hertl (13 games), Kevin Labanc (6 games), Mikkel Boedker (5 games), Timo Meier (4 games), Joel Ward (4 games) and Melker Karlsson (4 games). Injuries have played a role, of course, but it seems as if coach Pete DeBoer has been looking for someone to seize that position. 

Pavelski, though, didn’t seem overly worried about the ongoing alternation.

“We’ve had a few different players there, and I don’t think it’s a concern,” said the captain. “You’re always looking for chemistry and something set in stone if you can get it, but throughout a game, things change.”

DeBoer laid out what he’s looking for in a player to skate alongside Thornton and Pavelski, as well as the kind of player that wouldn’t fit in that role.

“You have to play [at Pavelski and Thornton’s] level and their work ethic,” said the coach. “They want the puck. They want to hunt the puck and want someone to get in there and retrieve pucks so that they can have possession. 

“I can tell you a guy who doesn’t fit would be a guy who is strictly a shooter, or kind of lets other people do the work and just goes to holes. They need somebody that’s going to work at their level and hunt the puck, so that’s got to be part of it.”

Labanc is the latest player to hold down that spot, starting there for the last four games and remaining there for Monday’s practice at Sharks Ice. Just 21 years old, Labanc has contributed a respectable seven goals and 18 points in his first 46 NHL games. Still, he hasn’t scored a goal in his last 22 games, and has just one assist and four total shots in the last four games.

It’s debatable whether the still-smallish Labanc is ready for the rigors of an NHL schedule on a full-time basis, which would make it dangerous for the Sharks to go into the postseason with someone like him in such a key position. DeBoer, though, praised the rookie’s recent efforts.

“I thought he’s done a good job. He’s got some of those [aforementioned] attributes,” DeBoer said. "He’s an offensive guy, [and] he thinks on their level offensively.”

Other teams in direct competition with the Sharks for a Western Conference title are adding pieces, particularly up front. Anaheim acquired scoring winger Patrick Eaves from Dallas, the Blackhawks brought in Detroit forward Tomas Jurco, and Minnesota gave up a haul to Arizona for center Martin Hanzal.

If the Sharks don’t make a move, they will likely go the whole season without bringing in a single player from the outside other than their young prospects. That would be unique, especially for a team that has championship aspirations.

Pavelski seemed to insinuate that he expects at least one body to arrive.

“Whoever we get, hopefully they’ll fill a little depth or add a little something, and we’ll go from there,” he said.

But if not?

“It doesn’t change anything if nothing happens, that’s for sure. We’re going to keep trying to get better.”