Next shift goals a disturbing trend for Sharks

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Next shift goals a disturbing trend for Sharks

SAN JOSE After last nights disheartening 5-3 Sharks loss to the Anaheim Ducks, several of the postgame locker room questions revolved around the notion that San Jose has given up goals immediately after its scored one itself.

A quick scan of the game sheets from the past month suggests it hasnt happened with quite as much regularity as some of the reporters and bloggers seemed to suggest, but its occurred enough lately that the team recognizes its a disturbing trend.

Last night against the Ducks, Bobby Ryan tied the game at 1-1 just 51 seconds after Marty Havlat opened the scoring in the first period.

Then, in the second period Kyle Palmieri scored 33 seconds after Joe Pavelski's goal pulled the Sharks within one goal at 4-3.

In Saturdays 3-2 win over Detroit, Pavel Datsyuks goal came 23 seconds after Havlat had given the Sharks a 2-0 first period lead.

On March 6 in Edmonton, Ryan Smyth answered a Ryane Clowe goal less than a minute later while St. Louis T.J. Oshie scored 20 seconds after a Torrey Mitchell marker on March 3.

That's five times in the past nine games.

Whats the deal?

I dont know why its happening, but its a bad trend to get into, Joe Thornton said. Last game, we did the same thing. We grab some momentum, and then next shift, they grab it right back. The line coming on after the goal definitely has to be prepared to win the faceoff. Its a big shift after that.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic said: Everybody knows after you score a goal, the next shift is important. Tonight, every time we scored, we didnt come out with a good effort on the next shift.

Todd McLellan thinks surrendering a goal so soon after getting one does more damage to a team than just on the scoreboard.

That takes a lot of energy out of your team. Its tough to get the engine going again. Thats disappointing. Its a real good point, and its a fact, said the coach.

Line changing: McLellan began shifting his forward lines over and over again abut five minutes into the second period. The first noticeable change was when he flip-flopped Joe Pavelski with Marty Havlat, playing Havlat with Thornton and Logan Couture while putting Pavelski with Patrick Marleau and Ryane Clowe. But by the end of the game it was nearly impossible to keep track of what was going on up front.

The coach bluntly explained his thought process after the game.

Id be an idiot not to, standing behind the bench watching that. Nobody really had anything going, he said.

Boudreau relishes spoiler role: Although the Ducks are out of the playoff race, the team can still take pleasure at trying to derail one of its rivals.

Head coach Bruce Boudreau said: Our team has a lot of pride and we played awfully hard from January on. Whenever you can sort of derail a California team, you like to do it.

The Sharks, who have lost four of five games to Anaheim, visit the Honda Center on March 28.

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.”