NHL veterans likely to resist lengthy lockout

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NHL veterans likely to resist lengthy lockout

One of the prevailing philosophies surrounding the collective bargaining negotiations is that those players that suffered through the lost season of 2004-05 wont want to risk losing another years salary in their all-too-brief careers.

Thats one of the biggest reasons I still think that any potential lockout wont last more than a few weeks, or a month at the most, despite all of the rhetoric being spewed from both sides on Wednesday. At some point, the NHLs veterans and elder statesmen will step in and make sure a deal gets done. There are myriad other reasons why another lost season doesnt seem likely to me, but that may be the biggest.

The group I speak of includes a number of players on the Sharks, like captain Joe Thornton, who reportedly made plans to play in Switzerland that were promptly shot down by his agent (and brother, John) on Thursday morning in an email to CSNCalifornia.com.

Thornton is set to make 7 million in 2012-13, but lost out on more than 6 million in 2004-05, when he was still under contract to Boston. Other names that were denied their gigantic salaries that season, and are still effective veteran players in the league today, include Jarome Iginla, Marty Brodeur, Jaromir Jagr, Daniel Alfredsson, Patrik Elias, Teemu Selanne and a pair of Thorntons teammates, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle.

In other words, some of the more respected and successful players in recent NHL history.

Of the 20 guys on the Sharks that should be locks to make the opening night roster (as it stands currently), seven made their professional debuts before that lockout. The majority of players on San Jose and in the NHL werent affected at all in terms of dollars and cents, but the ones that were are among the games best players and leaders in the last decade.

Each of the seven players on the Sharks who saw a year of NHL eligibility go by the wayside has had a long and distinguished career. Some, like Boyle, are much closer to retirement and never again seeing a bi-weekly paycheck in the six figures. As much as the younger players and rising stars desire a CBA that allows them to continue making salaries that concurrently rise with league revenues, they cant ignore veterans that have helped grow the game to where it is today.

That means getting a deal done as quickly as possible.

Much like the players are trying to pit the big market teams against the small market teams by proposing expanded revenue sharing, the owners surely know that the longer a work stoppage lasts, the louder some of those veteran NHL voices will become. And they are voices that wont be easily ignored.

Couture's father: Sharks center dealing with 'ugly injury' after puck to mouth

Couture's father: Sharks center dealing with 'ugly injury' after puck to mouth

The Sharks dropped their sixth straight game Saturday in Nashville against the Predators. To make matters worse, center Logan Couture left the ice to an ugly scene after taking a puck straight to the mouth. 

Directly after the game, Couture was taken to a local Nashville hospital. On Sunday, his father Chet could not provide specific details but called what his son is going through "an ugly injury sadly." 

Couture was set up just outside the crease when a Brent Burns point shot late in the second period hit a stick before squarely smacking into the 27-year-old’s mouth. Replays showed Couture appeared to lose at least one tooth, and he quickly skated to the dressing room under his own power with just 14 seconds before the intermission.

"You can't replace him, so it would be really tough,” Patrick Marleau said after Saturday's loss. “But if that is the case, then guys are going to have to pull up the slack. Definitely we hope he's back sooner.”

Couture flew back with the team Sunday morning, but Insider Kevin Kurz is hearing the injury is certainly a bad one. 

Three takeaways: Sharks having trouble explaining meltdown

Three takeaways: Sharks having trouble explaining meltdown

NASHVILLE – The Sharks are returning to San Jose on Sunday in a crisis. Nothing good came from Saturday’s 7-2 loss to Nashville, their sixth straight in regulation. Let’s get to the painful three takeaways…

1 – No answers

Neither Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns nor Patrick Marleau – the three players made available to the media after Saturday’s game – offered any kind of in-depth analysis of what’s going wrong. Frankly, I’m not sure anyone really knows. It’s hard to believe that this is the same club that had lost just two games in regulation in its previous 14 before the losing streak began.

“If you’re putting a consistent effort in, battling, competing – it’s tough to lose six in a row,” Pavelski said. “You look at six in a row, and it just seems daunting. Like, how do you get there? So, I think we’ve just got to take a deep breath, really kind of refocus.”

Believe it or not, coach Pete DeBoer thought Saturday’s loss was “a step in the right direction” when asked why Friday night’s 6-1 beat down in Dallas wasn’t enough of a wake-up call. How often do you hear that after a five-goal defeat?

“I liked our game tonight better than I liked [Friday’s game] regardless of the score,” DeBoer said. “I don’t just look at the score. If you want to just judge it on the score than you might not say it’s a wake-up call, but I thought we were much more competitive tonight. 

“It was a step in the right direction. Every team goes through tough parts of the season, and this is ours. We’ve got a lot of character in the room. We’ll get through it.”

2 – Couture injury would spell doom, as Hertl still MIA

Let’s face it – if Logan Couture is out for any extended period of time, this team is DOA once the playoffs begin. Couture has been the Sharks’ best player since the All-Star break, and they don’t have anyone on the current roster or in the system that could replace him. As of Sunday morning, there was still no word as to the severity of his injury after taking a puck to the mouth and going to a local Nashville hospital.

If Couture were to miss time, Tomas Hertl would likely become the team’s second line center. Lately, though, Hertl doesn’t even resemble an effective third line center. He was victimized on Nashville’s first goal, which was similar to one of the Wild goals on Tuesday, when he was just too slow and not strong enough on his skates in getting outworked for a loose puck. He is scoreless in his last 12 games.

3 – Haley shows some emotion that others lack

It’s understandable that Micheal Haley didn’t like getting hit from behind by Calle Jarnkrok in the third period. But, you can’t just make a beeline for a guy and punch him in the face. Haley will almost certainly get suspended for the play.

At least, though, Haley showed a little bit of emotion in the game, including his first period fight with Cody McLeod. Perhaps guys like Hertl, Joonas Donskoi and Mikkel Boedker could take a lesson from the fiery Haley. Those three, in particular, have been virtually useless during this six-game stretch. 

If I’m DeBoer, I’d get on the phone with Doug Wilson and Roy Sommer and ask for a few guys from the Barracuda so I could – depending on the team’s health situation – scratch all three of them for Tuesday against the Rangers, or at least remove Boedker and Donskoi and put Hertl back on the wing. Drastic times call for drastic measures, do they not?