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.

Sharks sign prospect Noah Rod, an 'agitator who can score'

Sharks sign prospect Noah Rod, an 'agitator who can score'

The Sharks have signed prospect forward Noah Rod to a standard three-year entry-level contract, the club announced on Friday. The Sharks drafted Rod (pronounced like road) in the second round (53rd overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

The 20-year-old has five goals, nine assists and 22 penalty minutes with a plus-five rating in 27 games with Geneve-Servette in Switzerland. In 137 career games in the Swiss league from 2013-17, Rod has 37 points (14g, 23a) and 64 penalty minutes. The native of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland has represented his country in each of the last two World Junior tournaments, playing with fellow Sharks prospects Timo Meier and Mirco Mueller.

He is expected to join the AHL Barracuda shortly, once the immigration paperwork goes through.

"Noah plays with a tenacious, feisty edge which makes him a difficult player for opponents to play against," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "He has continued to grow his overall game the past few seasons, playing against men in Switzerland's top professional league, and we think his combination of grit and skill will translate well in North America. We are excited for him to make the move."

In February, Sharks director of hockey operations Doug Wilson, Jr. told The Hockey News that the six-foot, 200-pound Rod has “taken huge strides this year” and was hopeful that he would join the organization by the end of this season.

Wilson, Jr. said: “[Rod] was a 17-year-old shut down guy in a men’s league, that’s crazy. He’s taken huge leaps. They’ve got him playing top six minutes, and he’s producing as an offensive guy now. 

“He’s one of those guys, he would fit perfect in Pete [DeBoer’s] system – pressure all over the ice, agitator who can score. He fits really well for us. We’re excited about him.”

NHL Gameday: Stumbling Sharks likely getting Hansen back for Stars

NHL Gameday: Stumbling Sharks likely getting Hansen back for Stars

Programming note: Sharks-Stars coverage starts today at 5:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 42-24-7, 91 points, 1st Pacific Division
Stars: 29-33-11, 69 points, 6th Central Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***Indications are that Jannik Hansen will return to the lineup after missing the last two games with a head injury, as the Sharks try to end their season-long four-game losing streak in regulation. The forward took part in the team’s optional skate on Friday morning at American Airlines Center, his second straight day on the ice after he was hurt last Saturday against Anaheim.

“You’ve got to go through a couple stages, make sure there are no setbacks, no nothing,” said Hansen, who was whacked in the head by defenseman Brandon Montour.

Coach Pete DeBoer spoke before Hansen, and would only call him a game-time decision. Regardless, the trade deadline acquisition will be welcomed back into the lineup after he seemed to give a boost to the Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski line.

“He’s missed quite a bit of hockey personally this year, which should make him fresh for the playoffs, but we also want to make sure we get him in enough games that he’s comfortable in our system and gets some chemistry going with the guys around him,” DeBoer said. “I think it’s important we get him back. He’s a key piece for us.”

Timo Meier appears to be the forward that will come out for Hansen. Melker Karlsson (lower body) doesn't seem to be ready just yet, but skated again Friday morning.

***Along with getting a key piece back in their lineup, the Sharks will be the more rested team, having not played since Tuesday’s 3-2 loss in Minnesota. Dallas dropped a 3-2 shootout decision in Chicago last night.

DeBoer was quick to point out, though, that the first two of the Sharks’ four straight losses came to St. Louis and Anaheim, both of which was playing in the second of a back-to-back.

“I don’t think that’s a factor at all,” DeBoer said. “We played [the Stars] a couple games ago. We know what they do. We know what we have to do better here tonight in order to find a way to score some goals. We’ve just got to execute.”

Dallas is 2-4-1 in its last seven games, but beat the Sharks on Monday, 1-0, behind 30 saves from Kari Lehtonen. Aaron Dell will start in net for San Jose, while the Stars’ starter is not yet known.

***The Sharks begin the night with just a two-point lead on Anaheim in the Pacific Division. The Ducks are hosting the Jets on Friday.

Have the Sharks discussed the tightening standings?

“No, all we think about it get back to the winning road,” Joonas Donskoi said. “I think we’ve been playing pretty well last games, just haven’t found a way to put the puck in the net. That’s all we concentrate on.”

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Jannik Hansen. Hansen wouldn’t say if he was going to be back up on the top line, but in his first four games there after he was inserted into San Jose’s lineup, they generated one even strength goal in each. The 31-year-old is still looking for his first goal with the Sharks, posting one assist in six games with a minus-one rating.

Stars: Ales Hemsky. Limited to just 11 games this season, and coming off of hip surgery, the 33-year-old veteran forward potted two goals in Chicago on Thursday night. The Czech native has points in four of his last seven games (3g, 2a).

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Jannik Hansen – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi – Tomas Hertl – Mikkel Boedker
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Marcus Sorensen

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Aaron Dell (starter)
Martin Jones

Stars
Jamie Benn – Cody Eakin – Ales Hemsky
Remi Elie – Tyler Seguin – Brett Ritchie
Devin Shore – Radek Faksa – Patrick Sharp
Curtis McKenzie – Adam Cracknell – Jiri Hudler

Esa Lindell – John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis – Greg Pateryn
Patrik Nemeth – Stephen Johns

Kari Lehtonen
Antti Niemi

INJURIES

Sharks: Melker Karlsson (lower body) is doubtful.

Stars: Jason Spezza (back spasms) is day-to-day. Mattias Janmark (knee) and Antoine Roussel (hand) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“Obviously we know where our position is in the standings. We know how tight it is right now. We know how important these last two games on the road trip [are]. But there’s no panic here. We’ve just got to go out and play some good hockey.” – Joe Thornton