Sharks can't complete comeback, fall to Ducks


Sharks can't complete comeback, fall to Ducks


SAN JOSE -- Eventually, they are going to start going in. At least, thats what theyre telling us.The San Jose Sharks outshot and outchanced their opponent again but came out on the wrong end of a 3-2 loss to Anaheim at HP Pavilion on Monday night. It was their second loss to the Ducks in four nights, and third straight overall. They are now 1-3 and in last place in the Pacific Division.Listening to the postgame quotes is starting to sound like a broken record.

We got another 40-plus shots, we just have to bear down when the chances are there. Were getting good, quality scoring chances, were just not scoring, Joe Thornton said.Dan Boyle said: I dont know that were giving up that much defensively. Just offensively its not clicking or going in for us.Once again, it was early mistakes that cost the Sharks. The team committed three straight minor penalties in the first period, leading to the ageless Teemu Selanne putting the Ducks on the board with a power play goal at 9:42, when he tapped in a pass through the slot by Saku Koivu. We said before the game, stay out of the penalty box. We made a parade to the box early on and it flattened us out for the whole first period, Thornton said.Selanne added a second goal less than five minutes later when he snuck behind Colin White and got the rebound of Koivus bad-angle shot to make it 2-0.Todd McLellan switched up his top two lines to start the second period, putting Logan Couture with Thornton and Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau with Ryane Clowe and Torrey Mitchell. It seemed to jump start his club, which outplayed the Ducks the rest of the way. By the time it was over, the Sharks had 43 shots to Anaheims 22.San Jose finally found the scoreboard with a fortunate bounce. Marc-Edouard Vlasic lifted a backhander on net that deflected off of goaltender Dan Ellis, hit Bobby Ryan in the shin, and redirected back into the net. Marleau was in the crease at the time hindering Ellis vision, and Vlasic got credit for his first of the season at 6:39 of the second period.The Sharks applied good pressure to start the third, trailing 2-1, but suffered a back-breaking goal to last seasons league MVP when Corey Perry wheeled around and fired a wrist shot through Dan Boyle into the top corner of the net.Antti Niemi, making his first start of the season, explained the goal from his perspective.I obviously saw it at some point, but should have seen it maybe earlier and made the save there, he said.Niemi may be being a little hard on himself, as Perry, in the faceoff circle, used Boyle as a screen and put the puck where few players in the league can.Perry spun and fired it where he needed to fire it. It was as simple as that, McLellan said.Brent Burns power play goal in the third brought the Sharks back to within one, but that was as close as they got. Ellis, starting his first game of the season to give starter Jonas Hiller a break, stopped a turnaround shot by Couture late in the period and Burns hit the side of the net with a bouncing puck with 23 seconds remaining.It just kind of handcuffed me. If I was a lefty I would have been good, but I cant shoot left, said Burns of his late opportunity.As for the Sharks' line changes, McLellan was cryptic after the game as to which players he was trying to send a message to.It was our way of telling a number of players we werent very happy with them, he said. Quite frankly, were still missing some key people, and they arent injured. They are dressed, and they are people that we count on. Its probably a pretty good weekend for them to take stock of their own games and figure out what they need to do to find it.Well save the speculation for another day as to which players McLellan is talking about, but should point out that Thornton, Couture and Marleau are still looking for their first goals of the young season.The Sharks will regroup with a practice tomorrow before flying to Newark, New Jersey on Wednesday. They open up a six-game road trip on Friday night against the Devils.We go on the road now, so just have a good road trip, Thornton said. Weve had a pretty good road record in the past, so just look forward to it and just keep working at it.Odds and ends The Sharks finished 1-for-6 on the power play, and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill. ... Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, who shut out the Sharks 1-0 on Friday, got his first night off after playing the first four games of the season. Thorntons assist on Burns goal was his first point of the season. It ties him with Sergei Fedorov for 53rd place on the all-time assist list with 696. Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin took a scary looking slap shot to the head in the third period, but was apparently saved by his visor. He later returned.

Mailbag: Which Sharks player is most likely to be traded?


Mailbag: Which Sharks player is most likely to be traded?

No one asked, but I’m going to begin this week’s mailbag with my prediction for the Stanley Cup Final – Preds in six. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to a few of your questions…

Most likely to be moved this off-season? (Nik @niknisj25)

If the Sharks do make a move – and I’ve argued here that I think it may be time for a shakeup – they’ll surely be looking for someone up front to boost the offense. In that case, they’d likely have to sacrifice a defenseman or two.

The Sharks defense is the strength of the organization at the moment, as they had one of the best one-through-seven groups in the NHL this season. But it’s also an expensive one. The Sharks have nearly $27 million committed to their top seven defensemen next season, while Marc-Edouard Vlasic is due for a hefty raise beginning in 2018-19.

One name that could be intriguing to other teams is Justin Braun. The 30-year-old has been a part of the Sharks’ top shut down pair with Vlasic for several seasons now, and is signed for the next three years at a reasonable $3.8 million cap hit. The Sharks could potentially move him for offensive help, and slot in a guy like David Schlemko alongside Vlasic, while finally giving Dylan DeMelo a chance to play on a nightly basis on the third pair. A Vlasic-Schlemko pair could be more offensive than Vlasic-Braun, too, because as adept as they were at keeping the puck out of their own net, the Sharks didn’t get many goals from their defenders outside of Burns.

Of course, the upcoming expansion draft all but assures that nothing will happen until Las Vegas selects its team on June 21. If the Sharks lose a defenseman to the Golden Knights, they’ll be more reluctant to move another one. Still, with guys like Joakim Ryan, Tim Heed, Julius Bergman, Mirco Mueller and now Radim Simek in the pipeline, the club might be able to handle a couple departures.

How do we fix the power play next season? Bring in a coach that could help us? Change up the lines, or style of play? (adam smith @kickback408)

One thing that won’t be happening is a new coach, as Doug Wilson recently confirmed that Steve Spott would be back alongside Pete DeBoer. Bob Boughner could move on if he gets hired as a head coach elsewhere, but Boughner’s focus is the team’s defense and penalty kill.

Obviously, the future of the power play depends on who is on the roster, beginning with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. Both saw their power play production dip this season.

Thornton went from 29 power play points in 2015-16 to 19 this season (he had eight power play goals in 2015-16, and just one this season). Marleau saw a decline from 25 power play points in 2015-16 to 16 last season. Even if both return, it may be time to try other bodies on the top unit.

Do you see Meier, Labanc and/or Sorensen having a breakout season next year? Or anyone else on the Barracuda? (Colin Dunn @ColinDunnACA)

Someone better had, because this team needs to start getting younger, and soon. One of the bigger disappointments of the 2016-17 season is that none of them apparently showed the coaching staff that they were prepared to play on a nightly basis at the NHL level.

Timo Meier and Marcus Sorensen, I would surmise, are at the top of the depth chart as far as forwards go. Their line in the playoffs with center Chris Tierney was the Sharks’ best through the early part of the series with Edmonton. As for Kevin Labanc, I think he’s fallen a bit since he had a brief run of success for the Sharks in December.

While the Sharks did a good job stockpiling some young players through the 2013-15 drafts, they’ve traded away a number of picks in recent years. In last year’s draft they didn’t have a first or third round pick; this year they don’t have any picks in the second, third or fourth rounds; and in 2018 they are already without their second and third round picks. 

It’s great to accumulate young players, but at some point they have to break through. Now is the time.

Sharks, Robinson parting ways after five seasons

Sharks, Robinson parting ways after five seasons

After five seasons with the Sharks, Larry Robinson is leaving the organization.

Robinson, 65, spent the last three seasons as the club's director of player development. He served as an associate coach from 2012-14.

TSN in Montreal and the Montreal Gazette originally reported the news.

The Sharks confirmed that Robinson's contract would be expiring, and general manager Doug Wilson told NBC Sports California that the divorce was amicable, and "because of geography." Robinson lives in Florida.

According to the Montreal Gazette

Robinson’s contract with the Sharks expires on July 1, but agent Donnie Cape said Thursday that San Jose general manager Doug Wilson has given him permission to speak with other teams. Robinson lives in Bradenton, Fla., and the long travel distance to San Jose is one of big the reasons he’s looking for a new team to work for.

Robinson seemed to ponder retirement in 2014, but signed a three-year extension to remain in the Sharks' front office. He worked mostly from his home in Florida the past two seasons, making occasional trips to San Jose, including during training camp.

In the summer of 2015, Robinson underwent surgery for skin cancer.

Recognized as one of the best defensemen in NHL history, Robinson won six Stanley Cup championships with the Montreal Canadiens as a player, and holds the NHL record for playing 20 straight seasons in the playoffs. A 10-time All-Star and two-time Norris Trophy winner, Robinson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995.

Robinson was the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings from 1995-99, and the New Jersey Devils from 1999-2002 and again in 2005-06. He led the Devils to the Stanley Cup in 2000. Robinson has nine Stanley Cup rings as a player and coach.

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The Sharks did not renew the contract of pro scout Jason Rowe, who had been with the organization for the past nine seasons. Rowe focused on eastern NHL and AHL teams.