Sharks, Flyers unhappy with hits

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Sharks, Flyers unhappy with hits

SAN JOSE Sharks assistant coach Matt Shaw wasnt happy with Zac Rinaldos hit on TJ Galiardi in the first period.Danny Briere thinks the referees should have at least called Marc-Edouard Vlasic for boarding with five minutes left in the third.Such is life in what was a surprisingly chippy game at HP Pavilion on Tuesday night between two clubs that rarely see one another.
Everybodys just scratching a clawing for points. Even though theyre an East Coast team, points are so important right now, was how Joe Thornton explained the obvious vitriol.REWIND: Sharks get back on track with win over Flyers
With 4:42 to go in the first period, Philadelphias Rinaldo, who in his rookie year is already considered among the dirtiest players in the league, appeared to hit Sharks newcomer Galiardi high and to the head, causing the winger to miss some shifts.Shaw, filling in for a concussed Todd McLellan, hopes the league reviews the play.We thought there was a hit on Galiardi that was a blindside hit there was no call on. Thats something we hope the league looks into just to make sure the rules are being implemented as they would want them to be, Shaw said.There was no penalty on the play, nor was there one when Vlasic launched Briere headfirst into the boards with regulation time winding down.Vlasic and Briere predictably gave different accounts of the hit.Well, he was alright. He came back the next shift, which was good to see, Vlasic said. I was going back, and he was too, and he stopped right into me. My momentum carried me forward. The ref saw it that way, and thats what he said. Im going in there to get the puck and it just happened he turned into me, and he got the worst of it.At the very least, Briere would have like to seen a penalty called, as the Flyers were still looking for the equalizing goal. He was annoyed after the game either way.Usually, when were in that position, guys will bear hug you or go around you. I was trying to create a pick for Jaromir Jagr, said Briere, who later added he was momentarily dizzy. He was right behind me, the puck was coming around the boards, I never expected to be bulldozed there. It was scary. I was fortunate that it wasnt worse that it was.When youre in a vulnerable position like that guys dont hit you there. I knew someone was coming. I had no clue Id get run over like that.Stay tuned.

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.”