Sharks get Boyle back for Blackhawks


Sharks get Boyle back for Blackhawks

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Sharks Pregame Live begins at 7 on CSN California, followed by Sharks-Dallas at 7:30, and Sharks Postgame Live at 10.

SAN JOSE -- Dan Boyle will return to the Sharks' lineup tonight against Chicago after missing Wednesdays game against Calgary with the flu.

Boyle didnt skate at Thursdays practice, either, but took part in the Sharks morning skate at HP Pavilion on Friday as the team gets set to host the Blackhawks, who have lost six straight (0-5-1).

Listening to coach Todd McLellan, it doesnt appear that Boyle will play anything less than hes used to.

"When he came in this morning he was pretty spry and looked pretty good, McLellan said. I think hes one guy that can play without having skated for a couple days and fit right in. Hes kind of wired that way and doesnt need a lot of practice time. If hes feeling good, hell play. Blackhawks news video
Boyles return is important for a couple of reasons, other than the fact hes been arguably the teams best defenseman for the last month. The Sharks defense looked lost at times during a mistake-filled 4-3 loss to Calgary on Wednesday, as McLellan mixed and matched his defense pairs against the Flames with minimal success.

Furthermore, Boyle and partner Marc-Edouard Vlasic figure to see a lot of the Blackhawks top line. On Jan. 15 in Chicago, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Viktor Stalberg combined for two goals, three assists and a whopping 17 shots on goal in a 4-3 Chicago win.

That line has since been split up, but it will be interesting to see if head coach Joel Quenneville at least puts Toews and Kane back together in time for tonights matchup.

I remember that they were much better than we were, said Boyle of that dominant performance by Chicago. Im not sure whos going to playing against them, but whoever does needs to elevate their play. They are one of the top lines in the league, not only on their team, and they were significantly better last game than ours was.

As for Chicagos six-game losing streak, that doesnt enter into Boyles mind.

No, it doesnt matter if a team comes in hot or not. That can change at any moment, and they are too good of a team to keep losing games, he said.

Boyle joked after the morning skate that he watched Wednesdays game with his dad, and it wasnt a very enjoyable experience.

It was tough to watch. Its always tough to watch regardless, but especially when I think the first 15 minutes were pretty ugly.

Sharks start training camp with familiar face elsewhere: ‘It’s kind of strange’


Sharks start training camp with familiar face elsewhere: ‘It’s kind of strange’

SAN JOSE — There was something familiar missing in San Jose when the Sharks opened training camp.

For the first time since 1996, the Sharks took the ice for their first training camp practice without Patrick Marleau on the team as the franchise's career leader in games and scoring left as a free agent for Toronto this summer.

"I've spent a lot of years with him. It is kind of strange," said Joe Thornton, who came to San Jose in 2005. "It's his birthday today too. It's a little weird, but he's going to do great up in Toronto."

Marleau had been with San Jose since being picked second overall in 1997 but left the Sharks to sign an $18.75 million, three-year deal with the Maple Leafs in July.

Marleau has 508 goals and 574 assists for 1,082 points. He had 46 points in playing all 82 games last season as he rebounded from a disappointing 2015-16 season by scoring 27 goals, including the 500th of his career. He ranks first in San Jose in career goals, games and points.

Only six players in NHL history have played more games with one team than Marleau's 1,493 in San Jose. The Sharks haven't played a game without him on the ice since April 7, 2009.

"Obviously Patty has meant so much to this organization and this group," captain Joe Pavelski said. "Everyone in this room has pretty much played with him and Patty has done something to help them out. He'll be missed. ... Just by committee somebody will step in and fill that kind of hole. That's what we'll need."

The Sharks made no major additions this offseason so will need to replace Marleau's 27 goals by getting development from younger players like Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Danny O'Regan, as well as bounce-back seasons from veterans like Thornton, Mikkel Boedker and Joonas Donskoi.

Only Pavelski, Logan Couture and Brent Burns are back after scoring more than 12 goals last season.

"When I look back at last year we had key people either have down years or miss significant time with injuries or coming off injuries," coach Peter DeBoer said. "I think if we can stay healthy I think we've got a large group of guys that can really take a step this year and I expect a step out of them."

While the Sharks lost Marleau in free agency, they did manage to keep Thornton by giving him a one-year, $8 million contract despite dwindling production last season and offseason knee surgery.

He scored just seven goals — his fewest in an 82-game season since his rookie year in 1997-98 — and was a key part of a power-play unit that uncharacteristically struggled last season. But he still managed 43 assists, teaming with captain Joe Pavelski on San Jose's top line.

Thornton missed the final week of the regular season and the first two playoff games with a left knee injury before returning for the final four games of a first-round loss to Edmonton. Thornton then underwent surgery to repair his MCL and ACL after the season but was back skating in August and started ramping it up for training camp two weeks ago. Thornton believes the lower-body work he did in rehab this offseason will pay dividends on the ice.

"They feel real strong," he said of his legs. "I feel a lot of pop out there. They're probably as strong as they've ever been just because I had to rehab that knee so much."

Sharks Media Day highlights: Beards, smiles & cup checks


Sharks Media Day highlights: Beards, smiles & cup checks

The boys were back together in San Jose on Thursday for Sharks Media Day, with plenty of smiles and moments of levity. Check out the highlights...

Hey Jumbo, you dropped something. 👖🤷‍♂️

A post shared by San Jose Sharks (@sanjosesharks) on

Martin Jones is pretty good at photobombs 📸💣

A post shared by San Jose Sharks (@sanjosesharks) on

🤳 Media Day #SJSharks

A post shared by San Jose Sharks (@sanjosesharks) on

New season. New commercials. 🕉🚌📺 #ComingSoon #SharksForLife

A post shared by San Jose Sharks (@sanjosesharks) on