Sharks notes: Havlat returns to San Jose

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Sharks notes: Havlat returns to San Jose

SAN JOSE Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle has let his strong opinions on the NHL lockout be known more than once since it began on Sept. 16. But, that doesnt mean he has a desire to join the official talks when they resume in New York on Tuesday.

Ive communicated with the people I need to on my end, and my opinion, where I stand on things. They know where Im at. Ill probably just wait and see what happens, Boyle said on Monday at Sharks Ice.

Several owners and players will sit down together without Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr on Tuesday in New York. Four owners new to the process Torontos Larry Tanenbaum, Pittsburghs Ron Burkle, Winnipegs Mark Chipman and Tampa Bays Jeff Viink will join Boston owner Jeremy Jacobs and Calgary owner Murray Edwards along with several players that have yet to be revealed by the players association. Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews could be among them, according to the Canadian Press.

The veteran Boyle is hopeful that some good comes from having new participants involved in what has been an ugly negotiation so far.

Im open to anything at this point. I would like to see a few different owners and a few different faces in there, but well take what we can right now. We just hope it sparks something positive, and hope for the best.

As for salvaging a season, Boyle said: Its been hard to be optimistic. Im just shocked were at this point to begin with. I dont even know how to feel about it, to be honest with you. You hope, you certainly hope, but I dont know.

Sharks forward Marty Havlat, who has returned to the Bay Area after several months in the Czech Republic, is more confident than Boyle.

In 1994-95 they started in January, so we have, lets say a month and a half left until we know whats going to happen. I believe still that were going to play, Havlat said. I believe in what were doing and what we stand for, and I believe in Don Fehr.

This week could be key in the labor battle for more than just Tuesdays meeting between the players and owners. The leagues Board of Governors is set to convene on Wednesday, and the lockout will obviously be the biggest topic on the agenda.

According to a team spokesman, general manager Doug Wilson, a former president of the NHLPA, and executive vice president and general counsel John Tortora will represent the Sharks at the meeting.

Speaking of Havlat, the 30-year-old forward welcomed a new baby girl, Tereza, on July 6. He and his wife Ivana had the baby here before the pair headed back to their native country shortly after. Havlat returned recently in order for his new daughter to have some routine shots.

Havlat is one of a number of NHLers represented by blunt and forthright agent Allan Walsh, who has been a vocal supporter of the players and vociferous critic of the league since the lockout began, via his Twitter page.

I asked Havlat what he thought about his agents outspokenness.

I know what hes doing, and what hes writing, Havlat said. I talk to him a lot, too. I think its been great. Unfortunately, he might be the only agent speaking out and supporting the players. It would be nice if we get some help, but hes been great. Hes doing a great job not just for his own players, but for the whole group of players.

As for his health, Havlat, who suffered a hamstring injury a year ago before returning late last season, said he was prepared for training camp had it started on time.

I feel great. I was ready to go in September and I am ready to go now. Im working out like everybody else and trying to stay in shape as much as I canwaiting for the call, he said.

Former Sharks captain Owen Nolan, a mean, physical player who could put the puck in the net in his prime, thinks the lockout and extended break could prove advantageous to players like him when (or if) the league opens its doors.

RELATED: Owen Nolan weighs in on lockout

It probably benefits the guys that play more physical because they get a longer time to heal, Nolan said. I always say when I started the season, I called it the wandering bruise. First game you got a bruise, and it just kept moving from body part to body part and it never healed until the summer came. When you play that style, you choose that style, thats what got you there, and youre certainly not going to change.

Sharks players Ryane Clowe and Douglas Murray, both of whom had off years last season, could be among those that will be rejuvenated should the NHL salvage a season if you buy into Nolans reasoning.

Worcester Sharks forward Tim Kennedy was named as the American Hockey Leagues Player of the Week on Monday, after scoring five goals in three games over the weekend.

Kennedy, who has NHL experience with Buffalo and Florida, is tied for third in the league in scoring with 23 points (11g, 12a).

Worcester is in first place in the Atlantic Division with an 11-8-1-1 mark (24 points). The club has won six of its last seven road games.

Report: Division rival interested in Joe Thornton

Report: Division rival interested in Joe Thornton

The mere thought of Joe Thornton wearing a Kings sweater may be enough to cause some Sharks fans to lose their lunch.

But it might be a possibility.

According to LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen, the Kings consider Thornton to be a “priority” should be hit the open market as a free agent. While the two sides are currently allowed to express mutual interest, NHL rules forbid them from discussing terms of any deal until Saturday at 9 a.m. PT.

Rosen points to a number of individuals in the Kings' organization that have ties to Thornton, including general manager Rob Blake, who played on the Sharks with Thornton from 2008-10. Mike O’Connell was Thornton’s general manager in Boston and currently serves as the Kings’ senior advisor to the general manager. Glen Murray, a former teammate and frequent linemate of Thornton’s with the Bruins for three-and-a-half seasons, is in Kings player development.

The Kings, under new management since replacing Dean Lombardi with Blake, and head coach Darryl Sutter with John Stevens, have put a priority on finding players this offseason that can get pucks to dangerous scoring areas. 

Adding one of the best passers in the history of the NHL would surely help in that regard. Thornton sits 13th in the NHL all-time with 1,007 assists.

Rosen writes: “Los Angeles has been a dominant possession team without being a high scoring team for the better part of the last six-plus seasons, and it was articulated earlier in the off-season that the team needed to do a better job of taking advantage of that possession discrepancy. In trying to find players with the ability to turn possession into actual production, the team has placed an emphasis on finding players capable of distributing the puck into high-danger in the attacking zone. There might not be another player in the NHL – let alone unrestricted free agents – who is as gifted of a passer of Thornton, which places the team’s needs in concert with the future Hall of Famer’s skill set.”

As reported here previously Thornton, who turns 38 on Sunday, is seeking a deal of three years. That might not be agreeable to the Sharks, who are likely to sign Martin Jones and Marc-Edouard Vlasic to long-term and expensive contract extensions that would kick in with the 2018-19 season.

Of course, Thornton could also be using the Kings as leverage to get a new deal in San Jose, where he would prefer to remain.

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

The Sharks have issued qualifying offers to restricted free agent forwards Chris Tierney, Marcus Sorensen and Barclay Goodrow, while cutting ties with three players in the system.

Tierney, 22, posted 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points in 80 games last season, serving primarily as the fourth line center. He has 64 points (24g, 40a) in 202 career games over three NHL seasons, all with the Sharks.

Sorensen posted one goal and three assists in 19 games with the Sharks last season, his first in the NHL. The 25-year-old played in all six playoff games against Edmonton, scoring one goal and one assist.

Goodrow, 24, skated in three games for the Sharks last season with one assist. He has 16 points (4g, 12a) in 77 games over three seasons with the Sharks, although has played in just 17 NHL games since the start of the 2015-16 season.

Forward Nikita Jevpalovs, defenseman Patrick McNally and goalie Mantas Armalis - also known for his career as a male model - were left unqualified and are now unrestricted free agents.

Earlier in the offseason, the Sharks signed pending restricted free agents Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson. Donskoi received a two-year deal at a salary cap hit of $1.9 million, while Karlsson was signed to a three-year deal at $2 million annually.