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.

Three takeaways: Sharks having trouble explaining meltdown

Three takeaways: Sharks having trouble explaining meltdown

NASHVILLE – The Sharks are returning to San Jose on Sunday in a crisis. Nothing good came from Saturday’s 7-2 loss to Nashville, their sixth straight in regulation. Let’s get to the painful three takeaways…

1 – No answers

Neither Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns nor Patrick Marleau – the three players made available to the media after Saturday’s game – offered any kind of in-depth analysis of what’s going wrong. Frankly, I’m not sure anyone really knows. It’s hard to believe that this is the same club that had lost just two games in regulation in its previous 14 before the losing streak began.

“If you’re putting a consistent effort in, battling, competing – it’s tough to lose six in a row,” Pavelski said. “You look at six in a row, and it just seems daunting. Like, how do you get there? So, I think we’ve just got to take a deep breath, really kind of refocus.”

Believe it or not, coach Pete DeBoer thought Saturday’s loss was “a step in the right direction” when asked why Friday night’s 6-1 beat down in Dallas wasn’t enough of a wake-up call. How often do you hear that after a five-goal defeat?

“I liked our game tonight better than I liked [Friday’s game] regardless of the score,” DeBoer said. “I don’t just look at the score. If you want to just judge it on the score than you might not say it’s a wake-up call, but I thought we were much more competitive tonight. 

“It was a step in the right direction. Every team goes through tough parts of the season, and this is ours. We’ve got a lot of character in the room. We’ll get through it.”

2 – Couture injury would spell doom, as Hertl still MIA

Let’s face it – if Logan Couture is out for any extended period of time, this team is DOA once the playoffs begin. Couture has been the Sharks’ best player since the All-Star break, and they don’t have anyone on the current roster or in the system that could replace him. As of Sunday morning, there was still no word as to the severity of his injury after taking a puck to the mouth and going to a local Nashville hospital.

If Couture were to miss time, Tomas Hertl would likely become the team’s second line center. Lately, though, Hertl doesn’t even resemble an effective third line center. He was victimized on Nashville’s first goal, which was similar to one of the Wild goals on Tuesday, when he was just too slow and not strong enough on his skates in getting outworked for a loose puck. He is scoreless in his last 12 games.

3 – Haley shows some emotion that others lack

It’s understandable that Micheal Haley didn’t like getting hit from behind by Calle Jarnkrok in the third period. But, you can’t just make a beeline for a guy and punch him in the face. Haley will almost certainly get suspended for the play.

At least, though, Haley showed a little bit of emotion in the game, including his first period fight with Cody McLeod. Perhaps guys like Hertl, Joonas Donskoi and Mikkel Boedker could take a lesson from the fiery Haley. Those three, in particular, have been virtually useless during this six-game stretch. 

If I’m DeBoer, I’d get on the phone with Doug Wilson and Roy Sommer and ask for a few guys from the Barracuda so I could – depending on the team’s health situation – scratch all three of them for Tuesday against the Rangers, or at least remove Boedker and Donskoi and put Hertl back on the wing. Drastic times call for drastic measures, do they not?

 

Sharks need to 'figure it out pretty soon' after another thrashing

Sharks need to 'figure it out pretty soon' after another thrashing

NASHVILLE – Apparently, one wake up call wasn’t good enough for the plummeting San Jose Sharks.
 
Just one day after suffering what was arguably their worst game under coach Pete DeBoer, Nashville put up a touchdown on the Sharks in a 7-2 win, giving San Jose its sixth straight defeat – all in regulation.
 
After getting outscored 13-3 the last two nights, including Friday’s 6-1 loss in Dallas, where do they go from here?
 
“In two years, last year and this year so far, we haven’t had one night like this almost. Now we have back-to-back nights,” Joe Pavelski said. “I think it’s just a reality check. A gut-check time.
 
“It’s on us as players. Bottom line is we haven’t put the effort in that we need to have right now, and it snowballed on us a little bit at times. I think we’ve got to take a deep breath and really take a look in the mirror, refocus a little bit and understand there’s hockey out there, but it’s not going to fix itself.”
 
What has to be fixed immediately is the defensive structure that has been so vital to the Sharks’ success in the Pete DeBoer era. Even when the club was going through stretches of struggling to score, as it was earlier in the season, it was still collecting points in the standings with its ability to limit the opposition’s scoring chances.
 
While the game against the Predators was actually a little better in that regard, believe it or not, it was still nowhere near the level it needs to be for the postseason. Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s absence was partly to blame for that, but the Brent Burns-Paul Martin pair has been a disaster lately. Both have a minus-nine rating during the six-game losing streak, and that number is indicative of how they’ve looked, too.
 
“We’re giving up some goals. It’s a combination of things,” DeBoer said. “Obviously it’s not good enough to win games, so we’ve got to figure it out. I don’t have an answer standing here for you, but I know our group. Every team I’ve ever coached has a tough part of the season. This is obviously ours. We’ll regroup, and figure it out.”
 
Burns, who admitted to a “bad read” on Nashville’s second goal when Roman Josi sped around him, said: “It’s a tough league when you’re not executing little things.”
 
The Sharks actually looked strong early, poised to put the Dallas disaster behind them. The first few shifts, they had the puck in the Nashville end.
 
But Tomas Hertl was outmuscled behind the net by Colin Wilson on Colton Sissons’ goal at 4:14, Burns got beat on the second, and the Sharks never recovered. Patrick Marleau’s second period power play goal offered life, but that was extinguished 24 seconds later when James Neal answered with a power play goal of his own. The Sharks never got closer than two goals after that.
 
“When things are going bad, those are the things that are happening,” Burns said of Neal’s response to Marleau’s marker. “So, you’ve just got work through it."
 
Will they be able to work through it with just seven games left in the regular season, though? That this cold spell is happening in late March doesn’t speak well to the Sharks’ chances in the postseason, which begins in just two-and-a-half weeks.
 
Burns said: “Right now we should be just tightening up everything. … We've got figure it out pretty soon.”