Sharks

Boyle: Owners want us to 'miss paychecks'

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Boyle: Owners want us to 'miss paychecks'

SAN JOSE Its been nearly a week since the NHL locked its doors, but more than a week since the league and its players association sat down for formal discussions about a new collective bargaining agreement last Thursday.

Are you surprised, Dan Boyle?

No, Im not. The information Ive gotten is the NHL is saying they want to negotiate, but everything were hearing is the complete opposite, he said, after skating on rented ice at the Sharks practice facility Friday morning.

I think they want us to miss some paychecks, is what I think. For them, I guess they figure they dont have to pay us right now, so theyve got nothing to gain by settling this thing.

The first of 13 scheduled paydays for players is not until the middle of October, so Boyle is essentially predicting that at least the first month of the season will be lost. The league already wiped out its preseason schedule through September 30, but no regular season games have been formally scratched just yet.

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Joe Pavelski wasnt quite as pessimistic as his teammate, pointing out that the NHLs Bill Daly and NHLPAs Steve Fehr reportedly had some informal contact throughout the week.

I dont think there were any sit-downs in the business room, but I think there were probably some little talks at some point from the assistants, Pavelski said. Theyre always working. On our side, were always working, looking at the numbers and looking at where things can happen.

Its difficult for the common man on the street to wrap his head around the kind of money that the NHL and players are trying to divvy up. League revenues reached 3.3 billion last season, while the average player salary falls somewhere in the low-to-mid 2 million-a-season range, depending on whom you believe.

Boyle was quite frank in his explanation that the players know how good they have it when it comes to their incomes and quality of life.

People always compare their own salaries, and their 9-5 job salaries. It was the same last lockout. Greedy, rich, millionaire hockey players, and Id play for a tenth of that,' and 'its going to take me 30 years to make that much.

I just try to tell people that you cant compare apples and oranges. I dont compare my salary to Tom Cruise when he makes 20 million per movie. Its just kind of the way it works. Is it fair for a surgeon or doctor that saves lives every day to make less than a hockey player, basketball player or movie star? Its not. Its not fair. But thats the way it is. But, most people have been supportive. It sucks, I just hope it gets resolved.

Stars legend Mike Modano recently made some headlines after he told ESPN The Magazine that the previous lockout of 2004-05, in which the players sat for the entire season, wasnt worth it.

"It's money you feel you never get back. At some point, we were sold a bill of goods," Modano told ESPN. "Everybody was buying it. Everybody thought, 'Let's not let each other down. Let's do it for the future of the game. Blah, blah, blah.' You're only in the game so long."

Boyle, who was still a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning at that point and spent the lockout year in Sweden, doesnt necessarily agree.

You can think that, but if anybody digs up the research and looks back at what their offer was before we missed the year, it was a hard cap with no movement. Who knows where wed be at this point, Boyle said.

In 2004, the NHL initially requested a 35 million hard salary cap and the players getting 50 percent of revenues. By the time it was settled almost a full year later, players accepted a 39 million cap and 57 percent.

Pavelski hadnt read the Modano comments, but said: Careers and short, and you just want to play. If we didnt have this set at a certain level, and we just played, guys would play for nothing. Its what everybody loves to do. But, there have been certain standards set. It wasnt that long ago that there were huge concessions.

He continued, Hopefully we find common ground and we can play. Modano is right, its a waste and wed love to be playing, and wish it was starting up today.

It was, in fact, supposed to be the first day of training camp. Just five of the regulars were on hand in what was the lowest turnout since the lockout began, according to Boyle. Several players have already hopped on flights across the Atlantic Ocean, though, while others have returned to their respective hometowns to practice and train. Boyle, Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Adam Burish and Antti Niemi were the only players that decided use the 405-per-hour rented ice on Friday, although several players like Brent Burns, Ryane Clowe and Tommy Wingels are expected back at Sharks Ice next week.

If the lockout continues, players like Pavelski and Burish both said they are considering going overseas.

Obviously, were not in a huge rush to get over there right away, although I do realize there are a lot of guys going, said Pavelski, whose wife and young son could accompany him wherever he went. Its probably the best way to be prepared to play like that, and have that structure. As of now, were going week-by-week, or day-by-day, rather.

Burish, who signed with the Sharks this summer, arrived in town 10 days ago. Hes currently living in a hotel and preparing to move into a house, but admits that the lockout has left him bored out of his mind.

He also appears frustrated that he hasnt yet gotten the opportunity to bond with all of his new teammates, after spending the last two seasons in Dallas.

Thats the hard part, for me. When you go to a new team you want to get to know the guys, you want to hang out with them, skate with them, train with them. Usually its the first couple weeks where youre just kind of feeling things out and getting to know guys. Now, Ive got to wait. I get to know the six guys that are here still, but thats about it. I havent gotten to see the team dynamic, see how guys are together, see how guys interact. Thats kind of tough for me.

He did mention that hes been taking lots of Pavelskis money on the golf course, although Pavelski didnt seem to agree.

When I finally gave him seven-and-a half-strokes, it became fair, Pavelski joked.

But smiles are hard to come by when it comes to the lockout, as players and fans alike have to hang on before NHL hockey resumes. How long that takes is difficult to predict.

My guess is as bad as everyone elses, Pavelski said. Nobody knows.

Labanc, Sharks overcoming even strength scoring woes

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USATSI

Labanc, Sharks overcoming even strength scoring woes

Kevin Labanc’s first period goal in the Sharks’ Sunday win over the Ducks certainly didn’t look like it was just his fifth of the season, or only his third since opening night.

The 22-year-old, sprung in alone on a breakaway, sold Anaheim goaltender John Gibson on a fake shot with a leg kick, and snapped the puck past him into the top corner. You know a ‘goal-scorers goal’ when you see it, and you saw it 3:38 into the second period.

Labanc not only broke a 12-game, month-long goalless drought, but picked up his third point in as many games after scoring zero in his previous six. Despite his emergence as a force on the power play, all three points came during five-on-five play.

He’s generated six scoring chances in five-on-five situations in his last three games, according to Natural Stat Trick. That’s as many as Labanc accounted for in the six games preceding this run.

The same can be said about his five-on-five shot attempts (seven) and high-danger chances (two). His six shots on goal in his last three games are just one shy of also matching his five-on-five output over his six games prior.

In those categories, Labanc ranks third, third, and tied for second among Sharks forwards, as well as third in five-on-five scoring chances. He’s also tied with Mikkel Boedker for the forward-lead in five-on-five points over the last three games, despite playing only the eighth-most five-on-five minutes.

As Labanc’s broken out of an extended slump, so have the Sharks. Since returning from the bye week on Jan. 13, San Jose is fifth in five-on-five scoring rate (3.1 goals for/60 minutes), compared to 28th before their bye (1.91).

They’re also 5-1-0 during that time.

The Sharks, much like Labanc, were too reliant upon power play production prior to the NHL-mandated week off. Over half of Labanc’s points came with (at least) a man advantage, and 32 of San Jose’s 108 were scored on the power play.

Since, the second-year forward has only scored five-on-five points, while only five of the Sharks’ 23 goals were power play tallies. The power play’s still converting, but it’s not been the sole driver of San Jose’s offense.

It’s only a six-game sample, but the early five-on-five, post-bye week returns are promising for Labanc and the Sharks. The next step for both is to maintain that pace.

If Labanc and San Jose can, the Sharks may not need to shop for a top-six winger at the trade deadline after all.

Sharks dominate Ducks for two wins in two nights

Sharks dominate Ducks for two wins in two nights

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM -- Mikkel Boedker had two goals and an assist, Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist, and the San Jose Sharks beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-2 on Sunday night.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Kevin Labanc and Melker Karlsson also scored for the Sharks, who have won five of six. Aaron Dell stopped 33 shots.

Rickard Rakell and Ryan Getzlaf scored for Anaheim. John Gibson stopped only 17 of 22 shots and was replaced after giving up his fifth goal. Anaheim had a four-game home winning streak snapped.

Four goals came in the third period. First, Anaheim pulled within one when Ondrej Kase stole the puck from behind the net and quickly fed Getzlaf, who fired it past Dell.

One minute later, the Sharks answered when Thornton's slap shot went in.

Boedker's second goal gave San Joe a 5-2 lead, and Karlsson's goal on goalie Ryan Miller made it a runaway.

The Ducks first found the net in the final minute of the second period, but that took a two-man advantage and a bit of luck.

Rakell was camped a few feet below the crease when he snapped a shot. San Jose's Justin Braun stuck out a stick, but it deflected the puck off the back of Dell's arm and into the net.

It was Rakell's team-high 17th goal this season.

San Jose appeared to take a commanding 3-0 lead on a power play in the second period. Boedker fired a shot from the top of the right circle that whistled past Gibson.

The Sharks took a 2-0 lead early in the second period when Anaheim's No.1 line turned the puck over. Thornton snapped it out to Labanc, who popped free for a breakaway. He beat Gibson on his short side for his fifth goal.

The Sharks took a 1-0 lead late in the first period on a nifty give-and-go when Tomas Hertl skated down the far side and sent a pass through the legs of Anaheim's Brandon Montour and right to Vlasic in front of the net.

Vlasic snapped it past Gibson for his seventh goal of the season.

UP NEXT

Sharks: Return to San Jose on Tuesday night to play the Jets.

Ducks: Remain at home to play the Rangers on Tuesday night.