Sharks

Micheal Haley's 'take care of things' role still important to Sharks

Micheal Haley's 'take care of things' role still important to Sharks

SAN JOSE – The biggest moment in Micheal Haley’s NHL career came last season against Edmonton, and it was old time hockey at its finest.

In response to the Oilers’ Darnell Nurse blindly jumping and beating up Roman Polak on March 8, the Sharks recalled and dressed Haley for a game in San Jose two weeks later. Everyone knew what was coming, including Nurse, who admirably answered the bell in the first period and promptly got a quick, hard right hook to the jaw from the Sharks’ tough guy.

It may be a dying role in today’s NHL, but a guy like Haley still has value to the Sharks, as evidenced by his remaining in training camp with just one week to go until the regular season. 

“It’s still a part of the game. There’s no doubt that he makes everybody a little more comfortable when he’s in the lineup to take care of things,” Pete DeBoer said. 

Haley played his part on Wednesday night in a preseason game against Anaheim, dropping the gloves with Jared Boll, who signed a two-year contract with the Ducks in the offseason and has a history of physical play and borderline hits – including when he was fined for a high check on Joe Thornton way back in 2012.

If the division rival Ducks want to dress a guy like Boll on a regular basis, Haley is a useful hammer for San Jose to have in its toolbox.

“You’ve always got to be aware of [Boll],” Haley said. “He has been known to have a few big hits, so if you let him get going – [but it’s] not just him. They’re a heavy team, they always have been. Obviously when I play I play physical too, so it’s always in my head.”

DeBoer said: “He brings a presence, a playing toughness that you can put on the ice and keep people honest. He’s a reliable player, too. I think the guys appreciate him when he’s in the lineup, and appreciate him as a teammate.”

The 30-year-old Haley played 16 games with the Sharks last season, with one goal and 48 penalty minutes. It’s difficult to see him eclipsing that game total this season, especially with the Sharks’ added depth on offense.

Still, the organization felt it was important to bring him back on a one-year contract extension in the offseason. According to generalfanager.com, Haley would make $625k at the NHL level, and is guaranteed $300k regardless of where he plays. Last year with the Barracuda, Haley was counted on more to produce offensively, with 23 points (12g, 11a) and 52 penalty minutes in 41 games.

“The nice thing I like about him is that you can play him,” DeBoer said.

Haley will keep playing the same way, of course, and see if it earns him a place on the opening night roster.

“I’m not young anymore, I’m not a rookie. I know how it goes. You just kind of keep your head down and play hard, and wherever the chips fall, they fall,” he said.

Sharks not satisfied with single point, believe skid will strengthen them

Sharks not satisfied with single point, believe skid will strengthen them

Well, the Sharks certainly made it interesting. Every time the Ducks scored a goal on Friday evening, the Sharks came back and were able to tie things up. They even got the game-tying goal late in the third period that took their contest into overtime – at least, before they lost 4-3.

Perhaps at a different time of year, getting their first point in five games would feel better. Not on this night. 

The focus remains on the work to be done with just seven games left in the regular season. For Team Teal, they need to clean their game up and get back into the win column.

“It’s better than nothing, but overall, we’re just not finding ways to win games now,” Timo Meier told the media in Anaheim regarding the single point. “We’ve got to find a way to win games. It’s an important time of the year. Playoffs are really close.”

San Jose put a better effort on the ice on Friday than they did the previous evening in LA against the Kings, but the opportunistic Ducks were able to bury more of their chances,

"I don’t think we gave them very much," Peter DeBoer said. "Every chance they got, they stuck in the net, though."

DeBoer was more critical of the team a second night in a row, and rightfully so. Despite outshooting the opposition, the Sharks weren’t able to find the back of the net enough times. They allowed two goals while playing on the penalty kill and tallied 14 giveaways. Plus, outside of Meier’s power-play marker, San Jose still went one-for-five on the man advantage. Despite tying the score up three times, the Sharks couldn’t keep the Ducks from responding.

Clearly, all areas of the game need to be tweaked.

“We’ve got to find a way to get an extra save, and on (the other) end we’ve got to find a way to get another goal,” DeBoer said. “We could’ve used a power-play goal tonight -- another one.”

Perhaps the only silver lining, as Meier put it, is that the Sharks are going through this stretch now instead of once they get into the playoffs. San Jose is still trying to get some of its key players healthy and into the lineup so they can make a deep playoff run with the lines and pairs they want. The goal, at least at the moment, is to make sure this five-game skid is a lesson to learn from and not a prelude to the future.

"Get stronger as a team, get tighter as a group, and learn," Meier said. "It’s going to make us stronger going into the playoffs because there are going to be lots of ups and downs coming up. It’s going to make us stronger and we’ve got to react the right way.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from overtime loss to Ducks

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from overtime loss to Ducks

BOX SCORE

All the Sharks needed was a win. Just one win on Friday evening against the Ducks. Two points to salvage the road trip, stop the losing streak, and get back to hunting for first place in the division.

Not surprisingly, Team Teal made things interesting with a game that stayed tied up heading down the stretch. Unfortunately for San Jose, the Ducks were the victors in overtime 4-3.

Here are three takeaways from Friday’s game:

How did the power play look?

In a few words: nonexistent until the third. San Jose had three opportunities on the man advantage through the first 40 minutes of play and couldn’t make anything happen. They even gave up a couple breaks the other way that Dell had to stop. Had the power play converted, the Sharks might’ve been up by two or three goals after two period of play.

Timo Meier came up big with the power-play goal in the third period to tie the score up 2-2. While they couldn’t capitalize on the power-play opportunity immediately followed, Meier’s marker will hopefully open up the flood gates for the power play.

Who else stepped up?

Sharks’ bench boss Peter DeBoer didn’t mince words after Thursday’s loss to the Kings, saying that the team needed someone to step up during this stretch with injured superstars and be a hero.

“You’ve got to get a great performance from somebody in a game like this and I don’t think we got that,” DeBoer said on Thursday.

In all honesty, the whole team looked better even with the loss. The fourth line had a couple very memorable shifts, cycling low and establishing pressure. Joe Thornton’s line was clicking, which was clear from Kevin Labanc’s goal.

Gustav Nyquist was a solo standout – despite not finding the back of the net, he played a heck of a game and had some incredible looks. Of course, you can’t talk about this game without talking about Justin Braun scoring the big game-tying goal in the third frame, which was his first marker since December 2.

How did Aaron Dell do?

In all fairness, Dell gave the Sharks a chance to win for the majority of the game. No. 30 has looked good in his last couple of outings – save his relief effort against the Golden Knights earlier in the week when he had little defense to help him out – and he made a couple great saves in Anaheim as well, especially when the Ducks had a couple short-handed breakaways.

Unfortunately for Dell, he gave up the two power-play goals in the third frame. While Braun was the hero and scored the tying goal late in the third to help take the game into overtime, Dell still couldn’t hold down the fort in overtime. It doesn’t matter if he’s the backup or not – at this time of the season, playing too loose late in games isn’t good.