Sharks

Is Mikkel Boedker about to turn his season around?

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AP

Is Mikkel Boedker about to turn his season around?

Mikkel Boedker’s assist in Tuesday night’s win over the Montreal Canadiens was an example of why the San Jose Sharks signed him last summer.

He used his speed in transition against a reeling Habs defense to create a quality look off of an odd-man rush, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic was able to bury the ensuing rebound. The problem is that those moments are becoming increasingly rare.

Boedker’s only shot on goal and only shot attempt on Tuesday night came in the aforementioned Vlasic goal. That’s become all too common for the Danish forward this season.

He’s attempting shot attempts during five-on-five play at the second-lowest rate of his career, according to Corsica Hockey, and is generating about one-and-a-half fewer shots every 60 minutes at even strength. Combine that with a career-low five-on-five shooting percentage (3.23 percent), and Boedker’s on pace for one of the worst offensive seasons of his career.

As disappointing as Boedker was last season, he only scored two fewer goals at even strength than he did the season before hit free agency, and one fewer point playing five aside. His five-on-five shot attempt rate was the highest of his career, and his shot rate was the second-highest.

Of course, he was also healthy. Boedker played in all but one game last season, but has missed seven already this season with a lower body injury.

It appears that he’s just starting to get over what ailed him. After going shotless, pointless, and playing fewer than nine minutes a night in his first two games back from injury, Boedker generated seven total shots, two assists, and played more than 10 minutes in his last four.  

Only once before this season has Boedker shot at least once in four (or more) consecutive games, and that was about a month before he went on injured reserve. The Sharks are tremendously tight-lipped when it comes to disclosing injuries, so it’s fair to wonder how long he was playing hurt.

So even as Boedker hasn’t bounced back in the way he or San Jose wanted, his recent play is fairly encouraging, as the Sharks desperately need him. He may not be used in a top-nine role, but with Barclay Goodrow injured, Jannik Hansen struggling, and Danny O’Regan not quite ready for a roster spot, the Sharks don’t have any viable alternatives for Boedker’s spot in the lineup.

With two years and a $4 million cap hit remaining on his deal, Boedker won’t net much on the trade market, either. So, the Sharks have little choice but to rely on him to contribute.

If plays like his assist against Montreal become more frequent, San Jose won't mind having to do so.

Liam Hendriks' turnaround on A's is template for Sharks' Martin Jones

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AP

Liam Hendriks' turnaround on A's is template for Sharks' Martin Jones

Oakland A's closer Liam Hendriks inherently knows a thing or two about baseball, and its corresponding struggles.
 
He's also an avid NHL fan, participating in four different fantasy hockey leagues.
 
That's why Hendriks, who dramatically went from being designated for assignment to MLB All-Star in a span of 12 months, can truly empathize and relate to the challenges Sharks goalie Martin Jones is enduring right now.
 
"It's really hard to climb the mountain to get to the confidence spectrum," Hendriks shared at spring training. "And it's real easy to slip down"
 
The job of a baseball closer is not that much different than a hockey goalie's.
 
"I've drawn comparisons before," Hendriks said. "As a reliever, you can have one mishap in a game and it completely changes that entire month and season for you, necessarily. Same for a goalie, you can be on fire all night, have 30 saves, and it's that one that squeaks through that can be the deciding factor."
 
Hendriks then continued with differences, showing off his full hockey prowess: "As a pitcher, we don't have to deal with re-directs, or traffic out front or anything ..."
 
So, the big questions remain: How did Hendriks rebound even stronger from one of the deepest and darkest times of his career? And how could any of that help Jones? Is it mostly physical, or something else? 
 
"Emotional turmoil is one of the hardest things to pick up on, and then rectify," Hendriks stated. "It all depends on the way you approach the aftermath of this sort of setback, or whatever you want to call it. But you need to remain positive in my eyes. When I went down there (to the minors), it was like, if I'm going out ... it's going to be on my terms. I'm going to do exactly what I think I need to do, to be the best version of myself."
 
Hendriks latched onto hockey, and specifically the Montreal Canadiens while playing for the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in his career. But says the Sharks are his "American team."

[RELATED: How Sharks can address goalie problem at trade deadline]
 
He also has a much more superstitious fix that maybe Jones should try.
 
"Change his jersey number, that helped me out. Thirty-one had too many runs in it for me."
 
Yes, Hendriks -- like Jones -- wore No. 31 for Oakland before being DFA'd. He came back wearing No. 16, and he hasn't looked back since.

How to watch 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show for Sharks live online

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NBC Sports California

How to watch 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show for Sharks live online

The NHL trade deadline is upon us, and rumors are flying everywhere. The Sharks are well out of the Western Conference playoff picture, and might be looking to sell off some of their best assets ahead of Monday’s deadline at noon PT.

It has been a nightmare season for San Jose, who almost certainly will miss the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2015. Significant injuries to captain Logan Couture, forward Tomas Hertl and defenseman Erik Karlsson, along with teamwide underachievement, plant the Sharks firmly in the “sellers” bucket heading into the deadline.

General manager Doug Wilson already has traded defenseman Brenden Dillon to the Washington Capitals and could be looking to make more moves as the deadline approaches.

“Sharks Pre and Postgame Live” host Brodie Brazil will join NHL experts from the NBC Sports regional networks to analyze the trade deadline on the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show, which will stream on the MyTeams app and on NBCSportsBayArea.com. The show will air Monday at 11:30 a.m. PT, and you can join the conversation on Twitter using the hasting #NHLtradeNBC.

[RELATED: Everything Sharks fans need to know before trade deadline]

Here’s how you can watch the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show online.

Date: Monday, Feb. 24
Time: 11:30 a.m. PT
Live stream: MyTeams app and Desktop Stream