Sharks

Report: Boughner to leave Sharks, become Panthers head coach

Report: Boughner to leave Sharks, become Panthers head coach

It appears that the Sharks will have an opening on their coaching staff very shortly.

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzine, the Florida Panthers will hire Sharks assistant coach Bob Boughner to be their new head coach, “barring any last minute hiccups.”

It was revealed in early May that the Panthers had received permission from the Sharks to interview Boughner for the position. The Buffalo Sabres were also reportedly interested in Boughner, who has been as assistant coach under Pete DeBoer in San Jose for the past two seasons.

The job will be Boughner’s first head coaching job in the NHL, starting in the same place that DeBoer did from 2008-09 through 2010-11.

Boughner, who was up for the Colorado Avalanche job last summer before they eventually chose Jared Bednar, said before the start of the 2016-17 season that he would like to become an NHL head coach at some point.

“I think that’s the end game to be a head coach in this league,” Boughner said last September.

The 46-year-old former NHL defenseman was primarily in charge of the Sharks’ defense and penalty kill. The Sharks surrendered 2.52 goals-per game in 2015-16 (10th in the NHL) and 2.44 goals-per game in 2017-18 (fifth in the NHL). Their penalty kill was 21st in the NHL in Boughner’s first season (80.5 percent), and 18th this past year (80.7 percent).

Norris Trophy favorite Brent Burns offen credited Boughner for helping him transition back to the blue line and become the dominant all-around player he is now.

Boughner will be taking over a Florida team that missed the playoffs this season, finishing sixth in the Atlantic Division (35-36-11, 81 points). The Panthers fired Gerard Gallant on Nov. 28, replacing him with interim coach and then-general manager Tom Rowe. Since the conclusion of the season, Dale Tallon has resumed general manager duties while Rowe has taken on an advisory role.

Prior to joining the Sharks, Boughner was the head coach of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires for eight seasons, leading them to Memorial Cup championships in 2009 and 2010. He was named as the OHL/CHL coach of the year in 2008 and 2009, and was an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010-11. Boughner played 630 games over 10 NHL seasons as a defenseman with the Sabres, Predators, Penguins, Flames, Hurricanes and Avalanche.

Boughner would become the third active Sharks assistant coach to leave the team to take over the head coaching job of another club (Wayne Cashman, Flyers, 1997; Todd Richards, Minnesota, 2009).

The Sharks also lost director of player personnel Larry Robinson this offseason, as Robinson's contract was not renewed. Like Boughner, the legendary Hall of Fame defenseman also worked with the organization's blueliners.

Sharks vs. Ducks watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs

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USATSI

Sharks vs. Ducks watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs

After losing four straight games, the Sharks have to find a way to get back in the win column against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night. 

San Jose dropped its fourth straight game on Thursday, losing to the Pacific Division-worst Los Angeles Kings. Top-line center Logan Couture was a late scratch from Thursday’s lineup due to flu-like symptoms, further hampering a lineup already missing top goal-scorer Joe Pavelski and defenseman Erik Karlsson.

The Sharks recalled forward Dylan Gambrell and defenseman Nick DeSimone from the AHL's San Jose Barracuda, according to the AHL's transactions page. Defenseman Jacob Middleton, who didn't play in his recent stint with the big club, returned to the AHL on Thursday night. 

After gaining zero points in the last four games, San Jose remains in second place in the Pacific Division. The Sharks are five points behind the Calgary Flames and five points ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Ducks, much like the Kings, haven’t exactly had the season they hoped for -- thanks in large part to injuries the roster has sustained throughout the course of the season. With just 69 points on the season, Anaheim sits nine points out of the second wild card spot. The Ducks have won three of their last six games, but are coming off a 3-0 shutout at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets. 

This is the fourth and final time the Sharks and Ducks will play each other this season, with the Sharks leading the season series 2-1-0. In 139 total meetings between the franchises, San Jose has a 72-54-4-9 record against Anaheim.

Sharks projected lines and pairs

Timo Meier – Logan Couture – Gustav Nyquist
Evander Kane – Tomas Hertl – Joonas Donskoi
Marcus Sorensen – Joe Thornton – Kevin Labanc
Micheal Haley – Barclay Goodrow – Melker Karlsson

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Tim Heed
Joakim Ryan – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Justin Braun

Aaron Dell – projected starter
Martin Jones

[RELATED: Watch Ron Burgundy show off hilarious Sharks knowledge on Kings broadcast]

Ducks projected lines and pairs

Nick Ritchie – Ryan Getzlaf – Daniel Sprong
Rickard Rakell – Devin Shore – Jakob Silfverberg
Corey Perry – Adam Henrique – Troy Terry
Max Jones – Derek Grant – Carter Rowney

Hampus Lindholm – Josh Manson
Cam Fowler – Andy Welinski
Jaycob Megna – Korbinian Holzer

John Gibson – projected starter
Ryan Miller

Banged-up Sharks make no excuses for losing streak after loss to Kings

Banged-up Sharks make no excuses for losing streak after loss to Kings

After the Sharks' losing streak hit four games in a 4-2 loss to the cellar-dwelling Los Angeles Kings, defenseman Brent Burns summarized it best to reporters in L.A.

“Every loss is doomsday, and every win feels good.”

Unfortunately for the Sharks, that doesn’t make Thursday’s defeat at the hands of the Kings sting any less.

With the defeat, the Sharks matched their season-long losing streak at four games – against the second-worst team in the entire NHL, no less. San Jose even entered the third period with a 2-1 lead, having taken over the pace of play in the second stanza and hemming even the Kings' best players in their own end.

Then, the Kings scored three unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes to emerge victorious. 

Meanwhile, the two Pacific Division teams bookending the Sharks in the standings – the Calgary Flames and the Vegas Golden Knights – are both on hot streaks and kept winning on Thursday while Team Teal was in L.A.

Nobody’s going to sugarcoat it – the Sharks know they have to be better.

“It’s a wake-up call for us,” center Tomas Hertl said. “We have to be ready because we have just eight games left. We saw how Calgary is playing right now, and we have to step it up.”

As if the Sharks weren’t already desperate for a win after dropping three straight contests, they got some bad news just before pregame warmups that center Logan Couture was a late scratch due to flu-like symptoms. With captain Joe Pavelski and defenseman Erik Karlsson already out, San Jose needed someone else to fill that void. 

“It’s always tough when you’re missing players like that,” Hertl said. “But we have a lot of skill and we didn’t improve (on) it today.”

Coach Peter DeBoer doubled down on not making excuses for big players being out of the lineup.

“You got to win this game anyway,” he told reporters. “You’ve got to find a way. Someone’s got to step up and be a first star. You’ve got to get a great performance from somebody in a game like this and I don’t think we got that.”

[RELATED: Watch Ron Burgundy's funny call of Hertl's goal vs. Kings]

With only eight games left in the regular season, San Jose needs to right the ship before embarking on a playoff run.

Getting Couture, Pavelski, and Karlsson back in the lineup healthy will certainly help. But, the Sharks' defensive effort and overall level of intensity has to be better. They’ve been outscored 19-9 over these last four games, and gone 1-for-13 on the power play. While there’s concern over this losing stretch, the Sharks have to buckle down and find a way to win immediately. 

“We’ve got to find a way to win some games,” DeBoer said. “We’re a little bit beat up, but you can’t use excuses this time of year. We need some guys to find another level for us. At this time of year, you need someone to give you a first-star performance either in net or up front or somewhere to stop the bleeding. We haven’t gotten that.”