SAN JOSE -- Bob Boughner has had it up to here. Plain and simple.
The Sharks' interim coach has already commented during his young tenure behind San Jose's bench that some players aren't buying into the team's systems or showing up. But after yet another third-period meltdown and yet another loss in a 3-2 overtime defeat to the rival Los Angeles Kings on Friday night, Boughner made no excuses for skaters he thinks aren't playing up to par.
"Tonight, in a nutshell, real simple, some guys have got to look in the mirror and put it on themselves," Boughner said after the Sharks' ninth loss in 10 games. "You can't dress 12 forwards and have eight or nine show up. That was the problem tonight."
Granted, neither the Sharks nor the Kings looked particularly dominant in the first game after the long holiday break. Nevertheless, the Sharks took a 2-0 lead in the second period and set themselves up for their second win in December.
Then, Kings forward Martin Frk cut the Sharks' lead in half just 1:30 into the third frame. Then, he tied the game up completely with 1:24 left in regulation on LA's way to an overtime win.
What's worse, Boughner had shortened San Jose's bench after LA got onto the board in the third period. Wingers Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc each skated just three shifts in the third period, and Meier didn't touch the ice in overtime.
The fact that Boughner had to bench players at all -- in the first game back from a long break, no less -- was clearly a point of contention when he spoke about it after the game.
"We had to shorten our bench and we had a couple of guys that were not sticking with the structure, not playing within the team system," he said point-blank. "They know who they are and it's a wake-up call for a couple of guys in that room right now."
Boughner has said previously that he wants the Sharks' veteran players to lead the way. On a night when 40-year-old Joe Thornton scored a goal and 40-year-old Patrick Marleau tallied two assists, Boughner wanted the younger set who had to sit to take note.
"Our two oldest guys were our best players on the ice tonight," Boughner complimented. "That's nice to see from those guys. But some guys from underneath should be looking to those guys and doing what they're supposed to do."
Boughner did extend some of that complimentary attitude to goaltender Aaron Dell. Dell stopped 34 of 37 shots that came his way while the team in front of him had trouble racking up shots on the other end of the ice.
Then again, Boughner still wants to see a full effort from the forward group playing in front of the netminder.
"We're not a deep enough team, we're not a skilled enough team, to have three or four guys missing up front," Boughner reiterated. "That's the bottom line."
The Sharks have a quick turnaround, with the Philadelphia Flyers visiting Saturday night. There isn't a lot of time to mull over Friday's loss to the Kings, but they had better learn from their mistakes -- and fast.
"For me, it just starts with that mentality of not having everybody on board," Boughner concluded. "And it's unacceptable."