Sharks

Sharks have come long way since first meeting with Jets four weeks ago

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AP

Sharks have come long way since first meeting with Jets four weeks ago

SAN JOSE - The last time the Sharks geared up to face the Winnipeg Jets, head coach Peter DeBoer had some choice words for his team, who were 4-8-1 through the first 13 games of the season at the time.

 "I just think we've been a soft team through 10 to 12 games and that doesn't win you many games in this league," DeBoer said on the morning of Nov. 1. "I think as a group we're a little pissed off where we're at. We're a little embarrassed."

Since losing to Winnipeg that night 3-2, San Jose has won nine out of 11 games and has climbed out of the Pacific Division cellar. The Sharks now are back where they expected to be at the 25-game mark.

Now, they need to keep it going against a tough Western Conference rival.

DeBoer contributed a big part of the Sharks' success since their last meeting with the Jets to finally playing like a team.

"It was about getting everybody pulling in the same direction," he told reporters Wednesday morning ahead of San Jose's rematch with Winnipeg. "A lot of times when you go through those things, your natural reaction, especially for great players, is that they're going to try to fix it themselves. And that never works."

The month of November has, in fact, showcased a Sharks team that clearly is working better as a unit. Even with big players being sidelined with injuries throughout the month, San Jose has found different ways to churn out victories.

"We started to get back to playing as a group and as a team," DeBoer said. "Nothing we haven't done here in the last four years. We have a track record with this group that we know works. They just have to buy in and do it."

Wednesday's game gives the Sharks a chance at redemption after the disappointing loss they suffered to the Jets on Nov. 1.

In that game, San Jose dominated puck possession and clocked a whopping 53 shots on goal. Tomas Hertl tied the score at two less than a minute into the third frame and the Sharks kept the pressure in Winnipeg's zone, but Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck wouldn't budge. The next goal, which also was the game-winner, ended up in the back of San Jose's net instead.

The Jets now return to the South Bay playing solid hockey themselves, having gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 contests. 

"They're playing well," DeBoer said. "We saw what Helllebuyck did the last time he was in here. He absolutely stood on his head and we have to be ready for that."

This game also gives the Sharks the chance to clean up their mistakes from their Monday night contest against the Kings. San Jose saw a 3-0 lead erased by the rival LA squad and, although San Jose went on to win 4-3 in overtime, the Sharks were not happy with how they came undone in the third period and let the opposition take over. 

[RELATED: Sharks continue to win despite too many trips to sin bin]

If the Sharks are going to keep winning games, especially Wednesday night against the Jets, they have to remedy those mistakes.

"We want to keep this thing rolling, we're feeling good about it," DeBoer said. "We don't like how we played in the third against LA so we need to make sure we learn from that. It's another chance to close out a team above of us in the Western Conference."

Sharks' Tomas Hertl explains funny, simple reason why he wears No. 48

Sharks' Tomas Hertl explains funny, simple reason why he wears No. 48

Tomas Hertl has a huge year ahead of him. As he returns from ACL and MCL surgery, he and his wife Aneta are expecting the birth of their first child in November.

Sharks fans everywhere can't wait for No. 48 to get back on the ice. But how did he pick that number? It’s quite simple.

“They give it to me,” he wrote in a recent NHLPA questionnaire.

Enough said.

But before Hertl was the Sharks’ All-Star center, he had other aspirations.

Believe it or not, he wrote in the questionnaire that he wanted to be an architect if he wasn’t going to be a hockey player. But he was born to play hockey.

His dad, Jaroslav, during the winter in his native in Prague, would create nets (measuring the perfect size) on the frozen ponds near where he lived. Hertl’s dad would even kick off skaters if they were recreationally using the area where he wanted to play hockey.

[RELATED: Sharks avoid nightmare scenario in 2020 NHL Draft lottery]

As much as Hertl could have thrived as an architect, his career as a hockey star was destined.

NHL, NHLPA agree to four-year CBA extension through 2025-26 season

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USATSI

NHL, NHLPA agree to four-year CBA extension through 2025-26 season

While MLB and the MLB Players Association spent the last few months bickering, the NHL and its Players Association used the last few weeks to hammer out a new CBA.

On Monday, the two sides announced that they had agreed to a memorandum of understanding for a new four-year extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

If ratified this week, the CBA would run through the 2025-26 NHL season, and expire Sept. 15, 2026.

The NHL and NHLPA also were able to iron out details for the season restart, but because the Sharks aren't heading to one of the two hub cities, that part doesn't really affect them.

TSN's Frank Seravalli reported Sunday that part of the new CBA stipulated that the 2020-21 salary cap would be frozen at $81.5 million, and wouldn't rise until the league reached $4.8 billion in hockey-related revenue.

The Sharks have a lot of free-agent decisions to make this offseason, so a salary-cap freeze doesn't help them.

According to CapFriendly.com, the Sharks will enter the offseason with $14,881,667 in cap space. But with Joe Thornton, Melker Karlsson, Stefan Noesen, Aaron Dell and three other players hitting unrestricted free agency, San Jose might not be able to bring all of them back.

Additionally, Kevin Labanc headlines the Sharks' four restricted free agents. General manager Doug Wilson is going to have a tough time re-signing everyone.

[RELATED: Could Burns be left unprotected for expansion draft?]

If you're keeping track, that's 11 unrestricted or restricted free agents with just under $15 million in cap space to sign them. A few players probably aren't returning next season.

While the Sharks have their work cut out for them this offseason, the league and the Players Association took care of business well ahead of time.