Sharks

Sharks searching for answers after 'lifeless' performance against Jets

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AP

Sharks searching for answers after 'lifeless' performance against Jets

SAN JOSE -- It's probably safe to say that Wednesday's game against the Jets wasn't representative of how the Sharks have been playing as of late. That explains why it felt like a letdown.

Despite jumping out to a 1-0 lead halfway through the first period, San Jose had trouble matching Winnipeg's energy for the bulk of the game. Even with a couple of confident spurts, the Sharks just didn't have the same jump that they've had throughout their successful November stretch.

Nobody on Team Teal is going to make excuses, even after a 5-1 loss. But with a packed schedule and the team still making up for the fact that it's missing Tomas Hertl up front, one wonders if the cumulative effect is taking its toll.

"We've got a lot of hockey left to play here over the next two to three weeks so I really hope it's not fatigue," head coach Peter DeBoer said of San Jose's performance. "But if it is, we've got to rebound because you get what you earn in this league usually, and we didn't do enough to win a game tonight."

"We just weren't good enough," Logan Couture said of Wednesday's effort. "I think the power play sucked the life out of us and we didn't have any emotion in the game. We weren't hard enough in the first period, started off with the lead but I didn't think we had our best tonight."

The power play certainly was an issue for San Jose as it went 0-for-5 with the man advantage against the Jets. Since the Sharks have been playing so well at even strength as of late, the lack of power-play scoring hasn't seemed like as big of an issue. But on Wednesday, none of the Sharks weapons -- at five-on-five or on special teams -- were working properly.

"I think 'lifeless' was the best word across the board," DeBoer summarized. "Five-on-five, power play, penalty kill."

It didn't help matters that Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck put on another amazing performance for the second time in San Jose this season. It wasn't quite the 51-save effort he posted on Nov. 1, but he still held the Sharks to a single goal and had more than enough offense in front of him for support.

"Hellebuyck always plays well in here," DeBoer said. "If we get a goal early or maybe not playing from behind all night -- but he didn't give us the opportunity to get engaged in the game that way and we didn't have a response."

With Wednesday's game kicking off a stretch of three games in four nights, the Sharks don't have time to dwell on their second loss to the Jets or the fact that they had trouble creating energy at any part of the game. All that matters now is getting back to what has made them successful throughout the month of November: finding different ways to win games.

"I don't have an answer to why we didn't have as much energy as we needed to tonight, and even on the nights you don't, these are the nights when you're winning that your goalie steals you a game, your power play wins you a game," DeBoer said. "We didn't have anything going tonight."

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.