Mikkel Boedker

Getty

Sharks replace Donskoi with Boedker as series shifts back to Edmonton

4 Comments

After playing the first two games — then sitting the next two — Mikkel Boedker will draw back into the San Jose lineup tonight when the Sharks take on the Oilers in Game 5 of their first-round series.

Boedker will replace Joonas Donskoi, who’s been a lineup regular thus far. Donskoi has appeared in all four games, registering an assist while averaging 13:15 TOI per night.

Boedker, meanwhile, was averaging 15:13 TOI prior to getting parked. Head coach Peter DeBoer has used the press box as a motivational tool for the 27-year-old previously — during the regular season Boedker was benched, then healthy scratched — so that could be what’s happening here.

Based on line rushes, Boedker will be on a line with center Logan Couture and fellow Danish winger Jannik Hansen.

This is a fairly big opportunity for Boedker to salvage his first season in San Jose. It’s largely been a disappointment. Signed to a fairly lucrative four-year, $16 million deal in free agency, the expectation was that Boedker’s lighting quick skating ability and familiarity with DeBoer (the two were in tandem in OHL Kitchener) would be a boon for San Jose.

Boedker proceeded to only score 10 goals and 26 points for the Sharks, well off the career-high 51 points he scored last year.

 

Jumbo Joe is good to go: Sharks get Thornton back for Game 3

Getty

The San Jose Sharks managed to split the first two games in Edmonton, but there’s no doubt that they’re elated to have Joe Thornton back for Game 3 against the Oilers.

“Jumbo Joe” has been sidelined since April 2 with a knee/lower-body issue. He’s back tonight as the series shifts to the Shark Tank for a pivotal contest.

Interestingly, the Sharks are placing Thornton back into the lineup in place of speedy (but hot-and-cold) winger Mikkel Boedker.

So, the Sharks get bigger, more bearded and more experienced … though the speed disparity, at times, could be quite glaring when a (possibly hobbled) Thornton is out there with Connor McDavid.

Stream Sharks vs. Oilers on NBC Sports

The Oilers have good injury news of their own, too, as Oscar Klefbom is good to go.

Jannik Hansen practices on Sharks’ top line

Getty
2 Comments

Jannik Hansen is starting right at the top.

At today’s Sharks practice, the speedy winger, acquired last week in a trade with the Canucks, was skating on San Jose’s top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski.

Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, and Mikkel Boedker comprised the second line. Then came the trio of Joonas Donskoi, Tomas Hertl, and Melker Karlsson. And finally, on the fourth line, it was Marcus Sorensen, Chris Tierney, and Joel Ward.

That Hansen is starting on the top line should come as no surprise. The 30-year-old spent time in Vancouver with the Sedin twins on the Canucks’ top line. And if it’s not a fit with Thornton and Pavelski in San Jose, Hansen has the versatility to play further down the lineup.

Hansen is expected to make his San Jose debut tomorrow against the visiting Washington Capitals.

The Sharks also assigned forward Kevin Labanc to the AHL today.

Related: Hansen adds more speed to Sharks, who were already faster

Hansen adds more speed to Sharks, who were already faster

Getty
1 Comment

The San Jose Sharks couldn’t handle the Pittsburgh Penguins’ speed.

And so, after losing the Stanley Cup Final in six games, the Sharks decided they had to get faster.

First came the signing of winger Mikkel Boedker, whose “tremendous speed is his best attribute,” said GM Doug Wilson on July 1.

The Sharks also signed defenseman David Schlemko, who brought “puck-movement speed” to the third pairing, in the words of head coach Pete DeBoer. 

Then, when the season started, there was a quasi-youth movement, as players like Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier received opportunities with the big club.

And finally, last night, the Sharks acquired right winger Jannik Hansen in a trade that sent Nikolay Goldobin to Vancouver.

“Jannik is a versatile, gritty player who plays with speed and is talented on both sides of the puck,” said Wilson. “We think he is a perfect fit for the style of our team, which has earned the right for us to make this move and add to our NHL roster as we push towards the playoffs.”

Wilson probably undersold Hansen’s speed a touch. Even at 30 years old, Hansen is still very fast.

Where DeBoer puts his newest player remains to be seen. On the third line with Tomas Hertl is one possibility. That could bump Joel Ward down to the fourth line, which may be a better spot for the 36-year-old who’s struggled offensively this season.

The thing about Hansen is that he’s versatile enough to play up and down the lineup. In Vancouver, he started out as a checker. Eventually, he was skating with the Sedins on the top scoring line.

The Sharks’ next game is tomorrow at home against, of all teams, the Vancouver Canucks.

Related: The Penguins played great defense their own way

Canucks GM Benning says mumps outbreak won’t impact trade deadline plans

Getty
3 Comments

Let’s set the scene for what the Vancouver Canucks were facing Saturday:

— On Friday, it was announced the team was dealing with an outbreak of the mumps. Rookie defenseman Troy Stecher was the first confirmed case and four others — Chris Tanev, Nikita Tryamkin, Markus Granlund and Mike Chaput — were all showing symptoms.

— Currently out of a playoff spot, the Canucks were facing the Pacific Division-leading Sharks.

— The Canucks were playing their first game out of the bye week and many other teams have struggled in the first game back from their mandated week off.

— The trade deadline is looming and the Canucks are expected to be sellers next week.

Pressure is growing in Vancouver ahead of the trade deadline, especially after last year’s debacle. The Canucks had a 1.3 per cent chance of making the playoffs before Saturday’s 4-1 loss to San Jose. The playoff dream is over. It has been for a long time. But the Canucks do have veteran players — the names Alex Burrows, Jannik Hansen and Ryan Miller have been brought up — other teams in contention might be willing to trade for, which would help Vancouver add draft picks or perhaps even some quality prospects.

In an interview with TSN 1040 on Friday, GM Jim Benning admitted he’s asked players with no-trade clauses to submit a list of teams they would accept a trade to ahead of the deadline.

From the Vancouver Sun:

Winger Alex Burrows, a 12-year-Canuck who like Miller is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, will draw trade interest but can veto a move with his NTC.

Not so Miller and Hansen, who can limit Benning’s trade field but cannot fully prevent a deal.

Miller, 36, submitted a list of five teams he can be traded to, while Hansen was required to identify eight potential trade destinations.

Now, how will this recent mumps outbreak impact Benning’s plans leading up to Wednesday?

“I don’t know if it will have any effect on that or not,” Benning said in his radio interview.

“This happened to other teams a few years ago and once the players go through the five-day incubation period, they’re fine. And so they can keep playing. I don’t think it will have any effect on that.”

Despite their playoff hopes hanging by a thread and a lineup with three AHL call-ups in Alex Grenier, Joseph LaBate and Evan McEneny, the Canucks somehow kept this close until midway through the third period.

LaBate planted Melker Karlsson with a hit and was eventually challenged to a fight in the third period. Karlsson left the game but did return for the third period.

At times, they actually outplayed the visitors through two periods but couldn’t find the lead and eventually the Sharks took over in the third period. Patrick Marleau gave them the lead late in the second period and Mikkel Boedker essentially put it out of reach.

For the Canucks, there was another case of illness Saturday.

Defenseman Luca Sbisa left the game and didn’t return with what the club said was a stomach flu, although given the situation in Vancouver, it will be worth monitoring to see if that diagnosis changes.