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Power Surge

by Tony Khing / San Jose Sharks
Webster’s defines energy as a “dynamic quality” or as “the capacity of acting or being active.”


San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle (22) is chased by Detroit Red Wings left wing Justin Abdelkader during the third period in Game 5 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal playoff series in San Jose, Calif., Sunday, May 8, 2011. Detroit won 4-3. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Whatever the definition, Dan Boyle said he didn’t have it during San Jose’s Western Conference Quarterfinal series vs. Los Angeles. “I didn’t have my normal energy in my legs,” he said. In those six games, he had three assists and 19 shots.

But in the semifinal series against Detroit, Boyle had two goals, six assists and 27 shots in seven games. This power surge has him leading the scoring amongst defensemen during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs with 11 points – two ahead of former Sharks and now Vancouver blueliner Christian Ehrhoff.

“With the exception of Game 6, I had my legs pretty much the whole series,” Boyle said. “I was able to play my game and play energized. I don’t know why the energy comes and goes. It just does.

“When you’re tired, you start making mental mistakes,” Boyle added. “That’s what happened in the first round. I’m pretty hard on myself, but sometimes it’s about breaks too. The puck can bounce off your stick and that’s the way it is. You have to accept that. Sometimes I don’t accept that. But in this round, I think things went our way a little more.”

Those who watched the Detroit series could tell that Boyle was back to normal. In Game 7, his quick pass out of the defensive zone to Devin Setoguchi led to Patrick Marleau’s third period goal.

But one of the most telling ways was seeing how Boyle and the Red Wings designated opposing goaltender screen, Tomas Holmstrom, resembled swordsmen battling in Medieval times throughout the series. A memorable sight in Game 7 was seeing Boyle send Holmstrom down to the ice as the Wings were attacking in the San Jose zone.

Dan Boyle and Tomas Holmstrom battling.
“He parks himself in front of the goalie and does his job real well,” Boyle said. “We had a few run-ins throughout the series. That was a chance for me to finish a hit and create momentum. It was nice to be on the giving and not the receiving end of that.”

As the Western Conference Final round begins Sunday in Vancouver, Boyle knows he has to maintain his energy from now until (he hopes) through mid-June.

“These off-days are very important,” Boyle said. “You have to be able to take what you need. The coaching staff has been pretty good. If guys need to skate, they go out and skate. If they don’t, they stay off. You just need to listen to your body. At this point, it’s all about games. We’re not going to go out and practice and learn something new or work on something. It’s pretty much being ready for games.”

And being ready for arguably the biggest series of the 2010-11 season starting tomorrow in Vancouver.

SATURDAY AT THE RINK
The Sharks held what Coach Todd McLellan called a “regular season” practice at Sharks Ice this morning before the team left for Vancouver.

“We didn’t skate yesterday,” McLellan said, “So we needed to put in a good practice today. It wasn’t taxing. It wasn’t long. We needed to get back to an intensity level that’s going to be required to play tomorrow and that started today.”

Human nature dictates that there could be a possible letdown following a big win in an intense series. McLellan was well aware of this possibility in planning today’s session. “We tried to squash that a little bit today so we can be ready tomorrow,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll know until the puck drops, but I’m counting on it not happening.”

Besides talking about practice and potential matchups vs. Vancouver, part of the post-practice chatter centered around Rangers forward and tough guy Derek Boogaard, who passed away on Friday at the age of 28.

There’s a Sharks connection to Boogaard. Assistant Coach Matt Shaw was Boogaard’s assistant coach with the Minnesota Wild from 2007-09. McLellan was his head coach with Minnesota’s American Hockey League affiliate in Houston from 2003-05.

“It leaves a queasy feeling in your stomach,” McLellan said. “Derek was a special one. No one ever thought this guy was going to play. Doug Risebrough (Minnesota’s general manager at the time) was the reason why Derek Boogaard developed and played. He believed in him and made sure we began to believe in him. He wouldn’t let that die for anybody.

“It just goes to show that everybody’s important and can develop if someone believes in them,” McLellan added. “I was really, really proud to see him make the National Hockey League. He was a loveable guy that everybody liked.”

THERE’S A BRAND NEW BABY IN THE WHITE HOUSE
Detroit Red Wings right wing Patrick Eaves (17) and San Jose Sharks defenseman Ian White (9) go for puck during the second period of Game 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal playoff series Thursday, May 12, 2011, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Ian White’s dream season continues. First, he gets traded three times – with San Jose being the last stop. Then, he plays in his first Stanley Cup Playoffs. And now, most importantly, he and his wife became parents of their second child, daughter Gracelyn, who was born yesterday at 7:16 a.m.

The funny part of the birth was that White’s wife had contractions before Thursday’s Game 7 of the semifinals vs. Detroit. White stayed home while his wife went to the hospital around 1 p.m. – five hours before game time. “I can’t change my routine a lot,” White said about having his wife go to the hospital without him.

“They (doctors) were nice enough to let her wait through the game and then I went to the hospital afterwards,” White added.

The old saying is, “Timing is everything.” And Gracelyn’s birth was occurring when White was about ready to play the biggest game of his professional career.

“It was a little bit difficult at times,” White said about focusing on the game while everything else was happening. “Once you’re out on the ice, it’s easy to focus. Obviously, we’re all human and your mind drifts from time to time. It was tough, at times, to stay on course.”

For the record, Gracelyn weighed six pounds and 11 ounces and everyone is doing fine.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE TEAL
While all Western Conference Final games will be aired on either Versus or NBC, Sharks fans can get enhanced coverage of their team through Comcast SportsNet California and Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Following all of the games, except for Game 4 on May 22, CSN California will air “Sharks Playoff Central.” The show will air shortly after each game (check your local listings for the exact time).

CSN Bay Area will have Sharks coverage on their “Chronicle Live” and “SportsNet Central” programs. “Chronicle Live” airs at 5 p.m. and “SportsNet Central” can be seen at 10:30 p.m.

GAME ON!
Game 1 of the Western Conference Final vs. Vancouver is at 5 p.m. on May 15. Watch the game on Versus and listen on 98.5/102.1 FM K-FOX and www.sjsharks.com

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