San Jose Sharks: Dan Boyle Needs To Get Back on Track

Eric HeContributor IIDecember 4, 2011

UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 29:  Dan Boyle #22 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 29, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. The Sharks defeated the Islanders 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Dan Boyle has hit a bit of a rough patch as of late, and that has not been hard to notice. He has just one goal and nine assists in 22 games this season, and has made several bonehead plays on offense and defense. Eight giveaways in his past nine games plus several unnecessary penalties has officially put Boyle in a slump. 

One such example of Boyle's struggles is in Saturday's loss to the Florida Panthers, when Boyle, on the power play, lost the puck to Jack Skille of the Panthers. He then allowed Skille to out-muscle him to the front of the net and score a shorthanded goal. (See the goal here.) That goal put Florida up 4-2, and they never looked back, beating the Sharks 5-3. 

Boyle, the oldest player on the Sharks at 35, attributes part of his troubles to the changes in the NHL game.

In an interview with David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News, Boyle stated, "The game's changed. Everybody's playing the same way -- the neutral zone is pretty much eliminated, which is where I get a lot of my offense. Everybody just fires long bombs, chipping it in. It's just a little bit more frustrating for me."

"The opportunities aren't there like they used to be," he went on to say. "Just working on it, just trying to be better."

That interview was conducted on November 27. Obviously, with his poor showing in Saturday's loss to the Panthers, Boyle has yet to find his groove on the ice.