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Boughner Demotes Dahlen: “Hopefully, he gets that message.”

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Credit: San Jose Sharks

In two games since the San Jose Sharks returned from their extended break, Jonathan Dahlén has struggled to return to form.

“I need to see jump back,” remarked head coach Bob Boughner on Saturday morning.

At Saturday morning’s practice, Matt Nieto skated alongside Logan Couture and Rudolfs Balcers, while Dahlén was moved down the lineup, skating with the fourth line.

“Any time a coach drops you from the top line to the fourth line, it’s a message, so hopefully, he gets that message,” commented Boughner about the move.

“I guess the message is I have to be better,” Dahlén recognized.

“He’s never going to be one of the fastest guys out there,” Boughner noted about Dahlén, going on to mention the switch to put Nieto in Dahlén’s spot gives San Jose Sharks captain Couture a bit more speed to work with. It was a move that worked well Thursday night, resulting in a Couture goal.

Specific areas where Boughner wants to see improvement are in Dahlén’s intensity on puck battles, energy on the forecheck, and a quicker start to his game, specifically referencing Thursday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

“He’s been part of our offense here, and he’s a secondary scoring guy kind of thing, but I thought he started his game slow and lost some puck battles early. Playing on that big line, you can’t do that.”

Boughner is confident that Dahlén is aware of what he needs to work on: “He’s honest with himself and knows his game.”

Dahlén himself seems to agree: “I’ve played okay this year, but I haven’t played that good.”

Should he be in the lineup on Sunday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights — it looks like he will be, per Boughner — Dahlén will have the chance to prove he has taken Boughner’s message to heart.

“It’s obviously the best league in the world and there are going to be ups and downs in the season,” the rookie noted.

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Trade talks surrounding the Vancouver Canucks and Brock Boeser are heating up as the trade deadline approaches:

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