Connect with us

San Jose Sharks

Boughner Searching for Consistency from Labanc



Credit: NBC Sports California

A tough season for Kevin Labanc is going to get tougher.

This morning, San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner announced that Labanc would be a healthy scratch tonight versus the Calgary Flames.

This will be the seventh game that Labanc has missed in this young season: The winger missed five games in November because he was in COVID protocol, and after slew-footing Tyler Bozak on Nov. 18, he was suspended for the next game against the Capitals.

“He needs to be better,” Boughner declared. “It’s a coach’s decision. It’s not an injury.”

A former 50-point scorer, Labanc has just six points in 19 appearances so far this season. The winger has mostly played on the third and fourth lines, though he’s also been a power play regular.

“I don’t blame his linemates. You got to take personal accountability for your own game. It’s time to just be better. Find your A-game,” Boughner said, when asked about Labanc’s chemistry with a Nick Bonino or a Jasper Weatherby, his most frequent centermen this year.

“We want to play a certain way. That has to be every guy in that room. It’s got to be consistent game after game after game. If I had to label one thing, it’s the consistency in the game.”

This isn’t the first time that Boughner has asked for a lot more from Labanc this season.

He said on Nov. 15: “We’re looking for his five-on-five game to step up. I briefly talked to him this morning about needing a little more urgency and a little more puck possession as an offensive player. You want to see him spending time in the offensive zone, getting three or four good looks a game. Not just waiting for special teams, to get out to the power play, to make a difference.”

Preview/Lines #15: Boughner Puts Labanc, Vlasic, Simek on Notice

The San Jose Sharks bench boss also pointed out that the coaching staff had talked to Labanc about his game during the road trip.

“We sat down with him a couple games ago and went through some shift tape and everything else,” Boughner shared. “So I think he understands where we’re coming from.”

If the 26-year-old did get it, he didn’t show enough of it to Boughner to close out the road trip. So now, the San Jose Sharks’ fourth-highest paid forward will be sitting in the press box. Labanc is signed for two more years after this season at $4.725 million dollars per.

Can Labanc turn things around so he’s not another Doug Wilson long-term contract disaster? The season is young and the playmaker’s talent is indisputable.

“It’s just up to him now,” Boughner said. “He’s got to find it.”

Welcome to your new home for San Jose Sharks breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to SJHN+ for all of our members-only content from Sheng Peng and the National Hockey Now network plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Sheng’s Travel Fund

Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.

Click here to contribute to Sheng's travel pool!

Get SJHN in your inbox!

Enter your email address to get all of our articles delivered directly to your inbox.

Hockey Shots

Extra Hour Hockey Training

Cathy’s Power Skating

Sharks Team & Cap Info

SJHN on Facebook

All the San Jose Sharks news that's fit to print

Enter your email to get the best Sharks coverage delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.