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Exit Interview: What Was Meier Doing Differently in 2018-19?

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There might be no San Jose Sharks forward who’s more of an X-factor for the team’s success next year than Timo Meier. You feel pretty comfortable guessing what Evander Kane, Tomas Hertl, and Logan Couture will bring. But Meier – does he come back to his 30-goal form from years ago or struggle like he has the last two seasons – could be the difference between the playoffs and the lottery.

Meier talked about not thinking about scoring in his exit interview on Wednesday and another recent availability. Then San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner discussed Meier’s conditioning and his vision for the 24-year-old winger.

Timo Meier, on the challenge of being more relied upon to score in the last two seasons, as opposed to his breakout 2018-19 campaign on a deeper San Jose Sharks squad:

That year, we obviously had a really good team and when the team is playing well and every individual is contributing, it’s obviously different in the stats. But for myself, you want to be the best player you can be for your team and contribute in whatever way you can. Sometimes, you’re not scoring as many goals as you’d like, individually, but the team’s always first. I reflect on the team success and that’s what matters. It’s not the individual stats, the more you can put that aside, the better you’ll play.

Meier, on what he was doing differently in 2018-19:

As a goalscorer, sometimes when things are not going your way, it’s tough. And sometimes, when you’re scoring, you obviously feel good. Those are the moments when you don’t think about scoring. That’s when when they go in.

When you get too caught up with that, I think [that’s] one big reason as a team, we haven’t been able to produce as much as we’d like.

That’s one thing, I gotta find that confidence that comes from working on your game and getting back to that.

Meier, on Boughner’s performance this season:

It’s mostly a new staff. We’ve showed that we can play some good hockey and once we played the system the right way, we started having success. That’s definitely one of the signs.

Bob Boughner, on the one thing that he wants to see from Timo Meier from the jump next year, be it conditioning or engagement:

I never worry about his conditioning. [He] always comes in very good shape, takes care of himself. So that’s not an issue.

The last two seasons, he had a slow start. Last season, a strong finish, after the coaching change in the second half. His game took off a little more. Same thing with this season, I think he’s gotten better as the season’s gone on.

That’s important, figuring out a way [to start faster] — and it’s not because of his conditioning. It’s just about finding his game earlier than he has the last couple years. That’s gonna make a huge difference. One for his confidence, two for our team.

He is a guy that’s 24 years old. He’s scored 30 goals in this league. He has the ability to score 30 again. There’s no doubt about that.

But figuring out his game, that’s what we talked about a lot.

Deciding what kind of NHL’er he’s going to be and consistency. For me, he’s got to be a power forward, he’s got to be on the body, when he doesn’t have the puck, he’s got to be in the piles, when he has a puck, he’s got to hold onto it, not sling it away, take more pucks to the net, protect more pucks, and just be harder to play against. I think that for me is what a power forward is. And he’s got the skill to go along with that.

Boughner, on if Meier agrees with this vision of his game:

Yeah, I think he agrees with that. I think he agrees that he needs to get to that place a lot sooner than he has in the last couple seasons.

There’s a million reasons and excuses that you can use, but at the end of the day, this is him coming back, being one of our better players and being one of our core guys and getting paid appropriately. Now he needs to take ownership of that.

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david barnard

sounds like Boogie is having those convos w/the players (Meier in this case) in order to help them self-actualize. i wish he sounded more convinced that Timo is 110% on board w/how he sees success for him. reading between the lines some admittedly here of course. it is reassuring that Bob sees himself as a “teacher” and is trying to get these guys to trust him and connect with him. Bob’s an experienced hockey guy at all levels (besides management) of the sport, my only concern would be how high does his personal talent as a coach go and will… Read more »

timorous me

I’ve always been a big supporter of Timo and his ability to influence games even when the goals weren’t coming earlier in his career, but I have started to develop some real concerns, especially with the new contract in place. I think it’s accurate to look at Boughner as a teacher, and I like how it seems he’s very open and considerate in his approaches to getting the most out of his players. But speaking as someone who is also a teacher–of primarily college freshmen (old enough that they should have their shit together to some extent)–I do look at… Read more »

The Masala Slapper

I agree, there’s a slacker side to Timo. The question is, what motivates him? Is it a Quenneville style fear factor? A Cooper style collegiality? Timo is in the new mold of player, Gen Z. What does he need to truly unlock his potential? I just worry the Sharks are gonna muck it up.

david barnard

the motivation has to come from within. Timo has to make that choice for himself. the org has put people around him to help him self-actualize. some guys are fine with being just good enough to collect that NHL paycheck.

The Masala Slapper

Right – if he can’t find that internal motivation, can it be provided from the outside? Young men sometimes don’t realize their opportunities, they’re too immature and need guidance.

david barnard

perhaps he just felt like he’d “arrived” and now he just needs to learn that he has to constantly challenge himself to be better. i keep going back to Bill Walsh, but Walsh also spoke about this, and that’s real champions/winners don’t ever feel like they’re done once they achieve. they have to keep going further. i think you see this in players like Tom Brady. life long winners.

Alaskan_ice

This guess probably hits more than it misses. Fame and responsibility are difficult paths to travel. Add more money than you’ve ever known and it becomes pressure-filled.
Let’s hope he can become “the Man.”

david barnard

i hadn’t considered that angle because he always appears so “chill”. is that why he cheats in the DZ at times? i’d rather see him deal with it by being relentless in all zones.

[…] There might be no San Jose Sharks forward who’s more of an X-factor for the team’s success next year than Timo Meier. You feel pretty comfortable guessing what Evander Kane, Tomas Hertl, and Logan Couture will bring. But Meier – does he come back to his 30-goal form from years ago or struggle like he has the last two seasons – could be the difference between the playoffs and the lottery. (San Jose Hockey Now) […]

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