Last Sunday, in a tight game against the Minnesota Wild, Timo Meier took two third period penalties in the San Jose Sharks’ 5-4 OT loss.
But head coach Bob Boughner, while acknowledging that he wasn’t crazy about Meier’s last penalty, an interference on Ryan Hartman, was strident in his defense of his star that night: “Timo has had a hell of a year for us. He’s been our go-to guy offensively all year. I’ll take him being engaged any day.”
— TEAL TOWN USA – A San Jose Sharks Podcast (@TEALTOWNUSA) April 18, 2022
The Sharks’ lone All-Star representative this season, Timo Meier leads the team in goals (33) and points (73).
But he’s also leading San Jose in minor penalties, which is especially noteworthy because of how many he’s taken lately.
Through the end of January and 40 appearances, Meier had just three minor penalties. Since Feb. 1 and in 32 games, Meier leads the Sharks with 22 minor penalties.
Since Feb. 1, Meier is second in the league in minor penalties taken, trailing only, guess who, ex-teammate Evander Kane, who has 23 in 37 games.
So what’s responsible for this trend?
“I really don’t have a reason for it. That stuff comes and goes a little bit,” Boughner said yesterday. And there might be something to that: Meier got ticketed with 24 minor penalties in 2018-19, and has 25 overall this year. So maybe there is some law of averages going on from Meier’s first half to his second half of this season.
For his part, Meier noted, “There’s nothing in my game that I’ve changed.” He added: “Sometimes, I’m luckier. [Sometimes], stupid mistakes.”
Boughner offered, searching for a reason: “He’s playing a lot. He’s in a lot of situations [now] where maybe we [were] rolling our lines a little more in the beginning of the year, we had a deeper line-up.”
Boughner then went back to his foundation: “I don’t want to bash on Timo because he’s had a hell of a season for us. Everybody’s gonna have ups and downs in their season. But for the most part, he’s been one of our most consistent players.”
And hey, that’s fair. Meier has had an incredible season. It’s also worth noting that Meier has drawn 17 minor penalties — and the winger leads the Sharks with 12 goals and 26 points in this period of time — so it’s not a huge net negative.
But it’s also hard to ignore the disparity: Essentially, from the first half of the season to the second half, Timo Meier has gone from Lady Byng candidate to, well, Evander Kane.
Boughner conceded: “There’s such a thing as good penalties and there’s such a thing as penalties for being physical, which I’ll live with. But yeah, we gotta get the stick infractions, the hooking, the holding, the chirping, all of those out of our game.”
Since Feb. 1, 10 of Meier’s 22 minor penalties have been stick infraction, holding, or misconduct calls.
“I just try to play physical,” Meier said. “Calls are going to be made on you, like it or not.”
Here’s the point.
“Obviously, we want him on the ice,” Boughner said. “We don’t want him in the box.”
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