The San Jose Sharks have spent most of their existence as a franchise working the “we’re the hockey players you’d want to move next door to” angle. They’ve spent most of this season not being able to score enough goals, especially 5x5, to be considered anything other than a playoff team with a short stay.
So Doug Wilson, who was shepherding his salary cap room for a summertime run at the New York Islanders’ John Tavares, decided to throw the dice across the room by acquiring high-powered/historically-high-maintenance left wing rental Evander Kane from the flatlined Buffalo Sabres.
The cost was high by Sharks standards – a conditional first-round draft pick in 2019, a conditional fourth-rounder in 2020 and prospect/14th forward Danny O’Regan – and Kane's history both in and outside the team has made him untouchable to many teams -- but the deal addresses an immediate need in a conference where the best teams are in other division and the best team in their own division is the ultra-precocious-but-still-expansion-y Las Vegas Golden Knights.
In other words, the Sharks have decided to leave the box of their typical thinking and take a swing for the downs. Allegedly papalytic while waiting for the return of Joe Thornton, they have gone outside their safe cocoon to make a weird end run at the Cup that has evaded them their entire existence.
Kane is a sniper and a volume goal-scorer who will have to hit the ice at a dead sprint to help San Jose, as his six-year $31.5 million contract expires this summer. Thus, there is no guarantee for either them or him when this season ends – whether it be in the worst-case scenario April 7 or in the next-best case June 15.
On the other hand, this has been a team near the bottom in scoring most of the season, with only a better-than-normal power play to save them from being fully adrift. They have not deteriorated in that statistic since Thornton’s injury but neither have they improved, so they will enter the playoffs (if they make it, that is – they are only three points clear of ninth with only 19 games to play) having to rely on a tested defense and a well-worked goalie in Martin Jones.
In short, Kane is either going to make an immediate and lasting difference or he will be a high-priced mistake by a team that sees an open window but is running out of time to get through it.
NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California are about to get a whole new look.
The home of Authentic Bay Area Sports will unveil its new state-of-the-art studio Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with "Sharks Pregame Live."
The sleek 2,270 square-foot studio boasts an interactive demo area and multiple anchor and reporter positions designed for movement and flexibility.
“Our new studios will provide our anchors, analysts and insiders the ability to provide the region’s most comprehensive, informative and entertaining sports coverage across multiple platforms,” NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California Senior Vice President and General Manager Matt Murphy said in a statement. "We’ve created a world-class facility that is designed for innovation and the creation of compelling content for local sports fans.”
Every part of the studio can be used as a broadcast location, thanks to the litany of large displays integrated into its architecture, and a sleek LED display running the length of the studio forms the backdrop for the main anchor area. Located at the network's headquarters at 360 3rd Street in San Francisco, the studio includes 120 LED tiles in all: 75 are in the walls, and 45 are on the demo area's floor.
The studio, which was designed as part of a partnership between NBC Sports and the design group at Jack Morton Worldwide, primarily will serve as the main set for Warriors, Giants and 49ers pregame and postgame shows, as well as news updates, press conferences, breaking news and magazine shows.
A secondary studio will debut with "Sharks Pregame Live" on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m., and it primarily will host NBC Sports California's pre- and postgame shows, news updates, press conferences and breaking news.
A pair of hometown heroes headline UFC Fight Night Sacramento on Saturday at Golden 1 Center.
Urijah Faber (34-10-0) will fight for the first time since Dec. 17, 2016, coming out of retirement to fight Ricky Simon (15-1-0) about 15 miles from Faber's collegiate alma mater of University of California, Davis. Faber isn't lacking motivation coming out of retirement, and can give the crowd in Sacramento something to cheer about.
So, too, can Folsom native Aspen Ladd (8-0-0). She is undefeated in her pro career, but will face a more difficult opponent in Germaine de Randaime than at any point so far in her career.
Here's the full card, which gets underway at 5 p.m. PT:
Undercard: Marvin Vettori (12-4-1) vs. Cezar Ferreira (13-7-0) [men's middleweight]
Undercard: Karl Roberson (7-2-0) vs. Wellington Turman (15-2-0) [men's middleweight]
Undercard: Josh Emmett (14-2-0) vs. Mirsad Bektić (13-1-0) [men's featherweight]
Co-main: Urijah Faber (34-10-0) vs. Ricky Simon (15-1-0) [men's bantamweight]
Main event: Germaine de Randamie (8-3-0) vs. Aspen Ladd (8-0-0) [women's bantamweight]
Here are the preliminary bouts, which begin at 2 p.m. PT:
Mike Rodriguez (9-3-0) vs. John Allan (13-5-0) [men's light heavyweight]
Andre Fili (19-6-0) vs. Sheymon Moraes (11-3-0) [men's featherweight]
Julianna Peña (8-3-0) vs. Nicco Montaño (4-2-0) [women's bantamweight]
Darren Elkins (24-7-0) vs. Ryan Hall (7-1-0) [men's featherweight]
Pingyuan Liu (13-5-0) vs. Jonathan Martinez (10-2-0) [men's bantamweight]
Lívia Renata Souza (13-1-0) vs. Brianna van Buren (8-2-0) [women's strawweight]
Benito Lopez (9-1-0) vs. Vince Morales (9-3-0) [men's bantamweight]
[RELATED: Predictions for UFC Fight Night Sacramento]
Here's how you can watch UFC Fight Night Sacramento on TV and online.
Date: Saturday, July 13 at 2 p.m. PT (prelims) and 5 p.m. PT (main event)
TV: ESPN (prelims)
Live Stream: ESPN+ (main event)