Sharks

Doug Wilson had 'oar in the water' in Sharks' pursuit of Erik Karlsson trade

Doug Wilson had 'oar in the water' in Sharks' pursuit of Erik Karlsson trade

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson had a good reason to be in his hometown Thursday. He was meeting with his newest defenseman, Erik Karlsson.

"It's one of those deals when you're dealing with a trade at this level, you want to be on the ground, and be there in person in case anything needs to be addressed," Wilson said from Ottawa in a phone interview Thursday on The Happy Hour.

The massive deal, which sent four players, two draft picks and conditional draft picks to Ottawa in exchange for Karlsson, capped off months of discussions. Wilson said the Sharks first spoke to the Senators at last season's trade deadline, and Sportsnet's John Shannon reported Thursday that San Jose "had a deal in principle done" with Ottawa back then. Senators winger Bobby Ryan told the Ottawa Sun in May that he heard a deal was done to send himself and Karlsson to a Western Conference team, but "somebody backed out at the last second."

Karlsson told reporters Thursday that he didn't know how close he was to moving at the deadline, adding that he "was watching TV just like everybody else." But Wilson stayed in touch with the Senators, and said the teams reached a deal because Ottawa was looking to get something done quickly.

"You always want to keep your oar in the water when it comes to game-changers and difference-makers, so we just kept in contact," Wilson said. "Sometimes, the team that has the player will dictate the timeline. I think Ottawa explored [a deal] at the trade deadline and were probably looking at wanting to do the deal before the season started. So you could just sense that the urgency was picking up, and for the last several weeks, we've been in conversations."

Karlsson was emotional at his final press conference in Ottawa and told reporters there he "never wanted to leave" the Canadian capital. The two-time Norris Trophy winner kept quiet about a possible extensionbut Wilson said on The Happy Hour that he was confident the franchise and Karlsson would be a long-term match. 

"You go and research the player, you research what he's looking for, and then if you have the things he's looking for, it minimizes that risk," Wilson said. "We look at Erik much like we looked at Evander [Kane in May], as a guy who fits now and in the future age-wise, style of game ... We're in the mode of trying to win right now, and I think that's something that's attractive to him.

"You have to make it be a place the player wants to play, filling in all of the ingredients that they're looking for in their decision-making process. He's expressed that to us, that we are a place he'd like to be, and same thing [for] us back to him. We'd love him to be here long term."

The Sharks are set to have just over $25.5 million in salary cap space next summer -- assuming the cap does not increase -- with 10 players under contract. When his contract extension kicks in after this season, Los Angeles Kings blueliner Drew Doughty will be the league's highest-paid defenseman in terms of cap hit ($11 million). 

Still, Wilson sounded confident in the Sharks' ability to keep Karlsson beyond this season. 

"I don't comment on contract negotiations, but I will say that we've had extensive conversations with his agents, and we feel extremely comfortable making this deal today with where we're sitting," Wilson said. "Now that he's our property, we can spend a lot of time with him and continue those discussions."

2019 NHL All-Star Game: Which snubs most deserved trip to San Jose

landingapusatsi.jpg
AP/USATSI

2019 NHL All-Star Game: Which snubs most deserved trip to San Jose

There will be some notable absences at the 2019 NHL All-Star Game in San Jose. 

Days after scoring a hat trick against the Sharks, Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin will skip the game to rest. Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who recently returned from an injury, is also sitting out.

Both players will be suspended one game for not attending.

And then there are the players who didn’t make it at all.

Yes, we know there will always be snubs. Each of the league’s four divisions have 11 representatives (nine skaters, two goalies), and all 31 teams are required to have at least one All-Star -- at least on the initial roster. That leaves 13 spots for how many deserving candidates? 

But even with that disclaimer in mind, some absences are particularly head-scratching. Considering on-ice performance and in keeping with the spirit of the event, here are a few players we think should've been in San Jose this weekend. 

VIEW THE BIGGEST ALL-STAR SNUBS HERE

Sharks' crazy comeback over Capitals is a testament to their character

sharkssidebarap.jpg
USATSI

Sharks' crazy comeback over Capitals is a testament to their character

Suffice to say, just about anyone watching the end of the Sharks-Capitals contest Tuesday night probably assumed the game was over in the last few seconds. Heck, even members of the Sharks thought they were about to lose to the defending Stanley Cup champs before Evander Kane scored the tying goal with one second left in regulation.

“I thought the game was over,” Logan Couture admitted. “I came to the bench and I changed, and I was frustrated. Broke my stick over the bench. And then I look up and Kane’s putting the puck in the net.”

You really do have to hand it to the Sharks. They went into Tuesday’s game on the back end of yet another back-to-back with travel involved. They were coming off their third straight loss --- not to mention their third consecutive game where they’d given up six goals. Plus, they have a banged up starting lineup going up against a desperate Capitals team looking to snap a five-game losing streak of their own. 

Oh, and Alex Ovechkin registered a hat trick. Don’t forget about that part.

But the Sharks hung around. Although San Jose was down two goals partway through the third frame, they kept pushing so Kane could find the back of the net at 19:59 to send it to overtime -- where the Sharks would eventually seal the win.

“The guys knew we were in a tough one tonight,” Sharks’ coach Peter DeBoer told the media after the 7-6 overtime victory. “With the scheduling of it and the way the road trip has gone and some of the injuries we’ve got. We could’ve used it as an excuse and mailed it in at a bunch of different points tonight and we didn’t.

“I think that’s a testament to our character.”

That character helped to catapult the Sharks offense in the third frame after Ovechkin tallied his third goal to give Washington a 6-4 advantage at 5:52 in the period. San Jose kept grinding, with Tomas Hertl capitalizing on the power play halfway through frame and Kane beating Braden Holtby at the final buzzer. The push culminated in overtime when Martin Jones stood his ground in three-on-three play so Couture, Hertl, and Timo Meier could carry the puck the other way. Hertl scored the game-winner, notching his third career hat trick -- which also made him the first player in team history to register a hat trick that included a game-winning goal in overtime.

To top it off, the Sharks didn’t just hand the Capitals their sixth straight loss. It was also the first time Washington lost a game in which Ovechkin scored a hat trick

Kane gave a nod to the team’s resilience while being down. “We never stopped thinking we could get back,” he said. “As long as we kept getting that next goal and [Washington] didn’t make it a three-goal lead. Big win going into the break.”

Speaking of that break, the majority of the Sharks get a 10-day breather with their bye week occurring immediately after All-Star weekend. This team has had a crazy schedule and is facing adversity with the injuries. Getting that win over Washington no doubt allows the team to start that break in a positive frame of mind.

“It’s been a grind,” DeBoer acknowledged. “It’s nice to go into the break with a big emotional win like that. Makes the time a little more enjoyable.”