FanDuel to issue refunds after disputed ending to Sharks-Blues Game 3


FanDuel to issue refunds after disputed ending to Sharks-Blues Game 3

Let's be honest. The St. Louis Blues got screwed.

There's no denying that Timo Meier should have been ruled for a hand pass as soon as Gustav Nyquist touched the puck before dishing it off to Erik Karlsson for the Sharks' game-winning goal in overtime of Game 3 on Wednesday.

There's also no denying that the officials made the correct ruling after missing the call. That being, the rules stipulate a potential hand pass is not a reviewable play, and thus, game over.

Sharks win, and lead the Western Conference final two-games-to-one.

Naturally, the Blues were pissed, as evidenced by several players voicing and showcasing their displeasure with the officials as they made their way off the ice. They remained critical of the missed call in the aftermath of the loss, even going so far as to pound on the officials' locker room door.

It's frustrating for the Blues because the game was ended when it shouldn't have been. On the other hand, it's frustrating for the Sharks to hear that they "got lucky," or that this is yet another case of the officials gifting San Jose a crucial victory.

Yes, the Blues got screwed by the missed call. But, no, you can't say that the Sharks wouldn't have won that game anyway. If St. Louis hadn't allowed the tying goal in the final minute of regulation, after a series of poorly-conceived icings, the officials wouldn't have had an opportunity to miss the call that ended the game prematurely.

[RELATED: Jones' third-period effort helped set Sharks up for OT win]

Kind of like how Vegas got a raw deal with the major penalty, but can only look inward for allowing four -- count 'em FOUR -- goals in a four-minute span in Game 7 after blowing a 3-1 series lead.

Still, many believe the Blues deserved a fairer shot, and some are taking measures to address that.

Give FanDuel credit for the play on words, and ignore the grammatical error. It was, after all, a rather distracting occurrence. But refunding all St. Louis money line bets? That sure seems like selective enforcement, and the beginnings of a very slippery slope.

For instance, FanDuel didn't offer a refund after the famous missed pass interference penalty during the 2019 NFC Championship game. Nor did they issue one for the aforementioned major penalty in Game 7 between the Sharks and Golden Knights, nor any of the other seemingly endless string of controversial calls throughout these NHL playoffs.

The point being -- where do you draw the line for a refund? What distinguishes one controversial ending from another for that purpose? Why refund Blues' bettors, but not those of the Saints'?

I get it. People are rightfully upset. It may seem like good business to appease those who suffered a financial loss due to an official's error, but is that not an inherent aspect of, you know, gambling?

The Blues don't get another shot at Game 3. People who bet on it shouldn't either.

How Sharks can benefit from Erik Karlsson injury at NHL trade deadline

How Sharks can benefit from Erik Karlsson injury at NHL trade deadline

The Sharks undoubtedly would prefer if both players were healthy, but San Jose can take advantage of Tomas Hertl and Erik Karlsson's season-ending injuries. 

Hertl already is on long-term injured reserve after tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee last month, and Karlsson should soon join him after breaking his thumb. That puts the Sharks in a unique position heading into the trade deadline, as the fine folks at Cap Friendly observed Saturday. 

The Sharks were 11 points back of the Western Conference's final wild-card spot as of this writing, with four teams between them and the Arizona Coyotes. San Jose also doesn't own a 2020 first-round pick as a condition of the Erik Karlsson trade, and its prospect pool is considered to be one of the weakest in the NHL. It would make a lot of sense, then, for the Sharks to take on -- or retain -- salary in exchange for prospects and/or picks. 

There are a host of playoff contenders lacking salary-cap space, as Cap Friendly noted. The Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames all currently have fewer than $3 million in space, per Cap Friendly. Trading with a Pacific Division rival might prove difficult, but Sharks general manager Doug Wilson should be able to field calls from the likes of the Florida Panthers ($141,250 in current space), Philadelphia Flyers ($2.08 million), Washington Capitals ($2.45 million), Dallas Stars ($2.93 million), Boston Bruins ($3.12 million) and Pittsburgh Penguins ($3.51 million), among others. 

Finding a contract is another matter entirely. The Stars could trade injured center Martin Hanzal, but he already is on LTIR. It's difficult to envision the Panthers trading pending free-agent winger Mike Hoffman or the Capitals dealing soon-to-be free-agent goalie Braden Holtby for salary relief, let alone when you consider both players' trade protection (and Hoffman's history with Erik Karlsson).

The Bruins would love to trade David Backes, but he won't become a free agent until 2022 and can't be placed on LTIR after Bruins general manager Don Sweeney admitted Backes was "fit and able to play" after being waived. Wilson said he wants the Sharks to contend in 2021, and they can't afford to have another $5 million against the cap considering how many players have signed long-term contracts in the last few years. 

[RELATED: Why Hannan sees silver lining in Karlsson injury for Sharks]

Retaining salary seems to be a likelier option. The Sharks' pending free agents all have manageable contracts, but defenseman Brenden Dillon -- rumored to be one of the top blue liners available -- could be more appealing if teams aren't taking on all $3.275 million of his salary-cap hit. 

The trade deadline now is just over a week away, and the Sharks probably won't be buyers as a result of Hertl and Karlsson's injuries. They'll still be in an advantageous position, however, and Wilson has a chance to start re-stocking San Jose's pool of prospects and draft picks. 

Sharks' Erik Karlsson to undergo season-ending thumb surgery Monday

Sharks' Erik Karlsson to undergo season-ending thumb surgery Monday

Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson will undergo season-ending thumb surgery on Monday in Los Angeles, he told reporters Sunday. 

Dr. Steven Shin will operate on Karlsson's broken thumb. Shin also operated on Warriors star Steph Curry and New Orleans Saints star Drew Brees in the past. 

Karlsson broke his thumb Friday in the Sharks' 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. NBC Sports Bay Area's Scott Bair first reported the news Saturday. It was later confirmed by the team. 

The 29-year-old told reporters Sunday that he injured his thumb when he was hit with a slap shot, not from falling over teammate Joe Thornton. He said the initial X-rays didn't show anything complicated. 

[RELATED: Karlsson injury creates opportunity for Sharks' depth]

Karlsson has scored 40 points -- six goals, 34 assists -- this season in 56 games. His 5.0 shooting percentage is his best since the 2016-17 season, but Karlsson's minus-15 plus-minus is his the third-worst of his 11-year career.

The Sharks re-signed Karlsson to a massive eight-year, $92 million contract last June. Since acquiring him from the Ottawa Senators before last season, Karlsson has scored 85 points -- nine goals, 76 assists -- in 109 regular-season games.