Sharks

How beef between Sharks' Evander Kane, Knights' Ryan Reaves has evolved

How beef between Sharks' Evander Kane, Knights' Ryan Reaves has evolved

Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights fans alike were treated to the fight they were waiting for at the end of Game 3 on Sunday night. After days of verbal jabs and glares from the opposing benches, Evander Kane and Ryan Reaves finally dropped the gloves with minutes left in the contest -- a devastating 6-3 loss for Team Teal.

But the beef between Kane and Reaves isn’t exclusive to this first-round playoff series. And even though the two finally got to throw haymakers on Sunday, this likely isn’t the end of the saga either.

Keep in mind, mutual dislike such as this develops over many years. Kane and Reaves have had that healthy level of animosity toward each other for more than a decade, dating back to when they both played against each other in the Western Hockey League (Kane played for the Vancouver Giants and Reaves played for the Brandon Wheat Kings).

That distaste for one another then continued into both skaters’ NHL careers. The two exchanged a few jabs back in 2017 during a matchup between the Buffalo Sabres and St. Louis Blues. The confrontation led to a TV split-screen shot of the two continuing to jaw at each other from their respective benches, not unlike we’ve seen during the current Sharks-Knights series.

Fast-forward to present day and both skaters are on different teams, but the hostility is still alive and well -- and had been growing to a fever pitch leading up to the Game 3 throwdown. With the Golden Knights bumping the Sharks from last year’s playoffs and other teams in the Pacific Division having down seasons, the Vegas squad has quickly evolved into one of San Jose’s most contentious rivals.

Ahead of the Round 1 matchup, Kane said of Knights: “We’re not going to be inviting each other over for Sunday night dinner.”

Kane ended up fighting Reaves on a Sunday night, instead.

The war of words only adds fuel to the fire, whether it be on-ice chirps or cutting jabs told to the media. Kane has referred to Reaves as the Knights’ “babysitter” and Reaves has quipped that Kane doesn’t stand so tall when he isn’t on the ice. The two needled each other from their respective benches in Game 1 last week and finally dropped their gloves in Game 3.

Sunday’s bout isn’t likely the end of this roast-fest, either. Reaves kept the comments flowing after the Knights took Game 3 of the series by attacking Sharks’ center Joe Thornton’s age in regard to No. 19's check to Tomas Nosek’s head. As you may recall, Thornton and Reaves had a few run-ins during the regular season as well.

[RELATED: What we learned in Sharks' Game 3 loss]

It's possible Kane will stand up for his teammate, whether that be verbally or on the ice. But Sharks fans sure hope Kane doesn't do anything that will get him into trouble or cause him to miss game action.

Heck, at the very least you can say this series isn’t boring.

Erik Karlsson, wife Melinda bring home daughter after two-week hospital stay

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USATSI

Erik Karlsson, wife Melinda bring home daughter after two-week hospital stay

Last Thursday was a day Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda never will forget.

After a two-week stay in the hospital, Erik and Melinda finally got to bring their daughter, Harlow Rain, home. It's been a big help to the Sharks defenseman, especially his sleep schedule.

"My wife's good with that. She's doing the heavy lifting," Karlsson said about his wife getting up to be with the Harlow, via Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News. "I can get my sleep and be able to do what I need to do for my profession. It's nice to have the family home."

Harlow was born a five weeks earlier than expected, with Karlsson having to fly home before the Sharks' season-opener against the Vegas Golden Knights to be with Melinda as she prepared to give birth to their daughter at the 35-week mark of the pregnancy. 

Harlow spent two weeks in the hospital, so doctors could monitor her, but she finally got to come home Thursday. Bringing their little girl home without complications was a weight off both Erik and Melinda's shoulders. The Karlssons suffered a horrible tragedy in 2018, when Erik revealed the couple had lost their son, Axel, a month before he was supposed to be born.

Thankfully, all is well with the newest member of the Karlsson family.

“When something good happens, you want to be able to bring her home right away,” Karlsson said, via The Mercury News. “We wanted to make sure she was OK. We were fine with that. It’s not the most fun to be at the hospital all day long, but when I was home, I was there.

“But my wife was there way more than I was, obviously. It just takes a toll. Just nice that we can be at home now and we can figure our own stuff out.”

[RELATED: Simek improving but still a ways off]

Karlsson and the Sharks haven't gotten off to the best start on the ice, amassing a 3-5-0 record through the first eight games.

They'll look to right the ship starting Tuesday when they open a five-game East Coast road trip against the Buffalo Sabres. 

With Harlow and Melinda back at home, Karlsson feels better about focusing on the ice and is excited about the prospect of parenthood.

“It’s great, Anybody with kids knows it’s a lot of work, a lot of it obviously falls on my wife and she’s doing a great job with it,” Karlsson said. “We’re new parents, so we’re going to have to figure things out.

“We’ve getting lots of help from people around here that have that experience, people at home. But at the end of the day, we’re going to figure out our own things and what works for us. We’re excited about that.”

Sharks' Radim Simek improving, but not expected to play on road trip

Sharks' Radim Simek improving, but not expected to play on road trip

The Sharks made good use of their three-game homestand, earning four of six possible points against high-quality competition to get back on track after a miserable start to the season. San Jose's improved play has coincided with Patrick Marleau's arrival and Evander Kane's return to the lineup, and the Sharks will attempt to build off their recent momentum as they head off on a five-game road trip.

Unfortunately for San Jose, it doesn't sound as if the team will get back further reinforcements for the games in Buffalo, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Boston. The Athletic's Kevin Kurz reported that defenseman Radim Simek participated in some practice drills Wednesday, but is unlikely to play on the upcoming road trip, according to head coach Peter DeBoer.

Simek underwent knee surgery in March and has been rehabbing ever since. He's been somewhat of a secret weapon for San Jose, as the Sharks went 29-9-3 with him in the lineup last season, and allowed lower rates of shot attempts, shots and chances with him on the ice in 5-on-5 situations than when he wasn't. San Jose has proceeded cautiously with Simek and won't rush him back, but the fact that he was participating in more physical drills Wednesday bodes well for a return in the relatively near future.

Speaking of physicality, that's an area DeBoer believes the Sharks have been lacking in recently, and one that both Simek and another on-the-mend defenseman can help out in. Dalton Prout has been out of the lineup since the first game of the season, but that's bound to change soon, according to the Mercury News' Curtis Pashelka.

With both Prout and Simek expected to rejoin the team soon, it begs the question as to who they'll replace. Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brenden Dillon aren't going anywhere, and rookie Mario Ferraro has played well beyond his years. Tim Heed has been in and out of the dog house, and the most likely scenario is that Prout and/or Simek takes his spot on the third pair.

[RELATED: Exclusive: Marleau reflects on Sharks return in ride to SAP]

The Sharks have done a good job to get their feet back under them. They won't be at full strength for the upcoming road trip, but clearly, they're getting closer.