Marc-Edouard Vlasic didn't forget.
News broke Thursday morning that St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist would have a hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety after boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday. The Blues eliminated the Sharks in the Western Conference finals in six games, and the San Jose defenseman invoked St. Louis forward Ivan Barbashev's high hit on Sharks center Tomas Hertl in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals in tweets to a pair of NHL insiders.
🤔 🤔 like Hertl— Marc-Édouard Vlasic (@Vlasic44) May 30, 2019
🤔🤔 like Hertl— Marc-Édouard Vlasic (@Vlasic44) May 30, 2019
A few hours later, Vlasic replied with the same message to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston's tweet from Gary Bettman's pre-Cup Final press conference. The tweet in question quoted Bettman's remarks on Timo Meier's uncalled hand pass that led to the Sharks' controversial overtime-winning goal in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.
🤔🤔like Hertl— Marc-Édouard Vlasic (@Vlasic44) May 30, 2019
Unlike Grzelcyk, Hertl was not boarded on the hit in question back in the conference final. He was, however, hit in the head by Barbashev in the neutral zone when he didn't have the puck. Hertl continued to play in Game 5 but did not suit up for the third period. The Czech forward confirmed to reporters at the Sharks' end-of-season media availability that he sustained a head injury, and did not play in San Jose's season-ending Game 6.
Unlike Sundqvist, who the NHL announced was suspended for Saturday's Game 3 in St. Louis in a press release right around the start of Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, Barbashev did not face any supplemental discipline. He wasn't penalized in the game and didn't face a hearing, either, and a source told ESPN's Greg Wyshynski earlier this month that the Department of Player Safety couldn't easily establish "that Hertl's head was the main point of contact ... considering that Barbashev also connected with Hertl's arms and shoulder." Barbashev scored an empty-net goal against the Sharks in Game 6, the final tally in St. Louis' conference-clinching win.
Minutes after the Sundqvist announcement, NBC Sports California analyst Jamie Baker shared one of Vlasic's tweets and voiced his displeasure with the Department of Player Safety.
Dear Player Safety. Shame on you! And you know it! And so do we! From many many ex-players! https://t.co/NMqvUsUG7J— Jamie Baker (@Bakes_Jamie13) May 31, 2019
I just want consistency and no hypocrisy which is unfortunately happening. The league has done a good job eliminating head shots but this years playoffs “Players Safety” has taken a step backwards. I’m not stepping out of bounds here either! https://t.co/2H2pl9eNPv— Jamie Baker (@Bakes_Jamie13) May 31, 2019
The Sharks felt Hertl's absence when their season ended in Game 6 of the Western Conference final. If Vlasic's tweets are any indication, they won't forget it heading into the summer, either.