Sharks' Erik Karlsson mum on injury, contract after NHL All-Star Game

Sharks' Erik Karlsson mum on injury, contract after NHL All-Star Game

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks' three NHL All-Star Game representatives were in good spirits Saturday night when they took the podium for their final media scrum of the weekend, despite their Pacific Division team being smoked 10-4 by the Central to open tournament play.

"The crowd was awesome. It was good energy," Brent Burns said, before fellow defenseman Erik Karlsson interrupted with a light-hearted "terrible outcome!" To which the media had a good chuckle.

Burns and Karlsson, along with forward Joe Pavelski, did their part in the three-on-three tournament by notching two points apiece. The Sharks-centric SAP Center crowd grew a bit quiet when the Central jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Karlsson brought them back to life when he scored the first of his two goals on a breakaway.

"It's been a while since I scored, so I was happy with that," he said with a smile. "It was fun."

Sharks fans likely were happy to see Karlsson using his wheels again, given that he missed the last three regular-season Sharks games before the break with an undisclosed injury. There even was some speculation that he might not be able to participate in the All-Star festivities in front of his home fans.

Karlsson kept relatively mum Saturday when reporters asked if his health could've kept him from participating in NHL All-Star Weekend.

"We discussed it," Karlsson said. "But being here in San Jose, I think it's important when you get the opportunity to participate like I did. It felt like it was something I wanted to do."

The two-time Norris Trophy winner, who logged 7:09 minutes of ice time Saturday, kept the mood light. He mostly focused on how much he enjoys playing in the All-Star Game -- this was his sixth -- and how much he wanted to represent the Sharks in the contest.

"I know how much it means for this organization, this fan base and this community, and I was happy I was able to do it," he said, before adding that he'll "get a few more days here now, and then hopefully be back after the break."

When asked about what was coming up after that break -- mainly contract negotiations that could decide his future in San Jose -- Karlsson chose to focus on the present.

"I'm enjoying every moment," he said. "I've enjoyed every second here. We have a great team, and I'm excited for the last 30 games here."

That stretch doesn't start until next Saturday, when the Sharks host the Arizona Coyotes, so Karlsson will have time to rest up.

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


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.