Sharks

Sharks notes: Joakim Ryan, Peter DeBoer and teammates react to fight

Sharks notes: Joakim Ryan, Peter DeBoer and teammates react to fight

SAN JOSE -- Sharks defenseman Joakim Ryan returned to practice on Friday, no worse for wear the morning after his first NHL fight. 

“I feel fine,” Ryan said. “[He] didn’t really get me with too many [punches] there. He got me with one at the end, but kind of just the side of the head. Nothing too bad, really.”

Ryan dropped the gloves with Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian with San Jose’s 5-1 win all but over on Thursday. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound blueliner spotted Bogosian five inches and about 40 pounds, per both team’s rosters. 

As the clock wound down, Bogosian checked Sharks winger Melker Karlsson into the boards while they battled for a loose puck. As Sabres blue-liner Jake McCabe knocked Sharks rookie forward Rourke Chartier off the puck, a scrum ensued, and Bogosian dropped his gloves shortly after. San Jose defenseman Brenden Dillon then fought McCabe, as Ryan tried to keep Bogosian away from McCabe. 

The two eventually traded punches, as Bogosian was assessed a roughing penalty and a fighting major, while Ryan was only given the fighting major -- the second of his professional career, and his first since Dec. 26, 2016 in the AHL. 

Bogosian’s gloves were off moments after the initial hit, and before he fought Ryan. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said he was surprised the Sabres defenseman only picked up seven penalty minutes from the exchange. 

“You know, I was worried for him. It was a dangerous play,” DeBoer said of Ryan. “I’m surprised that there wasn’t a different call on the play. I think we put in the instigator penalty in the last five minutes of a game like that for exactly that reason. There’s no doubt that it was unnecessary, and he could’ve really gotten hurt. I’m just happy that he got out of it without getting hurt.”

According to Rule 46.12 of the league’s rulebook, “a player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime shall be assessed an instigator minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting, and a game misconduct penalty.” 

Had Bogosian been called for an instigator, he -- and Sabres head coach Phil Housley -- would have faced supplemental discipline. Rule 46.22 adds that a player called for those penalties would face a one-game suspension, and the coach a $10,000 fine. 

Dillon told reporters he didn’t immediately realize Ryan had fought, until teammates told him afterward. He said he appreciated Ryan’s willingness to step in, but the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Dillon joked with reporters he would have been a better match for Bogosian.

“I think at the end of the game I maybe grabbed the wrong guy,” the defenseman said. “I should’ve maybe grabbed Bogosian, not McCabe, but Joaks did a good job under the circumstances.”

Thornton “doubtful” vs. Islanders

Center Joe Thornton skated at the team’s practice Friday morning, but DeBoer told reporters that the 39-year-old is doubtful to play Saturday night against the New York Islanders. 

Could Thornton travel with the team for their three-game road trip next week? 

“I don’t know, we’re day-to-day here,” DeBoer answered. “He looks good in practice. We’ll make that decision when we get to Monday.”

Thornton returned to practice on Tuesday after missing the previous four games. He experienced swelling in his surgically repaired right knee the morning after San Jose’s 3-2 overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 5, and was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 7.

He has not returned to the active roster yet, as rookie forward Dylan Gambrell remains with the team. 

Maintenance days for Hertl, Karlsson, and Labanc

Defenseman Erik Karlsson and wingers Tomas Hertl and Kevin Labanc did not practice on Friday. All three played against Buffalo on Thursday, but have missed practice in recent days.

Karlsson missed practice last Saturday when he was feeling “under the weather.” Hertl returned to practice on Wednesday, but did not skate in Thursday’s morning skate. Labanc missed practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, and DeBoer told reporters on Wednesday he was fighting off a virus. 

Dylan Gambrell wore a white jersey and skated in Labanc’s place with Joe Pavelski and Evander Kane. Thornton, meanwhile, skated with Logan Couture and Timo Meier.

That probably doesn’t mean much, as the Sharks had a very light practice on Friday. Here’s how the rest of the lines shook out. 

Evander Kane - Joe Pavelski - Dylan Gambrell
Joe Thornton - Logan Couture - Timo Meier
Marcus Sorensen - Antti Suomela - Joonas Donskoi
Barclay Goodrow - Rourke Chartier - Melker Karlsson

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Tim Heed
Joakim Ryan - Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon - Justin Braun
Radim Simek

Martin Jones
Aaron Dell

Sharks' health to key players major concern after Game 5 loss to Blues

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USATSI

Sharks' health to key players major concern after Game 5 loss to Blues

SAN JOSE – Sure, many players at this point in the Stanley Cup playoffs are playing through their fair share of bumps and bruises. For the Sharks, those ailments appear to be piling up – and it creates some big questions for San Jose ahead of their next game.

The Sharks' bench looked pretty thin midway through the third period of their 5-0 loss to the Blues on Sunday with four injured players – Erik Karlsson, Tomas Hertl, Joe Pavelski, and Joonas Donskoi – absent from game action. Sharks coach Peter DeBoer didn’t have an immediate update on any of the four after the game, but there’s already concern about San Jose’s health as they are now on the brink of elimination.

The Sharks were already short a major weapon at the start of the third period of Game 5 when Karlsson wasn’t on the bench with his teammates, which was concerning since his health was already in question. Then it became apparent center Hertl was missing from the bench as well – a scary sight after he sustained a high hit from Ivan Barbashev halfway through the first frame that went unpenalized.

“I saw the Hertl hit, I just watched the replay,” Logan Couture said. “Yeah, that’s a tough one. But they had one earlier in Game 3, I believe on [Justin] Braun, and nothing happened. So they can do it again, right?”

DeBoer pointed to the hit on Hertl and the lack of call as a momentum-changer for San Jose, who was trailing 1-0 at that point in the first period, but still very much in the game.

“Arguably a five-minute major on Tommy Hertl, if you get that – that’s a momentum-changing play right there,” the coach said.

Whether the hit was the reason Hertl was missing from the Sharks’ bench in the third period is still unknown. Nevertheless, San Jose was down two skaters before both Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi left the ice after absorbing big hits from the rival Blues. 

At that point in the game, the Sharks let their emotions take over and found themselves in a world of penalty trouble.

“When Pav got hit high, we lost our composure there in the third period,” DeBoer said. “Not our finest moment, but I understand where that emotion is coming from.”

Of course, the penalties made the Sharks’ job even harder. Sharks analyst Jamie Baker pointed out that being on extended penalty kills when the bench is already short is extra demanding on a team that’s chasing the game.

“They were short so many players in the third period, that’s taxing the rest of the guys, and then they were taking penalties,” Baker said. “So the fatigue factor almost doubles down.”

Donskoi returned to the bench toward the very end of the game, though the Sharks were already down 5-0 at that point with little chance of bouncing back.

As the focus shifts from one game to the next, the Sharks now have to face some serious questions when it comes to the health of their lineup. 

[RELATED: Pavelski, Karlsson leave Game 5 vs. Blues with injuries]

“For Game 6, the health of the players who didn’t play in the third period is going to be topic No. 1,” Baker said. “And if they can’t play, who’s going to go in there and how are they going to go in and win in St. Louis?”

“We’ve just got to regroup,” DeBoer said. “We’ve got to go on and win a game.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 5-0 Game 5 home loss to Blues

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USATSI

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 5-0 Game 5 home loss to Blues

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- You might’ve had a feeling that Sunday’s game would be a doozy when Evander Kane rang the puck off the goal post just 10 seconds into it. But it’s unlikely anybody was prepared for how badly the Sharks would be outmuscled and out-chanced as they fell 5-0 to the Blues in Game 5 of the Western Conference final.

The Sharks now trail three games to two in the best-of-seven series, with a potentially decisive Game 6 scheduled for Tuesday night in St. Louis.

Here are three takeaways from Game 5 at SAP Center.

Another second period to forget

One of the Sharks' biggest complaints about their own game has been that they don’t play a solid 60 minutes. Even when they won Game 3 in overtime, they criticized themselves for giving up the lead in the second period. But they couldn't have played much worse in the second period of Game 5.

In addition to being outshot 20-6, the Sharks continued to move sloppily through the neutral zone and turn pucks over, making their job even more difficult. They were pushed around by the Blues for the entire 20 minutes.

The Karlsson Effect

Erik Karlsson plays a huge role for the Sharks, both offensively and defensively. The Sharks defenseman's absence definitely was felt when he skated for just 3 minutes and 3 seconds in the second period, then didn’t come out at all for the third.

Simply put, a healthy Karlsson makes San Jose better. And with Karlsson off the ice, the Sharks couldn't stop the push from the Blues' offense.

San Jose has preached a “next man up” message since the start of the regular season, and coach Peter DeBoer has called for more players to step up. That effort wasn’t there Sunday, which is worrisome because …

The injuries are piling up

As if Karlsson not taking the ice in the third period was enough of a concern, the Sharks lost even more bodies. Tomas Hertl didn’t see any playing time in the third period, and Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi both exited the game after sustaining injuries.

Without knowing right away how healthy any of those players are, there’s immediate wonder if the Sharks will be short some key players for Game 6. Will Tim Heed pencil into the lineup for Karlsson? Will Lukas Radil or Dylan Gambrell be part of San Jose’s offense?

The Sharks have played through bumps and bruises for most of their lengthy playoff run. But how many more of those bumps and bruises can they take and still be successful?