Sharks

Sharks' Peter DeBoer has no update on Joe Pavelski injury after Game 7

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AP

Sharks' Peter DeBoer has no update on Joe Pavelski injury after Game 7

SAN JOSE -- Sharks coach Peter DeBoer had "no update medically" on injured captain Joe Pavelski after San Jose's 5-4 overtime win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night.

With 10:47 remaining in the third period of the final game of the first-round Stanley Cup playoff series, Pavelski was helped off the SAP Center ice after hitting his head on the ice. Pavelski collided awkwardly with Golden Knights forward Paul Stastny, moments after his teammate, Cody Eakin, shoved the Sharks captain following a face-off in the Sharks' offensive zone.

DeBoer was asked if Pavelski needed to be hospitalized, but he said he did not know if the Sharks forward left the arena after the collision. Pavelski's series ended with four points in seven games. He played the majority of the series with a shield on the lower half of his face, after scoring a goal with his face in the Sharks' Game 1 win over the Golden Knights.

In the immediate aftermath, Eakin was assessed a five-minute major for cross-checking and a game misconduct. The Sharks trailed 3-0 at that point, and DeBoer said alternate captains Joe Thornton and Logan Couture spoke up right away.

"The leadership's the best I've ever been around," DeBoer said in his postgame press conference. "Joe goes down, Joe Thornton immediately is talking to the guys, 'Let's get three goals here on this power play.' He actually said that, and we got four."

While Thornton implored his teammates to take advantage of the penalty in Pavelski's absence, the SAP Center crowd initially booed the Golden Knights following the collision. The boos turned to stunned silence as Pavelski was attended to, but the Sharks needed just seven seconds to re-energize them when Couture put San Jose on the board.

"They helped us early, too, when we score the first goal," Sharks forward Tomas Hertl said of the crowd, "and pushed us to tie it up."

The crowd got louder when Hertl halved the Vegas lead with another power-play goal. They were louder still when Couture scored his second of the evening, and arguably at their loudest when Kevin Labanc capped off a four-points-in-four-minutes stretch with his second goal of the series to give the Sharks their first lead of the evening -- and the first lead change from any deficit in the series.

"Once we got that fourth goal, the whole building just erupted," Labanc said.

The Sharks had come back without their captain, but their 4-3 lead was erased 47 seconds shy of a Game 7 regulation victory. Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault tied the score with Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury pulled.

When the Sharks returned to the locker room before the extra session, Hertl said the team focused on the positives.

"We [said], 'Hey, guys -- what we just did is amazing,’ “ Hertl recalled. "We're losing 3-0, come back. Let's finish it. We don't want to play last game of the season. And everybody stepped up."

That included, as Hertl noted, game-winning goal-scorer Barclay Goodrow, who sent the Golden Knights packing with 1:41 remaining in overtime. His second goal of the series came on his second shift of overtime.

[RELATED: Watch wild Sharks-Vegas Game 7 end on Goodrow's OT goal]

That goal capped off the Sharks' historic comeback, and San Jose ultimately responded to the loss of its captain with a win to keep its season alive. DeBoer said he didn't need to push many buttons, and credited leaders such as Couture and Thornton for kick-starting the victory.

"I'm very fortunate as a coach to be around people like that," DeBoer said. "You don't have to say a lot. They're driving the bus."

The Sharks will open their second-round series against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday at SAP Center. San Jose will not practice Wednesday, but all eyes will be on Pavelski's health once the team returns to the ice.

Hertl and Labanc sounded optimistic that Pavelski will be able to join them at some point in the series, but what the Sharks did in his absence soon won't be forgotten.

NHL free agency: Will Erik Karlsson's health affect Sharks signing him?

NHL free agency: Will Erik Karlsson's health affect Sharks signing him?

SAN JOSE – Ever since arriving in San Jose last September, Erik Karlsson’s tenure as a Shark has been riddled with questions.

Questions as to when he would get on the scoreboard when he started off the season pointless. Questions as to why he was participating in the NHL All-Star Game when he was too hurt to pencil into his team’s roster on a nightly basis. Questions as to whether the Sharks would sign him to a deal that would keep him in teal past the 2019 season – which became even more of a mystery when he tweeted out a message to Sharks fans, thanking them for the season.

The latter question will be answered in good time with San Jose’s postseason run over and free agency on the horizon. Now, come the questions as to how much Karlsson’s injuries from this past season play into what happens to him next.

“I’m still in the process of figuring all that out so I can’t really give you a straight answer,” Karlsson said during exit interviews when asked about his overall health. “It’s nothing major. It’s just going to take some time and figure everything out. It should be something that’s easy to deal with. That’s as much as I know.”

Karlsson missed 29 games over the regular season with a suspected groin injury, which first took him out of the Sharks’ lineup just before the All-Star break. Following his return in the final game of the regular season, the conversation continued into the playoffs regarding how healthy he really was.

While Karlsson appeared more and more healthy as the Sharks advanced through two rounds of the playoffs, he began to show signs he was ailing during the Western Conference final, and eventually missed Game 6.
 
The defenseman didn’t expand on the extent to which he was injured, only saying he was one of many Sharks’ skater who wasn’t playing at 100-percent.

“Everybody is dealing with something,” Karlsson insisted. “You have to play through things.” 

Karlsson also didn’t give any indication as to what kind of rehab process he will have to go through over the offseason, although he insisted his health wouldn't get in his way.

“All I know is it’s not going to be anything that will be a problem moving forward,” he said. “I’m going to be able to have a normal summer with training and everything and getting ready. That’s great.”

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson told the press he didn’t know yet if any injured players on the team would need surgery in the offseason, including Karlsson. When asked if Karlsson’s health played a factor in whether the team tried to sign him to a long-term deal, Wilson didn’t lean one way or the other.

“I’m still in the reflection mode of this year, just starting to meet with players, meet with coaches,” Wilson said. “We have a lot of guys who have contracts up, and out of respect to them, we don’t discuss that.”

[RELATED: Sharks emerge from playoff run with lengthy injury list]

Karlsson does appear interested, however, in testing out the market.

“I’ve worked hard for 10 years in this league to be in the position that I’m in. I’ve earned that,” he said of being an unrestricted free agent. “I’ll do everything I can to make the best decision for myself and for the team that is going to want me.”

How much his health plays into that decision, still remains to be seen. 

NHL free agency: Erik Karlsson thanks Sharks in possible goodbye tweet

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AP

NHL free agency: Erik Karlsson thanks Sharks in possible goodbye tweet

The Erik Karlsson era could be coming to an end after only one season in San Jose. 

Karlsson becomes a free agent at the end of Stanley Cup Final. The Sharks' star defenseman sent a thank you note to the team's fans and the whole Bay Area on Friday. 

San Jose acquired Karlsson, who turns 29 on May 31, from the Senators for four players and two draft picks on Sept. 13, 2018. The two-time Norris Trophy award winner was named to his fourth straight NHL All-Star Game in his first season as a Shark. 

Karlsson played in 53 regular-season games this year, his lowest since the 2012-13 season. He tallied 45 points -- three goals, 42 assists. 

Injuries, however, played a large role in Karlsson's season. He missed 27 of the Sharks' final 33 regular-season games with various ailments. And he missed the Sharks' season-ending Game 6 loss to the Blues in the Western Conference final.

[RELATED: Karlsson expected to be pursued by Rangers]

Karlsson is expected to be pursued by multiple teams this offseason, including the Sharks. But he could have just said his last goodbye to The Tank and all its fans in San Jose.