Sharks

Sharks' Torres: 'I'm the guy that keeps making mistakes'

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Sharks' Torres: 'I'm the guy that keeps making mistakes'

Editor's note: The above video is from SportsTalk Live on Oct. 6.

SAN JOSE – Immediately after hitting Jakob Silfverberg up high during a preseason game in Anaheim on Oct. 3, Raffi Torres had no illusions that he was in trouble.

Again.

“I kind of knew right way. It’s one of those things where I need to be starting at the guy’s chest, not his head,” Torres said. “I lost my train of thought for half a second. I was coming a little too quick, and once I saw him pull up I was like, ‘oh man.’ It’s hard for me to pull out of those hits, but I know I can do it. I just made that one mistake.”

One mistake, maybe, but it was the latest in a series of illegal checks to the head by Torres, whose rap sheet includes 21-game suspension for hitting Chicago’s Marian Hossa in the 2012 playoffs.

The Silfverberg hit earned him an historic 41-game suspension that won’t expire until the Sharks host Edmonton on Jan. 14.

[KURZ: Sharks morning skate: Martin still out as Kings invade San Jose]

Torres, who was on the ice with his teammates for the morning skate on Thursday, spoke publicly for the first time since the NHL issued the half-season ban. He struck an accepting tone as to why he’s not allowed to play for the first three-plus months.

“I understand that part of the game. We’re taking a big look at it to try and get it out of there,” he said. “I’m a culprit. I’m the guy that keeps making mistakes. This one stung. Not that the last ones didn’t, but it’s tough.”

He decided in conjunction with his agent to not appeal the suspension.

“We just didn’t feel as a group that we were going to have much of a case,” he said.

Torres has played in just 12 games since the start of the 2013-14 season, missing all of last year with ongoing right ACL issues. In the late stages of training camp he was a near lock to make the team, and would likely have started the season in a fourth line role.

“I put the time in, and the work, and all that stuff that you need to do to be ready. I was actually feeling really good going into that game. It’s unfortunate. I’m disappointed in myself for losing my head for a second there, and it cost me.”

Currently, Torres is a non-roster player for the Sharks. The plan for now is to have him take part in game-day skates, but he won’t be practicing on a full time basis just yet.

His future with the club is still murky, since it’s impossible to predict where the Sharks will be in mid-January. His health is still a question mark, too. Whether he can still be an effective NHL player on an everyday basis is unknown.

Torres, though, feels good. At one point, he even referred to the suspension as a “blessing in disguise” for his knee.

“I’ll be ready, for sure. I can never say if I can be in or not, because I don’t make that decision, but I know for me, physically, mentally I’ll be ready to go,” Torres said. “I feel great right now. I’m not having any issues with my knee. I’ll be a good teammate here.”

Torres remains popular in the dressing room, according to coach Pete DeBoer, who was happy to have the forward back on the ice.

“I like him around the team. He’s a good teammate, he’s a good guy,” DeBoer said. “The guys respect him.”

When the Sharks acquired Torres on April 3, 2013, the thought at the time was that he had changed his game as a result of the Hossa hit and suspension. He gave the Sharks an energetic boost after joining the club late in the shortened season, and the team was playing its best hockey headed into the playoffs.

Then came the controversial hit on Jarret Stoll in the first game of the second round. It’s still highly debatable as to whether that hit warranted a suspension at all, and Wilson earned a $100,000 fine from the NHL after pointing the numerous inconsistencies in the league’s ruling.

Wilson is still supportive of Torres, according to the player.

“I feel disappointed that I’ve been letting him down the whole time,” Torres said. “He’s a big help. He says a few things to me daily, and it helps be out, big time. It keeps me pushing, it keeps me working, to know that one day I’ll be able to pay him back with the way I play out there.”

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.