What Evander Kane's suspension means for Sharks ahead of season-opener

What Evander Kane's suspension means for Sharks ahead of season-opener

With two tough games against the Vegas Golden Knights scheduled to kick off their 2019-20 campaign, there's no doubt the Sharks are disappointed they won't have Evander Kane in the lineup.

Following a very contentious preseason finale at T-Mobile Arena, No. 9 was suspended for the first three games of the regular season for violating Rule 40.4 during the third period of Sunday's preseason game against the Golden Knights.  Kane was assessed a game misconduct midway through the third period Sunday in the Sharks' preseason finale against the Vegas Golden Knights after an incident with defenseman Deryk Engelland. He was ejected for "abuse of officials." 

There's no word yet as to whether Kane and the Sharks will appeal the suspension.

Not having the gritty winger in their lineup for the first three games of the season is a blow to the Sharks, especially with the first two coming against their rivals. But this suspension won't be the end of the world for the Sharks. If anything, it gives San Jose the opportunity to step its game up in other areas.

The Sharks have let some of the physicality that Kane showed get in the way of them sticking to their game and, instead, allowing Vegas to get under their skin. Head coach Peter DeBoer told the media that he was unhappy with his team's loss of composure in the third frame of Sunday's preseason game. Kane's suspension, while unfortunate for San Jose, can serve as a lesson that they need to do a better job keeping their cool.

But don't be mistaken -- these first two games against the Golden Knights still are going to be contentious, even with the Evander Kane-Ryan Reaves storyline taken out of the equation. Over just two seasons, San Jose and Vegas have developed a rivalry chock-full of big hits and even bigger drama. Just take a look back at Aaron Dell getting in on the action in the preseason finale last Sunday.

While San Jose is better off not letting Vegas get under its skin, the Sharks still will need to have a physical presence on the ice to counter the Golden Knights' hard-hitting forward attack. This opens the door for the Sharks young power forwards like Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier to use their size and physicality to bulldoze through Vegas' defense. 

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Kane's absence also could open up the door for rookie forward Lean Bergmann to showcase the physical side of his game, which fans got a glimpse of during the preseason. The Sharks surely won't want Bergmann getting into any big fights -- that certainly would undermine the whole concept of keeping their composure -- but having another skater on the ice with a physical presence could be good for San Jose in these first two regular-season games.

Again, being without Kane at the very start of the season is a disappointment for the Sharks. Being without him against a fierce physical opponent like the Golden Knights may make it sting even more. But Kane's absence doesn't mean San Jose will be void of grit when they take the ice in its first three regular-season contests. Now, it's just a matter of keeping that grit from getting out of hand. 

NHL rumors: Sharks' Brenden Dillon of interest to Bruins, 'half dozen' teams


NHL rumors: Sharks' Brenden Dillon of interest to Bruins, 'half dozen' teams

The market for Brenden Dillon is heating up. It's sounding like more of a "when" rather than an "if" the Sharks' defenseman will be moved.

In a season where very little has gone right for San Jose, Dillon has been one of the few, consistent bright spots. He has appeared in every game while averaging over 19 minutes of ice time, and he leads all Sharks' defensemen in plus-minus. According to TSN Insiders Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun, the closer the NHL gets to the trade deadline, the more teams reportedly are inquiring about the blue-liner who is on pace to lead the Sharks in hits for the fourth straight season. 

"Most definitely the Winnipeg Jets are in the market for a specific top-four defenseman," Dreger reported Tuesday. "Now, it could be a rental player, it could be a player with some term. They're not ruling out anything at this point."

Dillon is in the final year of his contract and is due to hit unrestricted free agency this summer, so he would fall into the rental category. Given the price Dillon is likely to command, that might not be ideal for Winnipeg, but Dreger noted that the Dustin Byfuglien situation -- as well as Bryan Little and Adam Lowry's respective recoveries from injury -- could force the Jets' hand.

LeBrun agreed that Dillon would make plenty of sense for Winnipeg, but didn't stop there.

"I don't think he would be on the top of their list, but certainly on the list of players that the Jets would have compiled already, I think Brenden Dillon would be on there somewhere," LeBrun said. "Pending UFA, he's a defenseman that's going to be dealt by the San Jose Sharks. He's a No. 4 for some teams, a No. 5 for others. I can tell you half-a-dozen teams so far have shown interest, including, I'm told, the Boston Bruins. Obviously a rugged, defensive defenseman in Brenden Dillon would be a nice fit there in Boston. Carolina Hurricanes, who just lost Dougie Hamilton, have also been among the teams that have shown interest." 

"It will not be an issue moving Brenden Dillon," LeBrun summarized. "The question is what can San Jose get out of it? I think it's probably going to be a second-round pick, and maybe a prospect."

[RELATED: If Sharks' Marleau doesn't pick goal song, his wife will]

The Sharks are still holding out hope for a playoff push, but whether or not they are successful in that pursuit, Dillon might be of more value to them elsewhere.

Why Patrick Marleau's goal song didn't play in Sharks' win over Ducks


Why Patrick Marleau's goal song didn't play in Sharks' win over Ducks

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks are ready to spice up their goal celebrations. In a 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night, San Jose brought the heat, but the SAP Center DJ failed to bring the expected flavor.

It wasn't his or her fault, though. It's sort of hard to play the right song when there is no song to be played.

Before being robbed of a much-deserved All-Star Game MVP award over the weekend in St. Louis, Tomas Hertl broke the news to Sharks fans that he and his fellow teammates would each have their own goal songs when the team returned from the All-Star break. Each player's song was supposed to be kept a surprise until they scored a goal, so when Stefan Noesen lit the lamp less than two minutes into the game Monday night, it came as a surprise to many -- Noesen included -- when the team's default goal song came on over the loudspeakers.

A few minutes later, Patrick Marleau scored to make it 2-0 San Jose. Again, 2 Unlimited's "Get Ready for This" played. In the second period, Marleau scored his second goal of the night. Same thing. So what gave?

It turns out that it was part operator error, part old-fashioned procrastination.

Noesen had actually picked a song out, and lucky for the Sharks, the SAP Center crowd would get to hear it before the night was over. Marleau, on the other hand, is still deliberating.

"Still working it out to see what it is," Marleau said of his yet-to-be-decided goal song after San Jose's win. "Probably leave it up to my family. They'll pick it."

Last week, Marleau's wife took to Twitter to ask Sharks fans for suggestions as to what his goal song should be. Apparently, none were to his liking, but his better half won't allow him to go without one for much longer.

After he scored his first goal of the night, Marleau's wife threatened to choose "Wheels on the Bus" on his behalf if he didn't figure one out soon. The couple has four boys between the ages of 5 and 13 so one would imagine Marleau has heard plenty of that song over the last decade.

Chances are, he has heard plenty of Noesen's song, too.

Early in the third period, Noesen ripped a slapshot from the slot into the back of Anaheim's net after receiving what he called an "all-world" pass from Erik Karlsson. The goal increased San Jose's lead to 4-1, and as fans rose out of their seats to celebrate the goal that put the game out of reach, their ears were greeted by the unmistakable sounds of "Hakuna Matata."

"I had something else picked out and then somebody else was watching 'The Lion King,' and I thought that would be kind of funny to put on and maybe get a little reaction from the crowd, too," Noesen said of his song choice. "And they seemed to enjoy it. It was fun."

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While Marleau still needs to come to a decision, Noesen plans to stick with his.

"Yeah, unless someone tells me otherwise," he said with a laugh following his first two-goal game with San Jose. "I thought it was good. They messed it up on the first one, and I wasn't sure if I'd ever have another chance to hear it.

"It was a good thing I got that nice pass."