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.
[RELATED: Are Sharks still threat in West?]
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.