Auston Matthews

NHL rumors: Brenden Dillon won't be punished for Auston Matthews hit

NHL rumors: Brenden Dillon won't be punished for Auston Matthews hit

Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon reportedly won't face supplementary discipline for a hit that caused Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews to leave Friday's game, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.

Dillon hit Matthews around the midway point of the second period of San Jose's 4-1 loss to Toronto, stepping through Matthews after the Maple Leafs forward passed the puck on a zone entry. Matthews left the game and entered the concussion protocol, but he returned in the third period. Replays indicated Dillon made contact with Matthews' head, but Johnston reported the NHL determined the head "was not the main point of contact."

Dillon told reporters in Toronto he didn't mean to catch Matthews up high and that he was happy Matthews returned to the game. During the game, Sportsnet's cameras caught Matthews pointing to his head and telling an official "that's a f---ing" hit to the head.

https://youtu.be/G84N9IWG6HE?t=28

"I felt like it was hit to the head," Matthews told reporters after the game (H/T TSN's Mark Masters). "I saw the replay, kind of looked that way but it's a fast game, the refs are trying to make the best judgment, but I know what I felt. It's all good. We picked up two points, that's all that matters."

[RELATED: Why Sharks were so disappointed by loss to Maple Leafs]

Dillon has been suspended once in his career, missing a game during the 2016-17 season after slashing then-Washington Capitals defenseman Madison Bowey.

The Sharks largely have relied on five defensemen with Radim Simek yet to debut this season, and Dillon has been one of San Jose's best blue-liners. Through 11 games this season, the 28-year-old is averaging a career-high 21:38 in ice time and ranks first among Sharks defensemen with a 52.71 percent Corsi-for percentage. 

Patrick Marleau recalls friendships ahead of reunion game vs. Leafs

Patrick Marleau recalls friendships ahead of reunion game vs. Leafs

Patrick Marleau’s first game back in San Jose after rejoining the Sharks was, as expected, a very emotional one.

But the reunions haven’t ended there for the 40-year-old winger. As the Sharks continue their five-game swing through the East Coast, they make a stop in Toronto, where Marleau spent the last two seasons playing with the Maple Leafs.

While his tenure there was relatively short, it still made quite the impact -- especially when it came to his relationship with young stars Auston Mattews and Mitch Marner.

“I think the biggest thing I'll take away is the friendships,” Marleau told reporters ahead of Friday's game. "The whole experience is great, the community. But definitely the friendships I'll have for the rest of my life."

More than what he put on the score sheet -- 84 points (43 goals, 41 assists) in 164 games played -- Marleau is remembered for his time in Toronto because of his friendship with Matthews and Marner, who are both more than a decade his junior. The friendly chemistry is something even Marleau himself couldn't quite explain.

"I think they're just great kids, great people," Marleau complimented. "They're always fun to be around."

Matthews, who sported a Marleau jersey in San Jose during last season's All-Star Game festivities, also spent time with Marleau during the offseason. No. 12 even revealed that the Leafs forward consulted him when he got into trouble for disorderly conduct over the summer.

"There's always two sides to every story," Marleau said when asked about what had happened to Mattews. "So I had [seen] him in the summer and talked about it and, it's hard how things get played out in the media sometimes so everything is a learning experience and you learn from it and move on."

As for Matthews, he's just looking forward to facing his good friend in Friday's game. 

"It's going to be fun going out there against him," Matthews told reporters on Friday. "I'm extremely happy that he's back home in San Jose and obviously playing well. I'm looking forward to playing against him."

Marleau enters Friday night's contest with six points in six games played so far this season. The game will also mark his 1,500th career game in a Sharks jersey.

"It's pretty crazy how everything seemed to work out that way," Marleau said. "It's pretty exciting and pretty fitting to play against a former club in a milestone game like this."

[RELATED: Dell states case for more starts in Sharks win over Habs]

And as for the emotions he might feel if the Leafs have a tribute video for him?

"Those always get you," Marleau said with a chuckle.

Sharks' Patrick Marleau reunited with 'bromance' duo facing Leafs

Sharks' Patrick Marleau reunited with 'bromance' duo facing Leafs

When Patrick Marleau and the Sharks visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday, he'll be celebrating his 1,500th game with San Jose. He'll also be reunited with his dear friends.

But if you ask him, he would probably refer to them as family.

Marleau had spent the previous two seasons with the Leafs where the friendships blossomed between him, center Auston Matthews and winger Mitch Marner. 

After two years in Toronto, Marleau was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, who bought out his contract, before he came back to San Jose. He doesn't have social media (lucky him), so he took to his wife Christina's Twitter to send out a heartfelt message thanking Leafs fans, the organization and specifically Matthews and Marner after the trade.

If that doesn't make you go "aww," this will do the trick.

Marner made an appearance in a Christmas photo with the Marleau family.

Christina had a small note dedicated to Matthews, who couldn't make the adorable pose. But the Leafs star more than made up for it during his "goodbye" post on Instagram after the Marleau trade:

And there's this: 

There's also the time Matthews unveiled a Marleau jersey in front of the San Jose crowd last January, when he was participating in the NHL Accuracy Shooting event during the 2019 All-Star festivities.

Marner and Marleau also showed off their chemistry in an insurance commercial dedicated to creating nicknames:

[RELATED: Joe Thornton, Marleau dedicated to keeping things fun]

Matthews said in an interview with NHL.com that even though he's excited to face Marleau, the moment the puck drops, they'll be opponents -- something Marleau respects

We know what the game will bring, but we will also know what is going on in the back of their minds. Sometimes, those moments are bigger than the sport.