Lukas Radil

Why Evander Kane suspension won't result in Patrick Marleau-Sharks reunion

Why Evander Kane suspension won't result in Patrick Marleau-Sharks reunion

Perhaps it's no surprise that once Evander Kane's three-game suspension was announced Tuesday, Sharks fans began to dig out hope it would open the door for forward Patrick Marleau to return to San Jose.

Sorry to rain on the parade, but it's still highly unlikely that reunion is in the cards. 

The Sharks have been saying since the offseason that they want to give their young players -- particularly those skaters who stepped their games up last season -- the chance to take on bigger roles during the 2019-20 campaign. With Kane only being sidelined for a few games, there's no reason to believe that line of thinking has changed.

Sharks' general manager Doug Wilson said exactly that one week before training camp opened when he was asked about the possibility of Marleau rejoining the team. Just as Marleau's departure gave players like Tomas Hertl the chance to step up, the current changes in the roster give San Jose's freshest faces an opportunity to take on more responsibility:

"We're at a different place than we were two or three years ago and one of those (areas) is positional fit. We're very strong on the left side and we're very strong down the middle. And I also made promises to our younger players. Not just younger players, but players like Lukas Radil and Marcus Sorensen that signed with us. The commitment is to give those players the opportunity that they deserve.

It, in no way, takes away from how we feel about Patrick Marleau. We will honor him and he will always be a Sharks in our minds. The 19 years he gave us were phenomenal, and all the players who played with both him and (former captain Joe Pavelski) reap the benefits of having played with players like that.

But it goes forward. We're excited about where we're at and where we're going."

Marleau is coming off his lowest-scoring full season since entering the league, registering 37 points (16 goals, 21 assists) for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He also tallied a career-low 74 hits -- not exactly the physical entity the Sharks want in their lineup against tough teams like Vegas.

[RELATED: What Evander Kane's suspension means for Sharks]

The winger, who turned 40 last month, had one year left on his three-year deal with the Leafs when he was acquired by the Carolina Hurricanes on June 22. The Hurricanes bought out his contract on June 27.

Sharks teammates Lukas Radil, Aaron Dell get into tussle before Game 6

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AP/USATSI

Sharks teammates Lukas Radil, Aaron Dell get into tussle before Game 6

Tensions are running high with the Sharks as the team is on the brink of elimination going into Tuesday night's Game 6 of the Western Conference final against the Blues. 

Sharks center Lukas Radil, who hasn't played since May 2, and backup goalie Aaron Dell were seen getting into a skirmish at the end of morning skate. Cameras caught Radil swinging his stick at Dell. 

Insert "this is fine" gif. French-Canadian outlet TVA captured the exchange on camera.

[RELATED: Sharks have big hole to fill with Hertl out for Game 6]

The Sharks already enter Game 6 without two key injured players in center Tomas Hertl and defenseman Erik Karlsson. Captain Joe Pavelski is also a game-time decision. 

Down three-games-to-two in the best-of-seven series, the Sharks will have to overcome injuries and maintain their composure to keep their season alive.

Sharks vs. Golden Knights watch guide: Game 4 projected lines, defensive pairs

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USATSI

Sharks vs. Golden Knights watch guide: Game 4 projected lines, defensive pairs

The San Jose Sharks have battled through their fair share of adversity in this first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But the stakes will be even higher on Tuesday night when they take the ice down a few starters in Game 4 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Team Teal will be without Joe Thornton, who is serving a one-game suspension for an illegal check to the head made on Tomas Nosek in Game 3. They will also be without fourth-line enforcer Micheal Haley, who was hurt blocking a shot in Game 3. Joonas Donskoi and Lukas Radil will pencil into the lineup to fill in the gaps on offense.

The Sharks will also be without defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic for the second straight game after he left in the middle of Game 2 following a blocked shot. Tim Heed will take his place for the second game in a row.

San Jose is looking for a better start against Las Vegas, who scored goals less than a minute into all three periods of Game 3 on Sunday evening.

Sharks projected lines and pairs:

Evander Kane – Tomas Hertl – Joonas Donskoi
Timo Meier – Logan Couture – Kevin Labanc
Marcus Sorensen – Joe Pavelski – Gustav Nyquist
Lukas Radil – Barclay Goodrow – Melker Karlsson

Joakim Ryan – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Erik Karlsson
Tim Heed – Justin Braun

Martin Jones – projected starter
Aaron Dell

Golden Knights projected lines and pairs:

Jonathan Marchessault – William Karlsson – Reilly Smith
Max Pacioretty – Paul Stastny – Mark Stone
Tomas Nosek – Cody Eakin – Alex Tuch
Will Carrier – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Ryan Reaves

Nate Schmidt – Deryk Engelland
Brayden McNabb – Shea Theodore
Jon Merrill – Colin Miller

[RELATED: Kane roasts Reaves over fight]

Marc-Andre Fleury – projected starter
Malcom Subban