His decision to pass on a $1 million offer from the Detroit Red Wings wasn’t Vesa Toskala-passing-on-any-NHL-deal bad, but let’s not doubt that Andreas Lilja was kicking himself this summer. He might be able to make lemonade out of free agency lemons, though, as reports indicate that the defense-poor San Jose Sharks will give Lilja a chance to make the team if he can make good on a tryout in training camp.
The Production Line has the news.
Just spoke with Andreas Lilja’s agent, Todd Diamond, who notified me that Lilja will be taking a try-out with the San Jose Sharks. For those holding out hope that Lilja would appear at Wings training camp this week – despite not being on the bus this morning – well, that proverbial train has left the station. For San Jose.
(The late George Carlin would point out that it would be highly unlikely that the Book of Proverbs would mention a train leaving a station, but that’s just me nitpicking there.)
Lilja only played in 20 games for Detroit last season, scoring one goal and one assist for two points and registered a -2 rating. He appeared in portions of nine NHL seasons in his career, spending time with the Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers.
Who knows if Lilja will make the Sharks, but the odds are solid because the team really lacks depth on defense. Even if he makes the team, he’s far from a miracle worker, yet he might be able to soak up minutes like an “innings eating” pitcher in baseball.
(H/T to Matthew Taylor.)
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.