Was Carolina’s Tim Gleason wrong to drop the gloves with Toronto’s Nikolai Kulemin?

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When fights break out in the NHL usually there’s a protocol for how things go down. Guys will shove each other, words will be exchanged and usually an agreement on dropping the gloves goes down. During last night’s game between Carolina and Toronto the unspoken language of fighting (read: smashing gloves into each others faces) didn’t seem to send the same message between Carolina’s experienced fighting machine Tim Gleason and Toronto’s newbie to pugilism Nikolai Kulemin.

Kulemin and Gleason got entangled near the bench at the end of the first period and Kulemin started shoving Gleason including catching him with a couple of gloved shots to the face. In Tim Gleason’s world, punching a guy in the face, glove or no glove, means it’s “go” time. Gleason grabbed Kulemin and paired off to fight with his gloves seemingly peeling off. One uppercut on the nose later, Kulemin was down on the ice and Gleason had won yet another fight. (See video here)

After the game, opinions differed on how things went down. AM 640’s Jonas Siegel got the lowdown from the Toronto room that saw a difference of opinion all around. Leafs forward Clarke MacArthur was none too pleased with Gleason.

“It was a cheap shot,” said an infuriated Clarke MacArthur, who registered his first official NHL fight with Chad Larose earlier in the period.

“I don’t know if he’s smart enough—probably not—but he should know that Kulemin’s not a fighter. I think Kulie just went in there to stick up for teammates and Gleason obviously isn’t that smart. Kulie didn’t drop his gloves and he gets suckered like that.

“I was disgusted with that. There’s certain matchups on the ice. I don’t care what he says. You know when you’re in the right matchup. Kulemin’s never been a guy to fight and Gleason does it a lot. He knows better than that.”

It’s fair to saw that Gleason probably didn’t get a good look at the number or name of the guy that was busy punching his own face and therefore had no idea that Kulemin was a total novice when it comes to fighting. Leafs coach Ron Wilson took a decidedly different look at things though.

“They were in a fight and he got it right in the face,” said Wilson, who coached Gleason with Team USA at the Vancouver Olympics last February. “The appropriate action happened. It wasn’t a sucker-punch or anything like that. Kulie was throwing punches with his gloves on and then Gleason dropped his gloves and beat him to the punch.”

As you may have seen in the video the interesting part of the whole mess was that Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf stood by the scene and did nothing to respond to Gleason. Very odd. It’s strange to see players and coach differ so wildly in their take on things as you’ll almost always see the coach get very indignant and at least verbally stick up for his player even if they’re in the wrong. In this case, Wilson’s stand is either oddly refreshing or completely infuriating depending on your thoughts on him as a Leafs fan.

Was Gleason wrong in this situation? We’re inclined to think he isn’t. After all, he’s a guy with a fighting past and when you enter his world and you start acting the way Kulemin did giving him the physical means of saying “let’s go” that’s the language he speaks. Lost in translation here is that Kulemin got way in over his head and paid for it in doing so. If Kulemin isn’t intent on fighting a guy next time, mixing it up with someone more his speed would be wiser.

Sharks name Pavelski captain; Thornton, Couture alternates

Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton
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Joe Pavelski is the new captain of the San Jose Sharks. The club made the announcement today via Twitter.

The former captain, Joe Thornton, will be an alternate captain, along with Logan Couture.

Pavelski, 31, was the Sharks’ leading scorer last season, finishing with 37 goals and 33 assists. He’s also signed through 2018-19, so giving him the ‘C’ makes sense from a long-term stability perspective.

Couture, 26, is also signed through 2018-19, while Thornton, 36, only has two years left on his contract.

The Sharks had four alternate captains (Thornton, Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic) in 2014-15, but no captain.

Related: DeBoer says Sharks will have a captain next season

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.