St Louis Blues v San Jose Sharks - Game Three

Joe Thornton hopes Sharks keep Todd McLellan around


The San Jose Sharks have been labelled – sometimes fairly, sometimes not so much – as a team that “can’t get it done” in the playoffs. The difference with the 2011-12 campaign is that they weren’t particularly effective in the regular season, either. Even so, many pundits believe that the franchise would be foolish to part ways with head coach Todd McLellan.

Sharks captain Joe Thornton told’s Kevin Kurz that he wants – and expects – McLellan to be back.

“He’s a great coach, and the guys love playing for him,” Thornton said. “Ultimately it’s up to [general manager Doug Wilson] and the ownership to make that call. As the captain, he’s a darn good coach.”

For the most part, the Sharks’ salary structure dictates that its current core will probably lead the way for at least the next season or through 2013-14. The instinct might be to blow everything up, but Thornton makes a good point about the deep and talented Western Conference.

“The parity is just so great,” Thornton said. “It sucks that we’re watching right now, but it’s tough to get in every year and go to the Western Conference finals. You kind of realize how hard it is to get there back-to-back years.”

“We had a lot of good teams in our conference this year, and the eight teams that made it in – number eight (Los Angeles) is still in it right now. It’s just so competitive.”

Thornton and many others would argue that McLellan gives them the best chance to remain competitive. Do you agree?

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier
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Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games


One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.