Sharks lucky to have mega-rich owner

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According to Forbes, Hasso Plattner is worth $8.9 billion. Which is to say, the German co-founder of software company SAP can afford to lose a few bucks as the majority owner of the San Jose Sharks.

And that’s a good thing — because despite the Sharks regularly playing in front of capacity crowds at the newly named SAP Center, the club has previously claimed losses of $15 million per season.

In January, after he purchased the shares in the organization formerly held by investors Kevin Compton and Stratton Sclavos, Plattner joked with reporters about the club’s financial situation.

“You cannot make money with a hockey team,” he said, per the Mercury News. “You cannot make money with a hotel, either, and you cannot make money with a golf club. I have all three of them. When you have a certain amount of money, you do silly things — because it’s pretty to have a golf course and it’s interesting to have a hockey team.”

However, he added, “that doesn’t mean that we don’t work hard to have a normal business.”

A few months later, in July, Plattner told reporters that the lockout — which resulted in a new CBA that fairly dramatically cut the players’ share of league revenue — hadn’t really changed things all that much.

“We’re struggling,” he said. “You know the other teams in the league are struggling, Phoenix and others. We have to find a way out of this. We cannot continue as usual. It is a serious problem. We tried to fix it.

“The fans should not suffer. We want to give them a good show. We still want to win the Cup. Our top players are getting a year older every year, but they’re still very competitive. We had a good run in the playoffs. Let’s see what we can do next year.”

Per CapGeek, the Sharks have one of the highest payrolls in the NHL. But with veterans Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Dan Boyle entering the final year of their contracts, cutting that payroll would be as simple as letting one, two, or all three walk.

This is why next season is considered one of the most critical in franchise history. A long playoff run would only add to the coffers, making it more palatable for ownership to continue spending to the cap. Anything less and a real changing of the guard could occur.

More Sharks day on PHT:

Futures unclear for Thornton, Marleau, and Boyle

Antti Niemi is San Jose’s rock in goal

Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing

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The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?

Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.

Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.

A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:

Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”

He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.

Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.

Spicy stuff.

For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.

For more, check out a collection of the early violent moments and Tkachuk’s attempted shot at Doughty. The Kings win is summarized in greater detail here.

Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues

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Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.

OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.

It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.

Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.

In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.

Seriously, that fight with Deryk Engelland:

That goal included a bit of luck, but hey …

Iginla was named the first star of the contest, and cameras captured his big smile in enjoying a special night. For all the nastiness of that game, it was refreshing to see such a heartwarming moment.

For more on the violence, check out this post on the early stuff and this one on Tkachuk’s missed missile launch on Drew Doughty.

Kings and Canucks will square off in first NHL exhibition games in China

graphic via NHL
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It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.

The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?

“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”

The press conference inspired some jokes tonight.

Some of the best bits came in roping in … Kobe Bryant and David Beckham?

Alrighty then.

Click here for more details.

 

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.