There’s still no timeline for Tomas Hertl’s return from a knee injury (and upcoming surgery), but the San Jose Sharks rookie is already being ruled out for the 2014 Winter Olympics. That’s the word from Czech national coach Alois Hadamczik by way of TV Nova Sports’ Roman Jedlicka.
This news isn’t that stunning considering the fact that there’s significant doubt he’ll play again in 2013-14, period. That being said, it underscores the concern surrounding the 20-year-old’s health.
No doubt about it, this is a shame for the Czech Olympic team, the Sharks and hockey fans in general. For many, his sensational/controversial between-the-legs move overshadows his other accomplishments, but the forward was a consistent producer overall. He didn’t fall off from a hot start riding shotgun with Joe Thornton this season, collecting 25 points in 35 games.
His Calder Trophy dreams have probably been dashed already, but the Sharks likely just hope that he can recover from this knee injury, even if it means sitting out the rest of this season. At minimum, he won’t be in Sochi, according to this report.
(H/T to the Canadian Press’ Stephen Whyno.)
Apparently all of that optimism surrounding John Gibson starting in Game 6 was unfounded.
Instead, Jonathan Bernier will serve as the Anaheim Ducks’ starter as they attempt to avoid being eliminated by the Nashville Predators on Monday. Gibson’s health is clearly the issue, as he won’t even dress; instead, Jhonas Enroth serves as the backup for Bernier.
Mere hours ago, it sounded like Gibson might start after he skated. He was confident about his chances a couple days ago, as well.
On the bright side, Bernier finished the 2016-17 season on a high note – possibly saving his NHL career in the process – so his Ducks teammates should be confident in his abilities. He also was thrown into Game 5 against the Predators, so he had a chance to shake off the rust.
Still, with the Ducks’ season on the line, they must face the Predators without their No. 1 goalie. The Ryan Johansen-less Preds are unlikely to take pity on them.
Will we see a Game 7 in the Western Conference Final or will the Nashville Predators stamp their ticket to the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup Final?
We’ll find out soon enough on Monday, as the Predators host the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6.
Ryan Getzlaf and the Ducks will get their chance to beat the Ryan Johansen-less Predators once again on NBCSN. You can watch online and via the NBC Sports App.
Here’s what you need to know:
Anaheim Ducks vs. Nashville Predators (Preds lead 3-2)
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Network: NBCSN (Stream live here)
Check out the highlights from Nashville’s 3-1 win in Game 5
—Ducks will be without Eaves and Rakell in Game 6
—Pontus Aberg ‘face planted’ before scoring game-winning goal in Game 6
San Jose’s had good success scouting European leagues in recent years, and the club is hopeful that trend continued on Monday.
The Sharks have signed d-man Radim Simek out of the Czech League, per NBC Sports California. It’s a one-year, two-way pact for the 24-year-old, who just finished representing his native Czech Republic at the World Hockey Championship.
Simek had two points in eight games for the Czechs.
According to a report out of Radio Praha, the Sharks beat out the Rangers to acquire Simek. Passed over in his draft year, Simek has spent his entire pro career with Liberec Bili Tygri.
As mentioned above, Sharks GM Doug Wilson has done well finding European skaters in their early-to-mid-20s, ones that contribute right away at the NHL level: Melker Karlsson, Joonas Donskoi and Marcus Sorensen, most specifically.
Earlier this month, we wrote about how pending UFA d-man Brendan Smith impressed his Rangers teammates with his strong postseason play.
It was clear the Rangers wanted to keep Smith, a trade deadline pickup, in the fold. And now it sounds like the interest is mutual.
“He’s more than open to coming back,” agent Anton Thun told the New York Post. ““I’m sure I’ll be speaking to Jeff [Gorton, Rangers GM] in the next week or so and we’ll see if we can work something out.”
Smith, 28, just wrapped a two-year, $5.5 million deal with a $2.75M average annual cap hit. His stock certainly rose following the move from Detroit to New York, thanks in large part to a playoff in which he had four points through 12 games, and averaged just under 20 minutes per night.
Add it all up, and a raise is in the cards.
Helping Smith’s cause is a relatively weak crop of free-agent defensemen this summer. Kevin Shattenkirk will be the top dog, while the second tier includes under-30s like Smith, Karl Alzner and Michael Stone.
The Post estimated a $4M AAV could be on the horizon for Smith, which makes sense. Thun didn’t talk specific numbers, but did suggest the Rangers weren’t going to get any sort of discount.
“To pass up free agency,” he explained, “Brendan’s going to need a contract that reflects market value.”