Phoenix Coyotes v San Jose Sharks

Larry Robinson has an … interesting take on Sharks captaincy

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The San Jose Sharks probably deserve credit for not totally panicking and clearing house after coughing up a 3-0 series lead against the Los Angeles Kings,* but the wave of odd commentary from management continues. Most recently, the rather curious takes revolve around the decision to strip Joe Thornton of the captaincy.

Fear the Fin transcribed assistant coach/hockey legend Larry Robinson’s thoughts regarding why a “shake-up” was needed to Montreal’s TSN 690:

“I don’t think this is to put all the onus on Joe or even Patrick for that matter but there’s definitely leadership that has to be found somewhere within and if it’s not Joe and if it’s not Patrick then we’re looking for somebody else to step forward and I think that’s the main reason we’re doing what we’re doing,” Robinson said. “We’re waiting for somebody now to step forward and take charge of this team.”

There have been some interesting themes developing from the various interviews shared by Robinson and GM Doug Wilson.

One is that Thornton’s occasionally biting sense of humor might have had its detriments for younger-yet-prominent Sharks.

” … You have to feel comfortable and if you had a problem or if you need something or are looking for a lift, you usually look to your leaders and your captains to get out there,” Robinson said. “And it’s possible that maybe Joe didn’t provide it for our team.”

Considering the narrative that the Sharks (and especially Thornton/Patrick Marleau) have been “too soft,” it’s interesting that the organizational feeling seems to imply that they actually seek a gentler approach from “Jumbo Joe.”

One other theme Robinson echoed is that they’d like to see the leadership torch passed from veterans to prime-age players. Robinson seems to believe that at 35, Thornton might actually feel liberated not to have to carry the burden of wearing the “C.”

Ultimately, the Sharks decided to sign Thornton and Marleau to contract extensions … presumably before they decided that they were having such a leadership crisis. The franchise decided to avoid the messy process of a true rebuild, yet each seems like every public statement opens the door for more hurt feelings and headaches.

Check out Fear the Fin’s perspective here and the full interview in this link.

* – Remember when the Boston Bruins didn’t panic after being “reverse-swept” and then won a Stanley Cup the following season? Just saying.

Related

Thornton heard about captaincy change from a reporter, not his team

The Sharks seemed to be having a “nervous breakdown” in June

Wilson talks “tomorrow team” and then sort of backpedals

Pavelski’s late goal helps Sharks grab 2-0 series lead over Preds

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The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.

San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.

The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.

Here’s the goal:

Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.

Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.

Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.

Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.

The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.

Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.

The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.

Video: Marc-Edouard Vlasic saved by his visor after taking Shea Weber shot to the face

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It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.

After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.

In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.

You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.

It’s nice to see that Vlasic was in a joking mood after the game:

Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:

It sounds like Olli Maatta won’t be ready for Game 3

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You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.

After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.

“Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.

“I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”

After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.

“We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”

And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.

Related:

Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

Brooks Orpik suspended three games for hit on Olli Maatta

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Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.

Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.

Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:

“Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”

To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.

This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.