Chris Tierney

Fine but no suspension for Leon Draisaitl’s spear on Chris Tierney


Like it or not, the NHL doesn’t have a long track record of suspending players for spears (above or below the belt), at least when that player doesn’t have a history of discipline issues.

That likely factored into the league’s decision not to suspend Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl for that ugly spear to the groin of Chris Tierney of the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, Draisaitl gets the max fine of a bit more than $2,500.

While some scoff at the league’s process, it’s at least (somewhat) consistent, a point Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman echoes.

Ultimately, the Oilers don’t lose a key player against the Sharks after being embarrassed in Game 4. With the series tied 2-2 and the venue switching to Edmonton, that could be huge.

Draisaitl to have hearing for spearing Tierney in groin


The ugly incident that got Leon Draisaitl tossed from Edmonton’s 7-0 loss in San Jose last night has landed him in hot water.

On Wednesday, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced Draisaitl would have a disciplinary hearing for his spear to the groin of Sharks forward Chris Tierney.

Draisaitl was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for his actions, which came late in the second period of the blowout defeat. Afterward, Sharks forward Logan Couture said there was malice in Draisaitl’s actions.

Watch Sharks vs. Oilers: Game 5 on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, NBC Sports app)

“I think it’s dangerous,” Couture said, per the Mercury News. “Any time you spear a guy like that you’re intending to injure him. I don’t like those types of plays in this game, but the refs made a good call with throwing him out.”

Back in the 2014 playoffs, two players were fined — but not suspended — for spearing: Boston’s Milan Lucic, and Dallas’ Ryan Garbutt.

Sharks smoke Oilers 7-0, frustrate McDavid, tie series 2-2


People don’t need to wonder about the San Jose Sharks’ scoring ability after Tuesday.

Also not a concern: Cam Talbot being in their heads. And you can probably cross quite a few other things off that list, as you’d expect with the Sharks throttling Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers 7-0 in Game 4.

With that, it’s a “three-game series” as the Sharks tied things up 2-2.

Watch Sharks vs. Oilers: Game 5 on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, NBC Sports app)

The Sharks set the tone with a franchise-record 1-0 goal just 15 seconds in, with Joe Pavelski ending Cam Talbot’s shutout streak at 120:15. (More on that here.) San Jose would ultimately chase Talbot from the Oilers’ net on a night where their once-struggling power play went 4-for-8.

Part of that special teams dominance came after Leon Draisaitl was tossed from the game for spearing Chris Tierney in the groin. Tierney was able to return to the contest, which might lower the odds of a suspension, but check out more on that ugly bit of violence here.

“Ugly” is a pretty good word to describe the Oilers’ overall effort after grinding out two tough wins. The Sharks seemed to frustrate Connor McDavid, who’s now suffering from an extremely rare two-game pointless streak.

Of course, it’s also important to note that you don’t get a single bonus for winning a playoff game by seven goals or by winning an overtime thriller. Really, the Oilers might find themselves galvanized by such a resounding defeat, especially with the series shifting to Edmonton for Game 5.

The young Oilers were shaking off questions about experience and style of play before Tuesday, yet this was the sort of setback people were waiting for, especially against grizzled veterans in San Jose.

Now we get the next narrative wrinkle: how the NHL’s budding superstar and Edmonton’s other fresh faces react to this resounding rout.

Video: Leon Draisaitl ejected for ugly spear to Chris Tierney’s groin


It’s bad enough to get utterly dominated. It’s worse if the frustration and embarrassment angers a player to the point that he puts himself at risk of a future suspension.

Edmonton Oilers rising star Leon Draisaitl was ejected from Game 4 and might face further discipline for an ugly spear to the groin of Chris Tierney as the San Jose Sharks continue to run away with tonight’s contest.

Plenty of people consider it an ugly display, and not just those who have Sharks leanings:

Seeing this series go 2-2 already stings for Edmonton. If they lose Draisaitl for Game 5 or more, this defeat would be even more painful.

As of this writing, it looks like we’ll enter the third period with the Sharks up 6-0. Could things get even uglier?

Watch Sharks vs. Oilers: Game 5 on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, NBC Sports app)p)

Lucic rocks the Sharks with a huge hit, fight and natural hat trick


Milan Lucic made his presence felt late in the first period of Thursday’s game against the Sharks by sending Chris Tierney flying through the air with a massive body check.

He was then immediately challenged to a fight with Micheal Haley.

Clean hit. Followed by a lengthy fight.

But Lucic wasn’t done there.

He delivered a natural hat trick in the third period, scoring the tying goal, the eventual winning goal and the insurance goal in a 4-2 victory over the Sharks, who were without Logan Couture and Joe Thornton and held to just 15 shots on goal on home ice. Connor McDavid also had two points, and at 20 years of age, he currently leads the NHL with 97 points.

The Oilers remain mathematically in the hunt for first place in the Pacific Division, four points back of Anaheim with two games remaining in their regular season and a game in hand on the Ducks.

It should only help the Oilers’ cause that they finish the season with a home-and-home set against a bad Vancouver Canucks team that has lost six straight.

Lucic is in the first year of a massive seven-year, $42 million deal that he signed as a free agent last summer. He’s now up to 23 goals and 48 points — 25 of those points have come on the power play.

“His play tonight was tremendous,” said coach Todd McLellan. “We’re lucky to have him at this time of year. It’s exactly what we brought him in for.”