Joe Thornton


Jamie Benn possibly hurt after fighting Nikita Tryamkin

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Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn isn’t afraid to fight. Few stars are as gloriously willing to drop the gloves, thus giving PHT the opportunity to run that outstanding Getty photo of his Joe Thornton bout whenever possible.

Still, sometimes star players would be better off letting someone else throw punches.

Thursday might have been an example, as Benn responded to a hard hit by Nikita Tryamkin by getting in a fight that … well, wasn’t to his benefit. Tryamkin isn’t much shorter than Zdeno Chara, allowing him quite the reach advantage:

It allowed Tryamkin to remain remarkably relaxed.

Pretty entertaining. Then again, Benn fights tend to be events. Unfortunately, Benn might be injured:

Sedins helped sell Sharks on putting Hansen with Thornton, Pavelski

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San Jose had an idea that trade deadline acquisition Jannik Hansen would be a good fit on the club’s top line next to Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski.

But a word from Hansen’s ex-Canucks teammates — Daniel and Henrik Sedin — cemented it.

From CSN Bay area:

According [Sharks head coach] Pete DeBoer, assistant Johan Hedberg “got a note from one of the Sedins” that Hansen “would be a real good fit with those two guys. That just reinforced it,” said the coach.

Hansen has been a nice fit since making his Sharks debut on March 9. While he hasn’t exactly racked up the points — just one assist, in his first game — the club is 3-1-0 since acquiring him, and Pavelski said the 31-year-old Dane has been a nice compliment to the line.

To hear Hansen explain it, playing with Joe and Joe is a lot like playing with Danny and Hank.

“[Pavelski and Thornton] play the same way as a couple guys in Vancouver,” Hansen said, referring to the twins. “They want the puck, they want to hold on to it, they want to make the plays. For me, it’s fairly simple as to how I’m playing.

“It’s the same thing – digging pucks out, going to the net, getting pucks back for them.”

Hansen often played alongside the Sedins in recent years. When he scored a career-high 22 goals during the ’15-16 campaign, one or both of the twins routinely provided primary/secondary assists.

Hansen will look for his first goal in teal-and-black tonight, when the Sharks host the Blues in San Jose.


Re-signing with Sharks ‘a priority’ for Vlasic


Earlier this season the San Jose Sharks managed to keep one of their top defenseman — and one of the top ones in the league —  when they re-signed Brent Burns to a massive eight-year contract extension that will run through the 2024-25 season.

Over the course of the next year they are going to have to worry doing it again with their other top defenseman, Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

Vlasic still has one-year remaining on his deal after this one, meaning he will be eligible to sign a new contract extension with the team after July 1.

Hearing him talk, it seems that he is eager to not only get a deal done with the Sharks, but to also sign one that will allow him to finish his career with the only team he has ever known.

“I love it here,” said Vlasic, via Elliotte Friedman’s 30 thoughts column on Tuesday. “I’m not really a guy who wants to play for three or four teams. I like the city, I like the organization, we’re always competitive. What’s not to like? I want to play my whole career in San Jose.”

He reiterated his desire to remain with the Sharks on Tuesday.

It’s easy for Vlasic to get lost playing in Burns’ shadow because he doesn’t put up massive point totals, but he is a superb shutdown defenseman and one of the very best defensive players in hockey. Alongside Justin Braun he makes up one half of the Sharks’ shutdown pairing and has been a rock on the team’s blue line since he was a 19-year-old rookie. What makes him so valuable is that he is a reliable defensive player that also has the ability to move the puck and chip in some offense. He’s not a “defensive defenseman” whose only skill is the ability to throw his body in front of shots. He can make plays with the puck, too, and that combination makes him one of the most well-rounded — and at times underappreciated — defensemen in the league.

At 29 he is still at a point in his career where he should have several quality years in front of him so a long-term deal shouldn’t come with too much of a risk.

Given the impending free agency of veteran forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, as well as the opportunity to work out a new deal with Vlasic, the Sharks are looking at a pretty big offseason when it comes to their core.

Once Burns’ new deal kicks in next year the Sharks will already have close to $55 million committed to 15 players for the 2017-18 season.

Still got it: Patrick Marleau goes top shelf to open the scoring for Sharks


Make that 23 goals this season for the 37-year-old Patrick Marleau.

The veteran San Jose Sharks forward opened the scoring Sunday against the Dallas Stars. That’s what you get when you leave a remarkably consistent scorer all alone in the slot like that.

Marleau is now only two goals shy of his total from a year ago. It’s definitely possible for him to surpass his 48-point total from 2015-16, as well, which is interesting for a few reasons:

— His ability to remain a scoring threat certainly could bode well for San Jose as it looks to make another run toward the Stanley Cup after falling just short a year ago.

— Marleau is a pending unrestricted free agent, nearing the end of a three-year, $20 million contract, and his future in San Jose — and that of Joe Thornton as well — will be something to keep an eye on once the Sharks hit their off-season.

Hansen earns rave reviews after first game with Sharks

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It didn’t take long for Jannik Hansen to register his first point as a member of the San Jose Sharks.

Halfway through the first period of last night’s game against the Capitals, Hansen, in his first game for the Sharks, raced into the corner to recover a loose puck. He then wheeled behind Washington’s net, coming out the other side to feed Joe Thornton, who one-timed it past Braden Holtby to tie the contest, 1-1.

The Sharks would go on to win, 4-2. And afterwards, Hansen received rave reviews from his new head coach.

“I loved him,” Pete DeBoer said, per CSN Bay Area. “I like that he came as advertised. Energy, speed. He’s going to really help our penalty kill. I thought he fit in real good with Joe (Thornton) and Joe (Pavelski). He plays a man’s game out there. He’s really going to help.”

The Sharks acquired Hansen last week in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks.

“It felt like we were playing with him for a long time, it really did,” Pavelski told reporters. “He just went, and just went hard. Made a lot of plays. His speed, playing on the inside, allowed us to keep a few pucks alive.”

The Sharks host Nashville tomorrow.

Related: Hansen adds more speed to Sharks, who were already faster