Author: James O'Brien


Owner to Thornton, Wilson: ‘What happens with Sharks, stays with Sharks’


Hockey fans don’t hear the name Hasso Plattner (pictured prominently on the right) very often, but then again, big-name players don’t usually tell their GMs to “shut their mouths” every day, either.

Things have gotten ugly enough – or really, ugly in public enough – for the San Jose Sharks’ owner to step in to squash Doug Wilson and Joe Thornton’s squabble, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Plattner used a famous Las Vegas tagline to try to cool each sides’ jets (or at least keep things in-house).

Via email, Hasso Plattner confirmed he talked to both Joe Thornton and Doug Wilson. Asked what he said, he replied, “What happens (with) the Sharks stays with the Sharks. All good.”

As Friedman notes, Thornton has a lot of power thanks to the no-trade clause on his contract, which just kicked in this season (after being inked before his last one expired in 2013-14).

It’s been quite the drama ever since the Los Angeles Kings pulled a “reverse sweep” on the Sharks, leading to Thornton being stripped of the captaincy and a summer full of strange, sometimes contradictory statements about rebuilding-or-maybe-not from Sharks management.

All this time, it seemed to be a situation that was handled by typical faces like Wilson and head coach Todd McLellan, but now Plattner becomes a more public owner than he’s been before (or at least has in recent memory). One would imagine he might not be very thrilled with that, and considering the message to focus on the playoffs … things could get messy if San Jose falls short of the postseason for the first time in many years.

Wild win as Dubnyk befuddles Blues

Jordan Schroeder, Devan Dubnyk

The Western Conference’s bubble teams aren’t lying down by any means, so the Minnesota Wild still need to stay hot. Not too surprisingly, that means that they’ll continue to lean on Devan Dubnyk.

He came through in a big way – again – on Saturday, making 41 out of 42 saves as the Wild beat the St. Louis Blues 3-1.

By his lofty terms, the 28-year-old stumbled ever so slightly in losing two of his previous three games while not seeing an overwhelming amount of shots. That changed in a big way tonight, as he was up to a considerable task as the Blues lost despite generating a 42-19 shot advantage.

With this win in tow, Dubnyk’s Wild stats are pretty ridiculous.

He’s now an impressive 19-5-1 with a .937 save percentage and five shutouts since joining the Wild. (Dubnyk was solid with the Arizona Coyotes, but there’s no doubt that his game really took off with Minnesota.)

The Wild still face a small margin of error to hold onto the first wild card spot – or a playoff berth in general – yet wins like these could end up being the difference-maker (which might be just be the perfect nickname for Devan Dubnyk).

Habs ride brilliant Price performance to win vs. Isles

P.K. Subban, Carey Price

If you look at Saturday’s Montreal Canadiens – New York Islanders game as a showcase between two potential Hart Trophy candidates (rather than two East contenders), then Carey Price got the best of John Tavares tonight.

Price was brilliant once again for Montreal, stopping 35 out of 36 shots as the Habs beat the Islanders 3-1. Tavares created some great chances – as usual – yet Price was game for all of his six shots on net.

Price’s stop on Matt Martin was probably the sexiest highlight of them all, though:

In reality, this wasn’t just about two stars, especially since there were plenty of other standout talents on the ice like P.K. Subban. It was a great night for Max Pacioretty (a goal on a gaffe by Michal Neuvirth) and a not-so-great evening for Kyle Okposo and Johnny Boychuk, who both suffered with -3 ratings.

The out-of-town scoreboard was also friendly to the Canadiens and unfriendly to the Islanders. While the Tampa Bay Lightning muffed their chance to keep pace with Montreal, the New York Rangers took care of business against the Buffalo Sabres. That leaves the Habs strongly in first place in the Atlantic Division while the Isles face an uphill battle to catch the Rangers in the Metro.

Both teams seem like they’re on the upswing overall, but it was Montreal that took a step forward tonight.