They’re not mathematically eliminated. Not yet. But time is running out. And the teams ahead of them in the division — Vancouver, L.A., and Calgary — have, for the most part, continued to earn points and wins.
They sit eight points back of the L.A. Kings, current holders of third in the division.
For the Sharks, who fell to the Kings in a historical collapse in the opening round of last year’s playoffs, their season went off the rails last month, when they won only three times in 13 games.
“Teams that you’re competing with to solidify that 6-7-8 spot did a better job of elevating their play and beating our hockey club, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves for that,” Sharks head coach Todd McLellan told The Canadian Press.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
During Winnipeg’s 5-2 victory over San Jose last night, Jets fans started a “Who’s your Captain” chant in light of the recent drama involving Joe Thornton and GM Doug Wilson:
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The Detroit Red Wings have some interest in re-signing trade deadline acquisition Marek Zidlicky. (NHL.com)
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez took another step towards return by participating in battle drills. (LA Kings Insider)
Nail Yakupov recently treated a homeless man that approached him while Yakupov was in his car to a $100 meal and then gave him the rest of the money he had on him in the hopes that the man could find a place to stay for the night. (Edmonton Journal)
Capitals coach Barry Trotz felt rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov was “our best player by a wide margin” on Monday. He’s been very effective in general lately. (CSN Washington)
Here are the highlights from the Sabres 2-1 shootout victory over the Bruins:
Speaking of Boston, Jeremy Roenick interviewed Patrice Bergeron to talk about superstitions, playing in Boston, and more:
“I’m done talking about that,” Thornton told reporters from Winnipeg, where the Sharks have a big game tonight against the Jets.
“Let’s talk about the game if you want to talk about anything. That’s an old story.”
To be sure, the Sharks can’t afford to let anything distract them from the tall task at hand — making the playoffs. It’s estimated they’ll have to win nine or 10 of their final 13 games in order to avoid missing the postseason for the first time since 2003.
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.