Sharks get lousy Joe Thornton news; Hertl avoids suspension

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Coming off of last night’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Jets, the San Jose Sharks got some bad news and some OK news.

While the Sharks may still need to mull over the possibility of surgery, they’ve already ruled Joe Thornton out for “several weeks with an MCL-related injury” to his right knee. The veteran forward already dealt with surgery to his left knee late last season, so this is another tough break.

Even from watching the clip of him leaving the ice last night, it looked pretty bad.

It stings a little extra because the 38-year-old was really starting to roll.

After being limited to 15 points in his first 23 games, Thornton generated 21 in his past 24 contests, with an unusual chunk coming in the form of goals. That’s been especially true in January, with six of his 10 points being goals. Pretty impressive for a guy who sometimes only seemed to score goals from intended assists.

Here’s hoping Thornton makes the right choice regarding surgery or just taking time to heal, but either way, this is a big blow for the Sharks.

The OK news for the Sharks: while Tomas Hertl was ejected from last night’s game, that’s the extent of the damage, as he will avoid a suspension for boarding Dmitry Kulikov, according to The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz.

It’s not much solace for the Sharks with this Thornton news, but it’s better than losing Hertl as well.

While the Sharks enter the All-Star break with a home game on Thursday, they’ll come back with a five-game road trip, and they’ll need to do so without one of the best playmakers of this generation. Brutal stuff for a team in the middle of challenging battles for playoff positioning.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.