Sharks soak in the love from fans during NHL All-Star Weekend

SAN JOSE — As the rest of the Pacific Division skated off to the locker room following their 10-4 defeat to the Central Division in the first game of the 2019 NHL All-Star Game, Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson and Joe Pavelski stayed on the ice to say thank you.

The three San Jose Sharks were enjoying their final moments of a memorable few days after their city played host to All-Star Weekend. The sold out SAP Center gave the love right back, as they had all weekend.

Sharks fans made their presence known during Friday’s All-Star Media Day at City National Civic Auditorium. As other NHL All-Stars were being interview at their individual pods in the center of the floor, Let’s Go Sharks! chants were heard. Then, when the three Sharks players were introduced for their turns with the media, the volume inside grew even louder.

“For this weekend to come to San Jose, it’s just a celebration of a lot of great players coming together for the game,” said Pavelski. “It’s fun playing [the All-Star Game] in the city you play for. Every time our names got announced or we stepped on the ice you could hear the little extra roars. That was pretty cool to be a part of.”

There wasn’t much for Sharks fans to cheer about during the game, however. Karlsson did score twice and Burns added another, but the Pacific’s night ended earlier than expected.

“The crowd was awesome,” said Burns. “Good energy.”

“Terrible outcome,” added a laughing Karlsson. “It’s been a while since I scored, so I was happy about that.”

It had been 22 years since San Jose hosted All-Star Weekend, and over that time there’s been a trend upward for the on-the-ice product and what’s happening in the community. The Sharks have only missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs three times since the 1997 All-Star game took place, which has helped grow the area into a very strong hockey market. 

Pavelski, one of longest-tenured Sharks, has personally seen the impact hockey in the area has made.

“Right when I came in [in 2006] the Shark Tank [has] been loud and awesome to play in and the fans have been great,” he said. “I haven’t seen that change over the course of years. I’ve got a kid playing youth hockey and there’s not that much available ice time for them. They only skate a couple times a week and there’s a lot of kids on the ice, so there’s a good youth movement going on here where kids are just loving to play the game and we could use more ice. They play roller hockey, everything here, so there’s a good passion for the game.”

Karlsson is the new guy to the Bay Area. After spending the first nine years of his NHL career in Ottawa, his trade to the Sharks in September bolstered the franchise’s hopes to win their first Cup, but also left a question about his future unanswered. The 28-year-old defenseman can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He’s currently eligible to sign a seven-year extension with the Sharks, but once the Feb. 25 trade deadline passes he can ink for the max eight years. 

He wasn’t going to discuss his future this weekend, but in the four months he’s been in San Jose, he’s seen what kind of market it’s become and just how strong of an organization that he’s now a part of.

“I always knew the Shark Tank was a building that was tough to play in, it was always full and loud,” he said. “But I was surprised about the Bay Area in general, how many sports fans we have, and Sharks fans. That was something I didn’t know. I think that this weekend just reiterated that, so it’s been a pleasant surprise.”

MORE:
NHL All-Star Skills 2019: Winners, funny moments, Gritty
NHL All-Star Game 2019: Metro wins final, Crosby lands MVP
All-Star MVP adds to Crosby’s ‘great memories’ of San Jose

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs: PHT predicts Round 2

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So after a Round 1 that was full of unexpected endings, what can even expect from Round 2? How many more brackets might get busted over the next two weeks — if they weren’t already busted after what we just witnessed?

Here are some fun facts about Round 1:

• 14 of the 16 top point producers from the regular season are not in the Second Round

• 5 of 8 winning teams overcame a series deficit

• 7 of the top 10 regular-season teams eliminated

• 3 Game 7s – most in the opening round since 2014 (3 Game 7s in entire playoffs last year)

• Ten games required overtime, matching the total from the entire 2018 postseason.

• For the first time in NHL history, the top team from each conference and all division winners were eliminated in the opening round. Washington’s defeat guarantees that there will be a new Stanley Cup champion for the 19th time in the past 20 seasons.

• Only three other rounds in NHL history have featured two Game 7s that required overtime, with each occurring on either the same day or on consecutive days: the 1997 Conference Quarterfinals (2 on April 29), 2011 Conference Quarterfinals (April 26-27) and 2012 Conference Quarterfinals (April 25-26). No postseason in NHL history has ever featured more than two Game 7s that have required overtime.

• Overall, 10 of 46 games required overtime in the First Round (21.7%), matching the total from the entire 2018 postseason (10 of 84 GP; 11.9%).

Now let’s move on to Round 2. Here’s who we think will advance to the conference finals. Who do you have moving on?

PHT’s Round 2 previews
Round 2 schedule, TV info

Questions for the final eight teams
PHT Roundtable
Conn Smythe favorites after Round 1

WATCH LIVE: Blue Jackets-Bruins, Stars-Blues kicks off Round 2

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Game 1: Columbus Blue Jackets at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. ET
NBCSN
Call: Mike Emrick, Mike Milbury, Brian Boucher
Series preview

Stream here

Game 1: Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues, 9:30 p.m. ET
NBCSN
Call: Brendan Burke, AJ Mleczko, Pierre McGuire
Series preview

Stream here

Pre-game coverage begins tonight on NBCSN at 6 p.m. ET with NHL Live.

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and Connected TVs – will live stream all games airing on NBC, NBCSN, USA Network, and CNBC, via “TV Everywhere” throughout the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

PHT’s Round 2 previews
Round 2 schedule, TV info

Questions for the final eight teams
PHT Roundtable
Conn Smythe favorites after Round 1

Golden Knights’ owner says NHL executive apologized for Game 7 penalty

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — The owner of the Vegas Golden Knights said Thursday a senior NHL executive phoned him to apologize for a penalty called during Game 7 of his team’s loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Owner Bill Foley said the call came the morning after Vegas lost 5-4 in overtime Tuesday night to end the first-round series. Foley said at a news conference the call came from an executive who is ”about as senior as you can get,” but he did not want to identify him.

The play in question was a major penalty on Cody Eakin of the Golden Knights that Foley described as ”infuriating.”

The owner said the executive admitted it was a ”bad call” and the league did ”acknowledge” it. Foley added that the apology made him ”feel a little better after that.”

Foley said he was sitting with injured forward Erik Haula in a suite at SAP Center when Eakin cross-checked Sharks captain Joe Pavelski in the chest with 10:47 to play. Paul Stastny bumped Pavelski as he fell to the ice, where he was knocked out and bleeding on the ice.

The officials conferred on the unreviewable play while a dazed Pavelski was helped to the locker room with a towel pressed to his head. Eakin was assessed a 5-minute penalty for cross-checking and a game misconduct. The Sharks scored four goals on the ensuing power play.

Series supervisor Don VanMassenhoven said the major penalty was given because the cross-check caused a significant injury.

”The game was ours, it was over, 3-zip,” Foley said. ”We were looking, saying ‘all we gotta do is play some defense, play defense and stay out of the box.’ Within 30 seconds, 5-minute major. It wasn’t a penalty. Painful.”

San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said Pavelski is listed as day to day but is not expected to be cleared for Game 1 of the second-round series against the Avalanche on Friday night.

DeBoer downplayed the league’s call to Foley.

”I haven’t gotten many of their calls where they made a mistake,” DeBoer said. ”There were a couple earlier in that series where I would have appreciated a call. We’re past that. We’re on to the next opponent now.”

AP sports writer Josh Dubow in San Jose, California, contributed to this report.

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Maple Leafs’ Zach Hyman needs surgery for torn knee ligament

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TORONTO (AP) Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman has a torn knee ligament and is expected to miss a minimum of six months.

The team said Thursday he injured his anterior cruciate ligament during a playoff loss to Boston and will have surgery Monday.

The 26-year-old Hyman set career highs in goals (21) and points (41) this season. He had one goal during the seven-game playoff loss to the Bruins.

He has 115 points in 251 career NHL games.