NHL podcast with Matt Harrington: Montreal Legend Lafleur passes at 70; Wild’s Kaprizov passes 100 points for the season; plus more

Former Montreal Canadien Guy LaFleur was a staple in Montreal sports, LaFleur was a five time Stanley Cup Champion and scored 50 or more points for six consecutive seasons (file photo from nhl.com)

On the NHL podcast with Matt:

#1 He was called the cornerstone of the Montreal Canadiens dynasty, scoring at least 50 goals for six straight seasons for the Habs superstar Guy Lafleur died at age 70 after a three year battle with cancer. LaFleur played from 1971 to 1985 and returned to playing from 1988-91 and was a five time Stanley Cup Champion.

#2 The Minnesota Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov scored his 100th point and then eclipsed it on Friday against the Seattle Kraken at the Xcel Energy Center in St Paul in a 6-3 win. Kevin Fiala set a Wild record with five assists for points in nine consecutive games.

#3 The Ottawa Senators goaltender Filip Gustavsson stopped 33 shots enough to hold back the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Friday night in Columbus. The Senators won in a shootout 2-1. The Sens Tim Stutzle scored the only goal in the shootout enough for Ottawa to get by Columbus.

#4 The Toronto Maple Leafs Wayne Simmonds was fined $2250 for charging the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Mikhail Sergachev at 15:21 of the third period of Thursday’s game in Tampa Bay. The money goes to the Players Emergency Assistance Fund.

#5 The Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks are at SAP Center in San Jose. The Blackhawks have won two of their last 11 games, more recently winning two of their last five games. The Sharks come into tonight’s game winning one of their last 11 games.

Matt does the Sharks podcasts each Saturday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Sharks Lose 5-4 in OT to Wild, Bordeleau Has Assist in NHL Debut


San Jose Sharks’ Ryan Merkley (6) skates past Minnesota Wild’s Kevin Fiala, center, and Jared Spurgeon (46) after Spurgeon scored the game winning goal in overtime at Xcel Energy Arena in St Paul on Sun Apr 17, 2022 (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks finished their road trip with an overtime loss, 5-4 to the Minnesota Wild. Dmitry Kulikov, Jared Spurgeon, Matt Boldy, and Kevin Fiala scored for the Wild, with two goals from Spurgeon. Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves for the win. Rudolfs Balcers, Matt Nieto, Noah Gregor and Nick Bonino scored for the Sharks. James Reimer made 23 saves in the loss. With this win, the Wild clinched their playoff berth.

In this ten game losing streak, the Sharks lost six games by one goal. Two of their losses by two goals included empty net goals. That is a lot of close games. After this game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner said:

“It’s crazy how close we are on a lot of nights. You know, I’ve never been through anything like this as a coach or as a player, you know, losing this many games. And I’m not sure some of those guys in the room have either, the veterans, and certainly my staff. So it’s our job to try and draw on the positives, especially with nine rookies in the lineup tonight, is trying to you know, provide a lot of teaching at this point of the season. There’s a lot of good going on and you’ll never see it in the wins a losses column right now.”

Sharks added a couple more rookies to the mix on Sunday, for a total of seven in the lineup. Forward Thomas Bordeleau had an assist, a shot and was 40% in face-offs. He had 13:14 TOI, skating at center with Noah Gregor and Rudolfs Balcers. Defenseman Santeri Hatakka had a shot, a hit and two blocked shots in 11:44 TOI, skating with Nicolas Meloche.

Of Bordeleau’s first game, Boughner said: “I thought he did a lot of good things. You know, I talked to him after the first. Of course, he was nervous and, you know, he said to me: ‘I’ll be better in the second period,’ but I thought he actually had a pretty good first period.” He went on with the analysis to say “I liked his game, I thought pretty responsible, and for a first game I thought he handled himself very well.”

Dmitry Kulikov scored the first goal of the game at 6:04 of the first period. Kevin Fiala dropped the puck to Kulikov high in the slot. Kulikov’s shot went through some traffic and past Reimer’s glove. Assists went to Fiala and Matt Boldy.

Jared Spurgeon made it 2-0 at 7:29 with a shot from the point that went through traffic and in. It seemed to change direction off of Brent Burns’ stick. Marcus Foligno got the assist.

Rudolfs Balcers got the Sharks on the board at 9:38. Thomas Bordeleau knocked the puck lose below the goal line and Balcers gathered it up and moved up high for a shot from just below the blue line. The puck went under Fleury and in. Assists went to Bordeleau and Noah Gregor.

Matt Nieto tied the game at 1:19 of the second period. Nick Bonino caught the puck after Burns knocked it away from the Wild in the Sharks’ zone. Bonino passed it across the neutral zone to a speeding Nieto who carried it the other way. He got as far as the face-off circle before taking the shot for his sixth of the season.

Matt Boldy got the lead back for the Wild at 6:37, cleaning up a rebound. Assists went to Kevin Fiala and Frederick Gaudreau.

Noah Gregor tied it back up at 11:11. Bordeleau helped out again, this time picking off a pass and getting the puck to Balcers to start the play. Burns took the shot from the point and Gregor knocked in the rebound. Burns and Balcers got the assists.

Nick Bonino scored a short-handed goal at 1:37 of the third to give the Sharks a 4-3 lead. Tomas Herlt broke the puck out and then turned to skate backwards just over the Wild blue line. Bonino went down the boards and Hertl made a pass across the ice to him. Bonino took the shot from bad angle and beat Fleury. Assists went to Hertl and Nicolas Meloche.

Keivn Fiala tied it for the Wild, redirecting a Jordie Benn shot from the point. There was some discussion of goaltender interference, as a Wild player did bump Reimer’s glove. After the game, Boughner explained that the Sharks considered challenging it but, with Reimer outside the blue paint, the call might go against them. Assists went to Benn and Gaudreau.

Jared Spurgeon scored the game winner at 1:05 of overtime with a wrist shot from just above the circle. Assists went to Fiala and Gaudreau.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7:30 PM PT.

San Jose Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa: Reviewing this week’s trades and how it benefits Sharks

Anthony Bitetto joins the San Jose Sharks in a deal that Nick Merkley to the New York Rangers. Sharks assistant general manager Joe Will said Bitetto will strengthen the Sharks blue line (photo from New York Rangers Twitter)

On the San Jose Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa:

#1 Mary Lisa let’s take a look at some of the moves that the San Jose Sharks made this week before the trade deadline they traded defenseman Jake Middleton to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen and a 2022 fifth-round draft pick. The Sharks are looking to strengthen their position in goal do you see Kahkonen getting many starts out of the gate.

#2 Forward Nick Merkley went to the New York Rangers in exchange for defenseman Anthony Bitteto. Merkley was a mainstay for the Sharks AHL club the Barracuda developed and came up to the Sharks for Merkley to get the Rangers attention and join them Merkley did some impressive work on the ice.

#3 The Sharks sent forward Andrew Cogliano to the Colorado Avalanche for a 2024 fifth round draft pick. San Jose also traded goaltender Alexei Melnichuk to the Tampa Bay Lightning for center Antoine Morand.

#4 There is no secret that the Sharks are excited about obtaining Kahkonen, “Kaapo is a quick, athletic goaltender who has shown the ability to win consistently at every level he has played,” San Jose assistant general manager Joe Will said. 

#5 Anthony Bitteto is a plus as he joins the Sharks, Sharks assistant general manager Joe Will said that Bitteto gives the Sharks physical, additional depth on San Jose’s blueline. Bitteto has played in 39 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL with 15 points, four goals and 11 asissts.

Join Mary Lisa for the SJ Sharks podcasts each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Sharks Trade Middleton, Cogliano, Merkley, Acquire Kahkonen, Bitteto, Picks

The San Jose Sharks in a trade acquired goaltender Kappo Kahkonnen from the Minnesota Wild seen in photo file on Mon Mar 21, 2022 (file photo from Hockey Wilderness)

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE– On Monday, the trade deadline, the San Jose Sharks moved three players to playoff contenders. They traded defenseman Jake Middleton to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen and a 2022 fifth-round draft pick. Forward Nick Merkley went to the New York Rangers in exchange for defenseman Anthony Bitteto. The Sharks sent forward Andrew Cogliano to the Colorado Avalanche for a 2024 fifth round draft pick. San Jose also traded goaltender Alexei Melnichuk to the Tampa Bay Lightning for center Antoine Morand.

Jake Middleton has been with the Sharks organization since 2017, when he was signed as a free agent. He played in 59 games with the Sharks, scored nine points and had 82 penalty minutes.

Last season, Kaapo Kahkonen set a Wild rookie record, posting nine consecutive wins. He played 25 games with the Wild this season, posting a record of 12-8-3, a 2.87 GAA and a .910 save percentage. In his 54-game NHL career, his record is 31-17-4, a 2.89 GAA and a .907 save percentage. He will become a restricted free agent next season.

After the trade, Kahkonen talked about the trade and what he knows about the Sharks:

A good team. You know, the games I played against San Jose, I remember there’s a lot of good players there. I think it’s going to be, for sure we’re going to be a team that’s going to be able to compete in the near future and it’s going to be a great opportunity.

Kahkonen was asked whether he expected to be traded by the Wild. He said:

“I had no idea. I was actually on the ice, they pulled me out of there from the morning skate and just told me I had to leave the ice. At first I was kind of thinking that something happened to someone in my family or something but… so I was scared but then I heard I was getting traded.”

In a press release Monday, the Sharks said: “Kaapo is a quick, athletic goaltender who has shown the ability to win consistently at every level he has played,” San Jose assistant general manager Joe Will said. “He provides our club additional depth at the goaltending position this season and in the coming years.”

The Sharks acquired Nick Merkley last summer from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenseman Christian Jaros. Merkley played nine games with the Sharks and earned one goal and two assists.

Of Anthony Bitteto, a Sharks press release said:

“‘Anthony is a physical, veteran defenseman who gives us additional depth on our blueline,’ said Sharks Assistant General Manager Joe Will.

“This season, Bitetto has appeared in 39 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League, posting 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) and 26 penalty minutes in 39 games. He ranks second among team defensemen in goals and third in both assists and points.

“Bitetto has appeared in 197 NHL games with Nashville, Minnesota, Winnipeg, and the Rangers, posting 31 points (three goals, 28 assists) and 142 penalty minutes.”

Bitteto will be a free agent this summer.

Andrew Cogliano played 56 games with the Sharks this season, scored four goals and earned eleven assists. He will be a free agent this summer. In a press release, the Sharks said:

“Andrew was an important leader and a respected veteran in our dressing room this season,” said Sharks Assistant General Manager Joe Will. “Our players will be better pros for having had Andrew as a teammate.”

Antoine Morand has yet to play in the NHL. In their press release, the Sharks said:

In 138 AHL games with San Diego and Syracuse, Morand has posted 44 points (15 goals, 29 assists).

The five-foot-eleven, 190-pound native of Chateauguay, Quebec was originally selected by Anaheim in the second round (60th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft.

Melnichuk appeared in three games with the Sharks last season. In their press release, the Sharks said:

Melnichuk appeared in 31 games with the Barracuda this season, posting a 10-14-2 record with a 3.92 goals-against average and an .867 save percentage.

Tomas Hertl is staying put with an eight-year contract extension, as the Sharks announced last week. The Sharks also did not move goaltender James Reimer, or forward Alexander Barabanov. Both players made the trade rumor mill before the deadline. Barabanov will be a free agent this summer and Reimer has one more season under contract with the Sharks.

NHL podcast with Matt Harrington: Ovechkin close to winning Hart Trophy; Wild’s Kaprizov out for tonight vs. Washington; plus more

The Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin a three time MVP winner is up for the Hart Trophy Award (NHL.com file photo)

On the NHL podcast with Matt Harrington:

#1 The Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin who has won the MVP three times is up for the Hart Trophy so far with 24 goals, 50 points, and has helped the Capitals to get to first place in the Metropolitan Division.

#2 The Boston Bruins Trent Fredric hit the Minnesota Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov hitting him into the boards and Kaprizov’s skates got caught up with his teammate Matt Grzelcyk receiving an upper body injury at 10:09 of the second period in the 3-2 Wild win on Thursday night. Kaprizov will not play against the Washington Capitals tonight.

#3 The St Louis Blues dropped their odds a bit losing right winger Vladimir Tarasenko, defensemen Scott Perunovich, and Jake Walman to Coronavirus protocols. Each will miss two games after testing positive for Coronavirus.

#4 The Vegas Golden Knights know how to spoil a reunion as they defeated the New York Rangers 5-1 in the return of former Knights head coach Gerrard Gallant. Gallant was the Knights first coach in their franchise history before being replace by Peter DeBoer on Jan 15, 2020.

#5 Three games were canceled in Canadian cities due to attendance restrictions New Jersey had two games postponed @ Montreal Jan 15 and at Toronto Jan 17th. The Chicago Blackhawks at Edmonton Oilers were postponed for Jan 18. The Ottawa Senators had three games postponed.

#6 The San Jose Sharks gave Evander Kane his unconditional release today because of a fake Covid 19 card and he will no longer be skating for the Sharks minor league team the San Jose Barracuda. Kane has ability but because of off ice issues is no longer with San Jose.

Join Matt for the NHL podcasts each Saturday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NHL podcast with Matt Harrington: Froze out outdoor game will set NHL cold record; Ovechkin sets power play goals record; Knights win on Pacioretty’s first game back since surgery

They can see their breath as workers at Target Field in Minneapolis prepare the ice surface and stands for fans and players as the St Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild face off on Sat Jan 1, 2022 for the Winter Classic which is expected to the coldest outdoor game on record (AP News photo)

On the NHL podcast with Matt Harrington:

#1 It wouldn’t be a show without opening it up about the power play goal king Alexander Ovechkin who mailed home the NHL record most power play goals in history on Friday night with number 275 against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars in Detroit.

#2 Look out Matt for those full of fired up Vegas Golden Knights as they defeat the Anaheim Ducks in Las Vegas 3-1. This was the Knights tenth win in 12 games in a 3-1 win. The Knights Max Pacioretty enjoyed the victory the Pacioretty’s first since coming back from wrist surgery on Thursday.

#3 You knew the New Jersey Devils (12-15-5) Jack Hughes wouldn’t disappoint scoring two goals and an assist for three points on Friday night with a game winning goal at 2:55 in the third period against the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers Conner McDavid scored two goals. The Devils edged the Oilers 6-5.

#4 In the coldest outdoor game record low of three degrees the Winter Classic between the visiting St Louis Blues and the Minnesota Wild at Target Field in Minnesota was the coldest on record. The NHL has ordered 40,000 hand warmers for fans for today’s outdoor game.

#5 Matt, nine games postponed means 90 games scratched due to Covid 19 protocols. The New York Islanders have games in Seattle on Tue, at Vancouver on Wed, in Edmonton on Jan 8, and at Calgary on Jan 11th all postponed. The games will be made up later.

Matt Harrington does the NHL podcasts each Saturday night at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NHL podcast with Matt Harrington: NHL action returns on Tuesday; Winter Classic is game on for New Years Day; plus more

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) gets in between Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) and guard Cameron Payne at Footprint Center in Phoenix on Christmas Dec 25, 2021 (AP News photo)

On the NHL podcast with Matt:

#1 Matt, how important was it to delay the Holiday shutdown one more day as NHL action returns on Tuesday night instead of Monday night.

#2 The NHL Discover Winter Classic is on target to be played between St Louis Blues (17-9-5) and Minnesota Wild (9-19-2) at Target Field is still scheduled to be played on Sat Jan 1 barring no further Covid interruptions.

#3 According to former NHL great Wayne Gretzky said that Washington Capitals (18-6-7) Alexander Ovechkin will pass him up for most goals scored. Ovechkin could do it with 143 goals remaining. Ovechkin has 22 goals in 31 games this season. Gretzky said he’s on his way to 40-50 goals this season there is no he will break the record.

#4 It’s really no surprise that the NHL called off it’s players from participating in the Beijing 2020 Winter Olympics due to the surge in positive tests for Covid 19. The Feb 6-22 Olympic schedule now scratched the league will use those dates to make up games that were postponed.

#5 The Boston Bruins (14-10-2) surprisingly are in fifth place in the Atlantic Division three points out of a playoff spot. The Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy said that there is a lot of hockey to be played yet and their looking for some consistency to get right back in the hunt again.

Join Matt for the NHL podcast each Saturday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Sharks Fall 5-2 to Wild, Wild Win Streak at Eight

Minnesota Wild center Victor Rask (49) tries to get control of the puck against San Jose Sharks center Noah Gregor (73) in the first period at the SAP Center in San Jose on Thu Dec 9, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE– The Sharks fell 5-2 to the Minnesota Wild Thursday. It was the Wild’s eight win in a row. Wild goals were scored by Kevin Fiala, Joel Eriksson Ek, Jordan Greenway (2) and Kirill Kaprizov. Cam Talbot made 33 saves for the win. Sharks goals were scored by Jonathan Dahlen and Tomas Hertl. Adin Hill made 22 saves in the loss.

To start the third period, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner juggled his lines a bit. The result was positive but not enough, as he explained after the game:

“We switched up the lines a little bit, sometimes it’s good to put them in the blender when things aren’t going your way. We did that and the team reacted but, it’s just, you know, it’s a good team and in order to beat those good teams you have to be good for sixty minutes, especially our team and it I think that it took too long to find our game tonight.”

Minnesota’s Kevin Fiala scored the lone goal of the first period, 6:22 in. Jon Merrill’s shot was blocked by Mario Ferraro right in front of the net. The puck dropped in front of an open net for Fiala’s shot. Assists went to Merrill and Brandon Duhaime.

Joel Eriksson Ek scored the the Wild’s first power play goal at 7:04 of the second period. Jacob Middleton was in the box for tripping Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello sent the puck into a crowd in front of the net and it went off of Eriksson Ek’s stick for a perfect deflection past Hill. Assists went to Zuccarello and Kirill Kaprizov.

Jordan Greenway scored Minnesota’s second power play goal at 15:20. Jacob Middleton was in the box for holding Nick Bjugstad. Kevin Fiala brought the puck into the slot, then made a pass out to Greenway in the face-off circle. Greenway took a quick shot and beat Hill on the far side. Assists went to Fiala and Alex Goligoski.

Jonathan Dahlen scored for San Jose 3:29 into the third period. Tomas Hertl won an offensive zone face-off and sent the puck up to Erik Karlsson at the point. Karlsson brought the puck down the boards a bit before taking a shot that went off of Dahlen in front of the net. Assists went to Karlsson and Hertl.

Tomas Hertl cut the Wild lead to one with a power play goal at 13:26. Jonathan Dahlen took a shot that created a rebound. The puck fell to Hertl at the side of the net and he lifted it in behind Talbot. Jonathan Dahlen and Logan Couture got the assists.

The Sharks pulled Adin Hill for the extra skater with more than to minutes left. The Wild got the puck out and Jordan Greenway raced Brent Burns for the puck. As they reached the net, Greenway was able to nudge the puck in to make it 4-2. Moments later, with the net still empty, Kirill Kaprizov broke away to make it 5-2.

The Sharks had a good night in the face-off circle, winning 57% of them. The shots were close in the first to periods, but in the third, the Sharks outshot the Wild 19-9. the Sharks penalty kill gave up four shots along with the two goals, and the Wild penalty kill gave up four shots and one goal. Jacob Middleton took three penalties in the game.

The Sharks next play on Saturday at 7:30 PM PT, against the visiting Dallas Stars.

NHL podcast with Matt Harrington: Canes get convincing win against Flyers 6-3; Rangers score 3 third period goals in win; plus more

Carolina Hurricanes’ Ian Cole, left, and Philadelphia Flyers’ Nate Thompson (right) rumble in the second period of Fri Nov 26, 2021 in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center (AP News photo)

On the NHL podcast with Matt Harrington:

#1 After the Carolina Hurricanes (15-3-1) lost a rare game on Wednesday to the San Jose Sharks (10-8-1) 2-1 but quickly as they lost that game came back and won convincingly against the Philadelphia Flyers (8-7-4) 6-3 on Friday. The Hurricanes did a bulk of their scoring in the second period with four goals.

#2 Artemi Panarin scored a crucial tiebreaking goal for the New York Rangers (13-4-3) in the third period one of three goals as the Rangers defeated the Boston Bruins (10-7-0) in a three goal win. Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin saved 34 shots in the Friday contest.

#3 The Minnesota Wild (13-6-1) just tore it up on Friday against the Winnipeg Jets (9-7-4) with a six goal win 7-1. Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and three assists and Wild goaltender Cam Talbot allowed a goal saved 31 shots.

#4. One of the original San Jose Sharks Doug Wilson who is team general manager is taking time off from his duties for medical leave to convalesce from a constant cough which is believed not to be Covid related. Wilson will be recovering in Arizona until further notice. Assistant general manager Joe Will will be acting general manager. Wilson 64 has been the team general manager since 2003-04 season.

#5 The Ottawa Senators (4-13-1) continued their losing ways bowing to the Anaheim Ducks (11-7-3) at the Honda Center in Anaheim in a 4-0 shutout. The loss was the Senators fourth straight loss. The last time the Sens won a game was back on Nov 13th against the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3. For the Ducks goaltender Anthony Stolarz stopped 34 shots for the shutout.

Join Matt for the NHL podcasts each Saturday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Jose Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa Walsh: Sharks face off with struggling Blues in St Louis on Thursday night

Minnesota Wild goalie Cam Talbot can’t stop San Jose Sharks’ Mario Ferraro (not pictured) from scoring in the first period on Tue Nov 16, 2021 in Minnesota (AP News photo)

On the San Jose Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa:

#1 Mary Lisa the San Jose Sharks (8-6-1) Timo Meier has had a strong start getting a goal and an assist against the Minnesota Wild (10-5-0) he had a good outing against the Wild and he’s been coming on strong offensively.

#2 James Reimer was key in goal with 26 saves holding the Wild to just one goal in the 4-1 win how would you evaluate him in goal he’s had the hot hand of late.

#3 Sharks team captain Logan Couture said the effort against the Wild was great and that their now playing their style of hockey.

#4 Mary Lisa talk about the Sharks jumping right out of the gate in that first period opening up the period with two goals which is crucial when your jumping on top of a good team like the Wild who have won of late.

#5 Sharks are in St Louis to face the St Louis Blues (8-5-2) the Blues are on a four game losing streak and just recently lost to a struggling Arizona Coyotes (2-13-1) have the Blues had injuries and might have their hands full when they get to San Jose on Thursday night at SAP.

Join Mary Lisa for exclusive San Jose Sharks podcasts Wednesdays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com