San Jose Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer broke up the defensive pairing of Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic in the third period of Tuesday’s game. He then changed up all the defensive lines Friday and Karlsson once again was not playing next to Vlasic. It might seem that the merger of two defensive stars might be done, yet The Mercury News’ Paul Gackle writes that this is nothing more than a bump in the road for the Sharks and their elite pairing.
Gackle writes that DeBoer is well known for shaking up lines, either on offense or defense if the team is struggling, and this is no different. The belief is that for Karlsson to be the offensive force that the Sharks need, they need Vlasic to take a more defensive approach to his game and play more like Marc Methot, the defensive defenseman who was paired with Karlsson for many years in Ottawa.
With just a few weeks of the season underway, DeBoer is well aware that Karlsson needs time to adjust as will Vlasic who they still believe is the perfect complement to Karlsson.
- Josh Cooper of The Athletic (subscription required) writes that the Anaheim Ducks shouldn’t put too much blame on head coach Randy Carlyle, who has had a successful stint in his second tenure as head coach. However, while Carlyle has done quite a bit with certain key players such as Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell and Cam Fowler in the last few years, if the team cannot rebound from this, there could be a coaching change in store at some point this season, although the scribe believes that Carlyle will be given every opportunity to right the ship.
- Fox Sports Jon Rosen writes that the Los Angeles Kings got some good news on the injury front as the team is starting to integrate prospect Gabriel Vilardi into practice last week and although he’s wearing a non-contact sweater, it’s a positive step for the 19-year-old, who missed both training camp and the start of the season with back problems. The team’s 2017 first-round pick struggled through back problems last year at this time and missed the first half of the season before finally being returned to juniors to finish out his season. He contributed 22 goals and 56 points in just 32 games with the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs. With the Kings in desperate need of offense this year, the team hopes that Vilardi can make a seamless transition to the NHL and contribute at some point soon.
- The Vegas Golden Knights have declared winger Max Pacioretty out for Sunday’s game against the Ottawa Senators. Pacioretty, who took a big hit to the head during Friday’s game against Tampa Bay, is listed as day-to-day still. Las Vegas Review-Journal’s David Schoen reports that he asked Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant whether the 29-year-old was in concussion protocol. Gallant’s response: “He’s got an upper-body injury.” Tomas Hyka will be in the lineup in place of Pacioretty. He has no points in five games.