The San Jose Sharks will take on the Los Angeles Kings for the first time since the infamous hit which took Tomas Hertl out of the game for potentially the remainder of the season. Dustin Brown’s knee-on-knee hit during a game on December 19th has controversy written all over it. However, today, Brown expressed sorrow for being the one who took the rookie out of play.
“You never want to see anybody get hurt,” Brown said. He was pretty exciting coming into the league. We need more players like him that are willing to go through the legs, and go top shelf. That’s good for our game. You don’t want to see anybody get hurt. Like I said, it’s one of those things that kind of happen in the game of hockey.”
Brown added that “It’s not too often you see a young guy like that come in and do the things he was able to do. Hopefully, he can get healthy.”
After the injury, general manager Doug Wilson made a statement in regards to the length of time it took for an apology to surface. “My response to the lack of, maybe, concern towards our player is disappointing,” Wilson said (see full quote here).
“There are two sides to every story. They’re going to be upset.” Brown said when asked about Wilson’s statement. “If that was reversed, the Kings would have been upset.”
The Sharks/Kings rivalry has been heated by two playoff matchups over the past three years and this incident has increased things even more.
“Intensified the rivalry a bit, I think,” Tommy Wingels said. “We weren’t happy, and I certainly wasn’t with the way things were handled, and the play itself.”
It will be interesting to see how the game unfolds this evening, as some retaliation may come into play. The Sharks are on a six game winning streak and are currently ten points ahead of the Kings. Will emotions surface? On one hand the Sharks are now playing the remainder of the season without their rookie star. On the other hand, keeping a good point gap between the teams will benefit the Sharks in the long run. Making emotional plays and having potential fights break out could detract from gaining the two points the Sharks need to stay at the top of the league.
The Sharks have said that the best payback for Hertl’s injury would be to win.
“We’re going to win the game for Hertl, that’s what we’ll do,” Marc-Edouard Vlasic said Sunday. “There’s nothing you can do now but play hard and win the game for him.”
With Stalock starting in net, tune in tonight on NBCSN to see if the Sharks are indeed able to achieve a win for Hertl.