The Ukiah Daily Journal

Karlsson doesn’t see much reason for Sharks to resume regular season

- By Curtis Pashelka

Erik Karlsson is mindful of the playoff and Stanley Cup aspiration­s of other players around the NHL but doesn’t see much reason for the Sharks to come back and try to finish what’s left of the regular season.

While commission­er Gary Bettman is optimistic the NHL can restart play at some point this summer, the league has not decided whether to continue with the regular season or go straight into the playoffs. Momentum is building for the latter, though, with discussion­s centered around playing games at a handful of hub NHL cities.

The Sharks (29-36-5) had 12 regular season games remaining and were in 15th and last place in the Western Conference when the NHL paused its season two months ago in response to the growing worldwide health crisis. The playoff scenarios that have reportedly been discussed at the league level would not include the Sharks.

“As of right now, I don’t know what the point is for us to come back, if they’re going to play us five games and be away from our family and friends and put ourselves in that position for pretty much nothing,” Karlsson said Wednesday on “Lunch Talk Live” on NBCSN.

“But then again, it’s the big picture, too. You’ve got to think about the guys on other teams that are in a position to possibly win something, and you feel for those guys. It’s tough to say. The situation is obviously unique. There’s not very many answers out there as to what’s going to happen in the near future.”

Karlsson’s season was thought to have been over when he needed surgery to repair a fractured thumb he suffered Feb. 14 in a game against Winnipeg. The Sharks played 13 more games after that, going 4-8-1 to fall to last place in the west.

“I’m good,” Karlsson said. “I don’t think the thumb injury was anything major. It was a very unfortunat­e accident — nothing you can do about a big bone break. But right now it feels great. I swung the golf club a couple times, and I’m not a great golfer even though I would like to be. So I hit the ground a lot, and no pain.”

Karlsson had 40 points in 56 games at the time of his injury, and was part of an offense that was anemic for most of the regular season.

A year after setting a franchise record with 289 goals, or 3.52 goals per game, the Sharks this season averaged 2.57 goals — fourth-fewest in the NHL. The Sharks’ power play ranked 23rd in the league at 17.5 percent, a year after it was ranked sixth at 23.6 percent.

“Obviously this year, it’s been a tough year. It hasn’t really gone the way that anyone expected, even though I don’t think that really reflects how good of a team we do have,” Karlsson said.

“Something good is going to come from it. When you go through times like this, which most guys on this team have not done before, I think it shows you a lot about yourself.

“It shows what you want to be and the dedication it takes to be that, and this year we didn’t bring that, and that’s why we got the result that we got and I don’t think that anybody will ever want to go through that again. I’m hopeful that when we come back to start the next year, things are going to be very different.”

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