Noteworthy November in NorCal for the Sharks

Throughout the entire month of November, the sharks would see themselves put up a mediocre record of 7-6-1, finishing the month in a wild card spot in the Western Conference. At first glance, this might seem very average and not very impressive when only looking at the record and placement in the standings, but this particular month of Sharks hockey was quite unorthodox regarding all of the action happening behind the scenes. 

While all teams in all sports have their issues within the organization happening behind the scenes, in the case of the San Jose Sharks during November, we saw numerous bizarre turns, both good and bad, that could have affected the one ice performance of the Sharks.

November would already begin with the Sharks having 7 of their regular roster players in the Covid-19 Protocol list, including their head coach Bob Boughner. The roster players on the Covid-19 Protocol list were ​​Andrew Cogliano, Jonathan Dahlen, Erik Karlsson, Jake Middleton, Matt Nieto, Radim Simek, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Dahlen would return after only missing one game as his previous covid test was a false positive, which would allow him to return while the sharks would then lose Timo Meier to the Covid-19 Protocol as well; Meier was the leading scorer on the team at this point and would also see himself holding that title at the end of the month due to his impressive play and production so far this season.

The Sharks would need to recall five players from the Barracuda to navigate their way through the covid outbreak within the organization. Throughout this stretch of missing players due to Covid-19, the sharks would put forth an impressive 3-2-1 record without seven roster players, including their forward and defenseman points leaders in Meier and Karlsson.

During the outbreak of Covid-19 on the team, Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson would announce that he has decided to reassign 19-year-old rookie William Eklund back to Djurgardens IF in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) for the remainder of the season. This was a massive loss for the Sharks as they would be losing one of their top 6 forwards while already missing players due to Covid-19. The decision was a surprise to many as Eklund appeared to improve each game and put up 4 points through his first nine career games. Wilson was quoted saying, “This was one of the toughest decisions we have had to make,” the decision was made because Wilson believes that sending Eklund back to Sweden will allow him to dominate his league for another year which will be beneficial for Eklund and the Sharks in the long-term.

 It will now also be interesting to watch Eklund participate in the World Junior Championship for the first time in his career as he, unfortunately, was unable to join team Sweden last year as he tested positive for Covid-19. Eklund enters the month of December being one of Swedens’ most talented players and could be receiving the captaincy; if not, he will undoubtedly remain one of the leaders on this team. Sharks fans can finally watch one of their prospects dominate the world juniors along with team USA’s Thomas Bordeleau. 

Mid-November would have Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame class was initially planned to be inducted last year, but due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the 2020 and 2021 would be inducted together on November 15, 2021. Doug Wilson was acquired by the Sharks just before their inaugural season would only play two seasons as a Shark. However, he would be named the franchise’s first captain while also the first Shark player who represented the team in the NHL All-Star game in 1992.

Evander Kanes would see his 21 game suspension for submitting a fake Covid-19 vaccination card end in the month’s final days. This would make Kane eligible to join the Sharks team in practices and games. After all of the controversy that has followed Kane over the last year, the Sharks have made it clear some tension remains with the relationship between Kane and the team, both players and front office. Kane did not participate in the team’s training camp back in September, which was undoubtedly a factor for being placed on waivers. Any other team in the league had the opportunity to grab the perennial 20 goal scorer for no price other than his 7 million dollar cap hit, and all 31 other teams passed in him. Kane would then report to the San Jose Barracuda of the AHL. He joined the Barracuda for practice last Tuesday on the 30th. Kane is hoping to work his way back to the NHL; whether it is with the sharks or another team, his goal will be to put up impressive numbers in the AHL and create some interest for him.

After November, the sharks are looking forward to playing their long homestand in the month of December with their full roster back in shape. With many distractions, the team pulled together some big wins and points through a challenging month. The team is aiming for a playoff spot as they have consistently sat around the middle group of teams in the league almost all season long.

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