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Sharks' coach hit by stick, collapses behind bench

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL -- The San Jose Sharks received a scare early in the second period against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, when coach Todd McLellan collapsed behind the bench after being struck in the head by a stick.

Officials blew play dead with 17:45 remaining in the period, seconds after Minnesota's Nick Schultz tied the game 2-2 at the Xcel Energy Center. On the ensuing faceoff, Wild defenseman Marco Scandella and Sharks forward Jamie McGinn got tangled near the Sharks bench. Scandella's stick hit McLellan on the head, dropping him to a knee and then to the ground. Play continued for several moments before play was stopped with the puck deep in the Sharks zone.

"I didn't see it. I saw the player come into the boards and saw our players kind of push him out," said Sharks assistant coach Matt Shaw. "Todd was trying to compose himself and stay upright and you could tell he was in some discomfort, so I kind of grabbed him."

"I could tell I hit something pretty hard, but I didn't know what it was," Scandella said.

"Freak accident," McGinn said. "I hit [Scandella] and skated away. I didn't even know what happened."

Sharks players surrounded the bench as medical and arena personnel helped McLellan to his feet and into the locker room. A stretcher was wheeled over to the bench, but was not needed.

McLellan did not return to the bench during the game, but Shaw said he watched from the locker room, offering words at both the second intermission and after the game.

"It wouldn't have been a good idea for him to come out," Shaw said.

McLellan was not well enough to comment after the game, but was alert and headed back to San Jose with the team. The Sharks host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.

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