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Tensions could run high when Sharks, Wild meet

by Eric Gilmore /

SAN JOSE -- It was 15 days ago that the San Jose Sharks beat the Minnesota Wild 4-2 at HP Pavilion in a game that ended with a nasty confrontation between Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Wild forward Dany Heatley.

Vlasic and Heatley took swings at each other with their sticks then started wrestling. Heatley, a former Sharks player, landed hard on the ice with Vlasic on top of him and suffered a season-ending shoulder injury that required surgery.

The Sharks and Wild meet again Thursday night at HP. Will there be any carryover?

"I think it will be an emotional game," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said after the Wild's morning skate. "I think that both teams are focused on getting two points at this time of the year. That's what it's about. Whatever you can use to get you motivated. I don't know that we need a whole lot of extra motivation right now, but, again, I think it will be an emotional game."

Vlasic received a five-minute major and a game misconduct, then was fined $8,378 by the NHL.

"I expect them to come hard," Vlasic said of the Wild. "I expect the same thing as last game, both teams competing hard. We might play each other in the first round, we might play each other in the second round. It will be a big challenge for us. They're playing well, we're playing well. It should be a great game."

Sharks coach Todd McLellan downplayed the incident.

"Guys wrestled around," he said. "The part that probably could be cleaned up was the swinging of the sticks by both individuals. Heater's a former teammate of many of those guys in there, including me, and the last thing we want is Dany Heatley to be out of the lineup. We admire him as an individual and as a player. Unfortunately, he got hurt in that situation. I don't see that being a situation that's any less normal than any other battle in and around the net when a couple guys start wrestling."

Here's how the lineups could look Thursday night when the Sharks face the Wild at HP Pavilion.


TJ Galiardi - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Martin Havlat

Raffi Torres - Joe Pavelski - Tommy Wingels

Andrew Desjardins - Scott Gomez - Adam Burish

Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Brad Stuart - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi

Thomas Greiss

Notes: During the morning skate, Irwin skated with Boyle, a sign he'll likely return to the lineup. Scott Hannan started in Irwin's place on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Kings and played his first game since being traded to San Jose from the Nashville Predators in a deadline deal. During the morning skate, Hannan was paired with rookie Matt Tennyson, who has been a healthy scratch the past six games.


Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Kyle Brodziak - Jason Pominville

Jason Zucker - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi

Torrey Mitchell - Mikael Granlund - Cal Clutterbuck

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Brett Clark - Jared Spurgeon

Clayton Stoner - Tom Gilbert

Nicklas Backstrom

Darcy Kuemper

Notes: Forward Mike Rupp (lower body) wasn't on the ice for Minnesota's morning skate at HP Pavilion and won't play, Yeo said. He'll miss his second straight game. "He's just day to day," Yeo said. "Just giving him a rest today. If he's not going to go, we might as well give him a little extra rest."

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