Last night was an ugly loss for the San Jose Sharks, but rookie defender Nikolai Knyzhov wasn’t going down easy.
During the first period of last night’s 6-2 thrashing, the 22-year-old took on the Minnesota Wild’s Marcus Foligno, who is nicknamed “Moose,” and at 6-foot-3 is about as hulking as one. This was just Knyzhov’s 20th NHL game and his first ever fight — meanwhile, the 29-year-old Foligno had dropped the gloves 44 times prior to last night.
It showed. Foligno laid several hits on the rookie, bloodying his face. At that point, Foligno called on the referees to break the fight up.
“I know he’s a young kid and probably didn’t know the fighting aspect of it,” Foligno told reporters after the game (as transcribed by USA Today). “I thought it was enough. And good on him, I give that kid a lot of credit. There’s things you do when you’re young to answer the bell and you gain a lot of respect from your teammates, and I’m sure he got that tonight. I thought it was kind of over after a couple punches. … I’ve had guys let up on me before. It’s just kind of respect for the whole thing.”
Brent Burns also spoke about Knyzhov’s fight in media availability last night:
Brent Burns commended Nikolai Knyzhov for showing "courage" in tonight's fight pic.twitter.com/TgIVU9aRJy— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) February 23, 2021
“It’s huge. I said it before — he’s got great skills, he’s really big, really strong and obviously he’s got the courage to stand in there and show that he wants to be a player every night. It’s great to see.
“You want to capitalize on that courage and stepping up for us and I don’t think we did it.”
Foligno went on to score a Gordie Howe hat trick after the fight, notching an assist on Ian Cole’s goal and scoring himself in the second period. It was his third career Gordie Howe hat trick.
News & Notes
- Wild’s Marcus Foligno asks linesmen to break up fight as he bloodies Sharks’ Nikolai Knyzhov [USA Today]
- Sharks sink in second period again in lopsided loss to Wild [NBC Sports Bay Area]
- Knyzhov impresses Sharks, his opponent in first NHL fight [NBC Sports Bay Area]
- Wild 6, Sharks 2: Wild overpower Sharks in complete win [Hockey Wilderness]
- Despite quick start, San Jose Sharks begin homestand with a thud [The Mercury News]
Blood in the Water
- New York Rangers’ Artemi Panarin taking leave after assault allegations surface [ESPN]
- Putin Ally Targets NHL’s Artemi Panarin [National Review]
- NHL Goaltender Controversies: The Cold List [The Hockey Writers]
- The NHL’s best and worst this week: Inside the Seattle Kraken’s strength and conditioning program [ESPN]
- Why the NHL’s chaotic weekend in Lake Tahoe worked [CBS Sports]
- After Lake Tahoe, here are 10 places NHL should try to play outdoor games [USA Today]
- Elias Pettersson is hitting more posts and crossbars than anyone in NHL history [Vancouver is Awesome]
- NHL Weekend Takeaways: 38-year-old Smith giving Oilers everything he’s got [Sportsnet]
- An argument for making hockey nets bigger [Boing Boing]
- Big Ten exploring earlier dates for hockey tournament; Manchester dropped as site [Union Leader]
Scores & Recaps
- Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Carolina Hurricanes 2
- Calgary Flames 3, Toronto Maple Leafs 0
- Dallas Stars 1, Florida Panthers 3
- Buffalo Sabres 2, New York Islanders 3
- Los Angeles Kings 3, St. Louis Blues 0
- Anaheim Ducks 3, Arizona Coyotes 4
- Vegas Golden Knights 3, Colorado Avalanche 0
- Minnesota Wild 6, San Jose Sharks 2
Click on a team name to find a recap on their SB Nation site!
On the Schedule
- Buffalo Sabres at New Jersey Devils, 4 PT/7 ET on ESPN+, MSG+, MSG-B
- Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals, 4 PT/7 ET on NBCSN, SN360, SNW, SNP, NBCSWA, ATTSN-PT
- Montreal Canadiens at Ottawa Senators, 4 PT/7 ET on TSN5, RDS, TSN2, RDS
- Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets, 4 PT/7 ET on FS-O, NBCSCH
- Nashville Predators at Detroit Red Wings, 4:30 PT/7:30 ET on FS-D+, FS-TN
- Edmonton Oilers at Vancouver Canucks, 7 PT/10 ET on ESPN+, SN