Feb 23, 2021
13 Hard Truths About Retirement
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Many people look forward to retirement, and after a long career, you should, too.But retirement may not offer the breezy, laid-back lifestyle you’d expect it to. Here are a few pitfalls you might encounter during your senior years.
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NHL suspends San Jose Sharks rookie for hit on Nathan MacKinnon
The NHL suspended San Jose Sharks forward Joachim Blichfeld for two games Thursday for his illegal hit to the head of Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon.
Blichfeld, 22, will not be eligible to play again until Monday when the Sharks host the St. Louis Blues to close out a seven-game homestand. The Sharks play the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday and Saturday at SAP Center.
Blichfeld, who had his hearing with the NHL’s Department of Players Safety after the Sharks held practice Thursday at SAP Center, was considered a first-time offender.
Blichfeld was given a match penalty for the high hit on MacKinnon at the 8:08 mark of the third period, a call that was upheld after officials reviewed the play. MacKinnon left the game to get examined and did not return.
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar indicated after the game that MacKinnon was OK.
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As he was skating toward the Sharks bench for a change, Blichfeld clipped MacKinnon’s shoulder and head with his left shoulder. MacKinnon went down on the ice, where he remained for a few moments as Avalanche players went at Blichfeld.
“I thought (Blichfeld) came across and was in a pretty good position when he hit MacKinnon,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said Thursday. “He was in an athletic position, he didn’t extend an elbow, he didn’t try to get any part of his body elevated.
“I thought it was … a traffic play, head down, a guy trying to go through the body and unfortunately knocked him out of the game. But I don’t think there was any intent. I certainly don’t think there was any malicious act on (Blichfeld’s) part.”
The Sharks, who were down 2-0 at the time, gave up a goal to Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on the ensuing five-minute power play. The Avalanche won the game 4-0, as the teams split the two-game series. The Sharks beat Colorado 6-2 on Monday.
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After the game, the Sharks defended the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Blichfeld, a player more known for his skill and his shooting ability than any excess physicality.
“It’s pretty hard when you look at something in 100 frames per second,” Sharks defenseman Brent Burns said Wednesday night. “You have (MacKinnon), he skates so powerfully and he’s low. It’s hard. You put the player in a hard spot, because then you say, ‘boy, he’s not finishing his checks.’ What do you want them to do then? It’s hard.
“There’s a lot of things that can change. You can change angles, you can change stuff, but you got one of the best players in the world, you’re trying to take away time and space, and sometimes, you got to be physical.”
Blichfeld earned a recall from the Barracuda earlier this week after he had nine points in six AHL games. Last season, he had 32 points in 44 AHL games.
In his final season of junior hockey in 2018-19 with the Portland Winterhawks, Blichfeld, who was drafted by the Sharks in 2016, led the Western Hockey League with 114 points.
Blichfeld’s only other NHL games came last season. He played twice in Dec. 2019, right after the Sharks fired Pete DeBoer and named Boughner the interim coach, and one game on Jan. 18, 2020 when the Sharks played the Vancouver Canucks just before the NHL All-Star Game. He has not yet scored an NHL point.
The Sharks on Thursday morning were already practicing as if Blichfeld would be unavailable, as their fourth line consisted of center Joel Kellman and wingers Kurtis Gabriel and Marcus Sorensen. Related Articles
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“(Blichfeld), he hasn’t been up in a long time, since last year, and he’s a young guy trying to prove himself and he’s just trying to play hard. He’s not trying to go out there and hurt anybody and it’s unfortunate that Nate had to get off the ice there. Obviously, we hope he’s OK.
“Blichy, he’s trying to prove himself and make this team and be a consistent player on this team, and that’s how I saw it. I know the guy well, both on and off the ice, and he just plays hard and he’s trying to prove himself.”