Hockey loves to tout the sportsmanship displayed during the postseason, when after a series is over, both teams skate through a handshake line.
That sportsmanship doesn’t always apply during the series, though. And not just when it comes to, say, a player losing a stick in an the opposing bench. Sometimes there’s gamesmanship at an organizational level as well.
Down 2-1 to Edmonton, the Sharks apparently decided it was time to try for every possible edge, which led to these conditions prior to the Oilers official practice time in San Jose:
The Oilers were forced to practice in the dark, with no nets in San Jose today. pic.twitter.com/KVP5BEyUwv
— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) April 18, 2017
It’s important to note that wasn’t the case for their entire practice, just the build-up to the official ice time, but it’s definitely not equitable:
The NHL is looking into the situation.
While Sharks on ice 45 minutes B4 their practice, EDM in dark until exactly 11:30 am at SAP Center https://t.co/BWVrQqFbWl
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) April 18, 2017
So that sounds like the Sharks adhering to the absolute barest minimum of hospitality required. It’s also a bit bush league, and the video of the Oilers forced to skate around in the dark on a net-less rink just looks ridiculous.
It’s no wonder the NHL is looking into it; while there likely won’t be any punishment (maybe a small fine) it’s likely the league will offer very stern words of encouragement to prevent such a situation from arising again.