LOS ANGELES – Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl left late in the first period of the Sharks-Kings game Thursday night and did not return.
After taking an apparent knee-on-knee hit from the Kings’ Dustin Brown, Hertl limped to the bench favoring his right side with a little more than a minute left in the opening frame. Brown was issued a five-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct at 18:59.
Joe Thornton, Hertl’s linemate, talked about the play after the Sharks lost, 4-1.
“It’s tough. I don’t know how long he’s going to go out for, I didn’t see the play, but you know he’s going to be out for a little bit, yeah,” Thornton said. “It’s tough to see Tomas go through that.”
Head coach Todd McLellan offered essentially no details on Hertl’s condition.
“Nothing. I haven’t gone in there to see the trainers or talk to the doctors,” McLellan said. “Obviously, he didn’t return, and that’s not a good thing. But, other than that, I can’t give you anything more.”
Did McLellan think the hit from Brown, who has a history of such infractions, could have been avoided?
“I don’t know. It’s in the – whatever we call it, the league’s safety commission,” he said. “They’re going to deal with it now. Let’s leave it there.”
Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said Brown should not have been ejected from the game.
“You lose a player for almost the whole game when you’re in this type of schedule – that is not the right call,” Sutter said. “Clear. No more questions about it. I saw it live and I saw two or three replays. It’s not the right call.”
Hertl is the NHL’s leading rookie scorer with 25 points (15g, 10a). He’s second behind Patrick Marleau for the team lead in goals.