SUNRISE, Fla. – Mackenzie Blackwood didn’t need an apology, but his teammates gave him one anyway.
With four minutes to go in Saturday’s loss to the Nashville Predators, the San Jose Sharks down 5-1, Filip Forsberg jumped on a loose puck in the crease, just as the whistle blew, unintentionally body slamming an already-on-his-back Blackwood.
Here's the Forsberg body slam of Blackwood that got Hertl & Quinn so riled up at #SJSharks for not standing up for their goalie.
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) October 22, 2023
After the game, both alternate captain Tomas Hertl and head coach David Quinn were peeved…not at Forsberg, but the Sharks, for not immediately standing up for their goaltender.
“I was [disappointed],” Hertl said. “It’s 5-1, you have to cross-check somebody and show them they can’t do anything.”
“That will be addressed,” Quinn said.
And it was.
“Everybody took it very seriously. They talked about it to me,” Blackwood said today, no worse for the wear, after practice at Amerant Bank Arena. “It doesn’t bother me as much it bothered our team.”
Count Matt Benning as one of those bothered. In the end, Benning was the closest to the scene of the crime. Mario Ferraro, Kevin Labanc, William Eklund, and Jacob Peterson were also milling around. It’s worth noting that Nashville head coach Andrew Brunette wisely kept his star winger off the ice for the rest of the game.
“I knew I should have been in there like that. We talked about it,” Benning said. “I’m usually a guy that gets in there like that.”
Benning couldn’t explain why he didn’t do anything at that moment, but he took responsibility, “That’s on me.”
“We’re all human,” Quinn said.
The San Jose Sharks bench boss went out of his way to defend Benning.
He had said after the game, pointedly, “You got to protect your goalie. I don’t care if you’re friends or not.”
Benning and Forsberg played in Nashville together from 2020 to 2022.
“Nothing to do with me being teammates,” Benning responded.
“If there’s a guy [that] I’d want to go to war with, is gonna stand up for his teammates more than Matt Benning, I’d like you to find them,” Quinn said today.
He considers the Forsberg incident a one-off that’s been dealt with.
“Up to that point, we’ve done a pretty good job, as we’ve touched on, coming to each other’s defense, and supporting each other. I think that was unique circumstances,” Quinn said. “Listen, it’s been a tough go here and everybody knows that. The thing I liked, [down] 3-0, we came back and there was a good push after that. We had some chances. I thought we played pretty good hockey.”
“Then you give up the fourth goal, I could feel it,” he said. “I thought we got demoralized.”
Count Blackwood as someone who’s not demoralized.
Instead, he looked on the bright side of how quickly Hertl and Quinn addressed the incident after the game.
“That just goes to show you how much guys care about each other, how much as a team they take pride in being there for one another. I think it’s a good sign,” he said. “It doesn’t just apply to goalies. It’s everybody. Someone gets kind of gotten good. I feel like as a team, everyone just wants to stick up for each other.”
So perhaps, the San Jose Sharks can build from this?
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