Nashville Predators coach John Hynes was impressed by the seamless fit of his new signings as they contributed in a major way during the 4-1 win against the San Jose Sharks in the opening game of the NHL season on Friday night.

After signing as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, Nashville's Kiefer Sherwood opened the scoring just 61 seconds into the action at Prague's O2 Arena. He was assisted by Ryan McDonagh, who arrived from the Tampa Bay Lightning in a trade.

Fellow free agent signing Nino Niederreiter also found the back of the net late in the second period to make it 2-1, before Matt Duchene finished things off with an empty-netter.

Speaking after the game, Hynes said it was nice to see the new faces hit the ground running.

"I thought all the new guys to our team obviously contributed," he said. "A lot of them contributed on the scoreboard, but I thought also just the style of game they played really fits the identity, so it's nice. It's nice for those guys to get off to a good start."

Despite the lopsided score, the Sharks only attempted one less shot (31-32), but Predators goaltender Juuse Saros was sharp, and earned praise from teammate Mattias Ekholm.

"He's that kind of goalie, and he's always our best penalty killer," he said. "On most nights, he's our best player.

"Usually that happens when we win. He's just standing in there for us, and he did tonight. Super excited for him. 

"He's a heck of a goalie, and he makes it a lot easier for us defensemen coming back there."

Ekholm also gave a shout out to the Czech crowd for their enthusiasm in the first regular season game to be played outside of North America since 2019, and looked forward to Saturday night's rematch.

"[The atmosphere] was great," he said. "Sold out. I mean, it was awesome, and that was Friday night. I can't wait for Saturday night."

It was also a memorable night for San Jose's Tomas Hertl, who was born and raised in Prague and used this same arena for his home games when playing for Slavia Praha HC.

Hertl scored the Sharks' only goal, with coach David Quinn shining a light on the achievement after his first game in charge.

"It was a pretty special moment, obviously," he said. "He's been thinking about that for a long time. 

"Obviously happy for him, and the team, I thought, got a little bit inspired by that. I thought they played better after that. Unfortunately, we only got one.

"For the most part, I thought, up until they made it 3-1, we were hanging around. I liked some of the things we were doing. 

"But once they made it 3-1, I really thought there was a huge disparity in the way they played compared to the way we played.

"I thought the last 25 minutes, they really took it to us, and I thought we got a little bit demoralized. We've got to toughen up a little bit mentally in that department."

The Carolina Hurricanes have completed a trade with the San Jose Sharks for defenseman Brent Burns.

The six-time All-Star was expected to be moved this week, with both the Hurricanes and the Dallas Stars said to be interested.

And the Canes soon confirmed Burns was dealt on a busy Wednesday in the NHL as free agency opened.

Former Norris Trophy winner Burns is heading to Carolina, along with AHL forward Lane Pederson, while the Sharks receive forward Steven Lorentz, AHL goalie Eetu Makiniemi and a conditional 2023 third-round pick.

Burns has three years left on his contract with an average annual value of $8million, although the Sharks have retained a third of his cap hit.

"Brent has been an elite offensive defenseman in the NHL for a long time," said Canes president and general manager Don Waddell.

"He has produced at a consistent level throughout his career, and we believe adding him brings us closer to our goal of winning the Stanley Cup."

The San Jose Sharks have named former NHL forward Mike Grier as their general manager, making him the first black GM in league history.

San Jose announced the historic hire on Tuesday.

The 47-year-old Grier, who spent three of his 14 seasons playing for the Sharks from 2006-09, replaces Doug Wilson after he stepped down in April following 19 seasons at the helm for health reasons.

"I am extremely proud and grateful to be given the opportunity to be the general manager of the San Jose Sharks," said Grier.

"Along with my staff, I look forward to the challenge of building a fast, competitive, and hardworking team that Sharks fans will enjoy watching and be proud of.”

His first order of business as GM will be hiring a coach. The Sharks are the only team without one after firing Bob Boughner.

San Jose finished in sixth place in the Pacific Division this past season, missing the playoffs for a third year in a row after qualifying in 14 of the previous 15 seasons.

"Really excited to work and to be back in the Bay Area," Grier said. "I know there's been lots of ups and downs but I'm ready to work hard and get at it and get this thing back on the tracks. We're going to start winning some games in the Shark Tank and get it going again."

In addition to his time with the Sharks as a player, Grier also suited up for the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres.

Since retiring from the NHL as a player in 2011, Grier served as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils and a scout with the Chicago Blackhawks before spending this past season as hockey operations advisor for the New York Rangers.

The San Jose Sharks have fired head coach Bob Boughner after missing out on the playoffs for a third straight season.

Boughner was in the final year of a contract that would have paid him $1.5million in 2022-23.

He was relieved of his duties on Friday along with assistants John Madden, John MacLean and Dan Darrow in another organisational shake-up for the struggling franchise.

The Sharks are also looking for a new general manager after Doug Wilson stepped down in April for health reasons. Wilson, who had served as GM since 2003, had been on medical leave since November, with assistant GM Joe Will handling his duties.

Boughner compiled a 67-85-23 record after replacing Peter DeBoer in December 2019. The Sharks finished 11th in the Western Conference this past season with a 32-27-13 record, and their three straight seasons of missing the playoffs is the longest stretch in the franchise’s 30-year history.

The 51-year-old previously spent two seasons as the Florida Panthers’ head coach, amassing an 80-62-22 record with no playoff berths.

San Jose have reportedly narrowed down a list for Wilson’s successor. Former Sharks players Ray Whitney and Mike Grier, neither of whom have experience as a GM, are believed to be among the finalists, according to Sportsnet Canada.

The Sharks join the Winnipeg Jets as teams with head coaching vacancies.

Patrick Marleau, the NHL's all-time leader in games played, is officially retiring after 23 seasons. 

The 42-year-old Marleau, who spent 21 seasons with the San Jose Sharks while also playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins, announced his decision on Tuesday in a piece he wrote in the Players' Tribune. 

"It's bittersweet for sure, but I have so much to look forward to," Marleau wrote. "Who knows what the world has in store for me?

"If you would have told that kid on the frozen pond that he would break a games-played record held by none other than Gordie Howe, he would have thought you were crazy.

"It was never something I aimed for; it was just me loving this game so much that I never, ever wanted to hang up my skates." 

Marleau broke Howe's games-played record of 1,767 on April 19, 2021, and finished his career with 566 goals, 631 assists and 1,197 points in 1,779 games. 

The second overall pick of the 1997 draft by the Sharks, Marleau is the most decorated player in franchise history, holding club records for games played, goals, points, power-play goals, short-handed goals and shots.

He made his NHL debut in 1997 and spent his first 19 seasons with San Jose before joining Toronto in 2017. 

During his time with the Sharks, Marleau helped the club capture six division titles and earn 17 playoff berths, although San Jose lost to Pittsburgh in six games in his only trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2016. In 195 playoff games, Marleau amassed 72 goals and 55 assists for 127 points. 

Marleau played in his final game almost one year ago on May 12, 2021, sitting out the 2021-22 season after not signing with a team. 

San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane has been suspended for 21 games without pay by the NHL after violating the league's COVID-19 protocol.

Kane was not with the Sharks during their training camp, while he did not play in the team's season-opening 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.

The 30-year-old – who led the Sharks last season with 49 points (22 goals and 27 assists) in 56 games – is not eligible to return until November 30 against the New Jersey Devils after allegations he submitted a fake COVID-19 vaccination card to the NHL and team.

"I would like to apologise to my team-mates, the San Jose Sharks organisation, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols," Kane said in a statement on Monday.

"I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counselling to help me make better decisions in the future.

"When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey."

San Jose left wing Kane has four seasons remaining on a seven-year contract he signed with the Sharks in 2018.

Selected with the fourth pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, Kane has tallied 506 points – 264 goals and 242 assists – in 769 regular-season games with the Atlanta Thrashers, Jets, Buffalo Sabres and Sharks, while he has managed 13 points (six goals and seven assists) in 29 Stanley Cup playoff appearances

"The NHL has advised our organisation that Evander Kane has been suspended without pay for 21 games for an established violation of, and lack of compliance with, the NHL/NHLPA COVID-19 Protocols," the Sharks said in a statement.

"While we are encouraged by Evander's commitment to moving forward, we are extremely disappointed by his disregard for the health and safety protocols put in place by the NHL and the NHLPA. We will not be commenting further on Evander's status prior to the conclusion of the NHL's mandated suspension."

San Jose Sharks star Patrick Marleau broke the record for the most games played in NHL history on Monday.

Marleau surpassed Gordie Howe as the Sharks veteran made history with his 1,768th appearance against the Vegas Golden Knights.

The 41-year-old – in his 23rd NHL season – has amassed 1,596 games with the Sharks, including 45 this term to extend his streak of consecutive regular-season games to 899 – fourth-longest in league history.

Marleau also played 164 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs (2017-19) and eight games with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season.

"With everything that's going on, my biggest fear is that I don't thank everybody, that I'm going to miss somebody," Marleau said before the game.

"I just want to be able to thank everybody, and if I miss somebody, I'm so sorry, but I'll eventually, you know, try and make it right and thank everybody that needs to be thanked. Just very grateful."

Marleau, who played his first game in 1997, has made more NHL appearances than five franchises – the Golden Knights (279), Minnesota Wild (1,554), Columbus Blue Jackets (1,558), Winnipeg Thrashers/Jets (1,640) and Nashville Predators (1,721) entering play on Monday, per Stats Perform.

Before this season ends, Marleau might have played in the most regular-season wins in league history.

Marleau currently has 932 victories to his name, only adrift of Nicklas Lidstrom (937).

"To be merely mentioned in the same sentence as Gordie Howe is an achievement most hockey players can only dream about," said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

"To break one of his records is historic."

Nick Foligno reflected on a "pretty amazing day" after joining the Toronto Maple Leafs in a three-team trade.

The Maple Leafs landed Columbus Blue Jackets captain Foligno, who can become an unrestricted free agent after this season, on Sunday.

Columbus receive a first-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2020 Draft as part of the deal.

The San Jose Sharks gain a fourth-round pick in 2021 from the Maple Leafs for forward Stefan Noesen.

Foligno, 33, has been the Blue Jackets' skipper for almost six years but is looking forward to a new challenge.

He said: "It was an emotional couple of days. I have the utmost respect for [Columbus general manager] Jarmo [Kekalainen] and how he brought this to my attention, talking about how if there was something that made sense for the team that he would try to keep me in the loop, and that meant a lot to me.

"Ultimately, it's always what's best for the team, but he was able to fill me in on some things and see where I was headed, and it just fell into place where it worked out to come to Toronto.

"It's been a pretty amazing day once you've made the decision, but a hard day obviously with all the emotion attached to Columbus. Now that it has sunk in and how excited I am to join this team and help in any way I can, it really gets me going."

Foligno has scored 16 points in 42 games this season. He has played a mammoth 950 regular-season games for the Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators, tallying 482 points - with 203 goals and 279 assists.

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