SAN JOSE — Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Erik Karlsson is enjoying his first trip back to San Jose after five seasons with the Sharks.
The wry Karlsson had the jokes and quips ready for his old media troop, who covered the defenseman from his arrival in 2018 through the Penguins trade acquisition on Aug. 6. Karlsson will get to have dinner with his former mates Friday night.
“It’ll be a few (players). I don’t know where they’re taking me or if I’m paying or how it works [laughter]. I’m sure I’m paying,” said Karlsson.”It will be nice to catch up. And, you know, I’m sure we’ll talk some hockey and stuff.”
Karlsson won the 2022 Norris Trophy, the third of his career. Former Sharks GM Doug Wilson signed Karlsson in 2018 to be a foundational piece with fellow defenseman Brent Burns. Wilson is now the senior advisor of hockey operations for the Penguins.
The Sharks suffered four consecutive losing seasons beginning in 2019-20, and Karlsson asked for a trade. However, he’ll always have Vegas. When colleague Sheng Peng of San Jose Hockey Now asked Karlsson to pin down his favorite memory of his Sharks tenure. Karlsson smiled.
Trailing 3-1 in the series and then 3-0 in the third period of Game 7 of the Round One series against Vegas, San Jose scored four goals in the final minutes after Vegas center Cody Eakin was assessed a controversial major penalty. San Jose scored four times on power play, then won 5-4 in OT to upset the reigning Western Conference championship.
It remains one of the wildest games in NHL history.
“A memory that stands out? I think it is probably the overtime win against Vegas at home here,” said Karlsson. “I think that’s something that doesn’t matter how old I get. I don’t think I’ll forget that one.”