Times columnist Helene Elliott rates the pluses and minuses in the NHL from the previous week:
+ The San Jose Sharks touched many hearts by going all-out to grant the wish of 17-year-old Sam Tageson, who has a debilitating heart condition. They signed him to a one-day contract and let him skate onto the ice with them last Tuesday, triggering a flood of emotions from him and all who saw or read about it. Many teams do similar good deeds. Bad guys make headlines but there are good people in the sports world.
+ Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick broke Rogie Vachon's franchise record Saturday with his 172nd victory but repeatedly insisted he doesn't consider himself the record holder because Vachon didn't have the vehicle of overtime and shootouts to pile up wins. Context and class are rare and welcome.
+ Before pulling out a 3-2 shootout victory over the Sharks on Saturday, the Washington Capitals were 0-11-1 in San Jose since Oct. 30, 1993. The Caps were 2-0-1 on their California trip and have earned nine of a possible 10 points in their last five games, keeping them in the mix for an East wild-card playoff berth.
- The Colorado Avalanche has exceeded expectations this season, but Coach Patrick Roy's team is 1-3-1 since its 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on March 12. Roy has made a point of praising the team's play, but he — and the players — now need results. How he handles things the rest of the way will truly test his coaching skills.
- The Vancouver Canucks' playoff chances are all but gone — and will Coach John Tortorella be gone after the season? He has four years left at $2 million per season but that's not reason enough to keep him. The Canucks were plagued by endless injuries, but he never had a firm handle on matters.
- Toronto Coach Randy Carlyle caused a firestorm last week when he said goaltender James Reimer was "just OK" in a 3-2 loss to Detroit. Reimer said he thought he was good. One fact that's indisputable: The Maple Leafs — who have lost five straight games — must do more to help their goalies, who face a league-high 36 shots per game.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun