Home News San Jose Sharks coach David Quinn on Luke Kunin, Calen Addison

San Jose Sharks coach David Quinn on Luke Kunin, Calen Addison


SAN JOSE – San Jose Sharks forward Luke Kunin isn’t one to shy away from confrontation, as demonstrated by the nine fighting majors he’s received in 2023-24, establishing a new single-season career-high.

But there’s a limit to everything.

Just 10 seconds before he scored a second-period goal against Arizona on Sunday, his 10th of the season, Kunin leveled Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott with a hit behind the Coyotes net.

On Kunin’s first shift after the goal, Dermott’s defense partner, Josh Brown, made a beeline toward the Missouri native, crunched him against the side-boards, and challenged him to a fight.

Kunin skated away, but tried to hit Brown a few seconds later behind the Coyotes net. Brown responded by throwing a handful of punches. Kunin kept his gloves on, as Brown took the only penalty, a roughing minor, at the 14:46 mark of the second.

“I’m not trying to hit anyone from behind. Just kind of trying to play physical,” Kunin said. “That’s kind of part of it, I guess, now. You hit someone, they go down and you’ve kind of got to answer.

“I didn’t really feel like that one warranted that, but I get it. It’s part of the game.”

Kunin is only listed at 6-foot and 197 pounds – not a heavyweight by any stretch. But he had already been in fights in four of the last seven games before Sunday, including in San Jose’s two most recent games against Los Angeles on Thursday and St. Louis on Saturday.

His nine fights this season equal the number he’s had in the last three seasons combined, per hockeyfights.com. He had seven in 2021-2022, his last season with the Nashville Predators before he was sent to the Sharks for a 2023 third-round draft pick and forward John Leonard.

Before that season, Kunin had 10 fights in his first four NHL seasons.

“I don’t want to fight every night,” Kunin said. “(There’s a) time and a place. Didn’t really see a reason.”

Coach David Quinn knows Kunin plays with an edge and wants a few more Sharks players to do the same. But Kunin is also the Sharks’ second-line center, playing as much or more now than he has in his previous six NHL seasons.

“I don’t want him fighting every time,” Quinn said of Kunin. “Listen, it was a hard hit. He’s not fighting (6-1, 213-pound Liam) O’Brien. Enough’s enough. So, just keep playing hard and do what he’s doing.”

This season marks the fourth time that Kunin has scored at least 10 goals in his career. He’s having to play up in the lineup after the season-ending groin injury to Logan Couture and with Tomas Hertl now a member of the Vegas Golden Knights.

William Eklund played as the Sharks’ second-line center for a short period earlier this year but had his share of struggles, and Quinn decided to move Kunin back into that role.

Certainly, Kunin’s teammates appreciate all that he’s done for the Sharks this season.

“He brings it every single night,” said Sharks center Mikael Granlund, who had played with Kunin in Minnesota, and Nashville before both arrived in San Jose. “He’s an absolute team guy. I love the guy. Everybody loves him and what he brings. He brings physicality, he does the right things on the ice all the time.

“That’s what you need. These types of guys, I think this organization needs as well.”

ADDISON’S NIGHT: Sharks defenseman Calen Addison was never a big penalty-minute guy in his time with Minnesota, collecting just 30 in 92 games with the Wild.

Addison’s gone off script with the Sharks, as he now has 34 penalty minutes in the last two games alone, giving him 66 penalty minutes in 55 games with San Jose.

Sunday, Addison was given a 10-minute misconduct with 8:09 left in the third period, possibly for something he said to one of the game’s officials.

In Saturday’s game, Addison argued a cross-checking call with referee Brandon Schrader late in the first period and did not stop as he reached the penalty box. He was then given a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct, as the Sharks played the rest of the game with just five defensemen.

One wonders if Addison is gaining a reputation among certain officials, and whether he has a shorter leash now. Referees are humans too, remember.

Quinn didn’t want to be specific about what happened between Addison and the officials Sunday but said he would speak with the defenseman, who turns 24 on Thursday, about better controlling his emotions.

Local reporters requested to speak with Addison after Sunday’s game for his viewpoint on what happened. That request, though, was denied by the Sharks.

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