San Jose Sharks react to Doug Wilson taking medical leave: ‘We love him’

SAN JOSE — The Sharks on Friday night reacted with compassion and encouragement to the announcement that general manager Doug Wilson would be taking a temporary medical leave from the team.

Wilson, 64, is at his home and with his family in Scottsdale, Arizona. Doctors have prescribed rest for Wilson, who has been dealing with a persistent cough for at least the last two months and has not been sleeping well. Wilson’s condition is not believed to be COVID-19 related.

The Sharks made the announcement Friday afternoon before the team played the Toronto Maple Leafs at SAP Center. San Jose lost the game 4-1 in the fourth and final game of their homestand.

Sharks captain Logan Couture did not want to take questions about Wilson, instead, leading his postgame news conference with a brief statement, saying that on behalf of the team, “We respect his privacy. We love him and we’re going to miss him. Every guy in that (locker) room owes a lot to him and we hope he gets better and that he’s here soon.”

Joe Will, the Sharks’ assistant GM, is taking over Wilson’s duties, the Sharks said.

“We’re just thinking about him. We want him to get better,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said of Wilson. “He’s dealing with his thing there and the most important thing is health. In this game, there’s not a lot of time to rest and try to get better. I think it’s good he’s taking some time away and (thinking) about his health, and I can’t wait to see him back.”

The Sharks next play the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday at the United Center. Wilson, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 15, was going to be recognized by the Blackhawks during a television time out.

Wilson played 14 seasons for the Blackhawks from 1977 to 1991 and remains the franchise leader among defensemen in assists (554) and points (779).

After Sunday, the Sharks’ next visit to Chicago is on April 14 and the hope is that Wilson will be honored at that time.

Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, 34, has known Wilson for almost half of his life. Vlasic was drafted by Wilson in 2005 and played his 1,100th game with the Sharks on Friday.

“I wish him well and wish his family well,” Vlasic said. “He’s with his family, so I wish everybody well.”

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