Panthers' Mike Hoffman, Sharks' Erik Karlsson almost fight in reunion after controversy

Thomas Williams
Hockey writer

Once teammates on the Ottawa Senators, Florida Panthers forward Mike Hoffman and San Jose Sharks defenceman Erik Karlsson had their relationship turn sour after a disastrous online controversy last year.

On Sunday night, the two played their first game against each other since the off-ice quarrel, and there was certainly some on-ice drama.

After the game, Hoffman made it clear that he had this game in consideration for a while now.

"I have been thinking about this game for a long time," Hoffman said, according to The Athletic's George Richards.

Both players were dealt from Ottawa in separate trades after an online harassment allegation that led to the Karlssons filing an order of protection against Hoffman’s then-girlfriend.

The case was eventually dismissed, but that didn’t seem to smooth things over with Hoffman, who was clearly looking to settle a score on the ice.

"He actually played tonight and I asked if he wanted to go and obviously he did not," Hoffman said. "I chased him around for an entire shift, kept asking and asking. He wouldn't. He kept saying 'I'm not fighting you.'"

If Karlsson were willing to drop the gloves with Hoffman, it would have been the first NHL fight for both players.

Hoffman has 11 goals and 21 points through 29 games this season, while Karlsson has three goals and 24 points in 31 games played.

The sequel between the two clubs will happen on Feb. 17.

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