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14 April 2007

Predators played some real hockey last night...

Wow, just wow, if you tuned into TSN to watch the Preds and Sharks like I suggested, you'll have found that it was a great suggestion.

From the opening faceoff, you could feel the tension between Barry Trotz and Ron Wilson, both standing on opposite sides of their team's benches.

This is playoff hockey.

Bonecrushing hits, penalties, power plays and just great team chemistry.

From the start, Dan Marouelli and Kelly Sutherland went to warn Barry Trotz and Ron Wilson about the crap that was going on after the whistle was blown, shoving, basically the Sharks wanted to get the Predators off their game.

And he showed the coaches he wasn't bluffing, and sent off Bill Guerin and Vern Fiddler for "jousting" as Gord Miller called it at the faceoff circle.

Barry Trotz believed the Sharks were looking for payback after the Hartnell-Cheechoo collision.

"You could see from the opening whistle that was their intent," he said.

The San Jose Sharks had a 5 minute powerplay after Alexander Radulov went elbow-first into Steve Bernier along the boards.
Radulov, the young sensation who had scored yet another goal for the Predators earlier in the game and in Game 1(twice), was ejected and awarded a 5 minute major.

At that point, the score was 2-1 Nashville, and the Sharks had a golden opportunity to tie the game, I was almost certain that Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Scott Hannan, Ryane Clowe, Craig Rivet, the one-legged Jonathan Cheechoo and Bill Guerin would put up something with this huge man advantage.

It turns out they didn't.

Amazingly, the Sharks failed to capitalize on a 5 minute powerplay, although, they spent a lot of time in Nashville's zone but it seemed like they just couldn't complete any play, you have Barry Trotz's great coaching and the Preds' defencemen to thank for that.
They didn't leave Ron Wilson's squad any room to maneuver in the high slot and there were no good scoring chances or scrambles around Tomas Vokoun, who, after allowing Craig Rivet to score on his on rebound in the first period, rebounded and made a few fine saves.

And to add insult to injury, Ryan Suter (one of those many defensively-sound Nashvillians) went off for roughing, and the Sharks would have a 2-man advantage for a little under a minute, still enough to cause serious damage to an indisciplined Predators team.
Ron Wilson, realizing that his team wasn't producing anything on the powerplay, called a time out in hope of getting his guys back in the game and setting them up for a goal.
You could read the exasperated coache's lips: "MOVE THE PUCK." is exactly what he shouted to his team, and he was right, the Sharks weren't getting many great chances because they didn't have good control of the puck or where it was going, their passes were often intercepted and their plays seemed pathetic.

As it turns out, the timeout was wasted and the Sharks had just missed out on 6 consecutive minutes of powerplay.

Streaking out of the box was Jordin Tootoo, serving Radulov's penalty, he chipped the puck ahead to JP Dumont, who rushed in along the right wings boards with Tootoo placed perfectly in front of the net.
Craig Rivet did his best to block the pass but it was all for none, as the veteran defenceman fell for Dumont's fake and sniped the puck low glove side on a surprised Evgeni Nabokov, who didn't look like a happy camper after he allowed that 3rd marker.

What really pissed me off was the officials' plain stupidity, late in the second, Bill Guerin comes up behind Peter Forsberg in the neutral zone and pulls him down, Guerin goes off for interference and to Trotz' anger, Forsberg goes off for diving.

He didn't stop yelling for two full minutes, Marouelli told him to stop or he would end up with a penalty too, Forsberg couldn't believe the call and he grudgingly went to the penalty box.

I didn't like the Bill Guerin played, he played dirtily like most of the Sharks players played late last night, he limited his offensive production to zero and he ended up with a whole new rash of penalty minutes, giving the Preds powerplays that they converted once on eight chances.

JP Dumont made it 4-1 when he scored on a pretty passing play on the powerplay.

In the 3rd, especially near the end, things got dirty.

Ryane Clowe scored to make it 4-2 with about 8 minutes remaining and gave the Sharks a little hope of coming back.

And from there on out, the "street brawl" began.

Mike Grier, Ryane Clowe and Scott Hannan each received fighting majors and misconducts near the end of the game, while Smithson, Tootoo and Hartnell received the same.

Ryane Clowe said he wanted to fight Hartnell to "avenge" the hit on Cheechoo.

"I'm sure he knows what he did, obviously, just common sense that somebody is going to stand up for your teammate, and that's what I did," Clowe said. "We stuck together, and that's the main thing."

Barry Trotz thought otherwise and said he Clowe instigated Hartnell to fight.

Ron Wilson said he had no comment after the game, and I don't blame him, Barry Trotz had one nice comment to add.

"We came here to play hockey tonight," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "We knew it was an important game, and they turn it into a street brawl."

The series is tied 1-1 and who knows how much better this is going to get!

"I think Colin Campbell has a job, and his job is to review these plays," Joe Thornton said. "I'm sure if he wants us to play this way, we can play this way. It's in his hands, and we'll see what happens."

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge

2 fanatics have replied:

Anonymous said...

what a difference of opinion on the sharks-predators game 2. Ron Wilson would strongly disagree with this review of the game.

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge said...

So, you think I'm siding more with Barry Trotz's view?

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