Patrick Sharp expects series will get a bit more ornery
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org May 3, 2013 10:54PM
Updated: June 5, 2013 6:16AM
By Blackhawks standards, Game 1 against the Minnesota Wild was a surprisingly physical affair, with Bryan Bickell’s demolition of Cal Clutterbuck a highlight. By Stanley Cup playoff standards, though, it was downright cordial.
As the season goes along, though, that likely will change.
“Yeah, sooner or later,” Hawks winger Patrick Sharp said. “Every playoff series I’ve been in there’s been some kind of bad blood that usually comes out later in the series. You didn’t see too much of it in Game 1. But there was some checks finished and words being said. I think that boils over as we go along.”
Much of the talk before Friday’s Game 2 was about Thursday night’s game between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens, in which Ottawa’s Eric Gryba sent Montreal’s Lars Eller off on a stretcher with a high, open-ice hit. Gryba was suspended two games on Friday. Both Jonathan Toews and Sharp thought it was a clean hit, but it was a reminder of what’s happened to the Hawks in recent postseasons, including Raffi Torres’ concussive hit on Marian Hossa last season.
“We saw it last year in our games, first-hand,” Joel Quenneville said. “It’s all part of hockey. The speed, the size, and split decisions or timing — those are the things that can happen.”
Toews said players have to look out for themselves, particularly in the postseason.
“It’s a fast game, you’ve got to keep your head up and make sure you don’t put yourself in vulnerable positions like that,” he said. “I’m sure there’s a few mistakes on both sides. You’ve got to be conscious, but I don’t think you should be worried. Whenever you let up and don’t keep playing your normal game, that’s when accidents like that can happen.”
No net change
Niklas Backstrom flew commercial to Chicago on Thursday night, rather than on the team charter, but it was Josh Harding in net again for the Wild, with Darcy Kuemper backing him up. Minnesota coach Mike Yeo hoped that he would be able to carry the momentum from his strong Game 1 performance into Game 2, especially now that he knew in advance he’d be the starter.
“He looks poised and focused and confident,” Yeo said. “Certainly there’s butterflies, I’m sure, and I’m sure their goalie’s feeling the same thing.”
Sharp, for one, said it didn’t much matter who was between the pipes.
“As a player, as a shooter, I don’t really care who’s in net,” he said. “Both those guys are quality goalies who are going to make saves if they see the puck. The game plan for guys like us is always the same — get to the net, and try to bang one home.”
The Wild also were without defenseman Clayton Stoner, injured by an Andrew Shaw hit in the first period of Game 1, and forward Jason Pominville, still out with a concussion. … Ray Emery and Dave Bolland didn’t dress for the Hawks, as expected. They’ll both likely travel to Minnesota on Saturday.
Contributing: Mark Potash