posted on April 14, 2012 23:15
Brian Elliott relieved an injured Jaroslav Halak and made seventeen saves in the Blues’ 3-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks; the series is now tied at 1-1. Halak has a lower body injury, but will go on the trip to San Jose. Jake Allen, who the Blues had planned to take to San Jose anyway, will also be with the Blues.
For the Blues’ youth movement, a group of guys that includes T.J. Oshie, David Perron, Patrik Berglund, Alex Pietrangelo and David Backes, Saturday night represents the first playoff win. While it deserves recognition, the happy storyline may be replaced by a more familiar one for fans of the Sharks and Blues rivalry, one that includes fisticuffs and cheap shots among the heavy hits and 110% shifts.
As time expired the players on ice (not limited to Dominic Moore, Justin Braun, Douglas Murray, and Daniel Winnik with SJ, and Vladimir Sobotka, B.J. Crombeen, Roman Polak, Barrett Jackman, and Jamie Langenbrunner) tangled up in the corner. Seconds after the first brouhaha began, just a few feet away in front of the Sharks’ net Sobotka and Moore began their own fight. When the dust settled eighty-eight penalty minutes were given out at just the twenty minute mark alone. Regarding the Sobotka, Moore scrap, Sharks Coach Todd McClellan said Moore was the unsuspecting victim of a sucker punch that broke his nose, a play that he said was outside of the hockey code.
“It’s everything we want to get out of the game. The rest of it in the corner, the men that looked at each other and got at it, that’s part of playoff hockey. But the sucker punch is unacceptable.”
Blues Coach Ken Hitchcock said he hadn’t seen the Sobotka play, so he wouldn’t comment, but said that his team grew up tonight. He also had some advice for the Sharks, and the rest of the league in general following the fight in the corner.
“Don’t open the Roman Polak door. Don’t ever open that door.”
While both teams turned the temperature up to start the game, it appears that at least for the Blues, the ill will towards the Sharks at the end was conceived from two particular plays that they believe targeted their teammates’ heads. In the second period Brent Burns delivered a forearm punch to Scott Nichol’s head. In the third T.J. Galiardi charged Andy McDonald by the wall and delivered an elbow that cracked McDonald’s helmet. McDonald said after the game that those are plays that the league is currently trying to get out of hockey.
“The one on Nichol was just a punch to the head. It’s really kind of unprovoked, (Burns) just turned around and punched Scotty in the head. The one on me I was standing on the hashmarks and he comes in and elbows me in the head, and cracks my helmet. It was a two minute penalty but I’m sure they’ll look at it. It was a blatant hit to the head. I like physical play too, but when you crack a guy’s helmet, the evidence speaks for itself.”
Following a scrum as McDonald was skating to the Blues’ bench, Ryane Clowe appeared to taunt McDonald, or another Blue. At one point while yelling in the direction of McDonald he pointed suggestively to his own head several times before returning his attention back to the Blues’ bench. McDonald said he didn’t see it himself, but had some thoughts on the potential taunt.
“What’s crossing the line? I guess that’s the question. I certainly would never do that to another player. To go through that type of injury where you’re out for that significant amount of time and you’re thinking about your career being over. It’s just shocking that another player would do that. It’s disrespectful. You can talk and whatever and it’s all about what’s crossing the line, but you’re talking about head injuries and it’s certainly not something you want to rub in the other team’s face.”
Halak had made twelve saves in 20:49 before he collided with Barret Jackman following a save. According to Jackman, he “just dove to try and make a play and I didn’t get up in time or avoid him.”
Brian Elliott, who has been no stranger to being called on as a cold goalie all season says he hasn’t changed the way he prepares for games.
“You prepare every game like you’re going to play. It’s not like I was nonchalant before the game. I want to play and be in there and when I got a chance, I have to prepared.”
The Blues play in San Jose on Monday night.