Support TheFeeder, visit our sponsors
Support this community by becoming a Sponsor
  HOSER of the WEEK
  Contact Us
  Meet the Staff
  Join the Team
  Our Sponsors

Taming the phenoms
Sharks overcome Cheechoo ejection
11/4/06 - by Mike Lee

Ron Wilson continued his experimentation on Saturday night, by mixing up his lines in an attempt to generate some bite. He had do a little extra work 63 seconds into the game after Jonathan Cheechoo was tossed from the contest for boarding Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Mark Eaton. Down a key forward, the Sharks also had to deal with two of the hottest scorers in the NHL, in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Keeping Crosby and Malkin off the score sheet was the Sharks biggest goal entering the game at HP Pavilion, but generating some offence of their own was also a priority. San Jose achieved both of those goals, although two-thirds of the scoring came from the defensive corps.

Malkin had scored goals in each of his first six NHL games, but San Jose contained him throughout the night with a steady dose of pressure that never allowed him to generate scoring chances in close.

"The Sharks just stopped my scoring streak," Malkin said through a translator. "It was hard to play against San Jose because they're a really tough team. It was hard for me to take a shot."

Crosby's most notable contribution came on the play that led to Cheechoo's ejection. After his teammate Eaton was launched face-first into the end-boards, Crosby went after Cheechoo with a series of cross-checks intended to send a message. The retaliation was a blessing for the Sharks, who would have been forced to kill off a five-minute major for Cheechoo's misgivings. Instead, the first two minutes were played 4-on-4.

Cheechoo's ejection was a sore subject with Wilson, who felt the call was unwarranted for the infraction.

"That always comes as a shock," Wilson said. "You're not prepared to lose a player like Cheech right off the bat. ... I wish when making these kind of critical decisions in this league, why can't one referee ask the other what he saw before you say you're kicking a guy out or you're disallowing a goal. I've never understood that.

"I mean, I don't stand on the bench and always make decisions just on my own. If I'm confused I ask my assistants."

Any debate over the quality of officiating was further fueled later in the period when an apparent goal by Kyle McLaren was waived off, because referee Tom Kowal ruled that Penguins goaltender Marc-Andrea Fleury was interfered with by Mike Grier. Grier appeared to be checked into Fleury by a Penguins player in front of the net as the puck found the back of the net.

McLaren would step up a minute into the 2nd period with his 2nd goal of the season on a Joe Thornton rebound. McLaren started a rush with a bone jarring hit on Malkin in the Sharks zone, then helped lead the counter-attack. After slipping the puck to Thornton on the left wing, the Sharks defenseman would one-hand a shot over Fleury for a 1-0 lead.

"I don't care who we're playing against or what, my role is banging the body," McLaren said. "With skilled players, you need to finish your checks. It doesn't need to be a bone-crushing check but you have to finish it."

Michel Ouellet would counter with a nasty wrist shot from the right dot six minutes later after the Penguins forced a turnover in the neutral zone.

Matt Carle would help San Jose reclaim the lead with a power play goal at the 9:44 mark, after Milan Michalek set him up with a pass diagonally across the slot. Michalek had the option of feeding Carle or Thornton who had two defenders converging on him. He chose Carle, who pumped a shot from 30 feet out.

Grier would make the most of his new found opportunity on Thornton's line by one-timing a shot that kicked off Fleury's bright yellow pads for a 3-1 cushion. Thornton earned his third assist of the night on the play and really setup the scoring chance by fighting off a check along the end boards and finding Grier in the slot with a pass from down low.

John Leclair would setup Dominic Moore with a similar pass a minute later, but the veteran forward was behind the Sharks net, rather than on the goal line as Thornton had been on the previous goal.


The opportunity to see Crosby and Malkin won't happen again at HP Pavilion until the 2009-2010 season, barring a trade of those players or a change in the league's scheduling format.

"He's a nice player," Thornton said of Malkin. "It's good to keep him off the board. That could have been the difference."

What did you think of this article? Post your comments on the Feeder Forums

What did you think of this game? Post your comments on the Feeder Forums
1 2 3 T
PIT 0 1 1 2
SJ 0 2 1 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, McLaren 2 (Thornton, Rissmiller), 1:00. 2, PIT, Ouellet 5 (Melichar), 7:20. 3, SJ, Carle 3 (Michalek, Thornton), 9:44, (pp).
3rd period - 4, SJ, Grier 3 (Thornton, McLaren), 0:33. 5, PIT, Moore 2 (LeClair, Ouellet), 1:45.
1st period - Cheechoo, SJ (boarding major), 1:03; Cheechoo, SJ (game misconduct), 1:03; Crosby, PIT (roughing), 1:03; Staal, PIT (holding), 5:04; Bernier, SJ (hooking), 5:33; Melichar, PIT (roughing), 11:28; Grier, SJ (rouhing), 11:28; MAlkin, PIT (hooking), 11:55; Ehrhoff, SJ (holding), 13:13; Grier, SJ (goaltender interference), 18:32.
2nd period - Bernier, SJ (hooking), 1:17; Ruutu, PIT (delay of game), 9:31; Ouellet, PIT (tripping), 15:40.
3rd period - Ruutu, PIT (elbowing), 6:25; Clowe, SJ (roughing), 6:25.
  Shots Saves
PIT - Fleury 34 31
SJ - Toskala 27 25
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
PIT 8 9 10 27
SJ 8 17 9 34
Power Play Conversion
PIT 0 of 6
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Kyle McLaren
Joe Thornton
Mike Grier
Referees: Tom Kowal, Kelly Sutherland. Linesmen: Ryan Galloway, Darren Gibbs.

Privacy Statement   |   Contact Us   |   Advertise
Copyright 2006 All rights reserved.
This website is an unofficial and independently operated source of news
and information not affiliated with any team, or league.