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Does it have to get ugly?
Sharks getting knocked around in playoff series
4/14/07 - By Paul Krill

It appears the Predators are taking a play out of the Edmonton Oilers playbook from last year's playoffs: Run-a-Shark. Last year, it was Milan Michalek. This year, it's Jonathan Cheechoo and Steve Bernier. Two Sharks sprawled on the ice in two games? Mere coincidence? Meanwhile, the league looks the other way and only suspends one Predator one game and the other not at all.

I am hesitant to advise that the Sharks start running Predators players (not that they'd listen to me anyway). Who knows which Sharks we might lose if the league suddenly decides to tighten up on this sort of thing and throws around serious suspensions?

Unfortunately, the league appears to only take heavy action when there is a lot of negative publicity generated by violence on the ice. Witness the 11 games Owen Nolan got for his retaliation against Grant Stephenson.

After all, the league is very, very concerned about making a good impression on people who will never buy an NHL ticket anyway. I guess the league figures it would rather avoid doing any suspensions that might call attention to the type of play going on in the Sharks-Preds series if it can be avoid it. Who wants to put out a press release that says somebody got suspended?

As for me, my strategy has been the serenity prayer, or whatever it was called, that says, "Lord, help me accept the things I cannot change," or something like that.

While I've been furious over what has gone on in this series so far, I've got too many family and professional obligations to occupy my time to keep me focused on this travesty all day, thankfully. But I'm not the only one upset, that's for sure. Check out this email I just got:

"I have been following your columns for a little while now, I respect your hockey perspective and it is for this reason I'm compelled to ask you(or one of your colleagues) to demand this team to show gut and grit... forget that, to show (censored) and start throwing their weight around, be mean and punish these goons from the Midwest."

The email writer continues:

"I am tired of seeing this team be bullied into submission ESPECIALLY when you and I both know the Sharks could literally run circles around them."

Monday, we'll see how the Sharks respond with the home crowd behind them. It could get ugly.

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