| Hitchcock kicks off war of
Blues coach says DeBoer is
We're only one game into the Western Conference
Finals and the war of words has already begun. At least Ken Hitchcock has
elected to go that route. In response to comments Sharks head coach Peter
DeBoer made about referees needing to do their job, Hitchcock responded by
implying that DeBoer was "whining". Pretty crafty of Hitchcock to play the
referees against DeBoer, who opened that door with his comments to reporters on
DeBoer began the foray by commenting on how the Sharks need to
take advantage of the Blues tendancy to take penalties.
"We know we're
going to get chances on the power play on this team, one of the most penalized
teams during the regular season and in the playoffs," DeBoer said before Game
1. "We know we¹re going to get looks, and we've got to cash in."
DeBoer continued to focus on the Blues, then added a nudge directed at the
"We're relying on the officials to do their job. St.
Louis is one of the most penalized teams in the league, regular season and
playoffs. They need to call the game accordingly. Need to make them pay a price
for being the most penalized team in the power play, which we didn't last
When Hitchcock was asked about the comments, he countered by
suggesting DeBoer was trying to milk for calls.
"What are you saying,
is he whining for calls or what's he doing?" Hitchcock asked. "Well, we were
told not to whine for calls, so we're not going to whine for calls. If Pete
wants to do it, that's his (prerogative). But we're not doing it. I'm not sure
why he's doing it, you've got to ask him that question. We're just not doing
it. So, we'll play the game, we'll play it the right way, we'll play it honest,
but we'll play it hard, let the refs decide. They've got to do their job. too."
"I'm not going to tell the referees how to do their
job, nor am I going to tell Gary Bettman or (Colin) Campbell how to do their
job. They've got a tough enough job as it is. I can barely do my job. So I'm
going to do my job, and if other guys want to whine and get other people to
have to work for them, that's up to them."
Speaking of the officials,
a quick fact check shows that referee Eric Furlatt does not trend in favor of
the Sharks. It was Furlatt who's adamant overturn of Joe Pavelski's would be
game-winning goal in overtime of Game 4 of the Western Conference Semi-Final
match-up between San Jose and Nashville.
So far this season, the
Sharks are 1-6 when Furlatt is on the ice. That one win was a 3-0 victory over
the hapless Edmonton Oilers.
Is it just coincidence that the Sharks
end up on the losing end of the ledger whenever Furlatt is on the ice, or is
there something else there?
Two of the Sharks losses when Furlatt is
calling a game have come in the playoffs. San Jose would eventually lose Game 4
in triple overtime. Furlatt was on the ice during San Jose's 2-1 loss to the
Blues in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Sunday night.
lends credence to DeBoer's suggestion that the on-ice officials need to do
their jobs. When the game has stooped to things beard pulling (David Backes
apparently wasn't paying attention in kindergarten), then perhaps the officials
should try and keep the game from becoming a complete mockery.
Thornton didn't seem to have an issue with Backes' antics, but he's taking the
high road. Beard pulling? Backes will be throwing juice boxes from the bench
before you know it.
St Louis is deflecting anything and everything
away from the game. That's a good thing for the Sharks. A team in the driver's
seat just sits back and lets the other team deal with the antics. Given that
the Blues are the ones inciting it, the Sharks should feel good about there
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