Kingsport Times News Monday, August 31, 2015

Wilson: Predators, not Sharks, are instigating physical play

April 15th, 2007 12:12 am by Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Ron Wilson has no idea what playoff series Barry Trotz has been watching. The San Jose Sharks coach is pretty sure his Nashville counterpart won't like what happens next, however.

After refusing to comment following the Sharks' fisticuff-filled 5-2 loss to the Predators on Friday night, Wilson reacted incredulously Saturday to Trotz's repeated attempts to blame the series' physical tone and vindictive episodes on the Sharks.

"The rhetoric coming (from Trotz) is that we went there to start a street brawl, which is comical," Wilson said after the Sharks' 4 a.m. return from splitting the first two games in Nashville. The best-of-seven Western Conference series resumes Monday.

"Our responses aren't about beating anybody up or any of that baloney. We took home ice from them. The pressure is on them now. We're still in the driver's seat. ... We'll win the game on the ice."

Wilson is an eloquent veteran coach who's no stranger to verbal sparring after taking three franchises to the playoffs on seven occasions. Yet he seems increasingly puzzled by Trotz, whose first playoff appearance ended with San Jose's five-game victory in last season's first round.

The series' first two games were filled with physical play by both sides, but Wilson believes two important numbers tell the story: Nashville delivered two dangerous hits that knocked San Jose players out of the game while racking up 115 penalty minutes.

Scott Hartnell sidelined Jonathan Cheechoo in Game 1, though Trotz and Hartnell claimed the knee-on-knee collision was unintentional. Alexander Radulov then sent Steve Bernier headfirst into the boards with a hit from behind in Game 2.

While Hartnell avoided suspension Saturday when the NHL rescinded two misconduct penalties against him in Game 2, Wilson thought Radulov deserved more than a one-game suspension for clobbering Bernier - and then Trotz mystified Wilson by claiming that Bernier saw the dangerous hit coming, and braced himself for it.

The Sharks haven't determined whether Bernier has a concussion, or whether he'll be available for Game 3.

Wilson's only complaint about his club's effort in Game 2 was its inability to score during the resulting five-minute power play, including a brief two-man advantage, after Radulov's hit.

Nashville even added a short-handed goal moments later, and the Sharks couldn't recover in a game that ended with three separate fights in the final minute.

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