SAN JOSE – Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle politely declined to discuss the dangerous hit from behind by the Blues’ Maxim Lapierre on Oct. 15 in St. Louis, which resulted in a motionless Boyle being stretchered off of the ice.
After a brief Thanksgiving Day practice, Boyle simply said: “It’s another game. I’m not really going to talk about it.”
On Friday afternoon, Lapierre and the Blues will oppose the Sharks for the first time since that scary incident. One subplot will be whether Lapierre drops the gloves with any of the Sharks players early in the game.
Mike Brown suggested that would be the right thing to do.
“Me, personally, I would own up to it if I did something like that,” said Brown, who was acquired by the Sharks from Edmonton less than a week after the hit. “I can’t speak for everyone else. … The type of player I am, I’m ready to answer the bell if it was the other way around. I can’t tell you what he’s feeling.”
Brown continued: “There’s typical players around the league that do that, and I don’t think it was his first time around with a hit like this.
“You always wish that these guys that do that would answer the bell, and would be honest and own up and take care of it next game or next shift. I wasn’t here to see the hit, I wasn’t here to see the play happen, but for me, I’ve got to still play the same way, and play a physical game.”
Lapierre, the former Canucks agitator, has just two fights since the start of the 2013 season. His only fight this year, according to HockeyFights.com, was immediately after the hit on Boyle when Andrew Desjardins jumped him in a brief encounter.
Lapierre was suspended for five games for the hit on Boyle, while the Sharks' veteran defenseman missed seven games with a head injury.
As for the game itself, the Sharks responded with five straight goals on their way to a 6-2 win. Three came on the power play.
Emotions likely played a role in the win, in what was the Blues’ worst loss of the season. Head coach Todd McLellan doesn’t expect things to be quite so easy on Friday, as the Blues enter the game with the NHL’s best winning percentage (.813) as well as a five-game winning streak.
“I hope that’s the way it matches up, but I’m not counting on that. They don’t give up six goals in any given game,” McLellan said. “That was one of those nights that teams have during the year where the game just gets away on them. I don’t expect it to be that kind of game again, by any means.”
Logan Couture said: “It definitely wasn’t the way that they play. We know that. We expect them to come a lot harder, and be a lot better.”
The 1 p.m. local start time is the Sharks’ only afternoon home game of the season, and it comes in the middle of a three-games-in-four days stretch against some of the best teams in the league. San Jose kicked it off with a thrilling 3-2 shootout win on Wednesday night over the rival Kings. Anaheim visits Saturday.
“Our schedule right now is tough,” Couture said. “It’s going to be early for both teams. Hopefully we can get prepared, and be ready to go off the bat.”
Perhaps an early, old-fashioned bout will liven things up a bit. But, that could be up to Lapierre.
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Antti Niemi will start in net for the Sharks against St. Louis.