Sharks, Blues prepare for more physical play

Sharks, Blues prepare for more physical play
April 16, 2012, 2:10 am
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The Sharks and Blues held their mutual infamy from Game 2s 132-minute chat as a sort of trophy for all of 20 hours.Then Pittsburgh, which is in far deeper mess than San Jose, hooked up with Philadelphia for a 133-minute hatefest that took the shame meter deeper into the red, and Game 3 got, well, closer to normal.Its playoffs, San Jose coach Todd McLellan said after dismissing any request to relive Saturdays hate-festival3-0 St. Louis win. Its a scrappy time of year, especially in the first round. Every inch is important. Youve got to scratch and claw to score goals and earn ice. Its amazing what six inches of ice can do for you. When you lose it, youre chasing the game. When you win those six or 12 inches of ice, youre in the lead. Thats the kind of series it is and will be.McLellan also explained the emotional burst in Game 2 as merely the conditions that prevail.Its because everybody believes they have a chance right now, he said. Passionate groups, all 16 of them. They worked hard to get here, and theyre trying to find an edge every way they can. Once the first round ends, everybody kind of settles in and plays. But that first round is always so emotional.And the extracurriculars?Its emotion. Very high, very intense, the fans are involved. Its an exciting time of year. Other than that, its hard to explain. You have to be there to feel it. Its a feel you get on the bench. Guys get active and get involved.Of course, Pittsburgh crossed all manner of lines as they suddenly saw elimination and embarrassment in one fell swoop on Sunday. The Sharks and Blues were just turf-warring, with a jagged edge.Until you're out there you dont really realize the frustration level and the intensity, wing Ryane Clowe said. You dont want to feel like youre getting pushed around, you want to push back. Its a fine line. And skill guys, too, are getting feisty. I like it.If guys are fighting each other, I dont see that as a lack of respect. But last night, when a guy sucker-punches you, thats not something Id do. But I think for the most part, respect among players is there. The only thing is, sometimes youre not thinking straight when your bloods boiling.As for adjustments to change the nature of the series, McLellan was coy (maybe a moment for Jim Vandermeer?), and St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said he would keep Brian Elliott in goal, though much of that had to do with Jaroslav Halaks injury preventing him from making the trip west. Jake Allen, who warmed up with the team when Elliott looked questionable before Game 1.But the series has probably had its worst moment. Well, until Monday.