SAN JOSE Recently retired and future Hall of Fame winger Mark Recchi made news around the hockey world with some disparaging comments about the Vancouver Canucks last week.
Recchi was a member of last seasons Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins, who defeated the Canucks in seven intense games in the Final.
Recchi told Gresh & Zo on 98.5 the Sports Hub:
In 22 years they are the most arrogant team I played against and the most hated team Ive ever played against. I couldnt believe their antics, their falling and diving. It was very frustrating, but at the same time as the series wore on we knew we were getting to them and we knew our physical play and our skating, I think it caught them off guard a little bit.
With the Sharks set to face off on Saturday against the Canucks, who ended San Joses season last May, a couple of the Sharks were asked on Friday about Recchis controversial sentiments.
Recchi was obviously a very well-respected player in this league for many years, and still is very respected, said Douglas Murray. For him saying something like that probably means something."
So, does Murray disagree with Recchi?
No. No. I dont think so, he said, before adding, its not the whole team. Its certain individuals that give them that reputation. Im not going to call out names. Its obvious for anyone that watches the game.
While Murray didnt want to single anyone out, Ryane Clowe had no problem naming a few players on the Canucks that inspire some ill will, like to trash talk and maybe take the occasional dive to draw a penalty.
Theyve got certain guys, and they have Maxim Lapierre there who is known for that," said Clowe. "Hes known to run his mouth and play that sort of game. He doesnt really like backing that up. You have Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows who used to do that a little bit more. Apparently the last year, and last couple of years, theyve tried to not talk as much and just play.
Kesler has kind of turned the page a little bit, but they have some whiners and stuff over there, said Murray.
Clowe, like Murray, also didn't find it necessary to oppose Recchis viewpoint.
Recchi said it. Im not going to disagree with him, said Clowe. I think the teams that played against them last year in the playoffs felt similar feelings.
Its a new year, though, and Saturday night at HP Pavilion is the first chance that Sharks will get to see this years version of the Canucks.
The Canucks havent been nearly as impressive so far this season as compared to last. They have already dropped nine games in regulation a quarter of the way through (11-9-1), after losing just 19 all of last year.
The Sharks were 1-2-1 against Vancouver in the 2010-11 regular season before the Canucks eliminated them in five games in the Western Conference Finals. It was that playoff loss that may have forced the Sharks to make the offseason moves that they did, according to Todd McLellan.
We needed to adjust and make some changes. Weve made them, he said. Were in the process of putting it all together and molding it, and that takes us to the 20-game plateau. Thats just where we are right now.
Clowe expects an emotional game on Saturday, which will be broadcast north of the border for Hockey Night in Canada.
You know its going to be a physical game, and, I guess, a mans game, so you prepare yourself that way, he said. You get adjusted for that mentally, and it gets you in the game a little more.
Theyre not our favorite team, thats for sure.
Odds and ends: Antti Niemi will start in net for the Sharks. Vancouver plays on Friday night in Phoenix before flying to San Jose immediately following. Antero Niittymaki was seen on the ice on Friday morning at Sharks Ice, taking a few shots for the first time. He left before the rest of the team began practice, though.