Sunday, December 17, 2017
Sports

Sharks want calls; Hitchcock chides for 'whining'

ST. LOUIS — The Sharks got just three power plays in their Game 1 loss to open the Western Conference final, and no call when Blues captain David Backes tugged on Joe Thornton's bushy beard in the first period.

San Jose coach Peter DeBoer didn't make a big deal of it Monday. Still, he believes his team deserved a lot more chances with the man advantage and hopes officials have a firmer grip tonight in Game 2.

"St. Louis is one of the most-penalized teams in the league, regular season and playoffs," DeBoer said. "They need to call the game accordingly."

St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock, told of those comments, wanted to know whether DeBoer was "whining for calls.

"Well, we were told not to whine for calls, so we're not going to whine for calls," Hitchcock said. "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."

The Blues were the ninth-most penalized team in the regular season and have the second-most minutes in the postseason, though they've played more games than anybody.

Five minor penalties were called, three on the Blues, and there were none in the second period when the Sharks were at their best, ringing up a 16-6 shots advantage but coming up empty and falling behind for good on Jori Lehtera's unassisted goal.

Thornton shrugged off the beard-tugging incident, saying it might have actually helped him.

"It's all good for me," Thornton said. "I think it gets you more involved in the game."

Backes joked off the tactic, too.

"Yeah, just seeing whose was real and making sure they weren't glued on," Backes said.

Panthers: Dale Tallon is the new president of hockey operations and Tom Rowe replaced Tallon as general manager. Those moves occurred earlier this month, but the team did not confirm them until Monday.

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