Any little edge just might be the difference between advancing in the Stanley Cup playoffs or going home.
And on the eve of the Vegas Golden Knights-San Jose Sharks winner-take-all Game 7 on Tuesday in San Jose, the players appear to be focused on the task at hand as witnessed in Game 6. Unlike other games in their first-round series, the Golden Knights and Sharks hunkered down, let their skating do their talking and kept the trash talking to a minimum.
The coaches, well that’s a different story, at least according to Sharks coach Peter DeBoer, who on Monday told the San Jose Mercury News Vegas coach Gerard Gallant is doing all the chirping now.
“There’s still chatter,” DeBoer said. “Their coach is chattering. He’s probably doing the most chattering. He’s talking to our players constantly during the game, which I haven’t seen before.”
DeBoer said Gallant is aiming a lot of his talk toward center Logan Couture and the Sharks coach said it’s “ridiculous.”
Couture, a 10-year veteran told the Mercury News, said not many coaches have talked to him from the bench.
“There’s not many that will yell at players,” Couture said. “But we’re in the Stanley Cup playoffs. If they think this is going to help them win, let them do it.”
Couture believes Gallant is angry about a slashing call that went against Jonathan Marchessault in Sunday’s game.
“He got me right near the eye,” Couture said. “I don’t know why they were upset about that. But it’s a penalty and the refs called it. I guess if you’re getting a penalty, you’re going to be upset.”
Marchessault and Couture got locked up in Game 5 and the Golden Knights forward was called for high sticking.
Couture was forced off the ice and said he lost two teeth on the play. There was no call, but the officials huddled and Marchessault was sent to the penalty box.
After that game, Gallant said, “The guy goes off the ice, like I said, from what I (saw), I didn’t think there was much there, for that reaction.”
Couture responded, “I just play hockey. I don’t get involved in that chirping (stuff). There’s guys that do that. Guys on their team and on their bench.”