May 18, 2011
Eager completely loses it
By STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
Patrick Marleau might want to follow up his fight with Kevin Bieksa by punching teammate Ben Eager.
While the former Sharks captain did what he could to spark his struggling San Jose teammates, Eager built a steady rage on the bench, telling the Vancouver Canucks he was coming for them.
So instead of using the courageous moment from Marleau as a catalyst for a comeback, the Sharks watched an out-of-control Eager put the nail in their coffin with his selfish antics.
First, he smashed Canucks star Daniel Sedin into the glass — a move that almost surely would have drawn a suspension if Sedin was hurt.
The Canucks didn't add to their 3-2 lead on that powerplay, but it killed any hope of the Sharks snatching away some momentum.
The death blow came with Eager in the penalty box for a second time in the third period, this time for sweeping the legs out from under Mason Raymond. Higgins scored on the man-advantage to make it 4-2, and the rout was on from there.
Sedin got his own revenge with his second goal of the night a little later on another power play, giving CBC play-by-play man Jim Hughson an opportunity for a little shot from upstairs.
"Take that Ben Eager," Hughson said after Sedin made it 5-2.
And Eager wasn't even in the sin bin for that one.
His goal in the dying minutes might have given him a respite if he didn't ruin it by trash-talking while standing over the fallen Roberto Luongo, taking an unsportsmanlike infraction in the process.
It's a good bet he'll be in the press box for Game 3.
Starts and stops
On paper, the Sharks' third line of Joe Pavelski, Torrey Mitchell and Kyle Wellwood looks better than the Canucks' Maxim Lapierre, Raffi Torres and Jannik Hansen. On the ice, Lapierre, Torres and Hansen have been better so far. The difference — hunger. And not in the Kyle Wellwood off-season cheeseburger diet sort of way, either ... I'm guessing Antti Niemi's side-to-side turns during the anthem are him visualizing the game. But it sure looks like he's afraid one of the Green Men are going to run onto the ice and tackle him. Someone should have told him they couldn't get tickets Wednesday night ... You know what the Green Men need to extend their 15 minutes? A Green Woman ... Don Cherry calls out Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley just before puck drop. Heatley comes through with a nice pass to spring Logan Couture for a goal in the opening minutes before Cherry even found his seat. Marleau poked one past Roberto Luongo, and later volunteered to be Kevin Bieksa's punching bag ... Bieksa had an incredible night, with a goal, assist and a fight for the Gordie Howe hat-trick.
This about that
Claude Julien has been the one coach able to get the best out of Michael Ryder over the years in Montreal and now Boston. He poked some fun at the laid-back Newfie Wednesday. "He was raw out of Newfoundland," Julien said. "Thats where he earned the nickname 'Easy Ryder.' Wasn't used to practicing every day." ... This one's courtesy of the Kukla's Korner blog. The Islanders' Matt Moulson on 41-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning backstop Dwayne Roloson: "Maybe he's just like a fine wine. He just gets better with age. Or something like that." ... Lost in the great four-point performance of Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin was the fact Vincent Lecavalier had four as well in the Lightning loss. With 16 points in 13 contests in these playoffs, Vinnie is proving he's still got game.
Dump and chase
Watching Joe Thornton challenge Ryan Kesler to fight before Game 1 with a series of head lunges was like watching a cat rub up against something ... Reason No. 325 to thin out your Twitter follows: We really don't need to see where St. Louis Blues winger Chris Stewart buys his food, even if the pears do look delicious ... Surely no one would have guessed Seguin would have more goals (3) than teammate Milan Lucic (2) at this point of the playoffs. Lucic had 30 in the regular season. Seguin had 11, and was a healthy scratch for the two first rounds of the playoffs ... Reason No. 236 to follow most hockey players on Twitter: Endorsements. Bobby Ryan introduced the Twitterverse to www.happyhourtimepieces.com Wednesday. Perfect for watching a game while keeping time.
"Wonder if D. Sedin lays on the ice for 10 mins how many games does Eager get instead of 2 mins???? Hmmmmm"
— Dallas Stars' Brad Richards (@BRichards_1991)
"Guess if anybody can afford to spill that much arena beer after a goal it's Steve Nash"
— Mike Brophy (@sportsnetbroph)
"Guy Boucher is the parent scolding you quietly, softly, and in control, but making it very, very clear that he's one degree away from RAGE."
— Justin Bourne (@jtbourne) on the Tampa Bay Lightning coach