ST. LOUIS – For the second time in two days, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer made mention of the Blues’ tendency to take penalties.
Responding to a question on Monday about Blues captain David Backes giving a woolly Joe Thornton’s beard a tug in the first period, and Steve Ott being a “noted Sharks pest,” DeBoer said:
"What we're relying on is the officials to do their job. St. Louis is one of the most penalized teams in the league, regular season and playoffs. They need to call the game accordingly. [We] need to make them pay a price for being one of the most penalized teams on the power play, which we didn't last night."
The Blues spent the third-most time on the penalty kill in the regular season, and were shorthanded 276 times, the sixth-most in the league. The Sharks finished 0-for-3 on the power play in Sunday’s 2-1 loss in Game 1, generating just five shots over six minutes.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was made aware of DeBoer’s comments from earlier on Monday.
"What are you saying, is he whining for calls, or what's he doing?" Hitchcock asked.
"We were told not to whine for calls, so we're not going to whine for calls. If Pete wants to do it, that's his [prerogative]. But we're not doing it. I'm not sure why he's doing it. You've got to ask him that question. We're just not doing it. So, we'll play the game, we'll play it the right way, we'll play it honest, but we'll play it hard [and] let the refs decide. They've got to do their job, too.
“I'm not going to tell the referees how to do their job, nor am I going to tell Gary Bettman or [Colin] Campbell how to do their job. They've got a tough enough job as it is. I can barely do my job. So I'm going to do my job, and if other guys want to whine and get other people to have to work for them, that's up to them."
Thornton, for his part, didn’t think much of the whole Backes beard-grabbing incident.
"It's all good for me," he said. "Just gets you more involved the game. That’s fine by me."