Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Sharks' main issues not Eager-related

Categories: San Jose Sharks, VAN vs. SJS, Vancouver Canucks

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Ben Eager, centre, was out of control in Game 2, but the Sharks have plenty of other problems to worry about first. (Harry How/Getty Images) Ben Eager, centre, was out of control in Game 2, but the Sharks have plenty of other problems to worry about first. (Harry How/Getty Images)
Ben Eager is in the clear, both with the NHL and with the Sharks, who will trot him out again to deliver his magic in his particular idiom.

This, after the league saw fit not to punish him for his hit from behind on Vancouver's Daniel Sedin, not to mention quietly acknowledging an officiating error on Vancouver's fourth goal by Alexandre Burrows.

Of course, that didn't mean Canucks coach Alain Vigneault didn't try to poke the hive a bit.

"Obviously if he [Eager] is undisciplined and the referees call it, then it's favorable to us," Vigneault said. "That being said, you don't want players running around trying to hurt people.  

"It's evident by him challenging the bench, him challenging the bench at the end of the period, his coach saying that's how he wants him to play, that I hope nothing bad happens because some people are going to have to pay for it."

In response, San Jose coach Todd McLellan took the more oblique road.

"We tend to look back at what other teams did, and I remember Chicago beating Vancouver last year, 7-2," McLellan said, referring to what was actually a 7-4 win in Game 5. "Both teams were going at it on the ice, and that's where Alain left it."

In other words, San Jose's issues are not Eager-related, but with most of their forwards, who lost containment and attention to details for the second game in a row against Vancouver.

McLellan called out the Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture lines for gentle but still public censure, in addition to removing Devin Setoguchi from the Joe Thornton line.

"Pav's line [with Torrey Mitchell and Kyle Wellwood] was very good in the first two series, very determined, very smart," McLellan said, "but they haven't played that way in the first two games. I think Couture's line, the same thing. We just need them to be better, right now."

No changes are planned for the lineup, although thoughts continue. Defenceman Jason Demers in unlikely to reappear in the lineup after missing the first two games to an injury incurred in Game 7 against Detroit.


Patrick Marleau-Joe Thornton-Devin Setoguchi
Ryane Clowe-Logan Couture-Dany Heatley
Torrey Mitchell-Joe Pavelski-Kyle Wellwood
Ben Eager-Scott Nichol-Benn Ferriero

Douglas Murray-Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Niclas Wallin
Kent Huskins-Ian White

Antti Niemi
Antero Niittymaki