Posted on May 4, 2008 01:14 AM | Permalink
DALLAS - The battle on the ice has been intense. The battle in the media is just ramping up.
As the Stars and Sharks traveled from California to Texas Saturday, they vented just a little bit.
Sharks coach Ron Wilson explained why he is so convinced that his team can become the third team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 series deficit.
"When I was in Washington, they had blown 3-1 leads something like five times in a row in the playoffs," Wilson said. "So my first year in the playoffs, we got up 3-1 and everyone says, 'Well, now you guys are in trouble.' Like we had anything to do with what happened 10 years before. So we talked about it all the time and we actually won three series in a row where we were up 3-1.
"We don't run from any of that stuff. There's no such thing as jinxes or any of that baloney. We're motivated to be the first team in 33 years to do it."
The 1942 Maple Leafs and the 1975 Islanders are the only teams to ever come back from 3-0 deficits in the NHL. They accomplished that feat 33 years apart, and, ironically, it is now 33 years since the Islanders pulled the trick.
So Wilson says his team is just fine where it sits.
"This is very tiring, to say the least," Wilson said. "The schedule is tough. Friday's game, as tight checking as it was, was played at a pretty hectic pace. Like I told our guys, if your feel tired, imagine how they feel. They've traveled more, and they're a lot older than we are."
The Stars have taken four trips to California and back. The Sharks have made two trips to Calgary and are on their second trip to Texas. The Stars have an average age of 28.9. The Sharks average 27.6.
Stars captain Brenden Morrow said he's starting to get into the banter of the series.
"I enjoy it, to tell you the truth," Morrow said. "I enjoy listening to the media saying the pressure is all on us. I enjoy listening to (Sharks coach) Ron Wilson saying how excited he is about trying to make history. I enjoy hearing people say that we're ready to fold up.
"I enjoy it, because it makes it that much more enjoyable when we prove them all wrong."
Mike Murphy explains decision
NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy said the NHL used all of its checks and balances in deciding that Brenden Morrow used a distinct kicking motion to score a goal in Game 5 that was disallowed by video replay.
Murphy said he and three others were watching the play in Toronto and had three different telecasts to choose from. He said he also interacted with on-site officials, including series supervisor E.J. McGuire.
"It was a unanimous decision among our people and one that I feel today was the right decision," Murphy said.
"We have made 200 to 250 calls on kicking plays," Murphy said. "What we have come to determine is that the difference between a kick and a deflection is the force of the puck. If the force of the puck was going to put it into the net at the same speed or a decreased speed, then there wasn't a kick.
"But if the motion of the leg increases the force or speed of the puck, then we believe that is a kick. We believe (Morrow's) kick propelled the puck forward and made it go into the net."
Barnes a game-time decision
Stars forward Stu Barnes has missed two games with concussion-like symptoms and will be a game-time decision for Sunday's Game 6.
If Barnes returns, Stars coach Dave Tippett will likely reunite the checking line of Steve Ott-Mike Modano-Barnes. He would also then put wingers Loui Eriksson and Joel Lundqvist back with Brad Richards. Eriksson and Lundqvist played on the checking line with Mike Modano in Game 5.