Last week, we noted that the San Jose Sharks aren’t above criticizing opponents in a losing effort. Despite being all but shut down by Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in a 5-1 loss, several Sharks players felt the netminder’s 44 save performance was “shaky” and “not that good.”
Well, now it’s time to see if San Jose can handle it when someone calls them out after a loss.
The Sharks hosted the Minnesota Wild last night, winning 3-1 thanks to three power play goals. For the night, San Jose had seven power plays compared to Minnesota’s three. Some would see a stat like this and think the Wild were a little undisciplined. Or, if you’re Minnesota coach Mike Yeo, it’s due to the fact that several Sharks were showing off their acting abilities last night.
Yeo didn’t hold back in his post-game critiques of San Jose, claiming they were embellishing all game. He specifically brought up a high sticking penalty called on Wild winger Justin Fontaine after he apparently caught Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart. At least this is what the referees saw. A screenshot tweeted by Chad Graff of Pioneer Press shows what appears to be Fontaine’s stick at hip level while Stuart looks to be taking a bullet.
Obviously a picture only says so much. At first glance, though, it sure looks like Fontaine hit Stuart hard enough to force a full-body convulsion. Yeo called Stuart’s reaction “embarrassing,” suggesting that maybe his team needs to embellish a little more if they want to get some calls their way.
No matter how much the NHL tries, embellishing will be around the league forever. Some players have fine-tuned their subtlety, while others can’t sell a call to save their lives. It sure seems like Yeo thinks the Sharks have plenty of players who fit in the latter category. At the same time, he realized that, at the end of the night, it’s still up to his team to kill off the penalties, regardless of whether or not they should’ve been called in the first place.
“It doesn’t matter how many times they dive,” said Yeo, “we’ve got to make sure we kill them off – or embellish, I shouldn’t say just dive.”