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McKenzie: Sharks didn't respond well after Marleau fight

Bob McKenzie
5/19/2011 2:49:26 AM
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Some thoughts from the NHL on TSN panel on Wednesday night:

The Ben Eager saga all started with the Patrick Marleau-Kevin Bieksa fight. Fair game for Marleau, he's a little frustrated, maybe, and maybe he wanted to show a little bit of leadership for his team, for all the things that have been said about him.

But he gets into the fight with Bieksa, he drops the gloves first, and Bieksa really tunes him up. Now you want to see a response from San Jose, but the response is not Eager getting upset on the bench, and then coming out and taking a cheap shot hit on Daniel Sedin from behind, which should have been a five-minute major, not a two-minute minor.

And that was followed by some theatrics. And then in the third period: a stupid, dumb penalty that leads to a power play goal, that effectively blows the game open for the Vancouver Canucks.

If you're the San Jose Sharks, and you see Marleau (a non-fighter) get beat up by Bieksa, you want to pull together as a group and have an emotional response that matters in the hockey game. Not the silliness and stupidity that Eager did for the balance of that game, and that really broke the game wide open.

As for a possible suspension, it's not a suspendable act unto itself. I've seen that hit a lot in the National Hockey League and they don't suspend people for it.

But because it's Eager with a history of being suspended and also because he did so many stupid things in the third period, including trash-talking Roberto Luongo after he scored a goal, it wouldn't surprise me if the league does put a suspension in, just to take him out of the game.

And it wouldn't surprise me if the Vancouver Canucks say don't suspend him – because he's a bigger detriment to his team in the lineup, than out.

Expect defence to again come to the forefront for Game 3 in Tampa Bay

The Boston Bruins have a conservative approach as a team. Claude Julien likes to roll four lines, they have a great goaltender in Tim Thomas, and they can really button things down defensively.

And the Tampa Bay Lightning are well known for doing a lot of the same things.

But in Game 2 on Tuesday, the Bruins gave up goals in the first 15 seconds of the game, and in the last 10 seconds of the first. Then in the second period, the Lightning completely and utterly broke down. Maybe that's to be expected when you've got an eight-game winning streak - maybe a little complacency and comfort creeps into your game - but that's not the way the Tampa Bay Lightning play.

I've got to believe that before Game 3, both coaches - Julien for Boston and Guy Boucher for the Lightning - are dialing their guys back in defensively and making sure that they go back to the structure that both of these teams are famous for. I'll go way out on a limb and say that we're not going to see another game like Game 2 in this series. I could be proven wrong, but you've got to believe that these two teams are going to go back and we'll have a lot of 2-1 hockey games from here on in.

Bob McKenzie

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