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At the Rink blog

Sharks, Canucks ready after verbal jousting

Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 4:31 PM

By Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

SAN JOSE – The San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks exchanged a few verbal shots earlier this week, which could add even more spice to the game Saturday night at HP Pavilion, a rematch between last year’s Western Conference finalists.

Vancouver won that series in five games, all but one of them decided by two or fewer goals.

Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray and forward Ryane Clowe added fuel to the rivalry Friday morning when asked by Bay Area reporters if they disagreed with ex-Bruin Mark Recchi’s assessment of Vancouver when he said it was “the most arrogant team” and “the most hated team” he had played against in his long career.

“No,” Murray said. “No. I don’t think so. But it’s not the whole team either. It’s certain individuals that give them that reputation. I’m not going to sit here and call out names, but you guys know. It’s so obvious for anybody that watches the game.”

Added Clowe: “I think a lot of teams (that) played against them in the playoffs have similar feelings. We haven’t played them this year so we’ll see.”

Canucks center Ryan Kesler fired back, to the Vancouver Province, after their 5-0 win Friday night against Phoenix.

“We’re going to stay classy and we’re going to play our game and that’s a fast-paced game, and if we do that, I like our chances,” Kesler said. “You know, they can say whatever they want. I don’t understand. We play the game hard and we play it tough. We play their skilled players tough and most don’t like it.”

The question now is how heated and chippy the action will get once the puck drops at the Shark Tank.

“You never know what’s going to happen, but we’re prepared for it in here if it becomes anything like that, but it’s nothing we’re focused on,” Murray said Saturday morning. “If anything, we try to focus on us, how we play.”

Sharks center Patrick Marleau said he just welcomes the chance to play Vancouver again.

“Obviously there’s some carryover,” Marleau said. “You don’t like losing to anybody, that’s for sure. Our team’s changed a little bit, but the players that have been here know what we’re going to be up against tonight. It’s a good challenge.

“You want to win. You want to prove if we had to do it again it would be a different outcome. So that being said, we want to play our best game and come out firing.”

It's hard to walk into that locker room and look those guys in the eye when they've played -- clearly, that was our best game we've played in the series -- and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on his team's 3-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 on Sunday