There has been no shortage of hits and scrums in the Flames-Blackhawks playoff match-up and the the physicality continues to rise as the series heads to Chicago for Game 5 Saturday.
“There’s lots of action out there, that’s what keeps it fresh. You’ve got to find some new comments for each and every game the deeper you go into the playoffs,” grinned veteran blueliner Cory Sarich.
Now, every time a whistle is blown, the officials have to skate over to the play as there is certainly going to be some pushing a shoving from both sides.
|Pushing and shoving is a now a common sight in the series. |
“As the series goes on, you develop a little more of a hate-on for each other,” said winger Mike Cammalleri.
“It’s tons of fun. I think that adds to it all. Sometimes, funny things are said that you can’t help but smirk at it. It’s good; it shows how bad everyone wants it. As long as guys don’t go overboard.”
He wouldn’t divulge anything of the verbal jabs the Hawks have been sending their way.
“No. I can’t share any of that stuff. You’re going to get me in trouble!” he laughed, adding that he couldn’t recall any of the insults flung his way.
“I don’t hear it when they chirp at me.”
The Hawks haven’t been happy with the physical abuse they’ve been shown around the Flames net but that’s something Calgary balks at.
"We’re just trying to keep guys away from Miikka. I think that’s what it comes down to,” explained Craig Conroy.
“We don’t want them coming near the goalie and they made a point of coming after him in the first couple games. We were just really trying to project our goalie, that’s about it. When they come in, we’re trying to keep them away. If they stayed away from the goalie, it probably won’t happen.”
|Adam Pardy lays a hit on Andrew Ladd. |
“They can worry about what they want to worry about. We’re just protecting our goalie and making it known they can’t be standing around there,” added towering defenseman Jim Vandermeer.
One member of the team has been the main target of the Chicago taunting. Captain Jarome Iginla has been on the receiving end of the majority of the Hawks chirping but that’s something that hasn’t bothered him at all.
"I can take it - verbal abuse is nothing," Iginla shrugged when asked about the trash talk directed towards him.
"Trash talk is fine. Physically, we've been carrying that part of the play and we want to continue it. I can take the verbal stuff, and I would rather dish it out physically."
Iginla’s teammates were almost giddy when asked about the Hawks infuriating the captain.
“That guy's got a scary look when he gets mad. I wouldn't want to be on the other team. He's not afraid of anybody,” said Eric Nystrom.
Added Adrian Aucoin after Monday's win: “He welcomes that challenge - he's not going to back down from anyone. Physically, he's one of those guys. They rile him up and look what he did. I don't even know if he had any points and he was our leader, because he basically manhandled them."
Cammalleri had nothing but admiration for his teammate.
“I’ve never seen a player of Jarome’s caliber be able to step up to as many guys on a team as he does. It’s amazing leadership on Jarome’s part. He’s such a great player, in every battle, and ready and willing all the time. He’s quite the competitor.”
Head coach Mike Keenan wasn’t perturbed by the tongue-lashing the Hawks have been attempting to give Iginla.
“I talked to Jarome about it. He’s fine with it - as long as it’s not racial - he doesn’t care,” Keenan told the media on Tuesday.
“Talk is cheap. You can say all you want verbally, it doesn’t matter. It’s what you do in terms of your actions.”