Update 11:40: Cheechoo participates in morning skate.
Some random thoughts going into game 2 tonight...
- I really hope the Sharks don't do any sort of stupid headhunting, but I wouldn't be surprised if Mark Bell tries to beat the crap out of Scott Hartnell. Still, I hope the Sharks try to send a "we're tough" message rather than "we're stupid" and the refs keep things under control. The last thing we need is Jordan Tootoo running Patrick Marleau or Joe Thornton in revenge.
- Even though Peter Forsberg only had one assist in game 1, he was still all over the ice. Forsberg and Alexander Radulov caught Scott Hannan and Kyle McLaren flat-footed a few times, and they've really got to get their head up about that. Ditto with Paul Kariya.
- I'm just glad that Steve Sullivan is out indefinitely. Along with Teemu Selanne, Sullivan's one of the most consistent, most annoying Shark killers out there. Funny thing is I always liked him when he was with the Blackhawks.
- Mike Grier or Joe Pavelski? That's the question, and I think they both bring different things to the Joe Thornton line. Grier's a hard forechecker and will hustle back at 110% all the time, and that gives a little more offensive leeway to Thornton and Milan Michalek. Pavelski's got more of an offensive upside and drives the net well, but isn't nearly as beefy as Grier. I'm guessing that just to get his feet wet, Pavelski starts on the third line and Grier stays up front. Depending on how well Pavelski adjusts to the pace of the game, I'd start by giving him power play time and then ease him into the top line.
- Will the Predators stay disciplined? Barry Trotz knows that penalties killed his squad in game 1. Still, I don't think the Sharks will look as confused as they did in the second half of the game. Losing one of your best players can shake your focus, but I expect the Sharks to come out ready for this one. As for the Preds, the best thing the Sharks can do is to try and goad undisciplined players like Tootoo and Hartnell into more penalties without taking anything back in retaliation.
- Patrick Marleau said the best revenge for the Cheechoo hit is to shake the Predator players' hands after the Sharks win. Amen to that.
- Barry Trotz claiming that Hartnell's hit was completely clean is the biggest piece of crap since the FoxTrax puck. I'm betting that Trotz is just playing that up for the fan and media attention, though; it's not like he's going to stir the pot by admitting his player was wrong. He pisses off Sharks fans, makes Preds fans feel better, and gives the media a good quote while trying to divert attention from the actual player. The dude still looks like a mole, though.
- On a final note, I know Red Wing fans have been bitching about Hartnell for ages now. I hate to say that I agree with Red Wing fans, but there's a first time for everything.