Ryane Clowe says he didn't want to fight Morrow

We covered plenty of the highlights from the Dallas Stars’ thrashing of the West-leading San Jose Sharks from Tuesday night, but we really didn’t get into meat behind the game. The Sharks actually came out playing well in the game, but Kari Lehtonen made some big saves early and the Stars were able to get ahead with a power play goal. From there, it was a snowball effect as Dallas continuously outplayed and outworked San Jose en route to a big 8-2 win.

There was also some extra-curricular activity that needed mentioning. It all seemed to start with Ryane Clowe’s hit of Stephane Robidas in open ice. It wasn’t exactly a blind-side hit, but it did seem to come well after Robidas had released the puck.

There were some ensuing fights in the game, one involving Clowe and Krys Barch, until Robidas was tossed from the game for a boarding penalty on Clowe that left him with a bad cut above his eye. It wasn’t necessarily a vicious hit — and certainly not as bad as Wisniewski’s hit on Seabrook — but it was boarding and Clowe was hurt, so Robidas was rightfuly given a misconduct.

What’s interesting about the situation is how Clow apparently turned down the chance to fight Brenden Morrow immediately after the original hit on Robidas. From David Pollack of the San Jose Mercury News:

“He moved the puck and I hit him with my shoulder,” Clowe said of the
play, which didn’t warrant a penalty.

After that, Clowe said, Brendan Morrow skated by and asked him to
fight.

“I told him I wasn’t going to fight him, that I’d fight Barch,” said
Clowe. “I probably should have fought him (Morrow), but I have a hard
time fighting guys who are the top players on other teams. I don’t
know.”

Morrow isn’t exactly a pushover when it comes to fighting, but I guess that Clowe felt it would be disrespectful to take on a top player on the other team. He certainly stood up for himself and the hit by taking on Barch, I guess. At the time, the game was just 1-0 in favor of the Stars so this wasn’t a case of the Ducks just looking to get after the Stars in a blowout, although that came later.

I guess you have to respect Clowe here. I’d still like to see him take on a player that challenges him, even if it’s the other team’s captain. If he pounds him, well then that’s Morrow’s fault for getting into something he couldn’t handle.

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    Some tough decisions await the Blues

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    Yet again, the St. Louis Blues failed to achieve their ultimate goal.

    And boy does it hurt right now.

    “We’re all hurting,” coach Ken Hitchcock said last night after getting eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final.

    “You don’t want this to be our best opportunity. You want this to be a building block. In this game, in this era, in this cap world, you don’t know where you’re going to be a year from now.”

    Indeed, GM Doug Armstrong has some tough decisions to make this offseason.

    At the top of the list is whether to bring Hitchcock back. Yes, the Blues did better than 26 other teams, and yes, they finally got past the first round. Still, there are people who believe this will be it for the head coach, that a new voice could help. Overall, Hitchcock has done a great job in St. Louis. But then, so did Todd McLellan in San Jose. Sometimes, change can be good.

    Then there are the unrestricted free agents. Both captain David Backes and winger Troy Brouwer need new contracts. The former is 32, the latter 30. The former had seven goals in the playoffs, the latter eight. How much money will they want? How much term? The second question might be the most important.

    On the back end, it’s Kevin Shattenkirk that will garner the most attention. He’s signed through next season before he can become an unrestricted free agent. Just 27 years old, and considering the demand for what he does, he’ll be very expensive to keep. And with the emergence of Colton Parayko, trading Shattenkirk could probably be justified, especially if the return is good. A team like the Boston Bruins might be willing to pay up.

    Right now, the pain is still fresh for the Blues.

    “It’s so hard to win in the league right now,” said Hitchcock. “It’s so hard to win a series. So hard to just get in the playoffs. When you get this far, you get this close, you think you got the opportunity.”

    The challenge for Armstrong will be to give his team another opportunity next season. And with the draft less than a month away, all these tough decisions will need to be made very soon.

    Goals of the Week get tougher as Cup Final approaches

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    The Stanley Cup Final is almost upon us and picking the very best Goals of the Week is a tough task. See how we did on this edition!

    Just for Men: Mike Commodore

    RALEIGH, NC - JUNE 14:  Mike Commodore #22 of the Carolina Hurricanes warms up before game five of the 2006 NHL Stanley Cup Finals against the Edmonton Oilers on June 14, 2006 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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    Maybe one would argue that time hasn’t been kind to the 2006 Stanley Cup-winning Carolina Hurricanes (at least compared to the pedigree of other winners), but Mike Commodore’s incredible red afro and beard rank as one of hockey’s most timeless combinations.

    Seriously, just take a step back from your monitor* and bask in the splendor of that carrot-topped Commodore.

    Even then-President George W. Bush remarked on Commodore’s bushy hair and beard (or its tragic absence) when the Canes visited the White House:

    THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for coming. Have a seat. It’s a pretty big deal for a guy that doesn’t know how to ice skate — (laughter) — to welcome the Carolina Hurricanes to the White House. We appreciate you coming. You know, I’m not sure what is prettier, the Stanley Cup, or Mike Commodore’s hair. (Laughter.) A little disappointed you got a haircut. (Laughter.) But, welcome.

    Good stuff.

    And it really is kind of disappointing any time you see Commodore relatively clean-shaven. It’s like Superman without a big “S” on his chest or Metallica with short hair or any number of not-quite-right sights.

    * – If you’re doing the Rumsfeld-style “standing at your desk” thing then … kneel for a second maybe?

    Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

    Stanley Cup
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    There’s nothing better than a Game 7, especially when a spot in the Stanley Cup Final is up for grabs. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins will battle in a do-or-die game for the right to play the San Jose Sharks with Lord Stanley on the line. You can watch the game via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

    Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh (8:00 p.m. ET)

    The television broadcast of Game 7 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the Live Extra app, click here.

    Here’s some reading material to get you ready for this one:

    Penguins, Lightning prepare for ‘roller coaster’ Game 7

    Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

    Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal