Prior to the Stanley Cup finals, New Jersey captain Zach Parise predicted it wouldn’t take long for things to get nasty between the Devils and Kings.
“I think you have to hate your opponent right away and I don’t think that’s going to be a problem for either side,” he said.
Yet in the first four games of the series, not once were coincidental minors called. Forget finger-biting, there was barely pushing and shoving.
Not that anyone expected Devils-Kings to match Bruins-Canucks in hate – that series was extraordinarily malicious, and the three blowouts in Boston presented plenty of occasions to mix it up.
Still, for those that like their hockey with a little spite, Game 5 was a welcome sight.
With the Kings pressing in the third period, Mike Richards charged into Martin Brodeur causing a scrum in front of the net (during which Jeff Carter took the opportunity to yank Brodeur’s sweater over his head.)
Dustin Penner and Alexei Ponikarovsky even got two each for roughing with 1:36 left.
“I think that’s just what happens,” said Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. “You create those rivalries with individual players, or just in general, the whole team, you learn to hate. They want it so bad and we want it so bad. That’s just what is going to happen on the ice. You’re going to have those battles after the whistle and between the whistles. It’s part of hockey and that’s why we love it.’’
Let’s hope it continues tonight.