Canucks coach implies Sharks ‘cheat and are allowed to cheat’ in faceoffs

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The Vancouver Canucks won only 43 per cent of their faceoffs in Game 1 against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, and apparently there is a reason why.

“I would say, what would be logical for us to try and get to is 50 per cent against such a good team,” Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault told reporters following the team’s practice at Rogers Arena.

“Some of that is sometimes jumping and maybe making more scrums and winning those one-on-ones instead of trying to beat some of those guys clean, the way they cheat and they are allowed to cheat. It makes it more challenging.”

Sharks center and captain Joe Thornton, who won 50 per cent of the 20 faceoffs he took in a 3-1 San Jose win, had a rather succinct response when asked what he thought of someone saying his team cheats in the circle.

“I don’t think we’re cheating,” he said.

Reporter: “If someone says that to you…?”

Thornton: “I don’t listen.”

The Canucks, trailing 1-0 in the series and in a desperate bid to generate some scoring, shuffled the lines at Thursday’s practice.

Ryan Kesler was moved to the wing, and skated on a line with Derek Roy and Chris Higgins, as Vigneault may be trying to load up that second line.