The last time San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle and St. Louis Blues forward Maxim Lapierre were on the ice together, it didn’t end well for Boyle.
Lapierre crashed into Boyle from behind, earning a five-game suspension for smashing Boyle face-first into the boards at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis and knocking the former Stanley Cup winner unconscious. Boyle missed seven games with a concussion, returning Nov. 10.
Don’t expect a tearful reunion full of forgiveness.
“I understand there are times in a game with some of these open ice hits that are just part of hockey,” Boyle told the San Jose Mercury News. “But when you hit somebody from behind like that, it’s a lack of respect.”
Lapierre said he and Boyle have exchanged text messages, with each discussing what they were thinking on the play.
“I can’t say he’s happy with it, but it is what it is,” Lapierre said.
Lapierre said he fully expects to hear it from the crowd at the SAP Center on Friday afternoon.
For his part, Boyle isn’t saying much about it one way or the other.
“I’m very open as you know and I talk about how I feel, but I think this is one of those times where I have to bottle it up a little bit,” Boyle said. “I don’t want to draw any more attention to it.”
Tactically, the Sharks are saying the right things. There hasn’t been talk about revenge, about making Lapierre–or one of the Blues’ stars–pay for injuring their teammate.
“We’re going to play the St. Louis Blues, who are perhaps the best team in the league right now, and the goal is to get the two points,” coach Todd McLellan said. “They’re going to go out and compete on the ice and that’s how it is. The media will make a big issue out of it. We’re going to play for two points.”
Of course, San Jose did call up forward Matt Pelech—an enforcer—earlier this week from Worcester. So we’ll see.