It seems there is some bad blood brewing between the Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks, with Stephane Robidas and Corey Perry right in the middle of it. On Friday night the rancor between the two teams reached a new level, with the Dallas Stars taking advantage of a spearing major to Brad Staubitz and the teams resorting to several violent scrums throughout the game.
This is something that has been building for a while, however, and essentially started last season. If you remember, Robidas and Perry got tangles up on a race to the puck last season that resulted in Perry slamming awkwardly into the boards and hurting his shoulder. Robidas was hit with a boarding minor from the play but both Perry and Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau were upset more wasn't called -- especially since Robidas is apparently a known dirty player.
From last March:
"Even if he didn't extend his arms, he pushed him, or if he didn't, he held him and pushed him and held his arm to where he couldn't protect himself," Boudreau said after the game. "That Robidas guy does it every game. He gets away with murder all the time."
"If the Corey penalty (a Stephane Robidas hit on Corey Perry that received two minutes for boarding) wasn't a five-minute penalty, then I don't know what is. He's in the most vulnerable position, head first going into the boards and he's getting a shove. Whether it's a big shove or a little shove, it's a shove of a defenseless person into the boards."
The Ducks and Stars played another game last season after this incident with no further action noted, until last night.
Both incidents essentially started with a little tumble from earlier in the game, where Stephane Robidas and Corey Perry were jawing at each other before the faceoff in the Stars zone. At the drop of the puck Robidas appeared to push out towards Perry with his stick, with Perry then dropping immediately to the ice.
"He asked me to go and I said, ‘Let's go.' If you want to go, let's drop it. He didn't want to drop it," said Robidas after the game. "I gave him a shot and he went down like, and they're all like, ‘Oh my gosh, that is unbelievable.' I didn't do anything. He's the one that came after me. I'm not the one who went after him."
The next shift the two are on the ice Robidas and Perry continue to shove each other up and down the ice before finally dropping the gloves. Perry and Robidas continued to jaw at each other from their respective penalty boxes as well.
"He was asking why I speared him, and I said I didn't spear you," Robidas said. "He just went down."
After the game, Boudreau and Perry made it known they weren't exactly happy with the calls on the ice, especially after Staubitz was ejected from the game for spearing Dillon.
"It wasn't a penalty," Boudreau said Staubitz spearing major. "What do you want me to say? Good refs have bad games. Like good hockey players have bad games, good refs have bad games.
"[Staubitz] didn't do anything. I mean, a spear as far as I know is when you take the butt of the stick or the blade of the stick and stick it in somebody's gut. It hit him three-quarters of the way up the shaft. A spear, if you're going to do that then Robidas got a spear on Perry and nothing was called. What are you going to do? Everybody saw it. They were squared off as if they were going to fight from the [faceoff]. All four refs were looking at it."
Perry, obviously, feels the same way as his coach.
"When he sticks his stick up, lifts it up and pulls it, I don't know what you'd call that," Perry said. "That's spearing to me. You look at Staubitz. It's kind of the same thing. I don't know. You just got to call the first one and all that [stuff] doesn't happen. But they're in their own league tonight, I guess."
Robidas maintains he didn't get his stick up high on Perry and that the Ducks player essentially overreacted after refusing to answer a challenge. Whatever happened, it was clear the Ducks weren't ready for the aggressive attack of the Stars and reacted accordingly, with the team's best player taking himself off the ice for a good chunk of the first period.
For his part, Robidas is a bit uncertain why he was singled out this game.
"Last year, I hit Perry here and he hurt his shoulder. The funny thing is we played in Anaheim after that, and they didn't do anything," Robidas said.
"If they want to focus on me, come on," he continued. "That's their game plan, I guess. It's almost like you can't touch the guy. It's a game of physical contact. If you want to play hockey...it is going to happen once in a while. You are going to get hit.
"If a 50-goal scorer in this league is going to want to fight me, I think it's a pretty good trade. He should focus on playing hockey. He's a good player. He's better on the ice than in the penalty box."