SAN JOSE -- The Sharks' war of words with the Vegas Golden Knights has spilled over behind the benches.
Hours before Game 7 in the teams' first-round Stanley Cup playoffs series Tuesday, Vegas coach Gerard Gallant forcefully denied that he talked trash to Sharks forward Logan Couture.
"I really don't want to talk about that," Gallant said when a reporter asked about the Sharks' accusations, "but I think I'm going to have to a little bit because for that clown to say that in the paper yesterday, it's not right."
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer told reporters after San Jose's Monday practice that "there's still chatter" despite the two teams no longer trading as many jabs through the media after some verbal sparring following Games 3 and 4. The source of that chatter, according to DeBoer, was Gallant.
"Their coach is chattering," DeBoer told reporters in San Jose on Tuesday. "He’s probably doing the most chattering. He’s talking to our players constantly during the game, which I haven’t seen before. That’s probably where most of the chatter’s coming from now. The players are playing.”
When a reporter followed up and asked if it was directed at Couture, DeBoer replied: "Yeah, ridiculous."
During the third period of Game 5, Gallant argued with referees after Jonathan Marchessault high-sticked Couture. When the Sharks scored on the ensuing power play, Gallant sarcastically gave the officials a thumbs-up, telling reporters after the game he "didn't think there was much there, for that reaction." Couture lost two teeth on the play, and the Golden Knights coach said Wednesday that his ire was with the officials and not the Sharks forward.
"There might have been two incidents that happened, and I'll tell you both of the incidents," Gallant said. "Logan Couture, I thought it was an embellishment [at the time], so I'm yelling at the referee, not yelling at Logan Couture. The other one, Game 2, Evander Kane's yelling at Ryan Reaves between the bench, and Evander yelled at me and said, 'Hey, coach! When are you gonna send your big guy out on the ice and play him more than four minutes?' And I said, 'He's played 10 minutes every game, and he's gonna play a lot more.'"
Kane and Reaves, of course, threw shade at one another -- via reporters and on social media -- after Games 3 and 4. Games 5 and 6, however, were much more disciplined on the ice, as the teams combined for 20 penalty minutes in those contests compared to 172 in the first four.
Couture backed his coach's assessment to reporters Tuesday, while Marchessault said he "never saw" Gallant talk to any players other than his own. One of these team's seasons will end at SAP Center on Tuesday night, and the handshake-line conversation between the two coaches will be one to watch.
"If I'm going to be a chirper and a loudmouth, I think people know me as a coach and respect me as a coach," Gallant said. "If [DeBoer] going to yap about that, that's a little unclassy for me."