The heated rivalry between the Sharks and the Vegas Golden Knights just keeps on growing.
In his afternoon video press conference before Friday's contest between San Jose and Vegas at SAP Center, Golden Knights coach -- and former Sharks coach -- Peter DeBoer didn't mince words about what transpired the last time the two teams faced each other.
"[The Sharks] are trying to manufacture emotion on their end and it's based around a hit the referees on the ice didn't deem illegal, and player safety after looking at it 800 times didn't deem illegal," DeBoer said, seemingly taking a jab at his former organization.
Vegas spoiled the Sharks' long-awaited home opener on Feb. 13, rolling over San Jose 3-1. But the contest featured more than the usual amount of intensity as two Sharks' defensemen, Erik Karlsson and Radim Simek both left the game with injuries.
However, it was the hit on Simek, a cross-check by Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault in the second period, that really didn't sit well with the Sharks.
"The initial hit you can argue is a little bit high, but I think it’s the nature of the hit, I think it was retaliatory,” Boughner said after Marchessault's hit. (h/t Bay Area News Group's Curtis Pashelka). “I thought that [Simek] was physical on Smith on the first shoulder-to-shoulder puck battle. It looked like Marchessault came in, keying on Simmer and the hit.
“Again, my issue is more the second time around when Simmer was already stung that he came in and added insult to injury, and that’s on us. I mean, it looked to me like someone taking a shot at one of our players and I didn’t like our response. That’s something we are addressing."
The league did not deem Marchessault's hit to be illegal, but Simek did end up on the Injured Reserve for two weeks as a result.
DeBoer's comments stemmed after multiple Sharks players described the rematch as an "emotional game" Friday morning. Clearly, DeBoer wasn't impressed.
"Whatever you got to do to get yourself going," he said. "We have a team that can play any way you want to play."
Still, Friday's game probably still feels personal to DeBoer, who served as the Sharks' head coach for four seasons before being fired in 2019. Under his tenure, San Jose advanced to the playoffs four consecutive seasons and won two conference championships.
DeBoer quickly was picked up by the Golden Knights after being let go, and former Sharks assistant coach Steve Spott joined him shortly after.
Despite DeBoer's initial scoffing, it's clear the two-game series between the storied rivals will be as emotional and intense as ever.