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Canucks’ Casey DeSmith on McCarron hit: ‘I kind of loved it, it got me into the game’

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Photo credit:© Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
1 month ago
NASHVILLE – It’s playoff time and you have to be willing to take a hit to make a play. That’s how Casey DeSmith described getting run over by Nasvhille behemoth Michael McCarron midway through the first period of Friday’s 2-1 victory in Game 3 of this opening round series with the Predators.
With DeSmith out behind his net to play the puck, the Predators 6’7″ forward made no attempt to side-step the Canucks netminder, instead lowering his shoulder and then lowering the boom.
McCarron was assessed a two-minute penalty for goalie interference in the moment and on Saturday was fined $2,000 by the NHL for his actions.
McCarron will open up his wallet to pay the fine, but it was the Canucks who ultimately made him pay a much stiffer price by opening the scoring with the man-advantage on the ensuing power play.
“I kind of loved it – It got me into the game,” DeSmith told CanucksArmy after practice at Bridgestone Arena. “I thought it was kind of funny. He was clearly coming to hit me. I was laughing after the fact. I’ve got a bunch of pads on. It didn’t hurt. So I just got up and the power play made him pay for it and that felt pretty good, too.”
As for Saturday’s actions from the league, DeSmith hadn’t heard the news until informed by the media. He scoffed when he heard the amount of the fine in a league full of multi-millionaires. But the Canucks goalie seemed pleased to learn that the league had at least taken note of the infraction in the event McCarron decides to cross the line again.
“A precedent needs to be set,” he said. “You can’t just blindside a goalie, then serve two minutes and you’re done. Maybe the next time somebody will think twice before they do that to a goalie. I’ve got a lot of pads on so it’s going to take a little bit more than that to hurt me, so I wasn’t too shaken up about it or upset about it. It was nice to feel like one of the guys – putting the body on the line and taking a hit to make a play.”
DeSmith’s teammates on the ice at the time came to his defence. Filip Hronek was the first to grab McCarron in a bear hug. And then everyone else got involved. It’s a delicate dance in a scoreless game to decide whether to settle a score in the moment or take the power play.
Carson Soucy thought Hronek handled it perfectly.
“Fil did a great job, you kind of get in there and let him know that’s not acceptable, but also he towed the line of ‘I’m getting in there, but I’m not taking a penalty to even this up,” Soucy explained. “You don’t expect a goalie hit every game, but you expect that they’re going to be in his face when he’s in the crease. Obviously, Casey shook it off really well. It may have even got him going even more. He played awesome after that. Maybe a little more fuel for him. And obviously our power play. That’s the biggest dagger you can get. You can let them know you can’t touch our goalie, but the power play scoring is the biggest dagger for them.”
Rick Tocchet didn’t like the play as he saw it unfold in real time from behind the Canucks bench. Already without his star goalie Thatcher Demko, the Canucks coach didn’t want to contemplate what might have happened had DeSmith been hurt in the collisions.
On Saturday, Tocchet didn’t want to get drawn into a war of words or provide the Predators any bulletin board material, but made it clear he felt McCarron crossed a line.
“It’s a little sensitive, we already have a goalie hurt,” Tocchet said. “Sometimes there are collisions, I get it. I thought instead of going straight, he did that one thing at the end that separates ‘well, it’s accidental’ from ‘it’s not accidental.’ Look, I played a hard game, I don’t want to rip on players, but he put his shoulder into Casey.”
As for whether the league action after the fact will have any impact moving forward, Tocchet didn’t think so.
“Well, I’m sure the refs’ antennas are up if something even remotely close to that happens,” he added. “But two grand, I don’t think it means much.”
As for DeSmith, he knows the Predators aren’t going to back off. Down 2-1 in the series, he expects to see even more crease crashing in Sunday’s Game 4. He says he’s ready for whatever comes his way. He just hopes the officials have his back in the event that the Preds initiate too much contact.
“So many goals nowadays are tips, rebounds, screens – that’s the way you score goals in this league,” DeSmith said. “You’re definitely seeing them affecting the crease area and the goalies. For sure, they’re getting to the net. But every team does that. It’s part of the job. Everything is elevated in playoffs and that’s no different.”
Casey DeSmith showed on Friday he can take a bump and bounce right back. He shook off the collision, made 29 saves and helped the Canucks regain home ice advantage in this series.
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