LOS ANGELES — It's safe to say the San Jose Sharks got in the last word.
On their way out of town following a 4-3 series-clinching overtime victory Monday night at Staples Center, Sharks forwards Jamal Mayers and Devin Setoguchi fired off a couple cyberspace jabs at Kings coach Terry Murray, who earlier in the Western Conference quarterfinal series had issued strong statements aimed at members of San Jose.
“Tough series with 3 OT games!" Mayers wrote on his personal Twitter account about two hours after the game. “Too bad Murray didn't have class to shake hands like players (who bled) and Asst Coaches!”
Murray was apparently not in the traditional center-ice handshake line that immediately follows the end of a series. His whereabouts were not questioned during the postgame news conference, as most reporters were too busy rushing down to the locker room or writing on deadline, to notice.
The players did.
“Would like to know why coach of the kings Terry Murray never shook our hands??,” wrote Setoguchi, who assisted on Joe Thornton's overtime goal. “Might be a first??”
Murray, who will not be available to the media until Wednesday or Thursday, a team spokesman said, criticized members of the Sharks for their dangerous play after earlier losses in the series.
Following a 6-3 defeat in Game 4, Murray called a tripping penalty on Dany Heatley late in the third period a “gutless move,” saying it appeared Heatley was attempting a slew foot on rookie defenseman Alec Martinez, an illegal move in which a player sweeps the leg out from under an opponent, usually from an unsuspecting blindside.
“That’s where you break your leg,” he said. “That’s where you blow your knee out. I hate that play. That’s a gutless move in my mind.”
Following a 3-2 overtime loss to the Sharks in Game 1, Murray said Jason Demers' airborne check on Kings forward Ryan Smyth was “five times as severe” as the hit Kings forward Jarret Stoll leveled on San Jose defenseman Ian White. Stoll was suspended and White also missed Game 2 because of an upper-body injury.
Demers, meanwhile, did not receive a penalty and went on to score two goals in the series and add an assist.