BOSTON (CBS) — The war of words between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens has moved from the ice to the press conference podium.
The two teams have completed two spirited games in their best-of-seven series, with Montreal winning Game 1 and Boston taking Game 2. It was in that Game 2 when the Bruins at time showed a lack of composure. The team was assessed 18 penalty minutes, compared to Montreal’s 12. Included in those penalties was one called on Boston head coach Claude Julien for his use of “abusive language” toward an official.
Michel Therrien was asked Monday for his thoughts on such complaints about officiating as well as Dougie Hamilton’s assessment of some vulnerabilities of goaltender Carey Price, and the Montreal head coach pulled no punches.
“It’s the same thing with Claude. He’s not happy with all that ‘crap,'” Therrien said, regarding Julien’s colorful reference to the officiating in Game 2. “They try to influence referees. That’s the way they are. That’s not going to change. That’s the way that they like to do their things. … But we all know what they try to do.”
With those comments, the gloves are officially off.
To be fair, Julien did say before the series began that he hated Boston when he coached Montreal, and now that he’s coaching Boston, he hates Montreal. Still, even during his mid-game tirade that drew a penalty, Julien never expressed any issue with the Canadiens or their organization.
“The referee — I kind of told him that I didn’t agree with his calls,” was all that a wryly smiling Julien told the media after the Game 2 win.
The only possible comment to which Therrien could have taken offense could have been when Julien referred to taking an early timeout as a possible panic move. Yet Julien made it clear that he was speaking only about his own philosophy and that it very may well differ from other coaches’ thoughts.
Therrien took it a step further, too.
“I thought they got away with a lot of things, as far as we’re concerned,” Therrien said of some missed penalty calls.
Therrien holds that belief despite the Bruins’ being assessed 26 PIMs on home ice and Montreal earning 18 PIMs thus far in the series, and despite Montreal finding great success on the power play (4-for-9, 44.4 percent). Perhaps the coach would very much like to continue getting those power play chances and is therefore making this comment, but he nevertheless has some questionable timing to lobby such a complaint.
Through two games, it’s clear that neither coach is entirely happy about the officiating. But if things continue to get snippy through the media, we’ll all continue to be happy spectators.
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