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Habs-Rangers verbal battle grows louder

May 24, 2014, 10:24 AM EDT

Derek Dorsett, Brandon Prust Getty Images

It’s taken just three games for it to happen, but the full-scale war of words between the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens is in full swing.

Following injuries to both Carey Price and Derek Stepan under different hotly debated circumstances have brought out staunch defenses of Chris Kreider and Brandon Prust alike. With Stepan’s broken jaw occurring after Prust’s big (and suspendable late) hit, Habs players like David Desharnais are calling the hit a good one.

As Sean Gordon of The Globe And Mail says, the talking between both sides is adding fuel to the fire of what’s become a nasty series and Rangers coach Alain Vigneault thinks he knew what Prust was hoping to do.

He’s the one who openly mentioned what [Chris] Kreider did, and other than a few over-zealous fans, 95 percent of the people in hockey knew Kreider didn’t want to hurt [Montreal goalie Carey] Price [in Game 1],” Vigneault said. “But what Prust did, by being late with the check, up toward the head, we’re going to leave it at that.”

The Habs say it’s a good hit, the Rangers disagree. Reverse the roles and you could be talking about what happened with Price.

Whether the verbal slings and arrows are just an airing of grievances or a way to campaign for more calls to be made, that’s up for debate, but the one thing it won’t do is cool tempers for either team. Either way, a series that started with talk of mutual respect has devolved into the kind of heated battle you hope for in the postseason.

  1. ChocolateThunder - May 24, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    That’s ridiculous. There is no comparison.

    Kreider was pulled down from behind by a 2 defensemen he had just clowned in open ice. Price never would have been hurt if they could have done their job effectively. Proust’s contract was his entirely his decision, and as video has confirmed, a decision he made after Stepan released the puck. A late cheap shot on a defenseless player.

  2. joey4id - May 24, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    “95 percent of the people in hockey knew Kreider didn’t want to hurt [Montreal goalie Carey] Price [in Game 1],”

    I agree he didn’t want to hurt Price, but that’s not the question. Did Kreider do enough to avoid running into Price?

    The NHL should do more to protect the goalies. Matter of fact they should do as much to protect them as they do to protect players against head shots. The rule has to be written to force players to be much less reckless. All goals scored when goalie contact is apparent should be reviewed, and all contact with the goalie should be subject to supplemental discipline whether or not a penalty was assessed during the game. If Prust’s hit is subject to supplemental discipline (for trying to finish his check) then any player who “accidentally on purpose” runs a goalie should be subject to supplemental discipline as well.

    • stakex - May 24, 2014 at 10:58 AM

      The thing is, that “accidently on purpose” statement by Prust was utter bull**** from the get go. Kredier was tripped on the breakaway and had no chance to avoid contact. Get over it already.

      • joey4id - May 24, 2014 at 11:10 AM

        Relax! Bud! Only one person for certain can tell us if it was on purpose, and I’ve already said it looked like a trip from Emelin. Looked is the key word. Will Kreider ever tell us? No. Have you ever played the game and ran into a goalie accidentally on purpose?

      • habs9 - May 25, 2014 at 8:27 AM

        Kreider must get tripped into goalies often…..its very strange…strange indeed

    • billiam55 - May 24, 2014 at 11:02 AM


      • joey4id - May 24, 2014 at 11:14 AM

        Hahahaha! What’s with the all caps? Are you yelling at me? :-) Chill! Matter of fact I have played the game, and, yes I have run into goalies accidentally on purpose, and sometimes on purpose. The on purpose occurred back when the a goalie roaming out of his crease was fair game. lol!

  3. jason9696 - May 24, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    I want to see a Ranger hit David Desharnais the way Brandon Prust hit Derek Stepan. And see what the Hobbit thinks about that.

    • billiam55 - May 24, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      I don’t. i just want the rangers to play whistle to whistle and be smart like theyve been all year. all this BS needs to stop. this was one the reasons why we lost the eastern conference finals in 2012 with the devils.

  4. stakex - May 24, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    Indeed there are no comparisons between the two. Kreider was tripped on the breakaway while moving at top speed. Everyone who isn’t related to Montreal (fan or player) knows damn well that it was just a good solid hockey play gone bad.

    Prust on the other hand made several comments indicating he was going to seek revenge, and then delivered a violent, late, predatory hit to the head of a defenseless player. HUGE difference there, and the league agrees…. that’s why Prust has been suspended and Kreider wasn’t.

    Now unlike Montreal which tried to drum up fake outrage at the loss of Prust, and attempted to rally around a BS cause…. I fully expect the Rangers will indeed be fired up next game, thanks in large part to the antics of Montreal.

    • stakex - May 24, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      *loss of Price

    • charlie24zz - May 24, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      No fake outrage, Prust got what he deserved. It’s funny because the Habs are rarely the aggressor in terms of suspendable hits…now that the tables are turned, look at the big bad Habs and their “antics!”

      Talk about NYR fans whining. You see Habs fans disagree with how the Kreider/Price incident was dealt with because NOTHING was done to protect Price, a leading Conn Smythe candidate so far this postseason. Are you telling me that Kreider can continue to skate full-steam ahead, lose his edge, and barrel into goalies without retribution? With no suspension? (and you all can Youtube the Anderson/Fleury incidents, it seems as if that’s his “style of play”) If the roles were reversed, would you honestly be OK with Pacioretty doing the same thing to Lundqvist, be it intentional or not? I don’t think so. While I believe Therrien is wrong in equating a late-hit to the Kreider slide, I think he handled Prust’s suspension very well.

      As for people calling for Prust’s head…grow up. He didn’t even catch him in the face, and Stepan played the whole game, laying the body, and even assisted on the last NYR goal. I bet all you NYR fans loved Prust when he was on your team. He is a warrior, albeit with a diminishing skillset every year (his shoulders are done), and played his role this series.

      I am tired of all this hate for the Habs on this website. I’ve been a troll at times the past week, but it is really sickening. It is as if there is a predisposed hate for the Canadiens. Well, I guess when you have 24 cups in your coffer, it comes with the territory.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here” – Carey Price

      • ChocolateThunder - May 24, 2014 at 12:22 PM

        “They aren’t hanging any banners from the rafters here this year.” – Carey Price

      • charlie24zz - May 24, 2014 at 12:26 PM

        The series ain’t over, bud!

    • joey4id - May 24, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      Firstly, show is the quote where Prust says he’s going to seek revenge. Secondly, if he wanted to seek revenge, we wouldn’t say it, and he would have went after Lundqvist. So, the total BS is coming from your KB.

      Fake outrage at the loss of Prust? They didn’t even show outrage at the loss of Price. To be fair, AV and MT deserve to be where they are, but neither is mastering the art of communicating to the press. AV said if not for the missed call on Stepan the Rangers would have been on the PP, and the incident that led to Carcillo’s actions would have occurred, and thus no suspension. Excuse me, but these are separate incidents and one doesn’t excuse the other. Basically he’s telling the NHL what happened is the offical’s fault, and it will happen again if the refs don’t make the calls. Lame! Very lame!

  5. jpat2424 - May 24, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    I don’t have a dog in this fight. But I thought the hit was fine. Looked to me he used the shoulder.

    • dueman - May 24, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      He did use his shoulder… break Stepan’s jaw.

  6. bigblueapple - May 24, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    It’s not the question of what his intentions were. He crashed the net going full speed, for whatever reason or whatever intention and a result of that a superstar got injured. This is the NHL, you injure a superstar in the conference finals, even non intentionally, or with a completely legal play it doesn’t matter… You’re gonna get a response every time. So let it go, pick your strategies going forward and play hockey, and stop pretending like the Canadiens should as a hockey team not have any kind of reaction. Rangers would do the same and I would be shocked if they didn’t.

    End this silly debate, Rangers should be happy, there would never be a Carey Price and Prust for Steppan and Carcillo trade in the NHL under any circumstances because it would be a rip off for the Habs, so let’s just say the Rangers won that trade off even more than the Gomez deal. Count your blessings and stop acting like you don’t know why you’re being persecuted and crying to the press about a situation that only benefited the Rangers.

  7. jpat2424 - May 24, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    Just watched the video again. I don’t have a problem with the hit but yes I was late.

  8. tlndma - May 24, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Kreider hit Price because a Canadien’s player tripped him. No trip, no contact.
    The real questions here should be 1. Why was the trip not called? 2. Why wasn’t Prust penalized for interference? Both were flagrant violations.

    • ChocolateThunder - May 24, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      Exactly, plain and simple. If Prust wanted to cheapshot anyone, maybe it should have been Emelin who has no business trying to keep up with Kreider.

  9. drewsylvania - May 24, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Yerdon, I don’t hope for stupid BS like this. I prefer a well-fought hockey game without intents-to-injure and classless, gutless pukes on the ice. Thanks.

  10. rutledge3197 - May 24, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    1993 was 21 years ago…… That gap will comity to grow

  11. rutledge3197 - May 24, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    You won’t hang any banner during your career In Montreal Price

    • charlie24zz - May 24, 2014 at 12:02 PM

      He will, and learn how to spell

  12. cool10857 - May 24, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    It was a cheap shot by Prust in retaliation for Price’s injury. But no one who plays for Montreal will ever admit it. What goes around, comes around. Habs will lose this series.

  13. nicknyhc - May 24, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    I am so tired of this series already. Montreal fans are delusional.

    • drewsylvania - May 24, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      Who’d have thought Bruins fans would feel for Rangers fans..

      • charlie24zz - May 24, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        drew, drew, drew…..

  14. heynyc61 - May 24, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Finishing his check makes no sense since stepon didn’t have the puck. He had plenty of time to not hit a defenseless player. Totally planned. And you hab fans know it’s true

    • joey4id - May 24, 2014 at 1:04 PM

      It is permissible to “finish a check” after a player no longer has possession of the puck. As evident by the Prust/Stepan incident the window of opportunity is very small and clearly there was too much time between the moment Stepan released the puck and the point of contact. The following is an excerpt from the NHL Rule Book;

      Possession of the Puck: The last player to touch the puck, other than the
      goalkeeper, shall be considered the player in possession. The player deemed in possession of the puck may be checked legally, provided the check is
      rendered immediately following his loss of possession.

    • habs9 - May 25, 2014 at 8:30 AM

      and now i’d like to hear about what you plan to do about it!, maybe picket in front Gary’s office?

      yeah you should definetly try that!

  15. bills4 - May 24, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    Two teams that are going to get absolutely blown out of the water in the Finals. Doesn’t matter who wins, the Kings or Blackhawks will make them look like an AHL team.

  16. heynyc61 - May 24, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    Hab fans make no sense. ” I have no problem with the hit but it was late”. So a late injury provoking hit is ok???? Surprised you guys didn’t riot after price got hurt. It’s in your blood

    • joey4id - May 24, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      Really! Based on your post above you’re in no position to be arrogant. If it’s in the Montreal fan’s blood to riot, then answer why there was no riot. An idiot is an idiot regardless whether he’s from NY or Montreal. Eh! 😉

  17. bills4 - May 24, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Riot, what have the French ever won?

  18. clayman61 - May 24, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    I agree with Bills.. Kings or Blackhawks, it doesn’t matter..

  19. McFaddensPulledHammy - May 24, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    Seabrook didn’t mean to hurt Backes.
    Bolling didn’t mean to hurt Ballard.
    Torres didn’t mean to hurt Hossa.
    Orpik didn’t mean to hurt Toews.
    Cooke didn’t mean to hurt Barrie.
    Rupp didn’t mean to hurt Oshie.

  20. heynyc61 - May 24, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    We have our share of idiots but we don’t riot because of a win or lose in sports

    • boisehockeyref - May 25, 2014 at 12:37 AM

      Oh really, you NEVER riot huh?? Let me take you back to 1955, courtesy of Wikipedia…and this is not a joke…it really happened…

      From Wikipedia…

      Opposition players continued to try and stop Richard via physical abuse, and he often retaliated with equal violence. The situation led to a running feud with NHL President Clarence Campbell. Richard had been fined numerous times by Campbell for on-ice incidents and at one point was forced to post a $1,000 “good-behaviour bond” after he had taken to criticizing Campbell in a weekly newspaper column he authored. Richard was among many in Quebec who believed that Campbell treated French Canadian players more harshly than he did their English counterparts. An incident late in the 1954–55 season brought the simmering discontent to a head.[63] During a March 13, 1955, game against Boston, Richard was struck in the head by Hal Laycoe’s stick. Richard retaliated by slashing viciously at Laycoe’s head, then punched linesman Cliff Thompson after the official attempted to intervene. Boston Police attempted to arrest Richard for assault following the incident, but were persuaded by Bruins officials leave the player alone on the promise that the NHL would handle the situation.

      Following two days of deliberation, Campbell announced that he had suspended Richard – who was leading the NHL’s overall scoring race at the time – for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs. In English Canada, Campbell was praised for doing what he could to control the erratic Richard; unknown to most at the time, Campbell had long wanted to suspend Richard over his previous outbursts but was often stymied by the league’s owners who valued his drawing power. In French Quebec, however, the suspension was viewed as an injustice, an unfair punishment given to a Francophone hero by the Anglophone establishment. Richard’s supporters reacted angrily to Campbell: He received several death threats and, upon taking his customary seat at the next Canadiens game, was pelted with vegetables, eggs and other debris by unruly fans. One fan threw a tear gas bomb at Campbell, which resulted in the Forum’s evacuation and the game being declared a forfeit in Detroit’s favour. Fans fleeing the arena were met by a large group of demonstrators who had massed outside prior to the game’s start.[63]

      The mob of over 20,000 people developed into a riot; windows and doors were smashed at the Forum and surrounding businesses. By the following morning, as many as 70 people had been arrested. Over 50 stores were looted during the melee and 37 people injured. Damage was estimated at $100,000 ($872,340 in 2014 dollars).Richard had also attended the game, but left immediately following the forfeit. Frank Selke attempted to persuade him to return to try and disperse the crowd, but Richard refused, fearing that he would instead further inflame the passions of the crowd. He took to the radio the next day asking for calm: “Do no more harm. Get behind the team in the playoffs. I will take my punishment and come back next year and help the club and the younger players to win the Cup”.

      The suspension cost Richard the points title, which he lost to teammate Geoffrion by one point. Montreal fans booed Geoffrion when he surpassed Richard on the final day of the regular season. The fans continued to jeer Geoffrion into the following season. Montreal reached the 1955 Stanley Cup Final, but without Richard, lost the championship series four games to three. The defeat was a bitter loss for Richard who struggled to control his anger over how events had transpired.

  21. sixchr - May 24, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    I’m begging the Rangers right now. Please don’t do this. Don’t suck up Montreal’s crap, please, I’m begging you. The Bruins crumble against these clowns because they suck up that crap and they lose their marbles chasing the pests around instead of actually playing the game. Please please PLEASE just skate away. Just skate away and win the games. I’ll puke if I have to watch that team in the Finals… until the Blackhawks steamroll them out of the playoffs.

  22. johnstone17 - May 24, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    I would prefer that both teams shut up & play. Let the Stepan injury bean end to the garbage.

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