While Eric Gryba was suspended two games for a blindside hit on
Lars Eller in Game 1, the Canadiens were more
upset Friday with Ottawa coach Paul MacLean for blaming Montreal defenceman
Raphael Diaz for the incident.
MONTREAL -- It didn't take long for this battle to get ugly.
The Montreal Canadiens are livid with the hit by Ottawa Senators defenceman Eric Gryba on winger Lars Eller on Thursday night in a 4-2 loss in Game 1. With Game 2 set for Friday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 6:30 p.m. ET), there was plenty of noise coming from both dressing rooms.
While Gryba was facing a possible suspension [Editor's note: Gryba received a two-game suspension from the NHL later Friday] for what was a blindside hit on Eller in the second period of the Senators' victory, the Habs were more upset with the fact Ottawa coach Paul MacLean blamed Montreal defenceman Raphael Diaz for the incident.
"We don't really care what that bug-eyed fat walrus has to say," Brandon Prust said at the club's practice facility in Brossard, Que.
MacLean said Thursday night Diaz shouldn't have thrown the pass.
"The player I would be mad at is 61 [Diaz]," said MacLean after the game. "That's a dangerous place to be."
Coach Michel Therrien didn't like that reference either.
"It was a total lack of respect to Lars Eller and his family," said Therrien.
MacLean said he was just stating the facts and if the Habs didn't like the truth, well, it didn't bother him one bit.
"Everyone was blaming my player for doing what he was supposed to do," said MacLean. "All I did was point out what happened. I feel bad that the kid got hurt. That's what happens. It's a hockey play that went bad for him.
"All you guys were going to stand around and say that Eric Gryba was to blame. All I did was tell you what it was. If that was being harsh, being cruel to the player 61, it's a big world out there. Grow up."
Asked about Prust's comments, MacLean didn't go there: "I have no idea. I just want to coach this game. They can say whatever they want to say. I'm going to say what I want to say. I am who I am. It don't matter to me, I'm just here to coach the team."
Therrien said the incident was devastating.
"The management is hurt, the coaching staff is hurt and, most importantly, the players are hurt to see one of their teammates laid down like this," said Therrien.
With Gryba out, expect to see defenceman Patrick Wiercioch in the lineup. He was a scratch for Game 1.
"I don't think you're entitled to anything in the NHL. Whatever helps the team most, whatever gets us the wins right now, is all the focus," said Wiercioch.
Anderson loses tooth
The Senators are aware they have to be better in Game 2 if they're going to go home with a 2-0 series lead.
They allowed the Habs to have 50 shots at Craig Anderson and don't want that to happen again. The Senators have to limit the chances and make sure they get to Carey Price.
"It's really important not to let them get 50 shots. Anytime you allow that many against, you're giving the opposition a good opportunity to score more goals," said Ottawa defenceman Marc Methot.
Anderson lost a tooth on a shot from Rene Bourque in the second. He stayed in the game.
"That just goes to show his character and how badly he wants to win for us," said Methot. "He's stepping his game up and it's showing.
"It's tough. It's a huge shock when you get hit around the mouth. It's a sensitive area. I believe that tooth that he lost was fake ... That kind of helps. Don't quote me on that. I think it's a little too late [for that]. He's an animal out there."
Chad Johnson says he was never given the chance to be a No. 1 goaltender in his first five NHL stops. Joining his hometown Calgary Flames as a free agent on July 1 presented another opportunity for Johnson, and he has flourished in a starting role. more »