Crucial Game 4 for Habs with chance to even series with Rangers (Video)

The Canadiens and Rangers play a crucial game Sunday night in their Eastern Conference final (8 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690), but it was off-ice gamesmanship and playoff rhetoric that dominated the coaches press conferences after the morning skates.

The Canadiens coaching staff had objected on Saturday when members of the Rangers staff watched their practice from the stands at Madison Square Garden. The Canadiens argument was that there’s a gentleman’s agreement that coaches don’t watch opposing teams practices in between game days.

“We were treated very unfairly yesterday,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Sunday morning when asked about the incident.

“There is no rule,” Vigneault said.

“There was no agreement between both teams. That is the exception not the rule. I’ve been asked in the past to do this on a couple of occasions. Usually the coach calls me or the GM calls the GM—never happened. What happened yesterday was uncalled for. Without a doubt my staff handled it with a lot of class, just like our team plays whistle to whistle. Don’t get involved with the other stuff. Very regrettable this is the National Hockey League  and that type of behaviour, we’re lucky it didn’t escalate.”

There was probably miscommunication, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said after the Canadiens’ optional skate on Sunday.

But from our standpoint, we still believe that there is a gentleman’s agreement,” Therrien said.

Vigneault was also asked about Therrien’s comment on Saturday that the Canadiens know exactly where Rangers forward Derick Brassard was injured because hockey is a small world.

Asked if he saw that as threatening in any way, Vigneault said: “Well, let me put it this way: I just hope that nothing happens to Brass, the player, and Michel could be in trouble.”

Said Therrien: “I was saying the same thing we  said about Carey Price, that they knew before we knew his injuries, and in the hockey world it’s a small world. It’s a small world, so we knew exactly  what  happened to Derick Brassard.  And by the way, he’s a good player.  He’s an important player. That line had a lot of success, against the  Penguins … There is no free pass.  We’re in the playoffs.

“But the intention is not to hurt the guy.  I mean, come on.  There is
no hockey player that’s going to go on the ice. There is no hockey coach
going to ask to hurt the player.  But you have to play him hard. We have
to  play  Derick  Brassard  hard  like  we  have to play all those New York
Rangers hard with emotion, but that’s playoff hockey.”

Therrien also said he has a ton of respect for Vigneault and is privileged to be one of his friends.

“But  right  now we’re battling for the same thing,” Therrien said. “We’ve got to put our friendship aside for, what, two weeks?”

Players don’t pay attention to the off-ice stuff, Canadiens defenceman Josh Gorges said.

“Our job is to get ourselves prepared to play the game on the ice,” he said. “There’s always things that go on off the ice.

“You can’t get yourself caught up in it, distracted by it. Our job is to go out there and try to get a win.”

The Canadiens head into Game 4 Sunday  with the chance of evening the best-of-seven series. The Rangers, who hold a 2-1 lead, have a chance to make it a daunting gap with a win Sunday.

“I think there’s still lots of areas (to improve),” Gorges said.

“This team comes at you hard. And they play a hard in-your-face style of game. So I think we still have to do a better job of supporting the puck, winning some of those battles along the boards and playing a little bit more in the offensive zone. I think if we can do that we give ourselves a better chance to come out with a win.”

Derek Stepan, who suffered a broken jaw in Game 3, wasn’t on the ice at the Rangers’ morning skate. He stopped by quickly to say ‘hi’ to his teammates and is recovering at home, Vigneault said. “There is no timetable at this time,” said Vigneault, who confirmed Stepan won’t play Sunday.

But Brassard should be back in the Rangers lineup.

“I’d say right now he’s a game-time decision and (it’s) looking good if I was a betting man,” Vigneault said, smiling.

You can listen to Therrien’s press conference here:

You can listen to Vigneault’s press conference here:

You can watch what Max Pacioretty had to say here:

You can watch what Martin St. Louis had to say after the Rangers morning skate here:

(Video: Brenda Branswell)

Game 4 Preview, NHL.com

Game notes

Five Keys to Game 4, canadiens.com

Game Day Report, canadiens.com

Tokarski has given Canadiens hope, by Jack Todd for The Gazette

Tokarski goes from Saskatchewan farm to Montreal spotlight, by The Gazette’s Stu Cowan

Cherry finally recognizes Canadiens, by Pat Hickey

Fighting words, NHL.com

Rangers expecting boost from Brassard, NHL.com

Frozen Watergate! New York Daily News

Vigneault’s firing by Canadiens led to his success, New York Times

‘We were treated very unfairly,’ Vigneault says, New York Post

 

87 Comments

  1. Nina76 says:

    Yes we have a chance to win this game, but that depends on how we come out to play, I have seen many games this year where we did not seem interested. I wonder if Bassard broke his jaw when he hit the ice & was not Prust………………HA! HA! Please do not leave Tokarski out to dry he is good, but not a Price…..GO HABS!

  2. habsfaninkw says:

    Tok should be suing for lack of support. What a joke.

  3. big_green_puffin says:

    Listen, it’s all rhetoric! You haven’t heard either coach talk about the play in the ice cause they are both detracting attention away from their players and the play of their teams! Immature move by the rangers to try and irritate our coach, and an immature response from Therrien! Both of these guys know what’s on the line, and both are trying to keep the media pressure on themselves an off the players.

  4. Ian Cobb says:

    We had better play a lot more with the puck on our sticks and in their end than the last 3 games. They have been by far the better team so far! Our turn to come out for a full 60 min. rolling 4 hot to trot lines.
    3 to 2 Hab’s

  5. habs001 says:

    Hopefully the Habs D plays a much better game than game 3…They had all kinds of issues in getting the puck out and just plain handling the puck….Scoring the first goal would be nice and getting the PP to work would be an added bonus….Unless he is injured PK has to show that he is able to take his game to another level..he has to stand out if he is ever to be considered the best D in hockey…He needs to show the calmness that Doughty shows on the ice….

  6. Danno says:

    The Rangers have become the biggest bunch of cry babies since the Bruins.

    ________________________________________

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”
    Updates, highlights & great discussions on all things Habs

  7. PK says:

    Prediction: “King” Hendrick is going to have a sunburn on his neck … From being lit up all night by the Habbies!

    Go Habs Go!

    Habs 5
    Rags 1

    >>>>> Les Canadiens sont là

  8. CJ says:

    Good afternoon friends.

    I’m trying not to peak too early before puck drop. I disposed of four beer this afternoon, then decided to slow it down and took a little nap. I’m excited for the game, but hate these 8:00 pm start times, if only because I’m impatient.

    The extra few hours have however provided the opportunity to review some statistics from the playoffs. Upon review, here’s what stands out for me;

    Weaver is plus 8, while Pleks is minus 7. The plus/minus stat is often overblown, but I think this is fairly illustrative of both players’ games thus far.

    DD is working hard, but only has 5 points in 14 games. When you compare this to other team’s number one centre, and align it with Pleks (our number 2) and his struggles as outlined above, you can see where we are falling down. Combine this with PK suddenly cooling off after a great start, Gionta, Vanek and Markov and it’s really amazing that this team is only down 1-2 in the conference final. If even just two of these players get going, we will win this series, provided our secondary scoring and goaltending continue to hold fast and firm.

    Lastly, I’ve begun to question the old adage, defence wins championship. IMO, it’s true, but to a point only. Looking around the league, offense wins championships. Sure, you can win with great goaltending and stifling defence, but at some point, you need to score more goals than your opponent. Further, every one of the remains four teams have improved their offence this postseason, during the playoffs when goals are historically harder to come by.

    So, what does this tell us? Well, IMO, Tokarski should not be forced to stop everything. He needs to be solid, but the kid needs some help. It tells me that our offensive players need to open up and put pucks behind the King. The team gave Toker a grand total of 1 goal to work with in game two. That’s not good enough. Tonight the boys need to open it up and put the Rangers on their heals. The Rangers will be expecting a low scoring 1-0, or 2-1 game. Give them heck boys. Pucks at Hank’s feet or up high around his head and shoulders. Let’s get one early and than put the hammer down and get the second, third and so on.

    Needless to say I’m pumped! We can do this! Go Habs Go!

    Cheers, CJ

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      “I’m excited for the game, but hate these 8:00 pm start times, if only because I’m impatient.”

      Hey CJ! Try waiting til 1am!

      If you glue two clichés together you get our Game 6 vs the Bruins:

      Defense wins championships + The best defense is offense. That’s what I want to see tonight. Speed, forecheck, Rangers D showing signs of frustration, and the King starting to have doubts (if he hasn’t started already).

    • shlamiel says:

      rehearsing for the loss that lies ahead

    • habfan01 says:

      “Tokarski should not be forced to stop everything.”- I think he should be forced to stop everything- anything else and he would be throwing the game.

  9. habsfan0 says:

    Claude Julien has a worthwhile competitor for “Biggest Whining Coach in NHL” in Alain Vigneault.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      As Say Ash insinuates below, a major contributing actor to this phenomenon could be having once held the top job in Fortress Hockey but lost it.

      You and I would whine, too….

    • habs001 says:

      Two former Hab coaches…MT may make that list one day if he ever coaches vs the Habs…

  10. PK says:

    AV is just in panic mode because he still has nightmares of losing the Cup to Teabag Timmy & the Gooins. He can now smell it in the the air …
    Another Original 6 team is about to school him ..

    I always thought that he was a thoughtful and well-spoken individual…
    He is whining just a bit too loudly … panic? putting on an act for the media? OR just angry that he is going to lose to the Habs ..
    the same team that fired him !!!

    Go Habs Go!!!

    >>>>> Les Canadiens sont là

  11. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …what a mis-named tournament

  12. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …World Championship ? …what a sham

  13. JF says:

    Vigneault is being ridiculous in claiming that the Rangers are being treated unfairly. Since when is it considered unfair for a team to want to hold its practice in private? Something similar happened during our series with the Capitals four years ago; on that occasion, the Caps’ coaches left without making complaints.

  14. rice says:

    All this angst seems so contrived. What coach doesnt believe he is being watched at all times electronically. I cant believe we need this to increase ratings. Our habs will attract an audience across Canada and we will become Canada’s teanm although in truth we probably already are.

  15. Say Ash says:

    Our coach can beat up their coach and our GM would beat the crap out of the cigar muncher, so there!

  16. Butterface says:

    I can’t wait until Emelin puts Basshard into the boards hard.

    Gimme a break. The NHL playoffs are all about hitting an opponent within the rules in order for your team to persevere.

    If Basshard wants to play in the game he is good to go physically.

    If he gets hurt it isn’t on Therrien, it’s on the Ranger medical staff for allowing him to play. And even Vinyo should be held accountable if his player plays when not medically sound.

    I thing a law suit against the Rangers would come if Basshard was cleared to play and then sustained a career ending injury. Vinyo and the Rangers medical staff should really be careful allowing an unfit player on the ice.

    Therrien has no worries.

    Maybe Vinyo would get suspended/sued/fired for pressuring a player into a game whose injury may be worsened.

    The pressure is on Vinyo.

    ***********************
    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…..
    ***********************

  17. Butterface says:

    Watching an opposing team’s practice is not a question of rules. It is a question of ethics. The Rangers have none.

    ***********************
    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…..
    ***********************

  18. gumper says:

    Ha, ha, ha! “Lucky it didn’t escalate.” Can’t you just picture Slats going toe-to-toe with Bergevin, while Therrien is putting the boots to Dineen, and JJ has big Ulf in a headlock? What kind of premium stuff is Vigneault smoking anyway? Escalate? Escalate how? Here’s how the dialogue probably went:

    JJ Would you guys mind leaving, as this is a closed practice?
    Slats Oh yeah, who’s gonna make us?
    JJ Well, you know…there’s a friendly understanding that opposing coaches don’t show up at practices…ya know?
    Ulf Well we’re not leaving’ so what are ya gonna do about it?
    JJ Well, I guess I’ll get Mike to come up and explain things.
    MT Arrives Would you guys mind leaving? I don’t want you picking up any advantage from looking in on our practice.
    Slats We’re just having our lunch. We’re not even watching.
    MT Look, I can get Berge on the phone to explain things to you if necessary.
    Ulf Okay, okay. No need to bring in the big guns. We’ll just go eat in the cafeteria. Sheesh, can’t a guy walk around in his own rink anymore?

    Exeunt severally.

    The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.
    Mark Twain

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      If you’re not going to post much, it’s cool to post a gem!
      All right! TRUST IN DUSTIN!
      I want the t-shirt!

      • Aerobiz says:

        Thanks Mike! I’m trying to get this trending so I made the pic to get people to post it on their twitters and Facebooks because, well the kid deserves it.

    • Le Jadester says:

      I like that one too!

      Although, my favourites are the play on words with “the Toker” !
      I like cheezy humour like that for some reason ?

      Habs, OLE !

  19. Danno says:

    Gentlemen’s agreements are only honoured by gentlemen.

    Sather and Vigneault are certainly not gentlemen.

    ________________________________________

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”
    Updates, highlights & great discussions on all things Habs

  20. WVHabsfan says:

    Don’t sweat it Karpen. Some people are just negative and want to bring others down with them. We are tying the series up tonight!!

  21. karpen33 says:

    Hey AceMagnum what’s with the negative post. You’re entitled to your opinion but you sound like a leaf or bruin fan. Why not trying supporting the Habs.

    Go Habs Go

  22. scamorza says:

    Don’t know if this was brought up before but an interesting stat on RDS the other night -teams trailing 2-0 have come back 37 times and who has the most with 5 Yup Da Habs including 1966 against Detroit 1971 against Chicago 1987 and 93 against QC and 2004 against the bruins all set to make it six and first time against the rangers still say habs in 7 win tonight Tuesday and. Saturday

    come to Dorion suits where you get no….”hassoles” _ Yvon Lambert

    • Chuck Kept Calm and Carey'd On ® says:

      Could I buy you some punctuation?

      X X X X X X X X X 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        I say free pass, Chuck, for the excellent message!
        All* the other Orig 6 have fallen victim to the Montreal 2-0 Comeback. Sorry, but it’s just New York’s turn.

        (*obviously not the Leafs, because they just don’t make the playoffs)

      • johnnylarue says:

        I do see one period in there near the end, immediately following “and”.

        I presume it’s there to separate the previous four-line stream of consciousness from the word “Saturday”. (Saturday is its own thing.)

      • scamorza says:

        hey I had a period but it was in the wrong spot… what’s wrong can’t understand – Mike did :-) and good use of the asterisk in lieu of Laffs

        come to Dorion suits where you get no….”hassoles” _ Yvon Lambert

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          You see, I love you because I remember that Dorion Suit commercial so well and it brings me back across the Atlantic and there are tears!

          • scamorza says:

            @ Dunboyne Mike you remember that one – between Yvon , Danno’s sign off on two minutes for looking so good Mr Richard for Grecian formula….I am surprised no one has the tag line for Jacques Lapierre and the Excedrin commercial, another classic. Oh and I just remembered, didn’t ti Guy do one for Weston bread – good bread, fresh bread (damn almost forgot the comma) Of course why he wasn’t a spokesperson for Benson and Hedges or RJ MacDonald I’ll never know
            GHG
            come to Dorion suits where you get no….”hassoles” _ Yvon Lambert

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Fans of James Joyce will be fine with such sparing punctuation.

  23. FlyAngler says:

    Interesting that Dan O’Rourke and Dave Jackson are working tonight’s game since they called 2 penalties on Chara in game 7 against the Habs. Hopefully, they will keep a close watch on McDonough tonight since he certainly seems to get away with a lot in his own right.

    “Gardez la Foi! Keep the Faith!”

  24. Slackman says:

    So Vigneault and co. are spying on the Habs now? And the league is upset with how we handled it (asking them to leave)? Vigneualt’s comments about how he’s happy and we’re lucky it didn’t escalate is such a sneaky little underhanded thing to say. Makes it seem like Therrien was agressive or threatening (which i can’t see the guy being whatsoever).

    Anyways. Let’s stick it to em on the ice tonight. On the scoreboard.

    Go Habs Go!!!

    ———————————————————————————–
    “A Gypsy mutant industrial vacuum cleaner dances about a mysterious night time camp fire. Festoons. Dozens of imported castanets, clutched by the horrible suction of its heavy duty hose, waving with marginal erotic abandon in the midnight autumn air.”

  25. PK says:

    Proud of the Habs…
    The Rangers are freaking out, whining and complaining; this nonsense will be over soon …
    Once the Habs dispose of them in 6.

    Go Habs Go!!

  26. scrotchland says:

    well we were lucky to win that one the other night after blowing it in the last minute. hopefully georges and emelyn will stay out of thokarskys crease and let him do his job.
    lets hope the habs can pull one out tonight but I just dont see it. I hope Im wrong but I see a blowout.,possibly 6-1 rangers.

    • Andy and the habs says:

      Slow down on that malt dude. I know they can be pretty good especially when older. If we can keep Rangers from the score sheet in the first period, we can get this one.

      Ironically this reminds me of Boston/Canadiens series where Canadiens are more physical and Ranger faster. Rangers tend to forget they will pay if they stop watching Canadiens coming after them, not to hurt but for a bone crushing check.

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Another similarity with the Bruins series is that Montreal kept improving as it went on (although occasionally two steps forward and one back…).

  27. FlyAngler says:

    Per TSN,
    “Colin Campbell met with Marc Bergevin and Michel Therrien because he did not like the “optics” of the incident at practice yesterday.”

    So it’s the Habs fault that the Rangers stooped to spying on them. I would hope that he met with Sather and Vigneault as well, but the chances of that are probably slim and nil. No doubt, Big Daddy Campbell is still pissed that the Habs eliminated Gregory’s team from the playoffs. What a joke the leadership of this league is.

    “Gardez la Foi! Keep the Faith!”

  28. UKRAINIANhab says:

    Almost Game time! Excited to watch the game with some fellow Ukrainian Hab fans in Lviv! Awesome day, we have a new president and the far right radicals have less than 1% of the vote. Sun is shining, kids playing soccer, peace has returned at last. Enjoy the game and Go Habs go.

    • SPATS says:

      Congrats, so Right Sector and Svoboda are marginalized? Hopefully they accept defeat better than Lucic! When does the free chocolate start flowing?

      • UKRAINIANhab says:

        Thx, both “parties” got 1% of the vote! Finally we can put them to rest once and for all. Chocolates flowing already at the cafe!!! Lol

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      That’s brilliant news, Uke.
      Hopefully Ukraine turns the corner and the tensions ease.
      Now enjoy the game! I’m leaving my windows open so I can hear you screaming to the east and Timo to the west (yes, his voice carries very clearly across the arctic to Ireland!).

  29. Strummer says:

    Subban is pointless in his last 5 games.
    No wonder he lost his swagger.
    If anyone is due for a 4 point night it’s PK.

    I say his slump ends tonight!
    ____________________________________________________
    “You are not T.J. Oshie. Do not shoot pucks at people without a helmet.”.

  30. AceMagnum says:

    Poor Tokarski, it ain’t gonna be pretty for us tonight.

    at least we’ll have a chance to salute our team and say goodbye on home ice.

  31. on2ndthought says:

    Awwww…. the poor little rangers….
    it’s the big bad world picking on them
    now they have lots of excuses for failing

    BTW; my highly specialized biomechanical take on the Prust hit: good, high in the torso, took step-in’s breathe away, he hit his chin on the fall to ice. actually surprised he isn’t playing today; still, hairline fracture at worst

    “a cannonading drive”

  32. Habs4LifeInTO says:

    Didn’t mind the Rangers before the series started…now…well they’ve become despicable. Perfect! I feel the momentum has swung over to the Habs….Go Habs Go!!

    24 cups and counting….

  33. joeybarrie says:

    I feel our team plays better, especially defensively (of course) when, in for the bulk of the game, we are making our changes from our bench in the defensive zone.
    We gotta pull thru tonight. We should beat the Rangers….
    I really want to go to the Cup final against LA…..
    “I BELIEVE THAT ITS MEANT TO BE, AND IT FEELS A LITTLE LIKE 93″

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      I agree, jb, but would add that however tough the battle with NY, there could be a tougher battle to stymie Bettman’s 10-chritmases-all-at-once dream of an LA-NY Final….

  34. Say Ash says:

    AV. The Habs fired you. Get over it.

  35. mark-ID says:

    Loved seeing Therrien in this press conference. He is looking extremely relaxed and confident….just as our boys will be. After we take tonight…….all the pressure will be on the Rangers. Having given up a 2-0 series lead….and with no Carey Price in nets. Giddyup.
    Go Habs Go

    “I think I may have found a way for us to get Griffey and Bonds, and we really won’t have to give up much” -Costanza

  36. joeybarrie says:

    Stuff like that drives me crazy. When someone like Vigneault uses an excuse or technicality like there is no rule…
    He knows exactly like every other coach knows…
    Stuff you don’t do. Have respect for the league, have respect for other professionals, have respect for people.
    Its just pathetic.

    • Strummer says:

      Plenty of blame to go around

      ” There was probably miscommunication, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said after the Canadiens’ optional skate on Sunday”
      Both sides are guilty of gamesmanship.
      That’s the problem with all the time between games without travel. Every remark is overly scrutinized by a an overly populated press corps for the series.

      Let’s just play already!!

      ____________________________________________________
      “You are not T.J. Oshie. Do not shoot pucks at people without a helmet.”.

  37. CJ says:

    A chance to not only even the series, but regain all the momentum and get the fan base, who admittedly seem down and bummed out following the loss of Price, back on track.

    If the Rangers lose tonight they are in serious trouble. The pressure is on New York, especially following the results of game three. If Montreal can weather the first period, than they will be in fantastic position to pull this off.

    I’m not giving up. Not a chance.

    • SPATS says:

      Enjoy the win bud
      Just read your debrief on MT deflecting away from Tokarski.
      Very interesting analysis CJ, and brilliant acting and headgames by MT (with a lot of help from some shadowy advisors I’m sure)

      Very Mossad like… By way of deception

    • Le Jadester says:

      I hear ya Mr. CJ…..but they were down to the Pens all series long pretty much, so I would say the pressure is on them now that they have the lead, no ? I thought they looked a little different in game three as opposed to the two played in Montreal?

      Habs, OLE !

    • JUST ME says:

      They came thru when they needed to this year. I feel like P.K. is just dying to have a huge performance and so does Max and D.D. so yes Go Habs Go ! Again, another most important game of the year !

    • SPATS says:

      PS the invite remains open :)

  38. Hugh Jass says:

    4-1 Habs. This is ours. Tuesday night is going to be amazing. No looking back. Enjoy the weekend, and tonight, everyone.


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