It is no secret that the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens do not like each other.
Their Original Six rivalry has taken a turn for the absurd over the last decade. PK Subban, Dale Wiese, Alex Kovalev, Max Pacioretty, Mike Ribeiro, and coach Michel Therrien are some of the infamous names that have contributed to Boston’s burning hatred for their Québécois rivals.
In Game 2 their playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal was embarrassed 6-2 on the hallowed ice at Bell Centre. A lack of discipline cost the Habs dearly as the Bolts struck for four power-play goals in the victory. Forward Brandon Prust was the poster child for Montreal’s demise on Sunday night, taking his vitriol out on referee Brad Watson after the game.
“I thought the [tripping] call was kind of soft and I let him know on the way to the penalty box. He kept provoking me. He came to the box and called me every name in the book…That’s the ref he is. He tries to play God. He tries to control the game and he did that tonight.”
Prust was assessed 27 minutes in penalties and a game misconduct for his late third-period antics.
The Montreal agitator will pay up for his rather candid comments.
UPDATE: Prust was fined $5,000 by the NHL for those comments. The official report can be read here.
Amazingly, this is not the first time Montreal players and coaches have whined about officiating.
Rewind to last season’s playoff series between the Bruins and Canadiens. Two days after Boston came back from down 3-1 in the third period to win 5-3, Therrien took a verbal jab at Claude Julien after the Bruins coach complained about poor officiating.
“It’s the same thing with Claude. He’s not happy with all that ‘crap’. They try to influence referees. That’s the way they are. That’s the way they like to do their things.”
It is hypocritical Montreal’s coach would even suggest another team would try to influence the officials. The Canadiens are notorious for receiving the benefit of the doubt when it comes to penalties, especially on home ice. Then-Flyers coach Peter Laviolette confirmed this sentiment during a segment on HBO’s 24/7 series. A non-call against his team, followed by a slashing call on Sean Couturier, eventually leading to Montreal scoring a game-tying power-play goal.
“Montreal typical” indeed, Peter.
Another facet of the Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge is they have been notorious for embellishment/diving calls.
Flashback to the 2004 postseason, when the Bruins and Canadiens matched up in a first-round series. Game 4 offered two such examples. The first one came late in the third period when Mike Ribeiro went down “writhing” in pain only to miraculously recover moments later. The Montreal native faked an injury while the Bruins were in the offensive zone pushing for the tying goal.
Mike Knuble eventually scored with just over 30 seconds left, sending the game to overtime.
In double overtime, Montreal’s embellishment reared its ugly head again. Travis Green’s stickwork forced Alex Kovalev into a turnover after the Canadiens forward tried drawing a penalty by shaking off his hands. He appeared more focused on the lack of a penalty than the play itself. Glen Murray was the beneficiary of Kovalev’s fakery, scoring the game-winner to give the Bruins a 3-1 series lead at the time.
Montreal’s tactics are nothing new. This has been going on for the better part of a decade. It certainly has not made the club any new friends outside of Quebec.
911, What’s Your Emergency?
Perhaps the most laughable incident between the Bruins and Habs took place off the ice back in 2012.
Boston captain Zdeno Chara laid a crushing hit on Max Pacioretty into a stanchion separating the two benches. The six-foot-nine-inch Chara received a major penalty and a game misconduct for his actions, but was not suspended.
Many in Montreal were outraged by the league’s lack of supplemental discipline. How did fans respond?
By calling 911.
The three-digit number that is only to be used for real emergencies was being bombarded with calls over a hockey hit in a bad part of the ice.
Furthermore, Quebec’s director of criminal prosecutions requested a criminal investigation against Chara, even though Pacioretty made it clear he did not want any legal action taken against the defenseman.
“I was disappointed that the NHL did not suspend Chara. However, I have no desire for him to be legally prosecuted. I feel that the incident…was part of a hockey game.”
He was eventually cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, much to the chagrin of Canadiens fans.
The Habs faithful received what they deemed as justice when an attempted clear by Tomas Plekanec struck Chara square on the chin nearly a year after the Pacioretty incident. The fans responded with loud cheers as the captain was led off the ice with a nasty gash. Not exactly the most appropriate reaction to a player getting injured, but as Bruins radio play-by-play man Dave Goucher said, “Typical. Typical here.”
As the series shifts to Tampa Bay, Bruins fans who are still recovering from the absence of postseason hockey in their lives will trade in their black and gold for blue and white.
Montreal’s pain of a postseason exit will be Boston’s pleasure as the Habs’ recent antics will never sit well with their rivals on Causeway Street.
Joe is a writer covering the Boston Bruins. He is a lifelong native of Massachusetts and is currently a content writer/manager for a newsletter at a Human Services Agency. Joe can be found on Twitter: @JoeCherryTHW