NEW YORK -- In advance of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final, the coaches put on a show. Nick Senzel Jersey . First Rangers coach Alain Vigneault fired back at the Canadiens, dismissing the assertion by Montreal counterpart Michel Therrien that there is a gentlemans agreement among coaches that they not watch the other team practise on off-days. And he said Therriens comments that Montreal knows where Rangers forward Derick Brassard was hurting might come back to haunt the Habs coach. "Let me put it this way. I just hope nothing happens to (Brassard) or Michel could be in trouble," a feisty Vigneault said. The coaches friendship, he suggested, was on hold. "I think (Therrien) said prior to the series, for this two-week period, were not really friends and hes probably right," Vigneault, whose smile seemed a little forced, said after the morning skate Sunday. Vigneault was followed by a grinning Therrien, who looked to kill his rival coach with kindness. "Alain Vigneault, first of all hes a good friend," said Therrien. "Im privileged to be one of his friends. Hes an important person in my life. Hes one of the guys that pushed for me to get into pro hockey. And I will respect that. "And over the years, we become great great friends. And Ive got tons of respect for him. And hes a good coach. But right now were battling for the same thing ... Weve got to put our friendship aside, for what two weeks? But Im sure when everythings done and over, as soon as get a chance to see each other, were going to have a nice cold beer, like we did in the past. "Nothing is going to change, but right now were competing for the same goal. And thats normal." Vigneault, renowned for his calmness, has had a bee under his bonnet in recent days. In three games -- the Rangers led 2-1 going into Game 4 -- there has been one surgery, two suspensions and a lot of talk. The Rangers coach seemed to have a chip on his shoulder Sunday. He has lamented the officiating that led to a Game 3 flare-up which resulted in Brandon Prust breaking Derek Stepans jaw and Rangers forward Dan Carcillo being suspended for jostling a linesman in the aftermath. "Were trying to play whistle to whistle," Vigneault said. "Were trying to do the right things. I know in the hockey world we were painted as dishonest and dishonourable. Were not. We follow the rules. We follow the rules on the ice, and we will follow the rules off the ice." The Habs have complained about the Rangers play, questioned some of their injuries and looked to get under their skin at every turn. "Hockey is a beautiful game," Vigneault said. "Its done by great competitors on both teams. I wish a lot of this stuff didnt happen." It has been a series where the two coaches have hardly said a word without considering their impact. While Prust was awaiting a league sanction for his hit, Vigneault detailed the extent of Stepans injury. After Carcillo asked that his 10-game ban be reviewed by commissioner Gary Bettman, Vigneault questioned the role of linesman Scott Driscoll in the play. Therrien dismissed the suggestion that the Habs may be looking to capitalize on Brassards return to the lineup from injury. "Hes a good player. There is no free pass. Were in the playoffs. But the intention is not to hurt the guy. I mean, come on," he said. "We have to play Derick Brassard hard like we have to play all those New York Rangers hard with emotion and the best playoff hockey," he added. Therrien said he was giving Vigneault some of his own medicine. "I was saying the same thing Alain said about Carey Price, that he knew before, he knew what the injury was and that the hockey world its a small world," he said. "Its true, its a small world. So we knew exactly what happened to Derick Brassard. And by the way, hes a good player. Hes an important player." As for the Canadiens asking the Rangers assistant coaches to leave Montreals practice Saturday, Vigneault responded Sunday by saying his staff was treated unfairly. "There is no rule. There was no agreement between both teams. That is the exception not the rule." If there is a deal, its only because the opposing coach or GM calls to ask for it. "Never happened," he added. Vigneault called the Montreal behaviour regrettable, adding it was lucky the situation did not escalate. Therrien stuck to his guns, although he did say perhaps there was a breakdown in communication. According to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun, NHL Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell met with Therrien and Canadiens GM Marc Bergervin on Sunday to discuss the issue. "My staff and my coaching staff were under the impression that there is a gentlemans agreement. So probably there was a miscommunication. ... But from our standpoint, we still believe that there is a gentlemans agreement." Asked about personnel, Vigneault said Stepan was recovering at home from surgery although he had visited his teammates Sunday morning. Dominic Moore was expected to move up and replace Stepan with J.T. Miller replacing Carcillo on the fourth line. Therrien was asked zero questions about his lineup, with all the talk on the gamesmanship in the series. Michael Bournival is expected to replace Prust, who was suspended for two games for the Stepan hit. NOTES: Sunday marked 20 years since Mark Messier, after promising the win, scored a natural hat trick to help the Rangers defeat the New Jersey Devils 4-2 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final. Johnny Bench Jersey . The 10-year deal the league and players agreed to that ended the 2011 lockout gave either side the right to opt out after six years. With the league projecting financial growth, there has been speculation that players will take that option in three years, especially since a new national TV contract will be in place by then. Bret Boone Jersey . "For the past several weeks, Logan has been dealing and playing with an upper body injury," said general manager Doug Wilson in a statement. "Despite his efforts to play through it, the injury has not responded as we had hoped and Logan has made the decision to undergo a surgical procedure to repair the problem.OSTRAVA, Czech Republic -- Defending champion Czech Republic reached the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup on Sunday after Tomas Berdych won the first reverse singles to clinch the first-round series. Berdych, an Australian Open semifinalist, dispatched Thiemo de Bakker 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 on an indoor hard court at CEZ Arena to give the Czechs an unbeatable 3-1 lead. In the final meaningless match, Igor Sijsling defeated Lukas Rosol 6-3, 6-3 to reduce the Czech overall victory to 3-2 in the best-of-five series. Berdych was never threatened and converted his first match point with a forehand winner. He hit 35 winners to De Bakkers 18. Seeking their third straight Davis Cup title, the Czechs won their 10th consecutive Davis Cup series. They will travel for the April 4-6 quarterfinal to Japan, which beat Canada 4-1. "I want to enjoy the victory now and well see what happens next," Berdych said. The seventh-ranked Berdych improved his record to 3-1 against the 139th-ranked De Bakker, who surprisingly beat the Czech at an ATP tournament in Bastad, Sweden, last year. "I may not have the best record against himm," Berdych said. Sparky Anderson Jersey. "Today I was ready." Berdych also swept aside Sijsling 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the opening singles on Friday and produced another dominant performance on Sunday. He didnt waste time and broke De Bakkers first two service games in the opening set for a commanding 5-0 lead. Berdych secured a break in the seventh game of the second set and served it out with an ace. De Bakker hit the net in the opening game of the third set to lose his serve and Berdych broke him again with a forehand winner to race to a 4-1 lead. Berdych lost his only serve to allow de Bakker to reduce his lead to 5-3 before breaking him again in the following final game of the match. De Bakker replaced the originally nominated Robin Haase, who was tired after spending almost eight hours in the previous two days on the court in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava. Haase gave the Netherlands a 1-0 lead with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-1 win over Radek Stepanek in the opening singles match on Friday and teamed up with Jean-Julien Rojer for a 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) loss to Berdych and Stepanek. ' ' '
top of page
bottom of page