Eastern Conference final … theater of the absurd


Here’s my column on the clown show that the Rangers-Canadiens series became during the five days in which there was just one game. From The Journal News and Lohud.com:

By Rick Carpiniello

Pitch a tent over the Rangers-Montreal Canadiens Eastern Conference final, and cue up the calliope music. The circus is back at the Garden.

Playoff series often get sidetracked by drama, especially once there are injuries (three serious ones) or suspensions (two so far), and especially when there are more off-days than game days.

But the gamesmanship and suggestive comments in this series are beyond silly and stupid. And to be completely fair, the Rangers have taken the high road throughout.

On Saturday, the two teams practiced at the Garden in preparation for Game 4 Sunday night. Two suspended players — Daniel Carcillo, who got 10 games and is appealing it, and Brandon Prust, who should be thanking his lucky stars that he only got two games — practiced. So did Derick Brassard, who was knocked out with what appeared to be a shoulder injury but could possibly be something else, on a late high hit by Mike Weaver in Game 1.

Brassard told the media throng that he will play Sunday, which was news to coach Alain Vigneault, who seemed OK with it then.

During the Habs’ practice, smug coach Michel Therrien noticed Rangers assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson and some staffers in the stands. He shooed them away. But he didn’t dare say a peep to Rangers GM Glen Sather, who remained in his seat almost daring Therrien. Afterward, Therrien claimed the Rangers had breached some “gentlemen’s agreement,” even though when Sather and Habs counterpart Marc Bergevin had their pre-series pow-wow, no such agreement was discussed.

Therrien (like Vigneault) tends to give better sound bites in the French portion of his pressers. He said, in his native tongue, “We expect Derick Brassard to play and we know exactly where he’s injured.”

Sounds like a threat, no? That’s not all.

Daniel Briere — three-times-suspended player, once for hitting the Islanders’ Frans Nielsen in the mouth with a baseball swing of his stick on a faceoff (an incident in which Carcillo, then a Philadelphia teammate, played a part) — said he hasn’t seen a defenseman who slashes as much as the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh since Chris Pronger.

Granted, McDonagh got away with a slash on Brendan Gallagher in Game 3. The rest is a fairly major exaggeration.

And while Vigneault said that Stepan was doubtful for Game 4 because he was still, as of noontime Saturday, in the hospital recovering from surgery to repair a broken jaw from the unpenalized Prust head shot, the Canadiens doubted that. They seem to think he will play.

“He got up yapping and yelling,” Gallagher said about the Thursday incident. “I’m sure the jaw doesn’t hurt too much.”

The Rangers, by and large, thought Prust got off lightly. That included McDonagh, who added that he would have rather had the two- or four- or five-minute power play the Rangers didn’t get than the suspension.

Then, to top the day, Prust talked about how he had no intent to injure his former Rangers teammate and friend, Stepan, that he was just trying to set a physical tone on his first shift of the game — this after Prust went after Chris Kreider, whose slide into goalie Carey Price in Game 1 knocked the Habs’ No. 1 out of the series. Prust claimed Kreider “accidentally on purpose” took out Price, and that NHL players know exactly “how to fall.”

Which makes it difficult to believe the shot at Stepan didn’t have some malice behind it. Whatever, the NHL let him off the hook by failing to prosecute the head shot, instead calling it a late-hit interference. Therrien compared it, on Friday, to the Kreider collision. Prust said “it’s on me” that the hit was indeed late. He was asked about going from a very popular Ranger to the Garden’s public enemy.

“I’m not too worried,” he said. “They’re not my fans anymore. I’m in Montreal now and those are my fans. That’s kind of who I care about.”

Oh, yeah, in other news: The Rangers lead the series, 2-1.



Carcillo appeals his suspension.

Rangers winger Daniel Carcillo has appealed his 10-game suspension for physical abuse against linesman Scott Driscoll Thursday night, and asked NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to review it.

Carcillo, who practiced Saturday, is not likely to be eligible to play in Game 4 Sunday night, or until the review takes place. It is possible the suspension will be reduced.

Carcillo declined to comment Saturday. He will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and is not likely to be coming back to the Rangers.

“My biggest disappointment in the whole thing is probably what’s happening to Dan Carcillo,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “At the end of the day, if the right call is made on the ice (on the Brandon Prust hit on Derek Stepan), that whole situation doesn’t happen. Dan didn’t have a penalty on that (retaliatory hit on Prust later). There was no penalty there.

“I still don’t understand why Scott grabbed him in that fashion. All Scott had to do was tell him — Dan didn’t know he had a penalty. Just, ‘Can you come to the box with me? Here, you have a penalty,’ and it would have been over. In that split moment of grabbing him like that, obviously, it’s inexcusable what Dan did, but those situations or incidences put one after the other leads to a young gentleman’s career moving forward might be very tough here.”

Miller time? Assuming Stepan (still hospitalized after surgery on his broken jaw as of noontime Saturday, according to Vigneault) is out and Derick Brassard returns, and Carcillo is unavailable, rookie J.T. Miller will likely play in Game 4.

The Canadiens have some decisions to make to replace Prust, too. Michael Bournival appeared to be practicing in Prust’s spot Saturday.

Sorry, Step: Prust, a friend and ex-teammate of Stepan’s, said he didn’t realize that Stepan was hurt until, like most, he heard the news Friday morning. Prust said he sent Stepan a text message.

“I told him I feel awful,” Prust said. “I didn’t want to injure anybody, especially a friend of mine. … I hope he recovers well.”

Asked if Stepan had responded, Prust said, “Yeah, it was short.”


Twitter: @RangersReport

Photo by the Associated Press.


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  1. Ever notice that when you use proper English, like in: ‘Them mutts think they’re better than we?’ no one takes you seriously?

  2. That was one heck of a column Carp….

    What I asked before I got Carp’d, Jeff Z today surmised that Joannette and Pollock may have skated their last game … Any thoughts? I personally wouldn’t mind seeing Joannette ride into the sunset with Chachi…..

  3. Stepan response text to Prust was short?

    I hope it was 4 words: something like….”eff off you arsehat”

  4. Habs are lowlifes. I’m beginning to understand why the broonz were so ticked off. I want us to beat them as badly as I wanted us to beat the penguins.

  5. Putin: ‘Don’t spy on us and we won’t spy on you.’

    US President (whomever he may be) : ‘Okay.’

  6. Stats on refs heading into tonight

    Dave Jackson

    Rangers 2-5. Habs 5-2 this year reg/postseason

    Dan o rourke

    Rangers 4-3. Habs 3-3

    Interesting things though.

    1. Rangers haven’t won a game officiated by Jackson vs Montreal since 1999

    2. Rangers haven’t scored a goal vs Montreal in a Jackson game since January 17th 2004 before last lockout prior to last year when there were ties. Goals by Holik and kovalev 2-2 tie.

    3. Jackson born in Montreal.

    4. Last conf final 2009 Jackson. Missed 2010-2013 postseason.

  7. So they teach NHLers how to fall but not how to avoid hitting someone late? I guess that just depends on what Hockey clinics you attended growing up?

  8. God, I hope we don’t employ any ice showers on the goalie tonight. Might get 2 plus 5.

  9. You know the slashing is out of control when the NBC guys in Game 3 (Ed and Pierre) were both taking Subban to task for the way he was wildly swinging and slashing!

  10. If I didn’t know better, I might think that sneaky Subban gets preferential treatment.

  11. Eric, not good news on the refs.

    Bettman: “glen, please don’t judge the competency of the ref by his record”

    Slats: “Well wtf else should I judge him by?”

  12. Court jesters, Carp. Let’s hope this clown show played by bozos means more to the media and us, fans. I suspect once the puck drops at 8 something, it’ll be all business for them. In fact, the team that takes more business approach will win.

    Good afternoon, boneheads!

    Spent all morning with my ladies at Smorgasburg at Pier 5. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend.

  13. eddie eddie eddie on

    Lucic – “i will show the habs mercy by only killing them until they are dead….then Ill stop”

  14. Ray Lewis to Looocheech: “Lots of mouth from you, Quasi; meet me behind the Apollo.”

  15. I’m with you Ilb, I think that our boys are going to go out there and take care of business! LGR!

  16. ILB, no seats, No problem. Just have the caviar delivered to the yacht you have moored at Pier 5.

  17. I suspect you will see how good a coach AV is when/if his guys put all the crap aside & play hockey with focus & purpose.

  18. eddie eddie eddie on

    Papa – that was one mutha of a hab…….salmon burgers last night

  19. E3, you’re the connoisseur, what type of cheese is best served with Canadian whine?

  20. ThisYearsModel on

    Dems da rules. Each Canadien playoff game has one ref from Montreal just to keep it “fair.” Da NHL want to show da Habs da proper Respeck. Da respeck dey deserve. In other news, the a rangers assistant coaches have been suspended for one game for violating the gentle men’s agreement about watching practice.

  21. ZzZz NYR ZzZz©" Don't Stepan THE logo!!!"...says Greg L. on

    I just ran the Saskatchewan Marathon today , Cramped up at the 25 mile but finished strong!!!


    Now Im pumped!!! FOR RAAAAAANGERS!!!!


  22. Figure Habs war of words is just a measure of their desperation- I mean what are they supposed to say ” That McD is too fast- and Hagelin and St. Louis …it’s not fair- our D gets out of breath…”

  23. Manny-O-War on

    I know the question was directed at eddie but I believe the answer, C-Dubs, is Cheez-Whiz.

  24. Nice article, Carp. I am always hopeful and never optimistic about the reffing of any playoff game this year…does not have to be last game’s refs to make horrible, incompetent decisions and muck up the game on the ice. We’ve been seeing this all season. Almost as if the NHL is trying to get the NHLPA to pay for ref education, so the NHL can save a dime. Only saving grace is it is usually equally shoddy and impacts both teams equally. Last game, not so much.

  25. Love the mention of McD slashing, AV & non of his team said anything about Sue BANs slews & slashes that even commentators mentioned.

    Well played boys

  26. Yo Matty Boy if you’re out there let me know what row you are in.I will try to stop by for a quick hello.Im in 221 next to you.

  27. Ranger-on-the-Isle on

    Getting amped for tonight!
    Gotta put all the crap aside, skate the habs into the ground, jam the net and finish checks. That’s the best way to respond. Can’t do anything about the crappy officiating and league BS other than to rise above it and WIN!
    Sect. 224 on-the-(A)isle.- Can’t freakin’ wait!

  28. Rangers in 5

    And it’s québécois not french, if you speak it in Paris, you will get more dirty looks than if you speak english.

    The only place you should speak it outside of PQ is New Orleans ;)


  29. iWicky I think NOLA a place Therrien goes. Where he learned the Bounty…

  30. Steve Ziper has a good point… imagine how great it’d be if HBO filmed this series!

  31. I’d love to see Kreider do a double kick right into Tokarski’s groinal area, Kung Fu Hustle style

  32. Ulf is right outside my bathroom window with a camera and a notepad. What’s wrong with this guy? I thought we had an unspoken understanding about these things.

  33. Sitting at bar flying puck with Stepan patents. Both deflated. Doubtful for Tuesday. Has no energy. Skated got extreme headache.

  34. Stepan’s parents getting their buzz on pre-game?

    That’s hard core. Now I’m really surprised Mr Stepan’s didn’t knock out Mr. prust

  35. If this is a career-affecting concussion, my anger level just rose from red alert to Def Con five.


  36. Broken jaw and surgery and they tell you hours later to put on skates and do figure eights. Only in hockey.

  37. So many Blueshirts friends gathering tonight….sigh. I have to work tomorrow so it’s a literal home game for me…

    Stanley and Cup and I will be all out though!!!

  38. Ulf sitting in a parked car outside my house with the engine running, taking snapshots with my kids. I asked him to move along, and When his Pacer lurched away, Sather was in a second car right behind him, cigar dangling from lips and zinc covering nose

  39. Rangers win tonight ….. Book it. I’m never optimistic but Hank will drag us across the finish line tonight

  40. you fargin Habs…..

    Carcillo on appeal: I would like to direct this to the distinguished members of the NHL panel: You lousy cork-soakers. You have violated my farging rights. Dis somanumbatching country was founded so that the liberties of common patriotic citizens like me could not be taken away by a bunch of fargin iceholes… like yourselves.

  41. Wow Eric with a real scoop.

    Thats bad news. Truth is though, with the work he had done, he might gets headaches regardless. Bad bad news if it a concussion.

    i met Step’s dad and uncle once heading into the garden. The two of them looked like they were coming back from a hunting trip. He was very friendly

    Rangers need to take care of business and give step some time to heal.

  42. ZzZz NYR ZzZz©" Don't Stepan THE logo!!!"...says Greg L. on

    Thanks Momma!! Just trying to stay awake!!

    Wow Eric jammin with Steps parents…and I thought he was a jerk .

    Pritty funny coos , I like that one.

  43. Every good newsman and detective knows that you find out more of what’s really going on in the bars rather than in the office.

  44. When you don’t drink, you never have to say to a buddy (or a wife) ‘I hope I didn’t say anything to offend you last night.

  45. ZzZz NYR ZzZz©" Don't Stepan THE logo!!!"...says Greg L. on

    …..hmmm I don’t drink and I say that all the time.

  46. Hard to believe this high school stuff is coming from the Rangers’ side when we had two tough seven-game series with Flyers and then the Pens with none of this stuff going on. Canadiens had this garbage with the Bruins and probably Tampa too. Best revenge is to knock them out of the playoffs. I hope we get Mad Nash tonight.

  47. The video was good, too, and its logic somewhat soothed the savage beast within me.

  48. ZzZz NYR ZzZz©" Don't Stepan THE logo!!!"...says Greg L. on

    A Mad Nash could be exciting…

  49. Excellent article, Carp. The levels of absurdity reached by the Canadiens is just embarrassing. From the players to their coach, just a collection of turds.

  50. I’m not a health care professional, the closest I get is my daughter is a NP….but I suspect Stepan injury and subsequent surgery renders him unavailable and / or ineffective for the remainder of the playoffs. Disregard any “fishy” comments coming from the Habs. The player had a plate inserted into his jaw.

    ILB, professional opinion please.

  51. eddie eddie eddie on

    I am a doctor, but I dont play one on TV and I was just with Stepan and he said that his head hurts.

  52. Poor Sioux. One can only imagine what it’s like to stand in the yard holding a can of Moosehead while watching your igloo melt away.

  53. Eddie, I hope you flushed that Hab extra hard. Should be half way to Japan by now.

  54. Miller to blondie ingenue: “I’m with the Rangers.”
    Ingenue: “My daddy says you never play.”

  55. ThisYearsModel on

    Let’s go. Foot on the neck, no mercy. Here will be Therrien’s post game press conference:

    Their coach asked me if I had any nekkid pictures of my wife. I said no. He said, “want to buy some?” I cant get no respeck. No respeck at all.

  56. ThisYearsModel on

    Dere coach violiated our gentlemen agreement about nekkid picture of our wives.

  57. Wish I was at a NYR bar near the garden right now.

    Just got my Business partner to stop yapping so I could rest before puck drop!


  58. I want to be in the city with friends sooooo badly. But 6 am alarm calls tomorrow. Hartnell!!!!

  59. I admire people who keep their nose to the grindstone. Highly recommend it to Brad Marchand.

  60. ThisYearsModel on

    Who has any energy 12 hours post-op? Who DOESN’T have a headache after jaw surgery? We win tonight, Step can rest until Thursday, if necessary.

  61. Good thing prust got two games for interference and Stepan is faking his injury. Lets go rangers.

  62. eric, those two guys worked Game 1 vs. Flyers (win).

    and Game 4 vs. Penguins (I don’t need to remind you).

  63. Stephan’s father wonders about concussion? Eric? Carp?

    Lawyer up monsieur Therrien. Prust is a soldier and does as Coach tells. Just remember how he behaved under Torts.

  64. We’re above the Canadiens warm up. Can’t tell you guys the evil thoughts of things I’d like to hurl at them. Mon Dieux!!

  65. Watching MSG pre-game…. hit was aimed at the head of Stephan, Carcillo was standing there and gets grabbed by Driscoll… yet Driscoll and other Linesman ignores Emelin drifting towards Carcillo?

    That’s just disgusting.

  66. Pillsbury and Jones saying AV and Rangers totally right re: practice/unwritten rule. No such thing especially since practice was at MSG and not in Chelsea Piers. Both said Ulfie did a good job not snapping, if it were either of them they’d flip out.

  67. Pillsbury also called Therrien. Said he’s been whining all series about Price and now with this practice spying. Enough with the prust.

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