From the NHL/ASAP Sports:
Q. Coach, do you resent what happened yesterday with your
assistants being asked to leave the Canadiens practice, and what is your
reaction to the reason why?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, we were treated very unfairly yesterday.
There is no rule. There was no agreement between both teams. That is the
exception, not the rule. I mean, 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, play
whistle to whistle, don’t get involved with the other stuff. We’re very
credible. This is the National Hockey League, and that type of behavior,
we’re lucky it didn’t escalate.
Q. Just wanted to ask you about something else you said yesterday.
Therrien made a reference to knowing exactly what Brassard’s injury is.
Did that bother you at all or did you interpret that as threatening in any
COACH VIGNEAULT: Let’s put it this way, I hope nothing happens to
Brass, the player, and Michel could be in trouble.
Q. Yeah, the level of gamesmanship seems to have really ratcheted
up. Some of the Canadiens question the severity of Derek’s injury, Derek
Stepan. Is the level of gamesmanship getting out of hand, would you say?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I can’t speak for the other organization. If you
ask me about Step, he’s got a broken jaw that just got operated on. I
answered about the incident yesterday. I can’t comment on their players
saying Step’s injury is fishy. We’re trying to play whistle to whistle.
We’re trying to do the right things. I know in the hockey world we were
painted as dishonest and dishonorable; we’re not. We follow the rules. We
follow the rules on the ice, and we will follow the rules off the ice.
Q. Coach, to the man in the locker room they are echoing the same
sentiments. They want to play the game and stay out of it. How difficult
is it for you to have to deal with that and trying to get them to focus on
that? Does that take away from some of the game planning as well?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, I mean, hockey is a beautiful game. It’s
done by great competitors on both teams. I wish a lot of this stuff didn’t
happen. When it does, you deal with it. I don’t think it has a major
effect, if any, on the ice. I don’t think it helps our game, but some
people decide otherwise.
Q. Coach, nothing on Derek since you mentioned him? Obviously, he
was out this morning.
COACH VIGNEAULT: He’s recovering at home. He stopped by this
morning quickly to say hi to his teammates. He’s recovering at home, and
there is no timetable at this time.
Q. With all the other stuff that was said yesterday particularly of
Briere saying that McDonagh slashes as much as any other defenseman. Is
that insulting given what Mack does?
COACH VIGNEAULT: You can make what you want of it. Ryan McDonagh
plays the game in an honorable way. He’s one of the best defensemen in the
league in my estimation. The Habs can have their own view.
Q. With all that’s gone on, does your desire to beat this team grow
with everything that’s gone on?
COACH VIGNEAULT: My desire before the series started was as high as
it could be, and we want to move on and compete for the Stanley Cup. This
other fluff-fluff stuff, you’d have to ask them.
Q. Coach, wanted to see if there was an update on Brassard? I know
you’ve spoken a lot about him on that line with Duke and Pouliot?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Iâ€™d say he’s a game-time decision.
Q. So if he is back, what kind of boost would you expect from that
line as you’ve said before, it’s been maybe the most consistent line all
season on this team?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I expect exactly that from them. I expect them to
go out. They’ve had big moments in big games. Tonight, without a doubt,
for both teams it’s a huge game. Both teams know the importance of it, and
I’m sure we’re going to have a great hockey game.
Q. From all that’s been said from their side, has your relationship
with Michel Therrien been impacted at all by this?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I think he said prior to the series, for this
two-week period, we’re not really friends and he’s probably right.
Q. I know your team’s speed has been a plus for you all season,
particularly in this series, it seems like it’s given the Habs trouble.
Could you talk about Carl Hagelin and his speed and what kind of challenges
COACH VIGNEAULT: When Carl plays a north-south game, a quick game.
He can be a handful for any defenseman in the league. Like I mentioned
prior to this, like on the left side with him and Kreids and Benny, you
have three guys there that have a lot of speed and it can make it
challenging for the opposition, if you use it in the right way at the right
time, and I think for the most part, Hags has done that for us.
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