BOSTON – Claude Julien is no fan of Maxim Lapierre.
In the hours leading up to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final, the Boston Bruins coach suggested Lapierre made a “mockery” of the sport by taunting Patrice Bergeron with his glove during Saturday night’s game in Vancouver. Bergeron had his finger bitten by Canucks forward Alex Burrows in Game 1.
Speaking to reporters in French on Monday morning, Julien said that Lapierre’s on-ice antics are despised by his own team as much as those he plays against.
“It’s one of the reasons he played for three teams this year,” Julien said in French.
The Bruins had previously taken the high road when asked about the biting incident earlier in the series. Julien is also unhappy Burrows wasn’t suspended—an important decision since he went on to score the overtime winner in Game 2.
“The NHL rules on something—they decide to make a mockery of it, that’s totally up to them,” said Julien. “If that’s their way of handling things, so be it. Again, we can’t waste our time on that kind of stuff. We really have to focus on what we have to do. The last time I looked, we’re down two games to none, and all our energy has to go towards that.”
Indeed, the Bruins have dug themselves a pretty big hole with a pair of one-goal losses in Vancouver.
Julien refused to reveal whether he’s considering any lineup changes, such as inserting tough guy Shawn Thornton for the first time since the Eastern Conference final against Tampa. Thornton is a fan favourite at TD Garden and predicted a wild atmosphere for the first Stanley Cup final game in the city since 1990—even expressing some concern for Canucks fans brave enough to make the trip like the famous Green Men.
“Boston’s very passionate,” said Thornton. “I just hope they get out of here safe.”
Vancouver is unlikely to make any changes to the winning formula it established during the opening games of the series. Defenceman Dan Hamhuis remains sidelined with a lower-body injury he suffered in Game 1 and hasn’t skated since—an indication Andrew Alberts will likely continue to fill his spot.
In the absence of lineup changes, the biggest storyline running through the series is the biting debate.
Julien and Lapierre have some history together. Julien was coaching the Montreal Canadiens when the forward made his NHL debut during the 2005-06 season.
One thing the Bruins coach made clear is that he wouldn’t look kindly upon one of his players waving their glove in the face of an opponent.
“I can’t really talk about their team,” said Julien. “I’m going to talk about mine because I don’t handle those players. I don’t deal with those players on a 1-on-1 basis. It really isn’t up to me to I guess comment on it. If it’s acceptable for them, then so be it.
“Certainly wouldn’t be acceptable on our end of it.”
For his part, Lapierre refused to answer any questions about the incident or the comments made by Julien.
“I want to win the game and whatever happened in the past, happened in the past,” he said.