Skip to main content

No suspensions for Canadiens for Game 1 incidents against Bruins

BOSTON - Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday he wanted the NHL to look into two incidents that happened late in the opening game of their first-round playoff series with the Montreal Canadiens, but the victim of both attacks didn't see what all the fuss was about.

Bruins defenceman Matt Hunwick came off the ice after practice Friday sporting a series of scratches around his right eye, courtesy of the glove of Habs defenceman Mike Komisarek. That facewash happened just after Hunwick came within a hair of receiving an elbow to the head from Montreal forward Tom Kostopoulos.

Hunwick said he felt the breeze from the attempted Kostopoulos hit and that the play was "uncalled for." But he totally absolved Komisarek of any blame in the incident where his eye was scratched.

"He was facewashing me and I was facewashing him, so I'm not in a position to be making accusations," Hunwick said. "It's not one of those things where I'm waiting for the league to do something.

"If I knew something illegal happened, I'd probably say something. But I'm not in any frame of mind to be passing judgment."

Bob Gainey, Montreal's head coach and GM, hadn't heard any news from the NHL by Friday afternoon and didn't believe any supplementary discipline was on its way.

The two scrums occurred after Bruins winger Phil Kessel scored his second goal of the game into an empty net to ice a 4-2 victory. Montreal centre Maxim Lapierre immediately attacked Kessel after he scored and was given a roughing minor and 10-minute misconduct.

Kostopoulos threw his elbow at Hunwick just as the final buzzer was sounding, triggering another scrum during which Komisarek was seen reaching at Hunwick's eye while being separated by a linesman.

Komisarek was amused with Chiarelli's assertion that his actions may have warranted a suspension.

"That's a bit of a ridiculous statement," Komisarek said. "I don't know if the kid has gentle skin or what.

"It's playoff hockey, but I've never been like Larry, Moe and Curly and tried to poke someone's eye out."

Kostopoulos insists he wasn't head-hunting when his elbow came up on Hunwick.

"We got a little frustrated and we let it show," he said. "We were just trying to finish our hits."

Bruins goalie Tim Thomas didn't appreciate the Canadiens reaction after it became clear they were going to lose and said his team would never resort to such tactics.

"It's kind of unheard of to go after a guy who scored an empty-net goal and wasn't doing anything," he said. "Then you see Kostopoulos come flying in with his elbow, and Hunwick looks like he got into a fight with a cat.

"It's hockey, but it's not the way I expected them to handle themselves."

Gainey wasn't entirely displeased to see his players vent their frustration a little at the end of the game.

"Emotion or anger can be a positive or a negative emotion to put into a situation," Gainey said. "I think you have to be on guard not to let it hurt you, but I like the fact that it's in there."

The Canadiens got some good news as defenceman Andrei Markov -- who has missed five games with a suspected knee injury -- skated for a second straight day Friday. But Gainey said his top blue-liner won't be available for Game 2.

That will make the challenge of earning a split in Boston and wrenching home-ice advantage away from the Bruins that much more difficult. It also keeps the pressure on Montreal's offensive players to produce in Markov's absence.

"I thought we played a good game, we created some chances," said Canadiens forward Alex Kovalev. "But it doesn't matter how well you play or how many chances you create, the results weren't there that we were expecting."

Neither the Canadiens nor the Bruins showed any lineup changes for Game 2 at practice Friday. That means Gainey will stick with the strategy of using Georges Laraque on a line with Saku Koivu and Kovalev.

"I thought it changed our perception," Gainey said. "We're not a big team, but it got a big player into the action more often and it created a need for our opponent to realize there would be bigger, stronger players they would have to deal with in front of the net."



Florida Panthers Swept in Round 2 By Lightning

The Presidents' Trophy winners are the first ones out of the second round as the Florida Panthers were eliminated in four games by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Mark Giordano

Giordano's Impact Not Ignored by Maple Leafs

Giordano isn’t at the peak he was at when he won the James Norris Trophy in 2019, but his importance to Toronto's blueline – aided by a very cap-friendly deal – is notable for a variety of reasons.

2022 IIHF World Championship

Men's World Championship Roundup: GB, Italy Relegated; Denmark Wins Major Upset

Italy and Great Britain have been relegated from the men's World Hockey Championship, while Denmark pulled off a historic upset over Canada and Czechia shut out USA with one day remaining in round-robin play.