The Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens will be on the ice tonight at the TD Garden to play game one in their Eastern Conference Semifinal series. The feud has gone on between these teams for nearly a century now, and we know that it has gotten outright ugly at times. (If you’ve ever looked at social media activity between the fan bases, you know how vicious the taunts can get.) Claude Julien quipped on how he hated Boston when he coached the Habs, and how he hates Montreal now that he coaches the Black and Gold.
With such a history of animosity, one would think the pre-game press would be contentious and adversarial. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t. The Montreal Canadiens were very respectful to the Bruins organization in their pre-game media time. While the Canadiens acknowledged the rivalry, they took the high road today, and said things that were complimentary of the Bruins, their coaches, and their organization. (I actually watched stuff two or three times to make sure.)
Let’s start off with what Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien said. He has shown his disdain for the Black and Gold in his tenure as the Habs’ bench boss in the past, and it was a surprising one-eighty from his usual anti-Bruin material. So, *stick tap* for Therrien for this little quote(that may come back to haunt him).
“The Boston Bruins are the best team in the league right now, and this year. So we understand that it’s a huge challenge every time — not only for us, but all the teams that played the Bruins this year. They finished in first place, and it was well deserved.” -Michel Therrien
The Canadiens who were interviewed followed their coach with very respectful remarks that made you wonder if the Ottawa Senators, the Columbus Blue Jackets, or the St. Louis Blues had secretly snuck into the away team’s locker room and held the interview.
“This is something special to have the chance to have a Habs-Bruins playoff series.” – Montreal forward Daniel Briere
“You understand how good their power play is. You can’t be giving them those extra opportunities on the power play, but when they do get them, we have to be sharp on the kill. As much as you can, you got to try to limit their time and space and force them to make tough plays. They got two really good units that kind of have different styles on each unit, so it’s important for us to just be prepared beforehand.”- Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges
Will this tone of respect stay this way? No, Probably not. It was a refreshing change of pace though.
I wrote an article last week that posed the question on how gracious Michel Therrien would be. At the moment, I appear to be in the wrong. If this sort of attitude continues, I’ll have to apologize. The Canadiens have taken the high road, and it was a nice thing to see from the Bruins’ most ancient rivals. So, *stick tap* to you Canadiens, let’s try not to kill each other when the puck drops tonight.