Morning skate update: War of words sets the stage for Game 2

The on-ice battle became an off-ice war of words early Friday.

Morning skate update: War of words sets the stage for Game 2
Montreal Canadiens right wing Brandon Prust, and Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson stare each other down during third period action, in game one of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in Montreal on Thursday May 02, 2013. (Pierre Obendrauf / THE GAZETTE)

MONTREAL – The on-ice battle became an off-ice war of words early Friday.
Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien and Canadiens winger Brandon Prust both went after Senators coach Paul MacLean, accusing him of showing a lack of respect in discussing the controversial open-ice Eric Gryba hit on Lars Eller, which resulted in a concussion, facial fractures and a trip to the hospital.
Prust labelled MacLean “a bug-eyed fat walrus.” Therrien said MacLean post-game comments – essentially laying the blame for the collision on a poor pass selection by Canadiens defenceman Raphael Diaz – showed disrespect for the families involved.
MacLean, speaking before he heard exactly what was said in the Canadiens dressing room, insisted he was only being honest about the circumstances leading up to the hit.
“All I did was tell you what it was,” said MacLean. “If that is being harsh and being cruel to player number 61 (Diaz), well, it’s big world eh, grow up.”
The good news in all of this is that Eller was released from hospital.
While the word fight was going on, Gryba was awaiting word on the outcome of a hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan and whether he would be suspended for Game 2 Friday. If Gryba is suspended, Patrick Wiercioch would likely step in to replace him.
In addition to the loss of Eller, the Canadiens announced that both Max Pacioretti and Brian Gionta wouldn’t be available for Game 2, due to upper body injuries.
If that’s not enough fireworks, Senators tough guy Chris Neil claimed that the P.K. Subban hit on him earlier in the game was a more vicious hit than the Gryba hit on Eller. Some observers, including former Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau, agreed with that assessment.

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