It only took a day for the Canadiens to complain about something. During yesterday’s Rangers 7-2 Game 1 thumping, Chris Kreider fell awkwardly into Carey Price in the second period. He got by Alexei Emelin and broke in on Price firing a shot over the net. As he attempted his shot, Emelin’s stick tripped Kreider causing him to collide into Price’s right knee.
Fortunately, Price stayed in the game before getting yanked after the second period. He didn’t practice today. Montreal coach Michel Therrien didn’t indicate whether Price will start tomorrow for Game 2.
With much of the attention on Price, Brandon Prust decided to voice his opinion on the collision. The former Ranger said Kreider ran into Price “accidentally on purpose.” Not shockingly, Therrien agreed.
“I reviewed the incident,” he told reporters. “Obviously, it was an accidental contact, but let’s put it this way, he didn’t make much effort to avoid the contact.
“I’m sure the intention of the player was not to hit the goalie, but you have to try to do everything in your power to avoid contact and it’s tough to say if he tried everything to avoid that contact.”
Let’s make it perfectly clear that Therrien is right that the attacking player is supposed to try to avoid contact. In reviewing it, Kreider was tripped by Emelin as he attempted his shot causing him to lose balance. His momentum carried him into Price. Where was he supposed to go? I don’t think he had enough time to prevent the collision.
Leave it to Prust to stir things up. The same player who early in the third period lost his discipline slashing Kreider and roughed him up. For his stupidity, he was assessed a double minor for slashing and unsportsmanlike conduct and given an extra 10 for a misconduct. He later referenced being frustrated with Kreider for running into Price. Fittingly, the Rangers made Prust pay by scoring twice with Derek Stepan and Rick Nash connecting on the power play to make it 7-1.
So much for any respect I had for Prust. While I do understand why he opened his mouth, it’s amusing. I don’t remember him complaining much during his stint with the Rangers. Maybe it’s a Canadien thing. Montreal has a tendency to gripe when things don’t go their way. If Kreider’s accidental collision with Price is what’s bothering them, they have issues. They got humiliated on home ice. If they want to even the series, the Habs must be much better tomorrow night.
Amusingly, the controversy has trended on Twitter. #Brandon Prust, #Kreider and #Price are front and center. “Accidentally on Purpose” has been used by Canadiens and Rangers fans.