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NHL playoffs: Rangers-Canadiens series turns nasty

Published May 24, 2014 10:01 pm

NHL • Coaches quarrel leading up to pivotal Game 4.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

New York • Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien is upset with Rangers assistant Ulf Samuelsson. The Rangers are angry with Montreal Canadiens right wing Brandon Prust and linesman Scott Driscoll.

The Eastern Conference finals have plenty of juice. Coming up is Game 4 on Sunday night, with New York leading the best-of-seven series 2-1.

Therrien was none too happy that Samuelsson watched part of the Canadiens' practice at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, contending he violated a "gentlemen's agreement."

"Coaches are not allowed to attend practices between games," Therrien said. "Game day is different."

Therrien said when his team saw Samuelsson there "we let them know." He says this agreement is out of "respect" for coaches who want to make adjustments between games.

"It's always been like that," he said. "That's the way it is."

The Rangers remain upset they will not have top-line center Derek Stepan, who had surgery Friday for a broken jaw following an open-ice hit from Prust in Game 3. New York coach Alain Vigneualt did not have an update on Stepan, other than to say the center was recuperating and "unlikely" to play in Game 4.

The Rangers, however, will have the services of third-line center Derick Brassard, who has not played since absorbing a check in Game 1 from Montreal defenseman Mike Weaver.

"I feel great. I'm good to go. I'm going to be in tomorrow," Brassard said.

"The reason why I'm playing tomorrow is because I'm 100 percent."

He may be, but both the Canadiens and Rangers will be short-handed — Prust and New York left wing Daniel Carcillo were suspended Friday by the NHL for actions in Game 3.

Prust will miss Games 4 and 5 for his hit on Stepan. On Saturday, he lamented the "timing" of the hit.

"It's fractions of a second," said Prust, who went before a league hearing. "The NHL deems a hit late at 0.6 seconds and [this hit] was 0.8 seconds. That's on me. It's late. My focus was on trying to make a clean body check. Everything about the actual contact is clean. It's just late."

Prust added that he swapped text messages with Stepan to express remorse.