This postseason has seen players go after players, organizations go after the league and newspapers go after superstars.
As such, it’s about time we had coaches getting after each other.
That’s what happened in Washington today when Bruins head coach Claude Julien tersely replied to Dale Hunter’s allegations Boston was headhunting Caps center Nicklas Backstrom.
“Being accused of head-hunting is ludicrous,” Julien told CSNNE.com. “It’s ludicrous. It’s ridiculous. Okay? There’s always going to be emotions in games and these are things that are happening. There were three cross-checks and they penalized one and suspended one.
“But we’re not whining about the referees and what’s going on here. We need to win a game and we need to win a series and that’s where our focus is on. That’s what it should be.”
“There is not a coach in this league — not one — that is going to tell his players to target’s somebody’s head.”
/makes obligatory New Orleans Saints joke
Julien’s outrage stems from comments Hunter made yesterday, saying the Bruins were targeting Backstrom’s head.
“If you notice, every scrum Nicky comes out with no helmet on,” Hunter told CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley. “He gets a blocker to the head by [Tim] Thomas the game before [in Game 2]. He’s protecting his head. He just came off of 40 games.”
It’s tough to gauge if Hunter’s claims were legitimate. There are suggestions that Hunter used the “they’re targeting Nicky” angle to deflect attention/blame away from Backstrom, who was facing suspension (later received) for a crosscheck to the head of Bruins forward Rich Peverely.
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: Bullet dodged?