Tag: war of words

Milan Lucic, Brooks Laich

Milan Lucic and Karl Alzner don’t seem to care for each other


Last night’s Bruins-Capitals Game 3 saw the nastiness level jump up a bit.

As the teams battled late in the third period, Milan Lucic and Karl Alzner came together with Alzner putting Lucic in a headlock. While Lucic was penalized on the play, Alzner was not and skated away mocking Lucic by wiping away a fake tear.

Milan Lucic a crybaby? That’s what Alzner seems to think and as Lucic tells Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington.com, he finds it all too amusing.

“I don’t even know what to say to show that I’m not a crybaby,” Lucic said with a laugh. “That’s a lot coming from a guy who’s got three roughing penalties in two years. So there you go.”

If anything, that sounds like an open invitation for Alzner to engage Lucic whenever he feels like having a go. With the rough stuff picking up, the Capitals may have woken up what was a sleepy team. The Bruins thrive on physical shenanigans and last night’s game saw its fair share of them from both sides.

As for Alzner, if he plans on antagonizing Lucic further he might want to avoid dropping the gloves. Lucic as a fighter is a mean, tough customer to handle.

Fightin’ words: Arron Asham calls Alex Ovechkin a “hypocrite”

Alex Ovechkin, Tyler Kennedy

Last night’s Pens-Caps game from Pittsburgh not only generated a lot of talk because of Arron Asham’s take-down and taunting of Jay Beagle, but also thanks to Alex Ovechkin’s big words after the game calling out Asham for his tactics.

Leave it to Asham to not leave well enough alone with the day’s hot-button topic, according to CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley.

Asham declared that the “rivalry is back” between the Capitals and Penguins and that Ovechkin is a “hypocrite” for what he said relating to the situation. Those are some big words coming from a part-time enforcer and full-time grind line player like Asham.

This is nothing new in the grand scheme of things. One guy does something the other team doesn’t like at all and the opposing team responds to the verbal quips in kind. The talk of the Pens-Caps rivalry being “back on” is a bit surprising on its own since… We had no idea it was actually off.

It’s not like this is Red Wings-Avalanche in the grand scheme of things, the Pens and Caps are still as cutthroat as ever. Just think to last spring when Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke caught Ovechkin with a questionable knee-on-knee hit. The blood boiled over just as much then as it is now. If you thought these two Eastern superpowers had gone quietly into that good night, you’ve been paying attention to the wrong people.

Tim Thomas isn’t here to pump Roberto Luongo’s tires

Vancouver Canucks v Boston Bruins - Game Four
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Another day off between Stanley Cup finals games can mean only one thing: Memorable quotes pointed at opponents.

Today’s media session saw Boston’s Tim Thomas meet with the press and given what Roberto Luongo had to say about their difference in playing styles after Game 5 in Vancouver, inquiring minds wanted to know what Thomas thinks of all that. Thomas wasn’t willing to bite on that question today.

“I did hear about what he said, but I don’t really want to go into that. My focus is on what I can do to help my team win going into Game 6 here. It’s obviously a “must win” game and I think it’s important for our whole team to focus on that game and what we can do on the ice,” Thomas said.

Smart for Thomas to leave well enough alone there, but when asked about how Luongo felt he wasn’t getting enough credit sent his way for his play in the playoffs (he does have two shutouts in the finals after all) Thomas put his tongue firmly into his cheek to respond.

Q. Tim, Darren Pang always talks about the goalie union, that you guys all stick together. I know you don’t want to comment on what Roberto said, but he also said you didn’t say anything nice about him. Did you want to comment on that?

TIM THOMAS: I guess I didn’t realize it was my job to pump his tires (laughter). I guess I have to apologize for that.

I still think I’m the goaltender on the union side and I stick with all the other goalies. In being one and knowing what it takes to perform at this level and with this amount of pressure, I understand to a certain extent what every other goaltender is going through.

I guess that’s that.

I’d like to think that that will be that.

The war of words stuff in this series since the NHL has made sure to get tougher with the on-ice taunting has helped distract from what’s been a very solid series with contrasting styles and personalities all over the place. On Boston’s side you’ve got the likable stars like Patrice Bergeron and Tim Thomas. For Vancouver, Manny Malhotra’s remarkable comeback has taken a back seat to biting and taunting and verbal sparring. Even with all those fuzzy warm people and personalities, here we are still sifting through the fan outrage of players saying things that either they’re using to get a psychological edge or they’re having them warped out of proportion.

C’est la vie.

Out of all of this the point still remains that the teams will hit the ice Monday night and Vancouver has to figure their stuff out if they want to avoid a no holds barred, anything goes Game 7 in Vancouver on Wednesday. If the Canucks can’t figure out how to beat the Bruins in Boston, they’ll have just that. If Luongo doesn’t come up huge in Game 6, win or lose, we’ll still be talking about how he can’t quite yet win the big one and we’ll be left with potentially one more day filled with verbal snipes that serve no other purpose than to ignite the fans and distract the players.

It may not be the sort of Stanley Cup finals we hoped for from the get go, but if you cut through all the side show theatrics, this series is about all we could’ve hoped for.

Graceful victor? Roberto Luongo says he would’ve stopped the shot that beat Tim Thomas

Roberto Luongo

It’s always something in these Stanley Cup finals.

Tonight, Roberto Luongo played brilliant in stopping all 31 shots he faced in Game 5 en route to a 1-0 Canucks victory over Boston and earning his fourth playoff shutout in the process.

Bruins goalie Tim Thomas too played great in stopping 24 out of 25 shots but Maxim Lapierre’s game-winning goal in the third period eluded him when Kevin Bieksa purposefully shot one off the end boards to get it to Lapierre for the goal.

After the game, Luongo was asked about his play and what he thought of Lapierre’s goal. As should be expected out of these two teams, things are never let go without a little something extra added on top of it.

Q. Roberto, can you talk about from a goalie’s perspective how difficult it is to play a shot off the endboard?

ROBERTO LUONGO: It’s not hard if you’re playing in the paint. It’s an easy save for me, but if you’re wandering out and aggressive like he does, that’s going to happen. He might make some saves that I won’t, but in a case like that, we want to take advantage of a bounce like that and make sure we’re in a good position to bury those.

Clearly Luongo is taking a shot at Tim Thomas and how he’s able to play aggressively and successfully. On paper, it looks like a ruthless pot shot but Luongo attempted to dial it back by saying Thomas can make some saves that he won’t but by that point the cat was already out of the bag and now the Bruins have a little extra juice to use heading into a crucial Game 6.

For Luongo, it’s incredible that he’d say anything after the fiasco his previous two starts were in Boston. For a guy that’s only looked strong at home in the Stanley Cup finals, it’s incredible that he’d give Boston any further motivation for Game 6. After all, if Luongo had played as steady and as strong as Thomas has in every game, perhaps the Canucks are already celebrating winning the Stanley Cup.

Instead, Luongo’s no-show act in Boston in Games 3 and 4 have given the Bruins what they need to still be in the series and with how they’ve played at home, it’s hard to think that Vancouver won’t be playing in two more games this year. After all, Boston outscored Vancouver 12-1 in those games at TD Garden with Luongo on the hook for all 12 goals against.

If Luongo wants to continue talking smack like this, he’d be best served by bringing his Vancouver game to Boston in Game 6. Getting lit up one more time in Boston and opening it up for a Game 7 puts himself, his team, and his reputation all on the line in the most maddening way possible. It only makes sense that this series that’s seen so much off-ice drama gets one more heaping spoonful of it. At most we’ve got two games left and at the least we’ve got one more silly off-ice talking point to shout about until Game 6 drops the puck on Monday night.

Barry Trotz critical of officiating with kindness, Canucks deny diving allegations

Barry Trotz, Marc Joannette

During these playoffs we’ve seen plenty of coaches try to work their verbal magic to get referees to make calls bend more to their team’s will. We saw both John Tortorella and Bruce Boudreau do it in the first round against each other. We saw Lindy Ruff get a bit uptight about things in dealing with the Flyers and now we’ve got a new challenger with a different approach.

Predators coach Barry Trotz is still a bit steamed over a couple of calls that went against his team in Game 3. Jerred Smithson drew a high sticking call against him after he seemingly caught Roberto Luongo in the head with his stick (it certainly didn’t look that way). Meanwhile, Shea Weber’s hooking penalty to Ryan Kesler in overtime led to Vancouver cashing in on the power play and winning the game. In each case it was thought to be a bit embellished (Luongo’s certainly seemed that way) and Trotz isn’t too pleased with that.

Instead of raising a huge stink and lambasting the officiating, he’s trying to take them out a whole new door by killing both the referees and Canucks with kindness.

“That’s gamesmanship, and I understand that,” Trotz said Wednesday. “It’s also a little bit putting the referee in a tough spot. We have the best referees. If you’re going to make them look bad, I don’t think that’s needed in the game.”

Well that’s a new way to go at it. Nice reverse psychology there.

The Canucks, of course, are denying any and all allegations right away with Luongo’s theory appearing to be quite silly.

Luongo said the complaints are part of hockey. The goalie said there was contact with his mask, even though the stick doesn’t appear to hit Luongo’s mask on replays.

“I just turned my head. I mean I didn’t throw myself on the floor or anything like that,” Luongo said. “You can ask Smithson. He did make contact with my head.”

Kesler denied any acting on his part to draw the hooking call.

“That’s the rule. I mean, you get your stick parallel to the ice, and it was in my gut. Obviously, he was impeding my progress. That’s the right call. I don’t make the calls, so it’s not my job,” Kesler said.

Oh the drama. Getting this sort of excitement off the ice should help make Game 4 much more difficult to play on it. You know the Predators and Shea Weber are going to come at you with everything they have to make Game 4 a winner for the Predators. Vancouver had best prepare for anything in Nashville but the Predators want the game to be 60 minutes of hell. Of course, Vancouver has been doing irksome things like this all throughout the playoffs. Whether its’ one of the Sedin twins dropping to the ice to draw a call or Luongo’s theatrics, the Canucks are happy to keep trying to get the calls in loathsome ways.

Trotz has to fight fire with fire here which means going through the media. It’s a smart move and it gets officials to keep an eye out for it, all teh better. Getting the benefit of the calls from the referees never hurts. Maybe if this didn’t work out Trotz can leave a fruit basket in the officials’ locker room.