Therrien won’t give Brassard, Rangers a ‘free pass’

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For anyone who though Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien was making veiled threats towards New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard, the Habs coach made it clear that wasn’t the case.

Therrien made it clear yesterday that he and his team knew just what Brassard, who returns in Game 4 tonight, had injured when he exited Game 1 of the series after a big hit from Mike Weaver. In speaking with reporters after morning skate today, Therrien clarified what he meant yesterday.

“He’s an important player,” Therrien said of Brassard. “That line got a lot of success, against the Penguins. He’s a good player. There is no free pass. We’re in the playoffs.

“But the intention is not to hurt the guy. I mean, come on. There is no hockey player that’s going to go on the ice, there is no hockey coach going to ask to hurt the player. But you have to play hard. We have to play Derick Brassard hard like we have to play all those New York Rangers hard with emotion and the best playoff hockey. No one’s got a free pass.”

Therrien added the Rangers are doing the same thing to their best players, including P.K. Subban who he says has been on the receiving end of “cheap shots” all series.

The gamesmanship between Therrien and Rangers coach Alain Vigneault in the past few days has been outstanding if you’re into the off-ice ways to work the game. It might be driving fans to foam at the mouth with some of the statements being made, but as Therrien told French media, it’s Shakespearean in a way — The play is the thing.