War of words: Bergevin, Vigneault trade verbal jabs ahead of Game 6

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As if temperatures weren’t already high between the Canadiens and Flyers, Marc Bergevin and Alain Vigneault added some more fuel to the fire.

Ahead of Friday’s Game 6 (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN; livestream), the Montreal GM spoke about Alain Vigneault and Matt Niskanen‘s one-game suspension for breaking Brendan Gallagher‘s jaw on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Vigneault questioned the Canadiens forward’s injury saying, “In my estimation, Gallagher got up and seemed fine, he was talking to the referees, the whole time he was on the bench, he was talking to our players for the rest of the game.”

The Flyers head coach also defended Niskanen and called the cross-check a “hockey play that unfortunately cut [Gallagher] a little bit.”

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Bergevin took time Friday morning to respond to Vigneault’s comments.

“I was expecting more and I was extremely disappointed that AV would make a comment about a player’s injuries without knowing the extent of it,” Bergevin said. “Brendan Gallagher will be missing an extended period of time and will be eating his meals out of a straw, and I don’t wish that on anybody, and that includes the Flyers players. It’s a battle out there, and we don’t want people to get hurt like that.”

Gallagher will miss the rest of the First Round and will require surgery. Niskanen will sit only for Game 6.

“The sad part is Brendan will miss an extended period of time and [Niskanen] will miss one game,” Bergevin added.

Vigneault defends comments

Vigneault made it points Friday to say he only stating “facts.”

“You don’t like to see any players get injured, there’s no doubt,” Vigneault said. “At the end of the day I can only state the facts and the fact was that Gallagher got up and his mouth didn’t shut up for at least five minutes to the referees, the linesmen and to our bench. So he didn’t look like he was hurt other than it looked like he had a cut. If the Montreal medical personnel thought it was something real serious they would have probably taken him off and brought him inside.

“I can only state the facts and state what I was watching. And what I was watching was a guy that kept on talking. So he didn’t seem like he was hurt.”

After the cross-check Gallagher was on the Canadiens bench receiving treatment and chirping Flyers players. From Vigneault’s perspective, any injury didn’t appear too serious.

“I don’t know if he aggravated his injury through force of speaking to us and the officials,” he added. “I’m not a doctor, I can’t say. What I can say is I commented on what I saw. I saw a guy who got up and his jaw didn’t stop moving for five minutes.”

No. 1 Philadelphia Flyers vs. No. 8 Montreal Canadiens (PHI leads 3-2)

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Flyers 2, Canadiens 1 (recap)
Friday, Aug. 14: Canadiens 5, Flyers 0 (recap)
Sunday, Aug. 16: Flyers 1, Canadiens 0 (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 18: Flyers 2, Canadiens 0 (recap)
Wednesday, Aug. 19: Canadiens 5, Flyers 3 (recap)
Friday, Aug. 21: Philadelphia at Montreal, 7 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)
*Sunday, Aug. 23: Montreal at Philadelphia – TBD

*if necessary

MORE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule

• Second Round matchup scenarios

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.