BOSTON – Given the bad blood between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens before this playoff series even got started, it had to end on a bitter note with the kind of hatred that will keep the Original Six rivalry going for another 100 years. But things spilled over into another entirely different category of nasty when players from both sides were embroiled in a handshake line controversy following the game.
Milan Lucic stopped twice in the traditional NHL Stanley Cup handshake line, and made what appeared to be pointed threats to fourth line winger Dale Weise and Habs defenseman Alexei Emelin in a video that caught the entire thing.
Lucic, of course, has had an ongoing feud with Emelin over the last couple of seasons, and called him “a chicken” earlier this season for throwing a low hip check at him in the game at TD Garden.
Weise mentioned something about it reporters following Boston’s 3-1 loss in Game 7 of the second round series that eliminated the Bruins from the playoffs, but wouldn’t recount exactly what was said.
“I think as the series went on our motivation grew. They just disrespected us in every single way, and I don’t think they had any respect for us as a team,” said Weise. “We’ll leave it at that. The better team won. I hated Boston before I got here.
“Obviously on Vancouver we didn’t like each other, and it just grew as the series went on. They just have some guys that do some disrespectful things, even in the handshake they had a couple guys, or sorry just one, that couldn’t put it behind them and be a good winner. Milan Lucic had a few things to say to a couple guys.”
When Lucic was appraised of Weise’s accusations, he took umbrage with a fellow player revealing something that was on the ice – a big no-no among the fraternity of NHL players where “what’s said on the ice, stays on the ice” is usually the rule of thumb.
“It’s said on the ice, so it’ll stay on the ice,” said Lucic, whose voice rose with anger as he talked about the situation. “If he wants to be a baby about it, that’s – he can make it public.”
Clearly Lucic was running hot about being held to one empty-net goal in the seven-game series, and limited to a hollow zero shots in the decisive Game 7 as Boston was scouring for offense. The B’s left winger is a fierce competitor and hates to lose, and those are traits that make him a winner most of the time when it comes to the game of hockey. But voicing threats to guys like Weise and Emelin – even if he despises them with all his Black and Gold heart – sullies the traditional Stanley Cup playoff handshake line, and reeks of poor sportsmanship at a time when the Bruins should be giving credit to a team that defeated them.
Lucic normally has more respect for the great NHL traditions and good sportsmanship, but this time he let his competitive temper get the best of him in the heat of the moment, and it wasn’t a good look.