BOSTON – It was an eventful couple of playoff rounds for the Boston Bruins.
Milan Lucic was at the heart of a couple of incidents. He was fined $5,000 for spearing Danny DeKeyser in the groin in Game 1 of the Bruins/Red Wings series, and then reportedly threatened both Dale Weise and Alexei Emelin in the handshake line after Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Shawn Thornton was also fined by the league for squiring bottled water from the bench into the visor of Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban in the closing moments of Game 5 at TD Garden.
Anything that happens in a Bruins-Canadiens series seems to take on a life of its own, given the media attention devoted to both teams, and Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs deemed it “silliness.” But Bruins president Cam Neely shed some pretty clear perspective on what is -- and isn’t -- acceptable within the heat of the Stanley Cup playoff battle.
It’s interesting to note how much shade Neely throws on Thornton’s actions with the water bottle at the end of Game 5, given how many signs there seem to be that No. 22 won’t be returning to the Black and Gold.
"The water-bottle incident is something that as an organization you don’t like to see happen, to be quite honest with you," he said.
In regards to Lucic's actions, Neely said: “The stick work is something that, you know, nowadays you just can’t get away with. There are two referees, there are all kinds of cameras, and there are reporters that Tweet information out as soon as it happens. You can’t get away with certain things like you used to be able to do. Stick work happens. It’s not just our team that does it, and it does happen."
As for the handshake-line brouhaha:
"I can tell you this: in the handshake lines there are probably worse things that have been said that just don’t get out in the public. In the history of handshake lines, I can almost guarantee that.”
Neely has taken part in his share of nasty playoff battles and subsequent handshake lines, so one would expect that the Hall of Famer is speaking from personal experience.