The NHL, which came up small in its response to Brandon Prust’s jaw-breaking late hit on Derek Stepan in Game 3 with a sentence that would allow No. 8 to return to this series if the Canadiens can win one of the next two games, now must investigate Montreal again, and specifically coach Michel Therrien.
It is up to the league — and this would fall under the province of the commissioner — to determine whether Therrien essentially placed a bounty on Derick Brassard, the Rangers’ center who will return for Sunday’s Game 4 after missing all but the first 3:05 of the series, sidelined thereafter with an upper-body injury he sustained on a blind-side hit from defenseman Mike Weaver.
What exactly did Therrien mean, and what message was the coach attempting to send to his players, or anyone else, by stating: “We expect Derick Brassard to play and we know exactly where he’s injured. Hockey is a small world…”?
It was an outrageously irresponsible statement from an adult in a position of responsibility — at worst a threat, a threat to re-injure. If anything happens to Brassard now, what else would anyone think?
Gary Bettman must conduct a review of the Montreal coach’s conduct.
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