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Teams downplay Richards-Subban war of words

Monday, 11.22.2010 / 2:30 PM / NHL Insider

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Rookie defenseman P.K. Subban is just doing what he does best on the ice these days for the Montreal Canadiens.
 
And if that means raising the ire of Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards, then so be it. But keep in mind Subban is tied for the scoring lead among Montreal defenders with 8 points while sporting a plus-6 rating.
 
It was only six days ago Richards told Montreal radio station Team 990 AM that Subban needed to earn the respect of his peers before engaging in any extracurricular activities on the ice.
 
"He's a guy that's come in the League and hasn't earned respect," Richards said the day after a 3-0 Flyers loss in Montreal on Nov. 16. "It's just frustrating to see a young guy like that come in here and so much as think that he's better than a lot of people.

"You have to earn respect in this League. It takes a lot. You can't just come in here as a rookie and play like that. It's not the way to get respect from other players around the League. Hopefully someone on their team addresses it, because, uh, I'm not saying I'm going to do it, but something might happen to him if he continues to be that cocky." -- Mike Richards

"You have to earn respect in this League. It takes a lot. You can't just come in here as a rookie and play like that. It's not the way to get respect from other players around the League. Hopefully someone on their team addresses it, because, uh, I'm not saying I'm going to do it, but something might happen to him if he continues to be that cocky."
 
Richards and Subban got tangled together in the third period of the teams' first meeting, and, before any real punches were thrown, were separated by the linesmen and sent to the penalty box. A heated argument ensued between the players as both sat in their respective boxes.
 
There was plenty of discussion following the morning skates of both teams at Wells Fargo Center here Monday in preparation for the second meeting between the teams. And while Subban and Richards were unavailable for comment, Flyers forward Danny Briere said it's all water under the bridge at this point.
 
"I don't think Mike's comments were made to create such a big story," Briere said. "Knowing Mike, he's a quiet guy and there were lots of emotions behind it and he just said what he felt and what most of the players felt. It was just honesty speaking, but Mike wasn't looking to make a big story with the whole thing."

Claude Giroux, who leads the Flyers with 11 goals, knows Subban very well from their time as teammates with Team Canada at the 2008 World Junior Championship. They won a gold medal and Subban made the tournament All-Star team.
 
"He's a good player," Giroux told NHL.com. "He's flashy and a pretty good guy off the ice. He likes to talk a lot and likes to be the center of … it's not a bad thing but I'm just saying he's a pretty funny dude. I was with him for a month and never had any problems with him.
 
"He's shifty and smart with the puck. Any time you have a guy like that, who works hard and loves playing the game, he's going to be successful."
 
Canadiens forward Mike Cammalleri feels, more than anything else, there is a rivalry building between the clubs, particularly after last spring's emotional meeting in the Eastern Conference Finals, which the Flyers won in five games.
 
Cammalleri was asked how he felt Subban would react to the expected rude welcome by the Flyers fans Monday.
 
"I think he'll be good, he'll play a good hockey game," Cammalleri said. "Hopefully he just does what he does best. We're happy they way he's playing. I guess we'll see how he's fazed by it all. I'm sure Philly fans will let him know when he's out there, but we'll see how it all plays out. The key for us is just to worry about winning the hockey game."

"When you play a playoff series with a team and then have an emotional game like we did already (Nov. 16), those heated feelings will continue between the two teams for a while," he said. "These games seem to elevate with each game, as far as people's engagement and emotions."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

It's hard to walk into that locker room and look those guys in the eye when they've played -- clearly, that was our best game we've played in the series -- and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on his team's 3-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 on Sunday