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Flyers-Pens rivalry intensifies with Berube comments

Wednesday, 04.04.2012 / 3:09 PM / NHL Insider

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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Flyers-Pens rivalry intensifies with Berube comments
Philadelphia Flyers assistant coach Craig Berube had some choice words for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, adding more fuel to the roiling rivalry between his team and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Philadelphia Flyers assistant coach Craig Berube added more fuel to the roiling rivalry between his team and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In an interview Monday with Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia, Berube had some choice words for Penguins superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

"Crosby and Malkin are the dirtiest players on their hockey team," Berube said. "They slash, they punch guys in the face -- they do all these little things."

The late-game melee between the teams in Saturday's 6-4 Flyers win was sparked in part by a cross-check from the Flyers' Brayden Schenn to the middle of Crosby's back that knocked the Pittsburgh captain to the ice.

"Crosby and Malkin are the dirtiest players on their hockey team. They slash, they punch guys in the face -- they do all these little things." -- Flyers' assistant coach Craig Berube

"I have no problem with what Schenn does," Berube said. "If someone runs him [Crosby] over, that's great; they should run him over. This guy gets away with too much, in my opinion. He whines to the refs all day and all night. It's a joke. The guy did something to [Schenn] a little bit earlier, so he just gave him a little shot. Not like it was a tough, bad cross-check; but the guy dove."

After the Schenn hit on Crosby, the Penguins responded by putting four of their toughest players on the ice -- forwards Craig Adams, Joe Vitale and Arron Asham, along with defenseman Deryk Engelland. The three forwards take regular shifts together and are deployed as a forechecking, energy line by Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma

Moments after taking the ice, Vitale laid a big hit on Flyers center Danny Briere, sparking a fracas that resulted in 52 minutes in penalties assessed, as well as Flyers coach Peter Laviolette and Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato screaming at each other while standing on the ledges at the end of each team's bench.

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Berube, who ranks seventh on the NHL's all-time penalty-minutes list with 3,149, attempted to restrain Laviolette.

"He was definitely very upset about what had happened," Berube said. "I wouldn't want him getting over there and getting involved, I don't think that's good for anybody, especially him. We wouldn't want to lose him to suspension … [but] he had a right to be upset over what had happened."

Berube said he felt the Penguins put out their toughest players with the game already decided as a way to send a message to the Flyers.

"In my opinion, they were trying to send a message, and you don't see that too often anymore," he said. "I'm not saying I haven't been on the other side of that, because I have. What bothers me is it's not so much the [Vitale hit on Briere], it was a clean hit; but Wayne Simmonds is banged up, he's got a bad eye, they take advantage of him. He's got a lot of guts so he fights the toughest guy on their team (Engelland). It's a little bit unfair what happens. But those things happen and you deal with them."

The Flyers will get another chance to deal with them when the teams meet Saturday in Pittsburgh (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to close the regular season.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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