(Voorhees, NJ) – As heated as the game between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh was on the ice Tuesday night, the animosity continued in the postgame press conferences immediately following the 8-2 win by the Flyers
John Stevens was not happy with the way the Penguins conducted themselves with the game already decided, while Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien accused Stevens of showing a lack of respect towards his club by running up the score with his top power play unit on the ice late in the blowout victory.
Therrien got a chance to respond to Stevens’ comments on Tuesday night. Stevens had to wait for his turn until Wednesday afternoon after the Flyers’ practice at the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone
|The Flyers and Penguins combined for 126 penalty minutes in the 8-2 Philadelphia win on Tuesday night. (Jack Cassidy) |
Needless to say, he disagreed with his counterpart’s assessment of the situation, and reiterated that he thinks the Penguins were trying to hurt his players.
“[Sami Kapanen] got elbowed in the head. [Mike] Richards got elbowed in the head by [Colby] Armstrong. The puck was long gone and [Georges] Laraque breaks his stick over I think it was [Lasse] Kukkonen. [Sidney] Crosby runs into Marty [Biron] and so does Laraque. When teams are going to just take liberties on you, if you don’t try to score, are you [telling them] to just keep taking liberties? That’s the way I look at it.
“I have a lot of respect for the Pittsburgh Penguins and their players, but I don’t have respect for what [they were doing]. If you’re going to go out there and take those kinds of penalties against us, why wouldn’t we try to score?”
Therrien said that he thought Stevens sending the Flyers’ best power play unit out in a 7-2 game, which included Danny Briere
, was unnecessary. He added, “Even Briere did not want to go onto the ice.”
Briere got a good chuckle out of Therrien’s mind-reading abilities on Wednesday afternoon.
“How would he know?” rhetorically replied Briere. “What do you expect us to do? They’re breaking sticks over our players, and we’re supposed to just tell them, [that’s] ok?”
“I would be disrespecting my team if we didn’t put those guys out there,” added Stevens.
The players in the Flyers’ locker room also have no apologies for scoring eight times, including four goals in the last 21 minutes of play. After all, the Penguins recorded 8-2 and 8-4 wins last season en route to winning all eight games of the season series.
“It’s the NHL. It’s the best players in the world, and you don’t have to lay off anyone,” said Mike Knuble, who tallied on the power play late in the second period. “We want to show other people that when we get teams down we want to stay on top of them and not give them a chance to get back in it or show any mercy. It’s a good message to send not only in that game, but to the rest of the people watching.”
“When you get a power play, what are you supposed to do, just pass the puck around your own end? This is two professional hockey teams going against one another,” said Biron, who picked up his 13th victory of the season. “If you have a chance to score, you’re going to score.”
With the fireworks on and off the ice, the remaining five games against Pittsburgh this season now have an added dramatic element. The teams meet again on January 24 at the Wachovia Center
“They’re going to be spirited games from here on out,” said Knuble.
Simon Gagne said after practice that he has had four straight days with minor symptoms but is still trying to get back in game shape. … Derian Hatcher, who missed Tuesday’s game with a sore knee, stayed off the ice again on Wednesday, but may skate with the team on Thursday, according to Stevens.