Flyers' Laviolette calls Pens' tactics 'gutless'

Flyers' Laviolette calls Pens' tactics 'gutless'
April 1, 2012, 9:34 pm
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for PITTSBURGH NBCs bench reporter Pierre McGuire was running from the bench back to the dressing room after the Flyers' 6-4 melee victory over the Penguins Sunday that pretty much cements these two will meet in the playoffs (see game recap).

Old-time hockey, McGuire smiled.

McGuire, a former Penguin assistant with a couple Stanley Cup rings, had just been the monkey-in-the-middle at the bench, standing there, looking up as Pens assistant coach Tony Granato and Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette were screaming at each other, on the bench rails.

Mind you, these two coaches were U.S. Olympic teammates in 1988.

Those guys hadnt played in 12 minutes; it was a gutless move by their coach Dan Bylsma, Laviolette said. Its just gutless.

The reference was to the melee that ensued in the final minutes of play.

The Flyers were ahead 6-3 when Pens coach Dan Bylsma put Deryk Engelland, Arron Asham and Joe Vitale on the ice. Vitale leveled Danny Briere with a high, but clean open ice hit as scrums broke out.

That hit was like the direct result of Brayden Schenn cross-checking Sidney Crosby moments earlier.

Crosby told reporters, Its pretty cheap. He skates 10 feet If thats a sign of whats to come, then were in for a pretty tough playoff series.

Engelland did a number on Wayne Simmonds. Asham took on Schenn. Matt Niskaken took on Marc-Andre Bourdon.

The Pens, who have been outright owned by the Flyers this season, were sending a message to the Flyers of what their first round playoff series will be like next week.

And the Flyers answered.

As they fought, Lavy went jawing with Granato.

Hes got our back, Claude Giroux said of his coach.

It was pretty intense there seeing him break the stick. It kinda caught me by surprise. Hes an intense coach who loves his players and he had out back there.

It was Max Talbots stick Laviolette snapped.

He broke my stick and I was pretty sad about that, Talbot deadpanned. It was a good stick. Things happen out there. I can understand his reaction.

The final 1:03 was delayed quite a while.

They made a clean hit on Danny, Scott Hartnell said. They were trying to send a message. Were up a few goals. Obviously, they had their meat out there. A few fights squared away.

There are emotions in game and sometimes they get overboard. Lavy lost it for a few seconds

If you know Lavy, his biggest attribute is he gets emotional. Gets fired up. Just like he was playing. He didnt like who they put out there.

Crosby had a response for that, too.

Im sure he doesnt like to see one of their top players Briere getting hit, he told reporters. Maybe he shouldnt have put him out there.

Granato and Laviolette were both ejected.

After this happened, a guy wearing a Penguins jersey, who is a dead ringer for Hulk Hogan, came down behind the glass and was jawing at Flyer assistant Craig Berube.

We used to come into Civic Arena and slap the Penguins around in the '80s and '90s, Berube said, trying to add historical reference to the days events.

He figured he had to come over to me and challenge the toughest guy. Guys were all laughing on the bench because I didnt know he was behind me. It was funny.

Emotions were running high. Lavy went over there and Tony stood right up. Seriously, thats part of hockey sometimes. Coaches get upset and worked up like players.
Cant wait to see what the playoffs start next week.

E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net

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