WILMINGTON, Mass — If they had done a video review of the post-game scuffle between Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Hunwick and Montreal backliner Mike Komisarek last night — the one that resulted in Hunwick requiring a few sutures to close a gash about his right eye — they would’ve had to deem the replay inconclusive.
You can see it for yourself on YouTube, but whether Komisarek eye gouged Hunwick, whether he did it with his glove on or off, there are only two people who know for sure. The one on the receiving end, however, still couldn’t draw a definite conclusion.
“I couldn’t tell to be honest with you,” said Hunwick after today’s Bruins practice at Ristuccia Arena. “It’s one of those things where you’re in a battle and you don’t know exactly what’s going on. I know he was face-washing me, I was face-washing him, so it’s one of those things where in the heat of the moment you can’t really tell and I’m not here to make any accusations, that’s for sure.”
When pressed on why he couldn’t tell if a finger had gouged his eye — after all, he’d be the more likely to know based on actual feel — Hunwick responded: “I don’t know if you’ve ever had your face washed and been in that situation where I’m worried about kind of giving it back to him just as I’m getting it, and not really thinking that much about the result of what’s going on. It was one of those things where I really didn’t even notice until after the incident happened.”
After the Canadiens practice at TD Banknorth Garden, Komisarek responded to the eye-gouging accusation.
“That’s a bit of a ridiculous statement. Its the playoffs. There are facewashes every second shift,” said Komisarek, who admitted his left glove was off but that he only face-washed with the gloved right hand. “I don’t know if the kid has soft skin. I’m not Larry, Moe and Curly. I’m not trying to poke anyone’s eye out.”
Hunwick’s eye region was as red as could be. So if Komisarek wasn’t trying to “poke” the eye out, he still did a pretty solid job of trying. But Hunwick wouldn’t even classify what happened as dirty.
“I don’t think so. It’s one of those things where I was face-washing him just as much as maybe he was face-washing me. He’s obviously a little bigger guy, so he had a longer reach and maybe he accomplished more than I did. So I don’t really think it was dirty,” said the Boston backliner.
Maybe worse than the face-washing as far as intent rather than damage was the elbow Tomas Kostopoulos threw at Hunwick — and missed with — moments before the final-horn scrum.
“That was something on replay that I did see, was the elbow go flying by my chin,” Hunwick said. “That’s something that you never want to see happen to any player. And thankfully enough for us, he didn’t catch me with it. Maybe that’s what started the whole ordeal in the corner.”
Of course, the face-washing and the elbow were only the last occurrences of Montreal attempts to rough up the Bruins once they realized they couldn’t beat them. Things actually started to get ugly when Maxim Lapierre decided to nail Phil Kessel into the wall just before the Bruins winger could start his celebration after an empty-net goal.
When asked why Lapierre went after Kessel, Komisarek said: “Its playoff hockey. You don’t need a reason.”
Of course, the hockey part of it went in the Bruins’ favor. And that’s the way Boston hopes this series continues regardless of what the Habs pull next.
“I don’t think much of it. Things happen during a game,” said Boston winger Michael Ryder, a teammate a season ago of most of this year’s Habs. “They’re probably just a little frustrated at the way the game went. Overall, we can’t look too much into it. Just look at what we need to do in the next game. We came out with the win and that’s all we wanted.”