MONTREAL — In pro sports, what goes around tends to come around. So you weren’t expecting Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien and winger Michael Ryder to publicly gloat after the Black and Gold finished off their old team the Montreal Canadiens with a 4-1 win in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at Bell Centre.
One reporter even tried to convince Julien that Montreal head coach/general manager Bob Gainey, the man who once fired Julien, didn’t make eye contact in the postgame handshake. Julien was quick to shoot down that theory and any ideas the media had about Julien feeling extra satisfaction that Gainey was on the opposite bench for the Bruins’ triumph.
“The one thing I can tell you right now, everybody would like me to say what would make them happy, I guess, as far as revenge is concerned,” said Julien after his team completed a four-game sweep. “But Bob Gainey did not enjoy firing me. Neither did Lou Lamoriello (in New Jersey), if we want to talk about that stuff. Nobody enjoys doing that job. …You’ve got to be able to separate business from personal things. … There’s no reason for me to be sitting here and saying I’m bitter.”
Ryder scored twice in the game and assisted on the game-winner by linemate David Krejci with just 34.4 seconds left in the first period. All series long he held firm to the notion that playing against the team he bitterly left last summer as a free agent wasn’t any sweeter. But after the victory, he at least revealed a little bit of his spiteful side.
“It’s definitely good beating your old team. But I don’t hold that many grudges,” said Ryder, who finished with four goals in the series. “But it is definitely a good feeling, especially now we have a break — which will give guys time to rest up and get ready for next series.”
Winger Milan Lucic, who added an assist on a goal by Krejci, was excited for his linemate.
“It was huge for him, obviously, doing what he did against his old team here. He’s big part of our team, a big acquisition from the start since he got here, so he did a real good job,” said the bulky forward.
The fact is, regardless of the opponent, Ryder would be pretty hard for anyone to stop right now. And that’s because he’s sticking to the philosophy the coaching staff has tried to pound into his head.
“They try to tell me to not think too much on the ice and shoot the puck,” he explained. “When I don’t think out there things just seem to happen a lot better.”