With two former Montreal Canadiens head coaches — Alain Vigneault and Claude Julien — behind the benches for Vancouver and the Bruins, respectively, the upcoming Stanley Cup Final already has a Habs flavor to it.
Center Maxim Lapierre sounds like he wants to add to that.
The former Montreal pivot has been at his pesky best in the Stanley Cup playoffs for Vancouver after joining the team in a midseason trade with Anaheim. In a prior portion of his career, right up to last December, Lapierre was one of those Canadiens players the Bruins and their fans loved to hate.
The feeling is still mutual as far as Lapierre is concerned. Here’s what he told Ben Kuzma of The Province:
“I was raised to hate the Bruins. That’s the way it is for pretty much everybody in Montreal. They [Canadiens] had to win every year or people would be pissed off for the whole summer.”
That hate boiled over back in the ’09 Bruins-Canadiens playoff matchup, when Milan Lucic cross checked Lapierre in the head and received a one-game suspension. The Bruins got the last laugh that spring when they swept the series.
It sounds like Lapierre is looking forward to a postseason rematch with Lucic:
“Of course. He’s a great player, a big, strong, solid guy. He’s tough to play against, but you’ve got to show him you want to be the same and win as bad as he does. When it’s tight and you have to block a shot or make a hit, this is when I enjoy playing.”
With Montreal, Lapierre was a player so detested that even mild-mannered Bruins coach Julien made veiled references to the player’s shady on-ice actions.
If the hockey matches the rhetoric, sounds like there’ll be plenty of collisions and chicanery in the Cup Final when Lapierre is around.