Even before he learned that he would be without star center Nicklas Backstrom due to a one-game suspension for cross checking Rich Peverley in the head, Washington head coach Dale Hunter came out with the claims that Backstrom was protecting himself and that the Bruins were targeting Backstrom’s head in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the teams.
Today Bruins head coach Claude Julien had a chance to respond to Hunter’s comments on the second off day before tomorrow night’s Game 4, with the Bruins now leading the series, 2-1.
“There is no reaction really. It doesn’t make sense really,’ Julien said. “I don’t know any coach that would tell his team to go after somebody’s head. It speaks for itself, so that’s all I’m going to say about that.”
When asked in a follow-up if players might target Backstrom’s head on their own without instructions from a coach, Julien continued:
“No it’s, ludicrous, it’s ridiculous. There’s always going to be emotions in games and there’s things that are happening. Like I said, there’s those three cross checks [by Washington in the first three games]. They penalize one and suspended one, but we’re not whining about the referees … we need to win a game and we need to win the series and that’s where our focus is on and that’s what it should be.”
Peverley was asked if he expected some Game 4 repercussions.
“Well I didn’t really go after anybody so no. It’s just the playoffs – that’s the way it goes,” he said.