It’s tax season. You’re going through your W-2’s, 1099’s, and everything in between. It’s time to claim what you’ve bought this year so that you can be reimbursed. You search high and low through your filing cabinets, house, everywhere you can think. You can’t find them.
Alain Vigneault doesn’t have that problem.
It’s playoff season, and AV is dealing with a suspension to Matt Niskanen that leaves his top defenseman, Ivan Provorov, without his yearlong partner. The culprit for the suspension, Brandon Gallagher. Gallagher was buzzing all night, landing cross-checks on both Provorov and Niskanen, practically begging for a fight. Nobody obliged, but Niskanen took matters into his own hands, right or wrong.
During a battle for the puck in the corner, Gallagher cross-checked Niskanen (shocker) and went around him for the puck. Niskanen quickly turned to his right, followed Gallagher, and landed a cross-check that broke ended up breaking Gallagher’s jaw. Whether or not we should be aware of the actual injury, not that Montreal really cares about the Return to Play guidelines because they announced it, Montreal basically went on the campaign trail, promoting a tweet with a slowed down video of Niskanen’s cross-check to Gallagher.
The league announced a hearing for Niskanen, made us wait all day, then announced a one game suspension for the defenseman later Thursday night. Alain Vigneault had this to say after game five:
“I don’t think it’s Nisky’s fault that he might not be as tall as some of the other guys, but he competes as big, if not bigger than anybody else. Just seemed a hockey play that unfortunately cut him a little bit.”
Apparently, this was the wrong thing to say according to many Montreal Canadien pundits. AV received his fair share of criticism after making that statement. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin even added his two-cents, expressing his feelings after the comments by Vigneault.
“I was expecting more and I was extremely disappointed that AV would make a comment about a players’ injuries without knowing the extent of it. Brendan Gallagher will be missing an extended period of time and will be eating his meals out of a straw, and I don’t wish that on anybody, and that includes the Flyers’ players. It’s a battle out there, and we don’t want people to get hurt like that.”
In a press conference Friday afternoon, AV was presented with the opportunity to walk back his comments made on Thursday. In true Philadelphia fashion, Vigneault made it clear he meant what he said.
“At the end of the day, I can only state the facts. The fact was that Gallagher got up and his mouth didn’t shut up for at least five minutes, to the referees, the linesmen and to our bench for nearly five minutes. He didn’t look like he was hurt other than obviously it looked like he had a cut. I believe that if the Montreal medical personnel felt that it was something real serious, they would have probably taken him off and brought him inside. I can only state the facts and state what I was watching. What I was watching was a guy that just kept on talking so he didn’t seem like he was hurt.”
Now keep this quote in mind, because we’re going to take a look at another quote made by a certain player who was taking part in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals.
“I’ve seen broken jaws before… He got up and was yapping and yelling, so I don’t think the jaw was hurting too much.“
You guessed it folks, these comments were made by Brendan Gallagher himself during the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals between the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens. The best part, Alain Vigneault was the head coach of the Rangers at that time. Compare the two quotes, and you’ll find that Alain Vigneault’s memory is as sharp as a tack, and so is his wit.
Brendan Gallagher has since been ruled out of the rest of the series against the Flyers, and Matt Niskanen’s one-game suspension will be served for game six Friday night.
Mandatory Credit – © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports