Habs 'despicable and dirty'

Canadiens forward Mike Cammalleri skates to the penalty box after a fight with Bruins forward David...

Canadiens forward Mike Cammalleri skates to the penalty box after a fight with Bruins forward David Krejci at the Bell Centre in Montreal on December 16, 2010. (SHAUN BEST/Reuters)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:52 PM ET

MONTREAL - The Boston Bruins claim the Montreal Canadiens played dirty tricks during a 4-3 home win Thursday, and even the Beantown media are taking pot-shots at their rivals.

The Canadiens are "a despicable and dirty little hockey team that loves to dish out nasty cheap shots, often from behind, often after the whistle," Boston Herald writer Stephen Harris said in a story published Friday.

He took issue with some of the hits doled out by the undersized but aggressive Canadiens forwards, accusing them of waiting until officials turned their backs before breaking out the stick-work.

The rough stuff prompted Bruins forward David Krejci to drop his gloves against Habs forward Michael Cammalleri. It was the first career fight for either player, and Cammalleri came away bloodied. Krejci admitted the aggressive play got under his skin.

"These little guys, they just play like that -- little elbows and everything, and it's hard for the ref to see," the Czech forward said after the game. "I just didn't like the way they do it, and I didn't like when they do it on me, so that's what happened."

The rough stuff began early in the game when Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban levelled Boston centre Brad Marchand to stop a first-period rush. Marchand was a little slow to get up, prompting an attempt at retaliation by teammate Gregory Campbell.

Campbell tried to shove Subban but the Toronto native was ready, flooring the centre with a forearm shiver that led to taunts from the Boston bench. Afterward, Subban said he was just doing his job.

"(Marchand) had just deked out two guys and I wanted to show him that he wasn't going to hang around in our zone," Subban told reporters. "It was a legal hit and they shouldn't have jumped me like that."

The Canadiens were unapologetic at Friday's practice when asked about the accusations of dirty play.

"Fine, " Maxim Lapierre said. "It just proves that we did our jobs well."

Then, taking direct aim at Krejci, Lapierre said: "Those comments come from a frustrated player who can't handle losing."

Veteran Mathieu Darche preferred a more light-hearted response.

"We're not playing checkers out there," he quipped.

The decades clearly haven't dampened the hate between these Original Six teams.

Meanwhile, the home cooking has come to an end for the Canadiens as they get ready for a seven-game trip that begins Sunday against Colorado.

Friday morning, they spoke of maintaining momentum and unity as they push for home-ice advantage in the playoffs.

"I don't want to exaggerate things but this could be a turning point for our season," Cammalleri said.

After Colorado it's on to Dallas on Tuesday, then Raleigh on Thursday to take on the Hurricanes. They'll spend Christmas in Montreal before moving on to Long Island, Washington, Tampa Bay and Sunrise, Fla.

The Habs hope to bottle up whatever they were drinking during their trip last Christmas, when they went 6-1.


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