MONTREAL -- Okay, it's "just" the pre-season.
Don't tell that to the Florida Panthers who were seething after 18-year-old rookie Erik Gudbranson took what they said was a sucker punch in a third-period scrum from Montreal Canadiens veteran Travis Moen in the Habs 6-2 win at the Bell Centre Monday night.
"Travis Moen, the new heavyweight ... jumping an 18-year-old kid. Montreal's new favourite hero," grumbled Florida tough guy Andrew Peters, who wasn't dressed for the game, as he paced the Florida dressing room after the game.
When asked if that was something that he would remember, he replied: "I don't know if I'll be around to remember it. It's a big league, but it's a small world. There was no need for that. So now he's the toughest guy in the league. That was gutless."
Moen hit Gudbranson with his right hand during a melee along the boards after Moen had hit Florida's Evgeny Dadonov into the boards. Gudbranson jumped to Dadonov's defence and went after Moen and then a linesman joined the fray.
"I'm not going to lie. The refs hung me out to dry. He grabbed my arm and left me out there to get pounded," said Gudbranson, the third pick overall in the 2010 draft. "I went after him. I wanted to fight him. I instigated it, but I was tied up. (Moen) saw it and he still threw the punch. It was a little gutless he threw that punch.
"I could have done at the end (of the fight) when the refs came in. I could have broken his nose, but I didn't do it."
Something for the kid to file away.
Moen wasn't around after the game to comment.