Diatribe erupts after Flyers' rout

DAVID W. UNKLE -- For SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 11:20 PM ET

topcatsports@canoemail.com

PHILADELPHIA—A memory is a terrible thing to waste. Just ask Michel Therrien.

Moments after Flyers head coach John Stevens told the media that he “didn’t want to hear any more talk about our team and how undisciplined we are. It’s ridiculous in the third period in my opinion. They get one penalty on a play where they could have had two or three.”

For the record, the Penguins racked up 81 of their 98 penalty minutes while the Flyers had 45 of a total 58 minutes in the third period.

Asked for his perspective on Stevens’ comments, the beleaguered Pens’ head coach exploded outside the dressing room.

“Are we talking about the same team that got five guys suspended this year?” responded an emotionally escalating Therrien to a query from a Flyers’ beat writer. “Is that the same team?”

His diatribe spiraled downwards from there.

“It’s a lack of respect what (Stevens) did tonight. At 7-2 you do not send your best power play on the ice. Even Daniel Briere did not want to go onto the ice. It’s a lack of respect….never put yourself in a position to show lack of respect on the other team or lack of respect (to) players and this is exactly what (Stevens) did tonight.”

Therrien was then asked if he felt that Stevens tried to humiliate the Penguins to which he replied, “Big time. Big time.”

Un moment, s’il vous plaît.

Coach, you did the exact same thing almost a year ago to the day.

In an eventual 8-4 drubbing of the Flyers on Dec. 13, 2006, it was your team who held a 7-2 margin when you tapped Sidney Crosby and Company with the man advantage.

And wasn’t there a lopsided 8-2 victory over the Flyers in October of 2006?

Thank referee Bill McCreary for his part in giving the game a Slap Shot-esque feel to it.

When Sidney Crosby appeared to blatantly trip Flyers’ goaltender Martin Biron behind the net, McCreary swallowed his whistle. And McCreary seemed to ignore the Flyers’ resident gadfly Ben Eager’s death-wish when he left his feet to deliver an elbow to the head of Georges Laraque early in the third period.

“I don’t understand that call because that’s how it all started,” said Laraque. “I was battling for the puck in the corner and (Eager) jumped and put his elbow right into my head. That was a dangerous play and the game was already out-of-hand.”

Before play could resume, Eager was dissected by elder-statesman Gary Roberts.

The Flyers promptly added a pair of goals to bring the score to 7-2 before four consecutive Pittsburgh penalties gave the Flyers a prolonged power play including a brief five-on-three advantage, all of which sent Therrien into an apoplectic rage.

It still wasn’t enough when the Flyers’ Scott Hartnall and Jeff Carter tangled with Colby Armstrong and Ryan Whitney, respectively, so Therrien tapped Laraque late in the game.

Laraque then made contact with Biron earning a goaltender interference call and a 10-minute misconduct penalty.

“I had no idea what (Laraque) tried to do,” said Biron. I thought he just got tripped by one of our (players) and slid into the net, so basically I had no idea…until the guys told me what happened.”

“We were just frustrated because we were losing the game and it’s (an important) divisional game,” said Laraque.

Seemingly forgotten was a pair of hat tricks by the Flyers’ Joffrey Lopul and R.J. Umberger.

“It seems like every time we do something good there is another side of the story to take the focus away from what we did,” Stevens said. “It was a great effort by our hockey team.”

As for his entanglement with Biron, Laraque explained after the game, “I just lost my edge and I slipped…bad skates,” which drew guffaws throughout the Penguins’ dressing room.

Not content to leave well enough alone, Eager made his way down to the Penguins’ end of the hall and made eye contact with the Pens’ coach before calling him “a joke.”

Therrien’s response, which is not suitable for print, was definitely not an extension of Holiday cheer.

The two teams meet again in Philadelphia on Jan. 24.

NOTES: Lopul’s finished with six points on the night. His last goal was on Nov. 10 against the Penguins and in his last 11games prior to Tuesday, Lopul had registered just two assists. Mike Richards tallied his 100th NHL point on Umberger’s first goal of the game.

David Unkle can be reached at: topcatsports@canoemail.com


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