Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean might be in only his second year as an NHL head coach, but he has been through the NHL wars as a player and a coach. And while he might not have set out to do it from the start, he is now owning Montreal coach Michel Therrien and the Montreal Canadiens team when it comes the battle of wits, even if his counterpart is unarmed.
The biggest mistake was for Therrien to address MacLean’s comments after game 1 and to call MacLean out for being disrespectful to Lars Eller’s family seemingly because MacLean chose not to out Raphael Diaz for the suicide pass that led Eller into the Erik Gryba hit, instead choosing to refer to him by his sweater number (“Player 61″).
MacLean didn’t fire back, he had fun with it, and used it to his advantage. Just like he did with the Brandon Prust attacks on his personal appearance. The Habs today look like the little brother who just kept poking at big brother until big brother had enough and poked back.
And then Therrien has the nerve to call MacLean “classless”? Nothing more than trying to deflect criticism that will no doubt be directed at him and his players for their failure to compete in a game that showed the Montreal true colors. They can dish it out, but can’t take it. Therrien either a) lost control of his team on Sunday night, or b) instructed his players to turn the game into a gong show with cheap shots and instigating fights. Either way, it looks terrible on him and he had to try and deflect the criticism by whining about MacLean calling a timeout with 18 seconds left. To his credit, he did make it through the post-game press conference without breaking into tears, although it looked like he was ready to do so at any moment.
Therrien, go cry to your mommy because you rattled the big dog’s cage with a stick and then got what you and your team deserved when he got loose. You poked the bear with a stick and then cried when the bear ripped you a new one. You annoyed your big brother and then cried to the media when he smacked you.
You get the idea.
Game 3 was the turning point of the series, and as I stated before the series started, a turning point in the entire makeup of the Ottawa Senators fanbase. All the Senators have to do is win 2 more games.