Alain Vigneault just cemented his legendary status in Philadelphia. Seriously, buy this man a martini. Buy him two. Never let him pick up the tab ever again.
Let’s rewind to just after Game 5, when Vigneault said of Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher, who had taken a cross-check to the face from Flyers defenseman Matt Niskanen:
“My estimation though, Gallagher got up and seemed fine. He was talking to the referees. The whole time that he was on the bench he was talking to our players for the rest of the game. Gallagher’s a very competitive player. 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.”
When the news came out late last night that Niskanen would be suspended for Game 6 of the series against Montreal -following a shameless public campaign from the Canadiens media that coincided with the news that Gallagher had sustained a broken jaw requiring surgery- the stage was set for some press conference fireworks. They came Friday afternoon.
First, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin reacted to Vigneault’s comments on Gallagher just after Game 5:
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) August 21, 2020
Not long after those remarks, Vigneault took to the stage.
TSN’s Montreal Bureau Reporter John Lu asked Vigneault if, given the comments by Bergevin, he wanted to walk his comments back a bit. AV embraced the moment and pulled off the best heel turn since Hulk Hogan linked up with The Outsiders:
A reporter tried to give Alain Vigneault the chance to walk back his comments from yesterday. AV went full heel:
— Russ Joy (@JoyOnBroad) August 21, 2020
“Well, I mean, you don’t like to see any players get injured, there’s no doubt. But, at the end of the day, I can only state the facts, and the fact was 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, so 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 thought that it was something real serious they would’ve probably taken him off and brought him inside. So, I can only state the facts and state what I was watching, and what I was watching was a guy that just kept on talking. So it didn’t seem like he was hurt.”
From my Snow The Goalie co-host Anthony SanFilippo:
If you think that’s a level of gamesmanship not seen since the Ken Hitchcock era in these parts, when wars of words in playoff games were commonplace with the likes of John Tortorella in Tampa and Lindy Ruff in Buffalo, with such famous bits where he egged Torts into telling him to “Shut your yap,” or responded to one of my questions by saying “Tell Lindy to go [eff] himself,” think again.
Now we get to historical precedent and some of the best trolling we’ve ever seen in this city. Seriously. If you thought Joel Embiid was crafty when he tagged pictures from a game against the Bucks with the location “Shithole”, wait till you see this.
Back in 2014, the Canadiens were in the midst of a playoff series against Vigneault’s New York Rangers. It was AV’s first year behind their bench and one of his top contributors, Derek Stepan, was wiped out following a giant hit by Brandon Prust. Stepan suffered a broken jaw, required surgery, but was somehow able to play in the next game. Vigneault was furious, but a certain Canadien, one Brendan Gallagher, spouted off about Stepan’s broken jaw:
They say elephants never forget. Apparently neither does Vigneault. This is a masterclass of trolling. Buy the man another martini.
The man went on to drop this nugget before departing:
"It's going to be a good game, it's going to be a fun game."
– Alain Vigneault on Game 6
— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) August 21, 2020
Get your popcorn ready.
For more Flyers coverage, follow Snow The Goalie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also be sure to tune into The Press Row Show as Anthony SanFilippo and Russ Joy provide pregame and intermission coverage of every Flyers home game from press row of the Wells Fargo Center via the Crossing Broad Facebook page, YouTube Live, and Twitter, and their Twitter accounts Follow @SnowTheGoalie Follow @AntSanPhilly Follow @JoyOnBroad
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