Philadelphia coach Alain Vigneault may never admit to it, but he delivered an expert troll job on Friday to Montreal winger Brendan Gallagher, who will miss the remainder of the Flyers-Canadien series with a broken jaw.
Gallagher broke his jaw during Game 5 on Wednesday after Philadelphia defensemen Matt Niskanen cross-checked him in the face during a power play in the third period. Niskanen was suspended for Friday’s Game 6 because of the infraction, but that didn’t stop Vigneault from delivering another verbal blow to Gallagher.
“At the end of the day I can only state the facts and the fact was that Gallagher got up and his mouth didn’t shut up for at least five minutes to the referees, the linesmen and to our bench,” Vigneault told reporters early Friday (via NBC Sports). “I don’t know if he aggravated his injury through force of speaking to us and the officials. I’m not a doctor, I can’t say.”
Vigneault’s comments may seem insensitive, but they’re right in line with similarly offhanded remarks Gallagher made in the 2014 Eastern Conference finals against the Rangers — whom Vigneault was coaching at the time.
In Game 3 of that series, Montreal’s Brandon Prust broke the jaw of the Rangers’ top-line center, Derek Stepan. But Gallagher, among other Canadiens players, questioned whether Stepan’s jaw was actually broken or if he was merely trying to game the NHL to give his team an advantage (as he returned to play in Game 3 and Prust was suspended two games for the foul).
“We’re 100 percent expecting him to play,” forward Brendan Gallagher said in 2014 (via The New York Times). “He got up, and he was yapping and yelling, so I’m sure the jaw isn’t hurting too much.”
Stepan ended up missing Game 4 in 2014, but returned in Game 5 and scored two goals, eventually helping New York to a 4-2 series win. Unfortunately for Gallagher, that is not a feat he will be able to replicate. There’s no way to know for certain whether Vigneault made his comments with Gallagher’s 2014 remarks still fresh in his mind.
But it certainly stands out as an example of karmic pay back.
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