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Coach Claude Julien bristles at accusations that Bruins are head-hunting Nicklas Backstrom
Dale Hunter was no saint as a player, but as a coach he made it clear he wasn’t happy that the Boston Bruins were targeting Nicklas Backstrom’s head. The Washington Capitals coach said it crossed the line and was “not the right way to play.”
The Bruins didn’t take too kindly to that accusation Wednesday.
“I don’t know any coach that would tell his team to go after somebody’s head. … It’s ludicrous. It’s ridiculous,” coach Claude Julien said. “Being accused of head-hunting is ludicrous.”
Backstrom, suspended for Game 4 for cross-checking Rich Peverley in the face at the final horn Monday, said he thought the Bruins were going after his head “a little bit” but made it clear he doesn’t mind tough hockey. Even a few teammates like Jay Beagle and Karl Alzner downplayed the notion that head-hunting was really going on.
“I don’t think there was targeting. It’s hockey,” captain Alex Ovechkin said. “It’s a physical game.”
The Bruins have two players currently out with concussions. Marc Savard’s career is likely over, and Nathan Horton was ruled out for the playoffs. Bergeron also had one in 2007, so he hopes his teammates aren’t trying to reinjure Backstrom‘s.
“It’s not fun. You never want that to happen. We’re worried about playing playoff hockey, playing hard and within the rules while finding results,” he said. “Games are played hard, especially this time of year. I haven’t seen anything that’s out of the ordinary with our series.”
Vokoun had ‘pretty severe’ groin tear
Skating with teammates in practice Wednesday for the first time since aggravating a groin injury March 29, goaltender Tomas Vokoun was far from upbeat about his progress.
“No news. It’s time-consuming injury. I feel better. At a certain point, obviously you need to be totally at a different point to be able to play and play in playoffs and play a hundred percent and be able to do everything you should out there,” Vokoun said. “Saying that, it is getting better and we’re working on it, but I had an MRI and it was a pretty severe tear, so those take time to heal.”
The 35-year-old pending free agent who signed with the Caps for the chance to carry the load has been forced to watch as Braden Holtby has assumed the role of playoff starter. He has no timetable on a return.
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