The Hurricanes eliminated the Capitals during last year's playoffs. Alex Ovechkin knocked out 'Canes Andrei Svechnikov during last year's playoffs. There's still some heat between these two teams, but Saturday's home opener against the Hurricanes just got a lot more interesting.
During the Caps' final preseason game against the 'Canes Sunday, Tom Wilson received a 10-minute game misconduct after he went after Carolina's bench. Wilson told media members after the game that Carolina head coach Rod Brind'Amour chirped him from the bench.
Four days later, Caps head coach Todd Reirden is still fired up over the "extremely unprofessional" exchange.
“To me, it’s a very unprofessional quality of a coach, and it’s an unwritten rule in the coaching world, is that once you can no longer play hockey, and you have to wear a suit behind the bench, now if you have a problem with the other team, if you have a problem with something that they’re doing, then you talk to their coach if you have a problem with it," Reirden said on The Sports Junkies Thursday. "You don’t talk to their players, because you can’t go out and do anything about it."
Reirden said that this is not the first time Brind'Amour has chirped at one of the Capitals' players.
"He did it last year during the playoffs as well, so it was something I was, to be honest with you, ready for and when it happened, I didn’t let it go," Reirden said.
Following the period, Reirden said he immediately crossed the ice to have some choice words with Brind'Amour.
“One thing that was not on video was me, after the period, going towards their bench to talk to their coaches and as soon as that period was over, I went across the red line and had some choice words for their coach, not for their players," Reirden said.
However, Reirden wasn't able to address his concerns with Brind'Amour himself, who ran off the ice following the period.
“I had to go through the assistant coach because he was running off the ice and I’m like, ‘make sure you send him this message,'" Reirden said.
Reirden made sure he got his message across, but said it did not go over well with Carolina's assistant coach.
“We had a pretty heated exchange," Reirden said. "It was fun.”
Known for his composure on the ice that can sometimes appear a bit too calm to some fans, Reirden said he does not hold back when it comes to backing his players.
“A lot of people don’t really know that side of me very much but you know at times, I think it’s important to have composure," Reirden said. "During the game, I certainly know when cameras are on me and not on me when I do things, so it’s important that you give across that message and I was unhappy with that so I dealt with it in the only way that I could which is address their bench.”
Chirping and fights are part of the game, but when it comes from coaches who can't "answer for any questions or comments that you wanna make" on the ice as Reirden says, it's indefensible.
“I think a lot of former players that have played the game, they sometimes forget that they no longer are a hockey player, and that’s off-limits,” Reirden said.
The Capitals play the Hurricanes for their home opener Saturday at 7:00 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington, which promises to be an impassioned game.
“That’s something that will add to our home opener against them," Reirden said.
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