BOSTON — The handshake line is one of hockey’s time-honored traditions, and it’s supposed to be a goodwill sign of sportsmanship and all that mumbo-jumbo. That’s a funny concept when you consider it attempts to bring together a bunch of grown men who tried to beat the tar out of each other for the last couple of weeks.
The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens had a handshake line Wednesday night after the Habs eliminated the B’s with a 3-1 win at TD Garden. The bitter rivals quickly gathered at center ice for the show of respect, and things appeared to get a little heated.
That especially was evident as Boston forward Milan Lucic went through the line. The big winger had some strong handshakes and appeared to have a few words with a few select Habs players. Those words, according to one Canadiens player, were not “Good job, buddy.”
Montreal forward Dale Weise accused Lucic of threatening him and other Canadiens during the handshakes.
“Milan Lucic had a few things to say to a couple guys,” Weise added. “You look at a guy like Shawn Thornton who has been around the league, and he plays hard and he plays that role and he had good things to say to everybody. He won with class, and Milan Lucic just couldn’t do that. Well, I won’t get into what he said, it’s just poor. It’s a poor way to lose.”
Lucic would not go into details about what was or wasn’t said, but he also didn’t seem to happy with Weise talking about what was said, either.
“It was said on the ice, so it’ll stay on the ice,” a fuming Lucic said. “So if he wants to be a baby about it, that’s — he can make it public.”
Much of the message in the Canadiens’ dressing room after the win surrounded the fact that Montreal felt disrespected by the Bruins for the entire series. Lucic disagreed with that assertion.
“Disrespect? I don’t know what they’re talking about, disrespect,” he said. “Having a goal celebration — what kind of disrespect is that? I mean, I’m not going to say anything. I’ve got nothing to say about that.”
One thing is for sure: The first Bruins-Canadiens matchup next season will be a can’t-miss affair.