BOSTON - The Boston Bruins end the season as losers. Rubbing salt in the wound, Bruins winger Milan Lucic has been labelled a sore loser in some quarters.
The hulking Bruin didn't abandon his prickly game when the best-of-seven series ended in a 3-1 victory for Montreal in Wednesday's Game 7 at the TD Garden. Lucic had words with several Canadiens during the traditional post-series handshake on the ice.
The 25-year-old from Vancouver aggressively shook hands and had words with fourth-liner Dale Weise and defenceman Alexei Emelin.
#WhatLucicToldWeise was trending on Twitter in Canada on Thursday.
An animated Lucic held onto Weise's hand as he had his say and then had words with Emelin. Montreal forward David Desharnais, who was behind the defenceman, put his hands on Emelin's elbow during the exchange, as if to guide him past.
"Milan Lucic had a few things to say to a couple of guys," said Weise, who declined to go into specifics.
"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 a poor, it's just a poor way to lose.”
The Bruin reportedly said: "I'm going to kill you next year," with an F-Bomb thrown in for good measure.
Lucic, clearly still feeling the emotion of the loss, was unrepentant in the locker-room.
"It's said on the ice so it'll stay on the ice. So If he (Weise) wants to be a baby about it—he can make it public."
Asked about allegations by some Habs of Boston disrespect during the series, Lucic was agog.
"Disrespect? I don't know what they're talking about. Disrespect? Having a goal celebration, what kind of disrespect is that? I'm not going to say anything. I've got nothing to say about that."
Lucic's behaviour during hockey's time-honoured handshake line, seen as a mark of respect, drew a quick response.
"All he can do now, though, is apologize for his error in judgment," Adam Kaufman wrote in boston.com. "Or he'll be known as another guy who disrespected arguably the greatest tradition in all of sports."
"Milan Lucic probably won't be up for Sportsman of the Year," tweeted Sports Illustrated in the link to its story.
Others were more forgiving.
"Seriously? Lucic says something mean to somebody? So what? Time to move on everybody. Sticks and stones and all that," tweeted Damien Cox of Rogers Sportsnet.
But Lucic wasn't the only one talking tough after the game.
"Great to see a Canadian team finally take out the Bruins in a game 7," tweeted Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks in seven games to win the Stanley Cup in 2011. Boston has also taken out both Toronto and Montreal in Game 7s in recent years.