Brandon Prust went off on referee Brad Watson after Sunday’s Game 2 between the Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Two days later, the Montreal forward apologized and was fined $5,000 by the NHL.
On Tuesday, Prust said that he was emotional and “crossed the line” with his comments about Watson.
Via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com:
"It was tough, it was emotional," Prust said. "I had just gotten in a fight, we had just lost 6-2 and five minutes later I was doing interviews. I wasn't myself. My emotions were -- my heart was beating, I was agitated -- and I shouldn't have been doing the interviews. ...
"If I could go back and redo it, I would," he later added. "But you can't. We've got to live with it, and we focus on the road ahead."
Prust was called for roughing late in the first period of Game 2 and earned an extra minor for unsportsmanlike conduct when he gave Watson a piece of his mind.
After the game, Prust explained what happened.
“I thought the original call was kind of soft and I let him know it on the way to the penalty box,” Prust said of Watson. “He kept provoking me. He came to the box and called me every name in the book.
“He called me a piece of you know what, a mother-f’er, coward, said he’d drive me right out of this building. I kept going, ‘Yeah OK, yeah OK, yeah OK.’ He kept on me, he kept on me. I kept saying ‘Yeah OK.’ I wasn’t looking at him and he (gave Prust the unsportsmanlike). That’s the ref he is. He tried to play God. He tries to control the game and he did that tonight.”
The NHL announced a $5,000 fine for Prust on Tuesday evening. Here is a statement from NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell:
"Brandon Prust's post-game comments were both baseless and demeaning of a referee whose 20-year career in the League has been marked by professionalism, integrity and a high degree of respect from players, coaches and management."
Recall that Alex Burrows was fined $2,500 in 2010 for his comments toward then-NHL ref Stephane Auger. The price at hitting out at referees has increased.
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