Geography certainly sets up the Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes to be rivals, but there was never much juice between these two teams before the 2019 postseason matchup. Tensions can get high in the playoffs, but after years of no real hatred between Washington and Carolina, would the rivalry carry over into the next season?
We got the answer in the preseason and it was an emphatic yes.
In the final game of the preseason, the Caps played in Raleigh and Tom Wilson was given a 10-minute misconduct in the second period. He was fired up and yelling at Carolina's bench. The reason? He was getting chirped, not by a player, but by head coach Rod Brind'Amour.
That is something the normally even-tempered Todd Reirden took great exception to.
"To me it's a very unprofessional quality of a coach," Reirden said on an interview with the Sports Junkies. "And it's an unwritten rule in the coaching world is that once you no longer can 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 they're doing then you talk to their coach if you have a problem with it. You don't talk to the players because you can't go out and do anything about it. You're not allowed to go out on the ice anymore and answer for any questions or comments that you want to make."
The situation could have escalated further as Reirden said he was looking for Brind'Amour at the end of the period to voice his displeasure, but Brind'Amour had already left for the locker room.
"One thing that was not on video is me, after the period, going towards their bench to talk to their coaches," Reirden said. "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."
With this incident, any question to whether the rivalry would extend past just the playoffs was answered. There's something brewing between the Caps and Hurricanes and even their coaches are in on it.
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