Canadiens vs. Senators: War of words heating up, Paul MacLean labeled 'Bug-eyed fat walrus'

Eric Bolte-US PRESSWIRE

The series between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators is quickly escalating. Brandon Prust had an interesting way of characterizing Senators head coach Paul MacLean.

Entering the final week of the regular season, many salivated over the prospect of a first-round series between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs.

With the potential of Canada's two most historic teams going head-to-head in a playoff battle for the first time since 1979 -- not to mention, the Maple Leafs' first postseason appearance since 2004 -- the series seemed like an ideal first-round matchup.

However, the Canadiens ended up winning the Northeast Division and drew the Eastern Conference's seventh seed, the Ottawa Senators.

In hindsight, the intensity level of the playoffs might be better off for it.

Following Ottawa's Game 1 victory on Thursday night, a storm is beginning to brew between the division rivals. If the war of words is any indication, this series might be on course to be a memorable one.

Unfortunately, the central point of this conflict revolves around a gruesome injury sustained by Montreal forward Lars Eller. While attempting to receive a pass out of the Canadiens' defensive zone, Eller was hit by Ottawa defenseman Eric Gryba. Eller was knocked unconscious on the play and remained motionless on the ice in a pool of blood for a few minutes.

He ultimately required a stretcher to leave the game and was hospitalized overnight (he has since been released and is in good health).

Gryba was given a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct.

After the game, Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean defended his player and stated Raphael Diaz -- the Montreal player who sent the pass to Eller -- should have been more careful, via NHL.com:

"(If I'm Eller), I'm really mad at player 61, whoever he is, because he passed me the puck in the middle of the rink when I wasn't looking. That's always been a dangerous place as far as I know. Ever since I've been playing this game, that's a dangerous place to be - bad things happen.

"I think it's a hockey play that ended up going badly for Lars Eller."

Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien didn't think MacLean's comments were appropriate, stating they disrespected Eller and his family. Forward Brandon Prust took it a step further by saying he didn't care about MacLean's opinion and called the mustachioed, spectacle-laden coach a "bug-eyed fat walrus."

Needless to say, that one will likely be sticking around in hockey fans' minds for a while.

With Game 2 scheduled to take place on Friday night, Canadiens vs. Senators is quickly becoming the series that everyone wanted but few expected.

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