Chris Kreider: 'I wish I would've put (the puck) in the net'
Rangers forward Chris Kreider crashes into Canadiens goaltender Carey Price during second period action in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference final in Montreal on Saturday, May 17, 2014. (Ben Pelosse/QMI Agency)
Move over, Zdeno Chara.
There is a new Public Enemy No. 1 here in Montreal and his name is Chris Kreider.
In fact, the speedy Rangers forward had best be advised to wear ear plugs to fend of the deafening boos from the raucous Bell Centre throng Monday night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final after it was revealed earlier in the day that his collision with Carey Price on Saturday has left the Habs goalie out for the series.
With the Rangers peppered with questions at their game-day skate about potential retaliation against goalie Henrik Lundqvist by the Canadiens, Kreider admitted he would have done one thing different on the play that led to the Price injury during New York's 7-2 victory in Game 1.
"Looking back, I wish I would've put it (the puck) in the net,” he told a scrum of about 40 reporters.
As for the play itself, Kreider offered no apologies, feeling he did not do anything wrong.
"I don't go out with the intent to hurt anyone. Ever," Kreider said.
"I try to get to the net and they're going to try to keep me from getting to the net. There's going to be contact," Kreider added.
Yes, Kreider did get a goalie interference penalty last week against Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. But his total during the regular season? Zero.
Asked if he considered Kreider's actions "reckless," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault replied: "It was a hockey play."
The Habs obviously don't agree.
On Saturday, the Canadiens said the incident was "accidental." On Sunday, it became "accidental on purpose." Monday it had morphed into "reckless."
The incident took place in the second period of Game 1. Kreider was going in on a breakaway when he was tapped on the back of the leg by Alexei Emelin, lost his balance and went skates-first into Price, who appeared to hurt his right knee on the play.
Asked if he expected retaliation from the Habs, goalie Henrik Lundqvist replied: "I hope not. (The Kreider play) was an accident."
Not according to the livid Canadiens fan base.