Caps' Eller on Wilson-Brind'Amour exchange: 'Worry about your own players'

Chris Lingebach
October 01, 2019 - 4:24 pm

In case you thought the fireworks were over, that the Capitals and Hurricanes would just forget their heated first-round playoff matchup in April, they reminded everyone just how real their distaste for one another remains in their preseason finale on Sunday, a 4-3 Capitals win.

Tom Wilson received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with just over a minute to play in the second period, and then a subsequent 10-minute misconduct penalty when he got into it with the Carolina bench, garnering 14 penalty minutes with the pair of infractions. Oddly among those chirping at Wilson from the opposing bench was Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour.

Wilson, needless to say, wasn't happy about getting verbally prodded by Brind'Amour, a coach, not a player.

Capitals coach Todd Reirden gave his disapproving response after the game:

Caps center Lars Eller — who will be appearing with The Sports Junkies all season long, Tuesdays at 8:40 a.m., driven by AAA — agreed with Reirden that it crosses a line for a coach to be verbally sparring with a player on the opposing team.

"I don't think it's something you see very often," Eller told The Sports Junkies. "I haven't come across it a lot. Usually it's a line you don't cross. I know Brind'Amour's been a player himself and had a great career."

"He's a tough guy, too, right?" Eric Bickel asked. "Wasn't he a tough guy?"

"Yeah. And I'm sure sometimes, even though they're not playing any more, they can get really emotional, and it's hard to stop themselves from being emotional and yelling out things, almost like they were still players," said Eller. "But they're not, so it's a line you don't want to see crossed, because he can't jump on the ice and square up to Tom, right? So that's now how you want to see things handled.

"The coaches can talk with each other and they can say whatever they want in the media, but I think when the puck drops, let the players handle that with each other. I didn't like that situation."

"Yeah. And Coach Reirden shared your views when he was asked in his post-game presser," John Auville noted. "He basically said the players have to handle it. It's way across the line for a coach to step in and start chirping with a player on the ice."

"Yeah. The general guideline is, if you're a coach, you worry about your own players," said Eller. "It's as simple as that."

The Caps and Canes meet again this Saturday, but for real this time.

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