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Montreal Canadiens GM criticizes Flyers coach for Gallagher comments

Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher (11) holds a towel on his mouth as Canadiens centre Nick Suzuki (14) checks on him after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers during NHL Eastern Conference Stanley Cup playoff hockey action in Toronto on Wednesday, August 19, 2020. Flyers' Matt Niskanen has received a one-game suspension for his cross-check on Brendan Gallagher late in Wednesday’s game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin says he’s “extremely disappointed” with comments made by Philadelphia Flyers coach Alain Vigneault about a play involving Montreal winger Brendan Gallagher before it was revealed he had a broken jaw.

Bergevin says Gallagher will miss “an extended period of time and will be eating his meals out of a straw,” after he was cross-checked by Flyers defenceman Matt Niskanen in Montreal’s win in Game 5 of their playoff series Wednesday.

After the Habs confirmed Gallagher suffered a broken jaw Thursday and will be out for the rest of the series, the NHL suspended Niskanen for one game. That means the defenceman will miss Game 6 tonight in Toronto.

READ MORE: Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher to undergo surgery for broken jaw

The Flyers lead the best-of-seven series 3-2.

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Vigneault said Thursday that Gallagher “got up and seemed fine,” after the controversial hit in the third period. He defended it as a hockey play and said he didn’t think it was Niskanen’s fault that the five-foot-nine Gallagher isn’t as tall as other players.

Gallagher, with blood dripping from his mouth, stayed on the bench following the incident, and was involved in spirited discussions with both the Flyers and on-ice officials.

Speaking Friday, Vigneault said he didn’t believe Gallagher was seriously hurt because he was talking for nearly five minutes to referees, linesmen and the Flyers bench after the hit. The coach added he thought Montreal medical staff would have taken Gallagher into the locker room if there was concern about a serious injury.

Bergevin says it’s sad that Gallagher will miss an extended period of time while Niskanen will be out just one game.

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