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Harvick is 12th in the Cup standings November 08, 2018 7:44 PM

By : jin

NEW YORK -- In advance of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final, the coaches put on a show. Pat McAfee Jersey . First Rangers coach Alain Vigneault fired back at the Canadiens, dismissing the assertion by Montreal counterpart Michel Therrien that there is a gentlemans agreement among coaches that they not watch the other team practise on off-days. And he said Therriens comments that Montreal knows where Rangers forward Derick Brassard was hurting might come back to haunt the Habs coach. "Let me put it this way. I just hope nothing happens to (Brassard) or Michel could be in trouble," a feisty Vigneault said. The coaches friendship, he suggested, was on hold. "I think (Therrien) said prior to the series, for this two-week period, were not really friends and hes probably right," Vigneault, whose smile seemed a little forced, said after the morning skate Sunday. Vigneault was followed by a grinning Therrien, who looked to kill his rival coach with kindness. "Alain Vigneault, first of all hes a good friend," said Therrien. "Im privileged to be one of his friends. Hes an important person in my life. Hes one of the guys that pushed for me to get into pro hockey. And I will respect that. "And over the years, we become great great friends. And Ive got tons of respect for him. And hes a good coach. But right now were battling for the same thing ... Weve got to put our friendship aside, for what two weeks? But Im sure when everythings done and over, as soon as get a chance to see each other, were going to have a nice cold beer, like we did in the past. "Nothing is going to change, but right now were competing for the same goal. And thats normal." Vigneault, renowned for his calmness, has had a bee under his bonnet in recent days. In three games -- the Rangers led 2-1 going into Game 4 -- there has been one surgery, two suspensions and a lot of talk. The Rangers coach seemed to have a chip on his shoulder Sunday. He has lamented the officiating that led to a Game 3 flare-up which resulted in Brandon Prust breaking Derek Stepans jaw and Rangers forward Dan Carcillo being suspended for jostling a linesman in the aftermath. "Were trying to play whistle to whistle," Vigneault said. "Were trying to do the right things. I know in the hockey world we were painted as dishonest and dishonourable. Were not. We follow the rules. We follow the rules on the ice, and we will follow the rules off the ice." The Habs have complained about the Rangers play, questioned some of their injuries and looked to get under their skin at every turn. "Hockey is a beautiful game," Vigneault said. "Its done by great competitors on both teams. I wish a lot of this stuff didnt happen." It has been a series where the two coaches have hardly said a word without considering their impact. While Prust was awaiting a league sanction for his hit, Vigneault detailed the extent of Stepans injury. After Carcillo asked that his 10-game ban be reviewed by commissioner Gary Bettman, Vigneault questioned the role of linesman Scott Driscoll in the play. Therrien dismissed the suggestion that the Habs may be looking to capitalize on Brassards return to the lineup from injury. "Hes a good player. There is no free pass. Were in the playoffs. But the intention is not to hurt the guy. I mean, come on," he said. "We have to play Derick Brassard hard like we have to play all those New York Rangers hard with emotion and the best playoff hockey," he added. Therrien said he was giving Vigneault some of his own medicine. "I was saying the same thing Alain said about Carey Price, that he knew before, he knew what the injury was and that the hockey world its a small world," he said. "Its true, its a small world. So we knew exactly what happened to Derick Brassard. And by the way, hes a good player. Hes an important player." As for the Canadiens asking the Rangers assistant coaches to leave Montreals practice Saturday, Vigneault responded Sunday by saying his staff was treated unfairly. "There is no rule. There was no agreement between both teams. That is the exception not the rule." If there is a deal, its only because the opposing coach or GM calls to ask for it. "Never happened," he added. Vigneault called the Montreal behaviour regrettable, adding it was lucky the situation did not escalate. Therrien stuck to his guns, although he did say perhaps there was a breakdown in communication. According to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun, NHL Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell met with Therrien and Canadiens GM Marc Bergervin on Sunday to discuss the issue. "My staff and my coaching staff were under the impression that there is a gentlemans agreement. So probably there was a miscommunication. ... But from our standpoint, we still believe that there is a gentlemans agreement." Asked about personnel, Vigneault said Stepan was recovering at home from surgery although he had visited his teammates Sunday morning. Dominic Moore was expected to move up and replace Stepan with J.T. Miller replacing Carcillo on the fourth line. Therrien was asked zero questions about his lineup, with all the talk on the gamesmanship in the series. Michael Bournival is expected to replace Prust, who was suspended for two games for the Stepan hit. NOTES: Sunday marked 20 years since Mark Messier, after promising the win, scored a natural hat trick to help the Rangers defeat the New Jersey Devils 4-2 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final. Malik Hooker Jersey . Rodgers was ruled out on Friday by Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. Matt Flynn will make his second consecutive start for the Packers. Christopher Milton Jersey . - Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard has signed with WME-IMG, saying the sports management powerhouse will help maximize the value of my brand.BROOKLYN, Mich. - Kevin Harvick made Michigan International Speedways latest track record look routine. In what is becoming an annual occurrence at MIS, Harvick pushed the tracks qualifying mark a little bit higher Friday, winning the pole for this weekends Sprint Cup race at 204.557 mph. Harvicks pole-winning speed was the fastest since Bill Elliott set the record of 212.809 mph at Talladega Superspeedway in April 1987. "This is one of those racetracks where youre running fast, but you really cant put it all in perspective, I guess, until you hit something," Harvick said. "Its so wide, its so fast and so smooth, but you dont really get that huge sensation of speed." Drivers have broken 200 mph with regularity at Michigan since the track was repaved before the 2012 season. Marcos Ambrose had a speed of 203.241 in 2012, the first time anyone won a pole at over 200 mph since Elliott did it before horsepower-sapping restrictor plates were introduced at Talladega and Daytona. Last August, Joey Logano increased the track record to 203.949. Harvick was even faster in winning his third pole of the year and ninth of his career. Points leader Jeff Gordon was second, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was third. The top three qualifiers for Sundays 400-mile race were all in Chevrolets. NASCAR overhauled its qualifying process before this season, switching to a knockout format similar to Formula One and IndyCar. NASCAR now uses three rounds of qualifying at tracks 1 1/4 miles in length or larger. The entire field has 25 minutes to post their fastest single lap and the top 24 advance to the second round. The second segment lasts 10 minutes, and the fastest 12 advance to a final, 5-minute round. "This format has obviously been good for me to kind of, I guess, creep up on it as you go through the sessions," Harvick said. Skai Moore Jersey. "A fast car really solves a lot of problems." Harvick is 12th in the Cup standings, with victories at Phoenix and Darlington. The latter win came from the pole. His impressive performance Friday raised more questions about whether these increased speeds are any cause for concern. "Michigans been fast for a long time. How fast is too fast?" Harvick said. "The cars will slow down a tremendous amount when we get them in race trim and you get them in a pack, and its going to be quite a bit hotter on Sunday. Theyll slow down. Qualifying speeds are high. Its just a matter of whose opinion is taken on whether its too fast or not." Brad Keselowski, the 2012 series champion, outlined a couple of the issues raised by the high speeds. "How do the speeds affect our ability to pass and put on a race that our fans enjoy?" said Keselowski, who qualified sixth. "If were able to go 300 miles an hour and race side by side, that doesnt really matter to me. Its just the ability to do that — to have great side-by-side racing. And at this point, with the way aerodynamics have kind of taken over motorsports, we havent shown that ability." Theres also the issue of safety. "Weve shown time after time that the takeoff speed on these cars is about 185-190 miles an hour," Keselowski said. "As you cross that 210-, 220-mile threshold — certainly, you lose some speed as the car spins out, but wed really prefer to not have to lose any speed before the cars turn into airplanes." 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