Asked a question about the Flyers' offense, Laviolette seemed to go out of his way to test the mettle of Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi.
"We've got to put more pressure on their goalie," said the Flyers head coach on Tuesday afternoon at the Wachovia Center. "He's a rookie goaltender playing in the Stanley Cup Final. He's representing a city that hasn't won a Stanley Cup in (sic) 50 years. We have to score one early and put a crack of doubt in his game."
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With Chicago leading Philadelphia 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final after a 2-1 win on Memorial Day, the mind games have officially begun.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quennville refused to address Laviolette's comments on Niemi when he met with reporters Tuesday afternoon.
Monday night's Game 2 presented Puckgate, as Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger scooped up the puck at the final horn and Blackhawks toughie Ben Eager tried to retrieve it. Words were exchanged. A towel was thrown, even though the Flyers -- who overcame trailing 3-0 in the second round against Boston -- are not throwing in the towel.
Even Laviolette, never confused with a Second City comedian, used the affair to loosen up the press room (and send the message that he's not worried about a mere 2-0 deficit).
"I read about the thing on the Internet, and I don't understand it," said Laviolette, notoriously tight-lipped when discussing the inner workings of his teams. "You asked before what was said in our meeting today. I can tell you that the puck issue did not come up. We did not discuss who's going to steal the puck in Game 3."