Veteran New York Rangers centre Derek Stepan created a stir last week when he came off the bench during a timeout in the first period of Game 5 against the Ottawa Senators to chat with his goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist.
Television cameras caught the exchange of Stepan motioning for Lundqvist to calm down, with the netminder yelling back.
Stepan was applauded in some corners for his actions, but broadcaster Don Cherry was not having it.
“Everybody thinks it was great. I think it was awful,” Cherry said during Coach’s Corner on Friday night. “You never, ever yell at a goalie.”
Stepan, who’s been teammates with Lundqvist since 2010, told the New York Post that he received texts after the game about the exchange going viral on social media.
“I went right to Hank to tell him I was sorry if it was being blown out of proportion,” Stepan said. “He said to just forget it.
“By no means was it us arguing or going at each other,” he added. “We understand each other. We’ve been together a long time. We both want the same result.”
Lundqvist ended up allowing five goals in that game, an overtime loss, and then surrendered three more in the next affair, a Game 6 loss that ended the Rangers’ season.
Cherry says Lundqvist’s body language looked noticeably different.
“He was never the same after Stepan did that to him,” Cherry said. “Never talk to your goaltenders like that.”