Shortly after the start of the Canadiens’ practice this afternoon at Madison Square Garden, an upset Canadiens coach Michel Therrien asked/demanded that Rangers assistant Ulf Samuelsson not watch his team practice.

After that, Rangers GM Glen Sather came out to watch the Canadiens practice and assistant Dan Lacroix did too, with Canadiens goaltender coach Stephane Waite informing Therrien there were still Rangers’ personnel watching. Afterward, Therrien cited a “gentleman’s agreement” between the playoff combatants to not watch each other’s off-day practices.

There is no NHL rule against opposing team’s personnel watching the other team practice.

It was all part of an eventful day at the Garden. After the Canadiens’ practice, Brandon Prust spoke about his two-game suspension for his late unpenalized hit on Derek Stepan, saying he felt “awful” about injuring Stepan and adding he had been looking to create energy for his team ever since they lost Game 2 in Montreal. Meanwhile, in the Canadiens’ room, Daniel Briere called it “fishy” that the Rangers have not given a definitive update on Stepan and also how much the Rangers have talked about how there should have been an interference penalty on Prust on that play. Briere also said of Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh that while McDonagh is a “great” defenseman, he hasn’t seen a defenseman slash so much since Chris Pronger.

Also, the Canadiens’ Brendan Gallagher said he expects Stepan to play in Game 4 because he’s seen broken jaws before and that usually means “you can’t talk too much.” Stepan did address the media after Game 3 and said he was OK. Today, the Rangers said Stepan was still hospitalized as he recovers from surgery late on Friday.

As for the watching practice flap, here’s Therrien’s explanation of his anger.

“There is always a gentleman’s agreement between two teams and the general manager that coaches are not allowed to attend practices between games,” Therrien said. “Game day is different. So when we saw those
assistant coaches there, they were not supposed to be there, so we let them know.

“It’s respect for coaches that want to make adjustments between games, and it’s always been like that and that’s the way it is,” Therrien added.