Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau has a message for the group of protestors who are headed to the Bell Centre for Tuesday night's Capitals game against the Canadiens to protest head shots in the NHL.
"You don't like it, don't come to the games," Boudreau told the assembled media at the Capitals' pre-game skate on Tuesday morning.
The protest began on Mar. 9 when Canadiens fans - irate at the lack of a suspension for Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara after he drove forward Max Pacioretty's head into a stanchion - launched a Facebook campaign to gather outside the arena. The online petition had over 1,500 signatures as of Tuesday morning.
Boudreau - who has demonstrated that he has no fear on speaking his mind - also said that if situations were reversed, that the incident would have already been forgotten.
"Listen, I don't want to get into any controversy," he said. "But if that was Hal Gill that hit David Krejci, I don't think there'd be a protest going on here tonight."
Several key NHL sponsors such as Air Canada and VIA Rail have voiced their displeasure with the league following the incident, but Boudreau believes that the players themselves understand the risk that they take by choosing to play a full-contact sport.
"I think the players realize that they could get hurt," said Boudreau. "They don't want to do it, but unless you've played and see what goes on and at the speed of the game, you're not going to be able to argue with it."