All the Canadiens players will wear the Pride jersey during Thursday night’s warm-up at the Bell Center… except one.
Denis Gurianov, who has 8 points in 19 games since becoming a member of the Canadiens, chose to stand out in another way, this time by not wearing the Pride jersey like the rest of the club, during of Thursday night’s pre-game warm-up at the Bell Centre. The Canadian will then host the Washington Capitals.
The choice of Gurianov obviously embarrassed the organization, which did not even name him in its official statement.
At the end of morning training at the Bell Centre, Gurianov was not made available by the Canadiens during question period.
Since the Russian player did not want to discuss the reasons that led him to refuse the Pride jersey, others had to do it for him.
“You can get behind the league’s inclusion initiatives, and you can get behind a teammate’s decision as well,” said Brendan Gallagher. Back home in Russia, they have propaganda laws, and he makes the decision to protect his family. It is important to focus on the positive side of this initiative. »
Just before, Martin St-Louis had taken the lead to answer questions. Obviously, the coach would have preferred to talk about hockey, as he himself meant it towards the end.
But he still had to talk about a player who chose not to do as his teammates did.
“He (Gurianov) will not take part in the warm-up for family reasons, explained the coach. It is unclear what the repercussions may be there. I don’t judge him. I have never been in his shoes, I respect his decision.
“We had discussions, we understand… it’s a bit of courage for Gurianov too. There is a price to pay for everything. I don’t know the size of his family, but he’s gonna protect that, and he’s gonna be judged by millions. But there are so many positives to what the league is doing. We don’t talk enough about the 95% of players who choose to wear this jersey… most of the cases (of refusals) are related to Russian players. But there are so many more positives than negatives. It’s a great cause. We notice the discomfort, but this initiative also leads to a lot of positive. »
Nick Suzuki also chose to see the glass half full.
“There are a lot more players who support this cause than guys who refuse to take part in a pre-game warm-up, reminded the captain. Obviously, the situation for Russian players is different. It’s not that they don’t support the cause; there are a lot of things going on in Russia that you don’t understand because you don’t come from there. I think everyone here supports each other, we’re like brothers… we want to be as inclusive as possible. »
With all this, questions about the game as such took the edge this Thursday morning at the Bell Center, in part because the Canadiens and the Capitals only play for pride… although some refuse the jersey of the Pride.
It will be specified all the same that Sean Farrell will have to skip his turn Thursday evening, and that Rafaël Harvey-Pinard will be back in the game, after an absence of two games.