Gainey asks fans to stop booing anthem
BROSSARD, Quebec -- Montreal coach Bob Gainey appealed to Canadiens fans to stop booing the U.S. national anthem.
Gainey, also the team's general manager, said fans who booed during "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Game 3 of their playoff series with the Boston Bruins should find other ways to voice support for their team.
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"I feel like there's a confusion there with our fans," Gainey said Tuesday. "They feel like booing the anthem is supporting our team, in that the anthem represents the Boston team.
"And I think if they could separate those two things, then we could respect the anthem of the United States of America and they could still participate loudly in whatever way they want to disrupt the Bruins."
Boston leads the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series 3-0 and can complete a sweep with a victory Wednesday night.
Many fans booed the U.S. anthem at the Bell Centre on Monday night, even though others tried to drown them out with chants of, "Go Habs go."
The same booing has been heard during the playoffs in recent years. In the past, the Canadiens responded with a taped appeal on the scoreboard from Canadiens great Jean Beliveau asking fans to respect both national anthems, and there would be less booing at subsequent games.
Instead of playing the tape again, the team said it is counting on Gainey's appeal.
When told of Gainey's statement, Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas said "that sounds like a very classy thing he did." Thomas, of Flint, Mich., was not put off by the booing.
"The same thing happened last year and it happened just about every time I've played here," he said. "I was prepared for it. I knew what was going to happen and I just ignored it."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press