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Peter Laviolette calls decision by Dan Bylsma 'gutless'

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer
By now you've probably already seen the chaos that unfolded at the end of Sunday's Penguins-Flyers game, which Philadelphia won by a 6-4 margin, closing to within one point of the Penguins for the No. 4 seed and home ice advantage in the first round of what is a likely first round playoff matchup.

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette wasn't all that interested in breaking down the late-game fight, or his shouting match with Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato, pleading with the media to ask him questions about the game, but he did manage to get in a shot at Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma, calling his decision to send his fourth line on the ice in that situation "gutless."

"Those guys hadn't played in 12 minutes, that's a gutless move by their coach," said Laviolette. "It's gutless. Questions about the game please."

The brawl started when Penguins center Joe Vitale delivered a huge, open-ice hit on Flyers forward Danny Briere. A hit that, it should be noted, appeared to be a perfectly clean, legal, textbook hockey hit.

It was all downhill from there. And not only do these two teams meet again in the regular season, facing off on Saturday, they're likely to be matched up in the opening round of the playoffs.

While it may be true that the Penguins fourth-line hadn't played in a lengthy period of time, a lot of that likely had to do with the fact Pittsburgh was attempting to play from behind, and by that point in the game, the score and result had already pretty much been decided. And while they may be the Penguins "tough" guys, they're all regular players that get regular shifts throughout the course of a game, and it's not like they sent out a bunch of players with no actual hockey ability that were simply hired muscle.

Flyers forward Max Talbot went for a more reasonable analysis of the situation.

"Both teams reacted to a big hit. I know you guys are trying to get a little fire in there, but things happen. It's two teams going at it and fighting for the same thing."

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
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