WILMINGTON — The Bruins issued a statement Friday denouncing racist comments directed at P.K. Subban that appeared on social media in the wake of the Canadien defenseman’s double-overtime game-winning goal in Thursday’s Game 1 between Boston and Montreal.
“The racist, classless views expressed by an ignorant group of individuals following Thursday’s game via digital media are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization,” Bruins president Cam Neely said in the statement.
It is unclear how many racist tweets appeared on Twitter regarding Subban, who is black. It also is unclear how many of them originated in Boston.
“I certainly share the thoughts of Cam and our organization,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “It’s just poor judgment, poor taste. We don’t associate ourselves with people like that.
“The people who think that way are not what we call our fans. They may think they are, but we certainly don’t support that at all.
“It’s a shame that this is still going around in this day and age, that people are still thinking that way. For us, it’s a shame.”
This is not the first time a Bruins loss has prompted such a reaction on social media. There were hateful, racist tweets after Washington’s Joel Ward, also a black player, scored the game-winner against the Bruins in a Game 7 in 2012.
“There’s absolutely no room for that,” said Bruins center Patrice Bergeron. “It’s classless. It goes beyond being a fan in hockey. There’s really no room for this in 2014 — at all. It’s really ignorant.”
While the Canadiens were certainly not happy with the tweets, defenseman Mike Weaver said that the incident should not reflect on Boston or the Bruins.
“It’s just a few individuals out there and it’s unacceptable,” said Weaver. “It has nothing to do with the Boston organization. It’s unfortunate that that happened and it’s not really going to bother us. We’re going to move forward.”
As of Friday afternoon, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien had not gotten a chance to speak with Subban, but Therrien said, “This is inappropriate. There is no one needed to be treated like this. No matter if you’re a professional athlete, no one deserves to be treated like this. P.K.’s got all our support.
“It’s very disappointing. I’m shocked, honestly, to hear those type of comments. I’m shocked.”
Subban’s brother, Malcolm, plays for the Bruins’ AHL affiliate, and is a top goaltending prospect; he was a first-round draft choice in 2012. The Bruins’ top goal scorer, Jarome Iginla, also is black.
Asked if he would have to reach out to Malcolm Subban after this, Julien said, “I think we’re reaching out to everybody in that situation. We’ve got Jarome Iginla on our team. Let’s be realistic here about this. It’s something we don’t support, simple as that.”
The Bruins players, who practiced at Ristuccia Arena Friday, reacted with disgust to the tweets.
“There’s no need, at any point in time, to be racist,” said Brad Marchand. “Obviously no one in this room or this organization feels that way. It’s very disappointing, but obviously we have to apologize for that coming from our fans. Hopefully there will be no more of that stuff.”
Marchand and Julien both said they had never heard comments like those from fans during a game.
“There’s a lot of good fans out there, and that’s the sad part about it,” said Julien, “is that your good fans get tarnished because of a couple of comments like that who don’t belong in that same group.”
Said Milan Lucic, “It’s very, very disappointing to hear that. It’s really sad that people do something like that.
“That’s why I’m not a big fan of Twitter and social media, because it is such a dangerous thing. To criticize someone about something that has nothing to do with hockey on an issue like that is very ignorant and stupid, if you ask me.
“If you’re going to make bad comments, stick to hockey comments, not to stuff that crosses the line.”
Boston’s mayor, Marty Walsh, also released a statement condemning the comments.
“This is a disgrace,” said the statement. “These racist comments are not reflective of Boston, and are not reflective of Bruins fans.
“I’ve said before that the best hockey in the world happens when the Bruins and Canadiens play each other, and there is no room for this kind of ignorance here.
“Yesterday Mayor [Denis] Coderre [of Montreal] and I made a friendly wager on the series, and we closed the conversation by wishing each other the best. I would hope that fans on both sides would follow this example.”