MONTREAL – Two Montreal Canadiens fans are trying to put a positive spin on some of the nastiness that has surfaced during the Habs’ playoff series with the Ottawa Senators.
They’re using Brandon Prust’s reference to Ottawa coach Paul MacLean as a “bug-eyed, fat walrus” to help raise funds for worthy causes.
The Montreal forward made the comment after MacLean’s reaction to the bloody hit on Canadiens centre Lars Eller by Eric Gryba in Game One.
MacLean blamed Raphael Diaz for making a dangerous rink pass to Eller.
Habs fan Ashley Marah says she doesn’t bear any ill will toward MacLean or the Senators.
“I’m not going to bash them or be mean,” she said in an interview Monday.
The 31-year-old woman, who did not want to give her family name, has decided to use the occasion to promote awareness about the walrus, a threatened mammal.
She “adopted” a walrus for Prust after googling the World Wildlife Fund.
“Let’s do something good with this,” she said.” I find it a unique touch to what this whole thing had escalated to.
“Because at the end of the day we’re all just people and people say things and people don’t mean things.”
One stuffed plush walrus for Prust cost her and her friend, Lissa Albert, about $40. That donation will go to the WWF’s conservation efforts.
As of Monday, they had collected about an additional $300. That money and any extra funds will go to the Montreal Canadiens’ Children’s Foundation.
The campaign was brought to the attention of MacLean on Monday, but a team spokesman said in an email the Senators coach would pass on the opportunity to comment.
Besides the walrus, Prust will get a card with the names of all the people who donated money. A card will also be sent to the children’s foundation.
On its website, the wildlife fund says that with Arctic ice melting, the walrus is losing its primary habitat for resting, birthing, nursing calves and protecting itself from predators.
The two women began the campaign last Friday. It will end at noon this Friday.
They also thought of getting two more walruses, for Diaz and Eller, “because of what they went through,” but decided to focus on the children’s foundation.
The pair hope to present the walrus to Prust before the end of the Ottawa series.
“We’re just happy that people are helping out the WWF as well because we need to help save animals as well,” Ashley Marah said.
Anyone wanting to donate can go to the website that was set up for fans of Brendan Gallagher, Bgally.com, and follow the links to a walrus for Prust.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version had a wrong name for the World Wildlife Fund