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Canadiens' Brandon Prust apologizes to ref, is fined $5,000

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust has been fined $5,000 by the NHL for comments he made to referee Brad Watson following Game 2.

Prust, who was fined Tuesday, also apologized to Watson.

"Brandon Prust's postgame comments were both baseless and demeaning of a referee whose 20-year career in the league has been marked by professionalism, integrity and a high degree of respect from players, coaches and management," said NHL senior executive vice president Colin Campbell.

After Montreal's 6-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday night Prust said Watson insulted and cursed him. Prust said after practice Tuesday he wants to "apologize to Brad Watson and the rest of the officials in the NHL. It was uncalled for."

Prust said the two got into a "heated exchange and that should have stayed between us." He added that he considers himself a "pretty honest player" but "crossed the line" Sunday.

Prust finished with 31 minutes in penalties, including a game misconduct received after fighting with Tampa Bay's Braydon Coburn in the third period.

Game 3 is Wednesday night in Tampa. The Lightning lead the series 2-0.

"I should know more than anybody that what happens out there stays out there. There's a code and an honor," Prust said. "After the game I was not myself. I was fired up. I was out of my mind. If I could do it all over again, I probably wouldn't have even gone in to do interviews. But what's done is done, and we move on."

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said Prust did the right thing in apologizing.

"One thing with Brandon, he's a competitor. He works extremely hard. He hates to lose," Therrien said. "When we lost the game, it really hurt him. But as we all know, you can't cross that line."

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