Gainey appeals to Canadiens fans not to boo American anthem

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BROSSARD, Que - Bob Gainey has appealed to Montreal Canadiens fans to stop booing the U.S. national anthem.

The Canadiens coach and general manager said fans who booed during "The Star Spangled Banner" ahead of Game 3 of their playoff series against the Boston Bruins should find other ways to voice their support.

"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."

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 annually in recent years. In the past, the Canadiens responded with a taped appeal on the scoreboard of Canadiens legend 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 is counting on Gainey's appeal to stop it, a team official said.

When told of Gainey's statement, Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas said "that sounds like a very classy thing he did."

Thomas, a native of Flint, Mich., said he was not put off by the booing

"No, because I've heard it before," he said "The same thing happened last year and it happened just about every time I've played here.

"I was prepared for it. I knew what was going to happen and I just ignored it."

Boston leads the best-of-seven NHL Eastern Conference series 3-0 and can complete a sweep with a victory on Wednesday night.

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