Ricky Bobby would be proud of Bruce Boudreau. What Bobby did with four words (“with all due respect…”) Boudreau accomplished today with just one.

The operative word was “but,” which was preceded by Boudreau’s statement that he didn’t want any controversy. There’s nothing more enjoyable than Teddy Ruxpin’s profanity-laced evil twin speaking his mind, but he really didn’t mean that, did he? He really didn’t think he’d avoid controversy while talking about hockey head shots anywhere in Canada, and especially in Montreal, right?

Boudreau sure seems like a man of his word, so we’ll believe him. But all he did with his next words is stir the controversy cauldron after being asked for his take on a group of over 1,600 protesters set to march prior to Washington’s game against Montreal tonight. The Habs supporters aren’t pleased with the league’s decision to take no action against Zdeno Chara after his hit on Montreal forward Max Pacioretty last Tuesday.

Boudreau thinks there are better ways to get a point across.

“Don’t come. If you don’t like it, don’t come to the games! Players realize they could get hurt, they don’t want to do it, but unless you’ve played and seen what goes on at the speed of the game, you’re not going to be able to argue with it.”

Then that magical word came…

“And listen, I don’t want to get into any controversy, but if that was Hal Gill that hit David Krejci I don’t think there would be a protest tonight.”

Beyond his wizardry with naughty words, Boudreau is also incredibly skilled at stating the obvious. He’s right, there definitely wouldn’t be any organized angst if Gill hit Krejci, but maybe there would have been a few creative protest songs written in Boston. What the foul-mouthed coach doesn’t understand is that although the voice of outrage is amplified since the Pacioretty hit occurred in one of the NHL’s largest markets, those voices would exist regardless of the venue.

The issue of dangerous hits and head trauma is prominent and incredibly divisive, and creates blinding passion on both sides. No matter which stance you’ve taken, it’s encouraging to see hockey fans increasingly organizing publicly to voice their opinion. It’s a lot better than peppering blogs and online message boards with vintage lines keeping hockey in the dark ages.

At least the fine people of Montreal are starting to show better judgment with their public protesting. Just keep the cop cars locked up.