Jan 092012
 

If you want to know where the lack of respect that’s infiltrating the NHL is coming from, look no further than Boston’s frothing-at-the-mouth reaction to Brad Marchand’s submarining of Sami Salo, a dirty, cheap, low hit that knocked Salo out of the lineup with a concussion.

It started with Marchand’s excuse:

The puck was going around the boards and I went to pick it up,” said Marchand. “I was looking over my shoulder and saw Salo coming. I just kind of went down. When you see a guy 6-foot-(3) coming in on you, your instincts are to protect yourself. It was very unfortunate that he was hurt on the play.

And punctuated with his coach, Claude Julien, defending him and then some:

We all have our opinions with what is going on with the game and the hits and everything else,” said Julien. “All I’m gonna tell you is that, I have always told my players that they need to protect themselves. The last thing I want my players to do is to get hit and then end up with a concussion, and they have to protect themselves.

“Whether it’s the right way or the wrong way, it’ll depend on how the league looks at it. But I’d rather have a guy take a two-minute penalty than turn his back to the play, stand up straight, and then get his face knocked into the glass, and be out for the rest of the year with a concussion, or maybe end a career, like Savard.

“In my opinion, if guys start protecting themselves the way Marchand did, maybe guys will stop taking runs at other guys.”

On the one hand, it’s admirable that the Bruins take matter into their own hands. There are many reasons they are the best team in the league and the physical intimidation they bring is just one of them. Julien pretty much admitted in his statement that his team will continue to play the way they do and force the officials to call the penalties if they commit them – nothing wrong with that. (You’ll recall the league chose not to do so in the Finals and it worked beautifully in their favor.)

On the other hand, I shudder at the implication that they think the best way for their players to protect themselves is by taking out another’s knees. There’s a difference between playing hard and hitting dirty. (If you’re not sure, Canucks Army and Pass It To Bulis have excellent articles on this very subject.) To anyone who follows hockey, what Marchand did was indefensible. It’s even more ridiculous – irresponsible even – that someone in Julien’s position would: a) defend such a dangerous hit, and b) even seemingly encourage it.

And you wonder where the lack of respect in the game is coming from.

Canucks GM Mike Gillis correctly calls it “a dirty hit by a dirty player“. Coach Alain Vigneault goes a bit further and calls Julien’s comments “stupid”.

“That’s a stupid comment,” said the Canucks coach. “What Marchand did there, you could end a player’s career doing that and I’ve never seen Sami Salo take a run at any player in the NHL. All I’ve seen Sami Salo do is play with integrity and play the right way.

“Marchand — this is just my feeling on this — some day he’s going to get it. Somebody is going to say enough is enough and they’re going to hurt the kid, because he plays to hurt players and in my mind if the league doesn’t take care of it, somebody else will.

“Sometimes it takes the league time to figure things out and there’s a difference between a good hip check when the player is coming down on you one-on-one with the puck and what we saw Marchand do with his definite attempt to injure. Something needs to happen.”

It was announced yesterday that Marchand has a phone hearing with NHL disciplinarian, Brendan Shanahan. A phone hearing means that if Marchand can face up a suspension of anywhere from 0 to 5 games. How serious – or how dangerous – of an infraction do they believe is it for a player to do something that could have potentially ended another player’s career?

*****

It looks like I’m not the only one who have had just about enough of the over-the-top homerism by the Boston media. If there’s something we’ve learned in the last few months, it’s that perhaps some of them have spent too much time on their knees lapping every word coming from the Bruins’ mouths.

Before the game, Ben Kuzma called out Joe Haggarty for Haggarty’s piece on Roberto Luongo.

Heard Haggarty called Luongo a “coward”. Really? And the #Canucks are arrogant? #giveyourheadashake

Without mentioning names, Ray Ferraro pretty much did the same.

Back in Van after WJC-i see goalies still the talking point. Also see the absurdity that Luongo asked out of Bos gm floated in Bos papers

After the game, Global TV’s Jay Janower was equally incensed.

Was truly embarrassing as a professional to see Boston “media” in action. Cheerleaders with mic’s and note pads. Bring on the suspension..

If you’re wondering where all this is coming from, here are a couple of articles on the game by Boston’s *ahem* professional media.

First is Haggarty’s on Luongo:

Maybe Roberto Luongo should stop wondering why nobody else ever wants to pump his perpetually saggy tires?

The Vancouver Canucks goaltender has once again created a firestorm of criticism by simply doing what everybody predicted “Bobby Lou” would choose in the first place: taking the easy way out.

No matter what the Vancouver coaching staff posited publicly as the reasoning behind it, Luongo opted out of the difficult challenge facing down his demons against the Bruins at TD Garden.

It’s the perfect example of “Bobby Lou just being Bobby Lou.”

With all due respect to Joe, he has absolutely nothing – nada, zilch, zero – to back up his claims in this article. Was it entertaining? Sure, if you consider reading the National Enquirer entertaining. Is it full of stuff that came out of his own ass? Yes.

Next up is this gem by the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaugnessy.

Playing the Vancouver Canucks is like playing a collection of A-Rods or a full squad of Bill Laimbeers. The defending NHL Western Conference champions are a virtual conga line of Claude Lemieuxes and Ulf Samuelssons.

They are posers and floppers, arrogant and cowardly. It’s hard to believe Cam Neely ever wore their sweater. Beating them up is just so much fun, and flipping one of them butt-over-tea kettle sweetens the day.

Never mind the guy they flipped butt-over-tea kettle – incidentally one of the classiest guys in the league – suffered a concussion out of it, and the flip was as illegal and dirty and dangerous as a hit could possibly be, this poor excuse for a writer also thought this was, well, fun and sweet.

Listen, I understand this shit sells. I know we live in a world where Snooki is a celebrity and Toddlers and Tiaras is prominent on The Learning Channel. But, I do expect more of the professional media – for starters, I expect them to be able to look at facts and spew something more intelligent than your regular Internet troll – though, in Boston, maybe that’s expecting too much.

  • Martin

    the difference between “bruin” and “brain”, as proved by many, is much bigger than just one letter…

  • Guest

    Talk about facts not supporting your point…you state “On the other hand, I shudder at the implication that they think the best way for their players to protect themselves is by taking out another’s knees.” Julien never said he thought that was “the best way”. This is a team that’s lost Marc Savard, Horton during the finals last year (I won’t mention how), and Bergeron and Krejci at different times due to concussions. I think they’re sympathetic to how concussions can impact players and have a point of view that their players should do what they have to do to prevent themselves from getting one. I can understand and appreciate that point of view. Also, the media in Boston is far from perfect (I don’t like Shaugnessy at all), but I recall a fair amount of the Vancouver media members taking a “homer” point of view during last years finals. Just remember, those who live in glass houses…

  • Guest

    Talk about facts not supporting your point…you state “On the other hand, I shudder at the implication that they think the best way for their players to protect themselves is by taking out another’s knees.” Julien never said he thought that was “the best way”. This is a team that’s lost Marc Savard, Horton during the finals last year (I won’t mention how), and Bergeron and Krejci at different times due to concussions. I think they’re sympathetic to how concussions can impact players and have a point of view that their players should do what they have to do to prevent themselves from getting one. I can understand and appreciate that point of view. Also, the media in Boston is far from perfect (I don’t like Shaugnessy at all), but I recall a fair amount of the Vancouver media members taking a “homer” point of view during last years finals. Just remember, those who live in glass houses…

  • Bob

    BIASES SHOWING inciting fan and crowd reactions.  Interesting comments on the Weise penalty for not fighting. I have the opportunity to watch the game through the Boston NESN commentary as well as the SportsNet one. SportsNet very condemnatory of the decision and mildly sarcastic. The NESN commentary very acidic and very biased. Quote: “that’s why Vancouver are the most despised and reviled team in the NHL, they are so arrogant. Weise invites Horton to fight and then backs off trying to draw a penalty. But the ref saw through that. Lots of cheap shots by Vancouver.” similarly after the confrontation by the Boston goal in the 3rd. NESN said of McQuaid when he was bitching at the referee McQ should be saying to Hansen you should be a vet after spearing me in the groin in game 7 and laughing and gloating about in from the bench.  They also made reference to Rome’s cheap shot in the finals that deservedly got him a 3 game suspension. Really the NHL should try to discourage this incitement to hatred. On Marchand’s “clipping” penalty on Salo the whole Boston crowd roared their approval. Hardly sporting old chap!!

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