Jan 102012
 

Hey Boston? What’s the name of the longest river in the world?

(If you’re not that smart, the joke is usually “da Nile”).

Seriously, has your city lost its mind? Because it sure as hell has lost a lot of its credibility across the NHL after the Marchand-Salo affair.

For Boston players, coaches, GMs, media and fans to almost unanimously agree that there was nothing wrong with Marchand’s hit on Salo makes the city look completely ridiculous, immature and unprofessional.

I understand this maybe from the fans and even the players at times, because they’re passionate about the game, but to come from the mouths and writing of the media (who are supposed to try to be objective on such matters) is absolutely disgusting.

What happened to professionalism and integrity in journalism?

The denial and outcry regarding the dirtiness of Marchand’s hit and subsequent discipline from the NHL is nothing short of absurd, to the point where the Bruins, its media and many of its fans are, for the moment, the laughingstock of the NHL.

Even PJ Stock, who used to play for the Bruins, was showing his black and gold colours on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday. He was the only panellist stating it was a clean hit, while the others were doing what they could to stop him from speaking any longer.

It’s become rather comical.

You’d think following his suspension that Marchand would keep things to himself and stay out of the spotlight for a bit, but no, he had to go and write his ESPN blog on the subject and say this:

OK, the play with Sami Salo. It technically wasn’t a clip. Clipping is when you hit someone at the knees and I did not hit him at the knees. Anyone that has seen the video will see that I hit him in the upper thigh under the buttocks. They can call it a clipping, but they obviously don’t know the rules of hockey. I felt like I was trying to protect myself and get low and he went over me.

So what are you saying, Brad? That Shanahan and every other hockey expert are wrong, and you’re right?  Isn’t that completely disrespecting Shanahan’s credibility and capability to do his job? If I were him, I’d slap an extra fine on you, just for that.

After all, if Tortorella can be fined for publicly denouncing the NHL’s officiating, you should sure as hell be fined for denouncing the NHL’s ability to make disciplinary decisions, with, “They obviously don’t know the rules of hockey.”

That’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard from a player. Not to mention, cocky as hell.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien and Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli also stand by their belief that Marchand was simply “protecting himself” from that big brute Salo, who suddenly has grown three or four inches and likes to eat small children for breakfast.

Not only that, but suddenly Boston’s feeling bad about itself being “targeted” and made an example of. Julien told the media, “I guess we’re stupid,” and “Somehow the Bruins happen to be the team that people prefer picking on and think we’re the bruisers and the example of the league.”

First of all, you ARE the bruisers of the league, and second, it’s about time you got called on it.

Also, wasn’t it only last year that you guys were shredding the Canucks for having this “we’re the most hated team/woe is me” mentality, and telling them to stop whining and suck it up?

Now the tables turn on Boston and you’re the victims… Right…

The hypocrisy going on is mind-blowing.

And the Boston media? Probably the absolute worst in terms of bias and plain-old ridiculous garbage they’ve been producing during the Marchand incident, even better than some of their gems from the Finals last spring. I was linking to ugly articles faster than I could type for the past two days!

Fans and sportswriters from around North America were tweeting their amused disbelief at the Boston media’s lack of professionalism following Saturday’s game. Really, it did get to the point that it was quite laughable.

The complete and utter denial of Marchand’s “predatory” behaviour (Thank you, Mr. Shanahan) is so unbelievable that I don’t know how that city isn’t embarrassed by it.

I guess poor little Marchand should be handled with kid gloves and moved around in bubble wrap at this rate, or something. He must be protected!

Seriously, Boston?

Give it a rest! Marchand clipped Salo to the T. If you don’t see it in the video replay, you should probably remove your gold-and-black tinted glasses and try again. Marchand’s a repeat offender, and there was no way in HELL that he was protecting himself. Why is this so hard to admit and move on?

Boston’s acting like the spoiled child whose parents finally decided to start disciplining it, and are having a bit of a tantrum because it’s not getting its way for once. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Thankfully, there have been glimmers of reason among the Bruins’ media and fan base, like bright stars in a dark sky, but unfortunately these few are being drowned out by the obnoxious, hopeless dribble escaping their less-intelligent brethren. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see there’s some hope for Boston out there. A couple good examples:

Boston Globe columnist Fluto Shinzawa tweeted:

No prob w/Thornton pig pile. If reversed, #Bruins would be like wolves on steak. Like BUF should have done w/Lucic.

(I’d like to point out that last year the Canucks were “pussies” for not sticking up for each other; and now that they defend Burrows, they’re a bunch of goons. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, right?)

Bruins fan Dan (@danwelch73):

Sorry, don’t understand the ill-logic of fellow #Bruins fans (some, not all) saying Marchand’s hit on Salo wasn’t dirty. Susp is deserving.

I tried to find more examples from Boston fans/media, but sadly couldn’t. But, I did find this:

Pittsburgh resident @emptynetters:

The next time Bruins fans want to rip any team for having someone like Matt Cooke, make you question why Peter Chiarelli has Brad Marchand.

Good point.

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.

Nov 222011
 

[Every week, Caylie King looks at the Canucks week that was and the Canucks week ahead.]

Last week, the Canucks continued their inconsistent play, which resulted in a brutal showing against the Chicago Blackhawks. Trailing by a goal going into the third period, they let the game get out of reach, eventually losing 5-1. Then, the Ottawa Senators came into town on Sunday. The game had some end-to-end rushes and excellent goaltending by Cory Schneider and ex-Canuck Alex Auld; and the Canucks came away with a 2-1 victory. Winning streaks have to start with one win, let’s hope we can string together a few more to try and better our position in the Western Conference.

Canucks Record

20 GP, 10-9-1, 21 points (3rd in Northwest Division, 11th in Western Conference)

Who’s Hot

Sami “Balls of Steel” Salo has been one of the Canucks’ most consistent defensemen all year long. Although he may be made out of glass, Sami has proved that he still a strong asset and that he can make things happen on both ends of the ice. Last season, Sami was limited to only 27 games last season and scored just 7 points (3G-4A); this season, he already has 11 points (4G-7A) in only 17 games this season. He is also the only plus-player among the defensive core with a plus-4 rating.

Who’s Not

Ryan Kesler had off-season hip surgery this past summer so it’s understandable that he didn’t start the new season off with a bang. I think it was fair to give him a 10-game cushion which would account for his training camp and exhibition games that he missed. But through 15 games, Kes only has 8 points and has been visibly frustrated on the ice. His even-strength play has been mediocre, to say the least, though his presence on the powerplay has been evident and is much of the reason why the Canucks have been so successful lately. He’s beginning to skate well but he just hasn’t found that finesse and confidence that makes him so successful. In his case, less is more he needs to stop holding the stick so tight and just get back to his Selke-award winning ways. I’m not worried about his play but I am anxiously awaiting his resurgence.

Who’s Next

Wednesday November 23, 2011 vs. Colorado Avalanche (6:30 PM start, away)

The Avalanche started off the 2011/2012 campaign winning 5 of their first 6 games; however, they have been struggling lately and are now sitting beneath the Canucks in the Western Conference standings, having played one more game than Vancouver.

This is the first meeting between the two teams this season. Last season, the Canucks went 5-0-1 against the Avs.

Young gun Matt Duchene has become a main staple in Colorado’s offensive charge and is currently leading his team in points with 9 goals and 7 assists. He’s put up points in 7 of his last 9 games (7 goals and 3 assists). Needless to say, it will be important for the Canucks to try and shut down Duchene, as well as noted “Canuck-killer” Milan Hejduk, who seems to be on the score sheet every time he plays against Vancouver.

Friday November 25, 2011 vs. Phoenix Coyotes (6:00 PM start, away)

The Canucks roll into Phoenix for their first match up this season against the Desert Dogs. Last season, the two clubs split their 4-game series; each team won their two games on the road with Roberto Luongo backstopping in all 4 games. Eric Belanger and Daniel Sedin led their respective teams with 5 points.

The Coyotes have points in 6 of their last 8 games and are being led by Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata; both have 15 points and a plus-rating.

The new addition of Mike Smith has paid off for the Coyotes. He has helped his team get points in 12 of the 15 games he’s started; he’s lost just 3 times in regulation.

Saturday November 26, 2011 vs. San Jose Sharks (7:00 PM start, away)

By this time, the Canucks would have gone almost a month without playing on Saturday night Hockey Night in Canada – their last HNIC game was on October 29th against the Washington Capitals. It will also be the first meeting between the Canucks and Sharks since the stanchion Kevin Bieksa eliminated the Sharks in double-overtime in the Western Conference Finals last year.

The Sharks have won both of their games against Northwest Division teams this season and have outscored them 7-2. It’s no surprise, but they are being led by their captain Joe Thornton, who has 20 points (5G-15A). While Jumbo Joe is leading the team in points, little Joe (Pavelski) is leading the team with 11 goals. San Jose is also getting great goaltending from Antti Niemi, who has gone 8-2-1 and has a 0.915 save percentage.

Déjà vu?

When the Canucks were struggling in October, the fans and media – well, at least some of them – defended the team by pointing out that they are notoriously slow starters. Everyone was hoping that November would see a more consistent team; however, we are obviously still waiting for this to happen. At the quarter mark of the season, it’s not the .500 record that is worrisome, it is the fact that the team is still having major breakdowns on the back-end, having trouble scoring goals and have yet to play the cliche, a full-60 minute game.

No need to stress Canucks Nation, I have the answer.

Last season, the Canucks went 10-7-3 in their first 20 games, but it was on game 19, when the Blackhawks embarrassed the Canucks 7-1, that things started to turn around. After that, they went 17-1-2 in their next 20 games.

Fast forward to this year. In game 19, the Blackhawks won 5-1 at Rogers Arena. Again, the Canucks struggled to score and the defence was mesmerized by the speed and skill of Marian Hossa and company. Could history repeat itself? Was the blowout loss to the Blackhawks followed by the less-than-exciting win against the Senators the turning point of the season? Can the Canucks mirror what they did last season and finally start putting together more than a win at a time?

Oct 242011
 

In this episode of the CHB TV video podcast, the panel of Matt Lee, Chris Golden, Richard Loat, Clay Imoo and Ed Lau answer questions posed on Twitter by @CanucksJake81, @toosmart81 and @SpencerDubas.

If you want your questions answered in a future episode of CHB TV, tweet us @canuckshockey with the hashtag #CHBTV.

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