Former Bruin P.J. Stock of Hockey Night in Canada joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to talk about how changes in hockey have led to more embellishment, and how he thinks an openly gay player would be received in the league.
There have been rumors around the web that Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges would be coming out this week, but according to You Can Play president Patrick Burke , who spoke with the Canadiens , they are untrue. Stock said that in general he thinks the league is ready for a gay player, but that he would have to worry more about taunts from opposing players and fans than about issues in his own locker room.
“I think there would be those jokes, to the opposition, which there are all the time,” Stock said. “In the locker room would be completely different. I think he would be respected and they would be positive jokes. You’re the same 20, 22, 23 guys for a year and you all learn about everybody’s flaws, your pros and cons, and you’re a big family. Yeah, it would be addressed, something that would be talked about, and yeah, you’re 20 guys that shower together all the time, so there’d be a couple jokes here and there, but that wouldn’t be the problem. I would love to see how it would work out, but the opposition is where you get into some situations where it would be interesting to see where other players react. … I hope there’s someone that steps out, I really do.”
On the topic of embellishment, Stock said he understands why Claude Julien  was frustrated with the way penalties were called in the Bruins’ loss to Montreal on Sunday, but that the Canadiens don’t dive any more than any other team.
“Everyone does it,” Stock said of diving. “I don’t think any one team does it more than others. Now, there’s certain types of players that might do it more than others, so if you have more of those players on your team, therefore it might happen more often. But the Canadiens in general? I know P.K. Subban adds some flair to when he gets hit, but — I’m a huge Brad Marchand  fan. You look at Team Canada, you look at players that can skate, players that have played big in big games — Brad Marchand’s an easy person not to pick, but I think if you’re really going to sit there and look at things, he does so much so well. But does Brad Marchand  embellish? Yeah. You’re trying to sell something. ‘¦ And Claude Julien  knows that, and he’s frustrated about what happened the other night, losing [Zdeno] Chara out for 17 minutes, and they’re losing the game to his arch-rival, to the team that let him go years earlier. But ‘¦ everyone’s guilty.”
Stock also pointed out that the value of a big hit or a big fight has changed within the game, and that instead of being momentum-changers, those moments are now cause for suspensions. He said he believes that’s why players embellish more now — getting their team a power play is more effective than getting into a fight.
“Goals are what change the game,” Stock said. “Every time there’s a big hit now, you’ve got to re-look at it 15 times to see, did he leave his feet, did he hit his head? And then there’s always some kind of altercation after it, it’s never just a big hit. The way you would change the momentum was you would increase the physical side of play, which would lead to checking, fights, get the crowd into it. Now, unfortunately, you can’t do that as much. Teams don’t have those kind of players and the game just doesn’t allow for it anymore. So the way you change the momentum is by trying to get a power play, which leads to those players embellishing, because how else do you get a power play?”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page .
On Brad Marchand as a teammate you’d love and an opponent you’d hate: “Exactly. He instigates. so what that does is, everyone else hates him on the other teams. and he’s found a way — some guys always go over that edge. He kind of plays on that edge. He’s found a way of teetering on it and adding to that. That shot the other night, Saturday night, he caught it left-handed and shot it top shelf. There’s other guys in the league that can do that, but at that moment, that was just the best shot of the night. He’s adding to his repertoire, his skill set is increasing, and you’ve got to take notice.”
On whether someone will eventually respond to Marchand’s instigation by beating him up: “They can’t. The league has changed. You might want to do it and get suspended for four years. You can’t do that stuff anymore, and that is what leads to so much of this embellishment. The only way you can change the game now is getting that power play.
You saw what Zdeno did to [Alexei] Emelin — he gets 17 minutes. It’s a tough pill to swallow. How do you really fix it? Anyone can turtle nowadays, and you get 17 minutes, and those 17 minutes add up. You get a couple of those, then you’re suspended. ‘¦ Do I like where the league is? Yes. Do I wish it could go back a little bit? Yes.”
On Chara defending Tyler Seguin  after Emelin hit him: “I really love what Zdeno did, but I love what Emelin did more by standing up. I think Zdeno — I don’t think he had to snap as much as he had to snap there. 17 minutes is a long time to lose your best player in a big game. He has to know that what happened on that play. I think it was a blown call, a missed call, but it was still a call and those calls happen all the time. He didn’t have to come in at that particular moment. Wait for the whistle and let him know. Fighting at that particular moment, you don’t have to anymore. That’s the problem with the game. Did it really affect the Canadiens? No, they came out and scored two more goals and went on to win the hockey game. Does it work anymore? Not so much, and I think he should have taken his time a little bit and reflected.”
On whether Chara should have waited to retaliate: “Totally. In the game today, you can’t address it now, because everyone knows you’re going to address it. So you have to pick and choose your spot, and when is that spot going to be? Again, it’s in the ebb and flow of the game. In a 3-2 game or a 2-2, there is literally no time to address it. You can address it verbally, you can go up and say something, maybe you get up that lead at the end of the game and you can do something, but if you play them a lot, you just make sure their whole bench knows. Zdeno could have just skated by their bench, said something to [Brian] Gionta, [Brendan] Gallagher, one of the small kids. That’s another way you can intimidate the other team. You don’t necessarily have to get the guy that got you — you have to get the other guys on the team thinking, we can’t led Emelin do that, because the big guy’s going to rip our heads off.”