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Peter Taglianetti on M&M: Brad Marchand could near Matt Cooke territory

Framingham native and former Penguin Peter Taglianetti checked in with Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to chime as a voice from the other side of the ongoing Eastern Conference finals, and said Brad Marchand [1] might want to watch out. Sooner or later, the scrappy Bruins forward could be viewed similarly to how Matt Cooke [2] is now.

Cooke has drawn the ire of hockey fans everywhere and Bruins fans in particular for a series of dirty hits throughout his career, most recently after a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting defenseman Adam McQuaid from behind in Game 1.

While Marchand is not on that level, Taglianetti compared the two.

‘€œIf you guys had Matt Cooke [2], you guys would love him. If the Penguins [3] had Marchand, they would love him. He plays on the edge,’€ Taglianetti said. ‘€œI don’€™t think [Marchand is] dirty-dirty, but he plays with that little edge that you sit there and go, ‘€˜Wow, you better watch yourself.’€™ The one thing that I’€™d give him as a piece of advice, at some point ‘€¦ this guy is going to get a reputation and he’€™s going to be put in that same [group] Matt Cooke is soon.’€

Taglianetti, disappointed in the Peguins play thus far that has led to the Bruins’€™ 3-0 series lead, pinned it in the lacked of fundamentals. He cited Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang getting tied up in front of the net in Wednesday’€™s Game 3 as an example.

‘€œLittle things like that irk the hell out of me,’€ Taglianetti said. ‘€œNot knowing who is on the ice, or trying to make a stretch pass when the team’€™s bottling up the neutral zone ‘€” there’€™s a lot of little things that the mentality of the game just doesn’€™t seem to be there.’€

As for the atmosphere in Pittsburgh, well, it’€™s about how you’€™d expect. People are worried, frustrated.

‘€œI probably couldn’€™t use the words people are saying,’€ he said. ‘€œYou don’€™t have to be a superstar to be a leader. A lot of people around here are wondering who is supposed to be leading this team.’€

It’€™s not just that the Penguins [3] are behind in the series that has everyone concerned; rather, it’€™s the way that it has happened. With the back-against-the-wall scenario Pittsburgh now finds itself in, there could be a storm brewing, particularly if the Bruins complete the sweep Friday at TD Garden.

Coach Dan Bylsma‘€™s job likely won’€™t be in danger, according to Taglianetti, but he wouldn’€™t be surprised by other major changes.

‘€œIs it a huge, major disappointment? Yes. It would be devastating to his team. It’€™ll be devastating to a bunch of guys on the team who probably aren’€™t going to be here next year,’€ Taglianetti said, questioning whether Letang and Marc-André Fleury, among others, would be on the team next season. ‘€œThere are a lot of questions. If there was not a 3-0 score, you wouldn’€™t have any of these questions. But decisions would be made and possibly some of these guys wouldn’€™t be here. But I’€™ll tell you ‘€¦ if they do get out Friday, something might happen very, very quickly just to get the ball rolling.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page [4]. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins [5].