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Suspended Brad Marchand responds to Alain Vigneault’s ‘threatening’ comments, Kevin Bieksa 01.10.12 at 12:13 pm ET
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Brad Marchand answered back Tuesday. (AP)

Bruins forward Brad Marchand spoke to the media following Tuesday’s morning skate, making his first public comments since being suspended five games by the league for his low-bridge hit on Canucks defenseman Sami Salo.

“I’m obviously a little disappointed,” Marchand said of Brendan Shanahan’s ruling. “I wasn’t expecting as many games as I got, but that was the decision and now I just have to move on.”

Marchand had asked Shanahan for clarification on the legality of such hits prior to the season so as to be sure that he would not commit the infraction.

“I’m a smaller guy, I play low to the ice. That’s the way I’ve protected myself in the past and I just felt it was better to be safe than sorry,” Marchand said of his preseason inquiry. “I brought it up to him and when I walked away from the conversation he told me to protect myself was OK in that situation. When that situation arises I felt I was protecting myself and I was allowed to do it and that’s why I did it.”

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli expressed frustration Monday night over the confusion given what Marchand had been told before the season, but the 23-year-old said he now knows how to handle the situation the next time he’s in it.

“It’s clear that I’m not allowed to do that,” he said. “Guys in the league aren’t allowed to do that. They tried to make that clear and I’m going to have to do something else next time.”

As for the rule that the hit was “clipping” — which is the act of taking a player out across or below the knees — Marchand still disagrees with both the officials and Shanahan, who called it such in the video explaining the situation.

“We brought it up,” Marchand said of letting the disciplinarian know his stance on the hit. “Clipping is what I believe it says when you hit the guy at the knee point, around the knee. We felt it was very clear in the video I got him right on the buttocks and it seemed very clear on the video that was the case. Maybe he viewed it differently and at the end of the day he makes the call.”

Marchand also said that he took Canucks coach Alain Vigneault‘s comment that “someone is going to hurt” Marchand as a threat. He also responded to Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa‘s post-game assertion that the B’s play a “stupid” style of hockey.

“We play stupid? Yeah, we play stupid, “Marchand said. “I guess smart enough to win a Cup.”

Here’s the rest of what Marchand had to say:

On the team’s reputation:

“We play a hard game. We have a lot of physical guys, a lot of tough guys on our team. It’s tough for other teams to play against, and some teams may not like it but that’s our style of hockey and we’re not going to change it.”

On whether there’s a double-standard with other players not being punished for similar hits:

“I expect if there’s any more hits like this it will be penalized the same way, otherwise it will be a double-standard. But until we see more hits like this we can’t say that, so hopefully hits like this will be [viewed] and be penalized the same way.”

On whether he’ll change the way he plays:

“I’m still going to play hard. That’s my game, to play hard. At the end of the day I have to protect myself and so does everybody in the league, so that’s not going to change the way I play.”

Read More: Alain Vigneault, Brad Marchand, Brendan Shanahan, Kevin Bieksa
Peter Chiarelli finds Alain Vigneault’s threatening comments about Brad Marchand ‘real unprofessional’ 01.09.12 at 12:48 pm ET
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The Bruins are defending Brad Marchand. (AP)

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli held an impromptu session with reporters Monday at TD Garden to express his feelings on Canucks coach Alain Vigneault‘s comments Sunday about B’s forward Brad Marchand. The 23-year-old forward was given a game misconduct for his low-bridge hit on Vancouver defenseman Sami Salo.

“Marchand – and this is just my feeling – but some day he’s going to get it,” Vigneault told reporters Sunday. “Some day, someone’s going to say ‘enough is enough’ and they’re going to hurt the kid because he plays to hurt players. And if the league doesn’t care, somebody else will.”

Chiarelli said he found Vigneault’s comments to be threatening.

“I think we’ve learned our lesson over time that that’s a real inappropriate comment,” he said. “That’s a real inappropriate comment, and it’s an unprofessional comment.”

Former Canucks winger Brad May infamously said Avalanche forward Steve Moore had a “bounty” on his head following Moore’s blindside hit on Markus Naslund in 2004. Later that season, teammate Todd Bertuzzi ended Moore’s career with his vicious punch to the back of Moore’s head.

Canucks GM Mike Gillis also called Marchand a “dirty player.” Chiarelli took issue with all the comments to emerge from Vancouver, noting that Canucks defenseman Keith Ballard is “notorious” for such hits.

“Brad does play on the edge, but he’s no dirtier than maybe two or three of their players,” Chiarelli said. “I think in general, after a game like that you see all the high-handed propaganda. I just feel the need to respond. Whether it’s from coaches, GMs or players, I don’t like to hear that kind of stuff.”

On the subject of Ballard, Chiarelli referenced multiple low-bridge hits committed by the defenseman.

“With respect to some of the comments made from a player regarding what’s a hip check and what’s clipping and all that stuff, I think that’s naive, too. What’s makes a difference if you have the puck or if you don’t on a hip check? What’s the difference? To say that there’s a distinction, there’s not. It’s like a reverse check,” Chiarelli said. “And that player actually, he’s notorious for that stuff, with or without the puck.”

Read More: Alain Vigneault, Brad Marchand, Peter Chiarelli, Steve Moore
With hockey world focused on Roberto Luongo, Cory Schneider shines in first start at TD Garden 01.07.12 at 6:44 pm ET
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BC product Cory Schneider made 36 saves Saturday. (AP)

When Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault announced Friday that oft-maligned goaltender Roberto Luongo would not be in net for the Canucks’ rematch against the Bruins Saturday afternoon, the focus remained squarely on Luongo. Why would he back out of a game in which he would have a chance to prove himself? What was he scared of?

Meanwhile, backup Cory Schneider, a Marblehead native and a Boston College product, somehow flew under the radar while criticism of Luongo owned the airwaves, blogs and newspapers.

Although much of the pregame discussion surrounded Luongo, Schneider was the star Saturday afternoon. He marked his first Garden start as an NHL goaltender with a win, stopping 36 shots to help the Canucks top the Bruins, 4-3.

But while Schneider remained largely ignored before the game (although not by his 15 friends and family members who would be coming to see him play), the start in Boston was no minor deal for Schneider.

“It’s a fun building to play in and, again, it was fun for me to play in front of people who have grown up cheering for me and supporting me my whole life,” Schneider said.

“To come back and get this type of opportunity in front of a lot of friends and family and people at home watching, it was really cool. I think it’s even more special since we don’t come here very often. I’m glad we got the win.”

The 25-year-old had played at the TD Garden before. He was the beneficiary of the home crowd cheers from 2005 to 2007, when Schneider and the Eagles finished as the runners-up in the Beanpot twice and won the Hockey East Tournament Championship on Garden ice in both his freshman and junior seasons. Schneider also played at the Garden twice in the Stanley Cup Finals (in relief appearances Game 4 and Game 6) last season, although he did not start either of those games.

Schneider’s first start in Boston lacked the flow of a typical game. The Bruins did not get a shot on goal until nine minutes (and 50 minutes of penalties) into the first period. As fighting ruled the ice and hockey played out as somewhat of a sideshow through the first 30 or so minutes of the game, Schneider somehow found a way to ignore the extracurricular activity and keep his mind on stopping the puck. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Alain Vigneault, Cory Schneider, Roberto Luongo,
Maxim Lapierre admits he got a ‘little lucky’ 06.10.11 at 11:25 pm ET
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The game-winning goal off the stick of Maxim Lapierre was a “lucky” break by the admission of the man who scored it. Lapierre was positioned to the right of Tim Thomas when he took a pass off the end boards and flipped it off the backside of Thomas. The puck trickled off of Thomas’ pads and dropped over the goal line, providing the margin of victory in Vancouver’s 1-0 win in Game 5.

“I was actually going backdoor for a tip,” Lapierre told Versus in a postgame interview, referring to a pass he was expecting from Kevin Bieksa in front of Thomas. “That was a good play. We got a little lucky but we’ll take it.”

“The puck got across the line by a couple of inches and that was the difference,” added Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault in his postgame press conference.

“I don’t think that was necessarily the play they were going for, from where the guy shot it to where it came out, he was pretty wide,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Bieksa’s pass from the right . “Normally, those pucks from where he shot it don’t come out there. Nonetheless, you make your own breaks. I think tonight – as a whole – they were the better team. I think we have to acknowledge that because if we don’t, we’re not going to be a better team the next game.”

Roberto Luongo – who stopped all 31 shots in the shutout – had his own take when asked if making saves like the one that got by Thomas are difficult.

“It’s not hard if you’re playing in the paint,” Luongo said, referring to Thomas’ aggressive approach. “It’s an easy save for me but if you’re wandering out and aggressive like he does, that’s going to happen.”

As for coming out stronger and outhitting the Bruins, 47-27, Lapierre said the Canucks were more in control.

“We played with a little more confidence and were more patient,” Lapierre said on his postgame TV interview. “It was good for us.”

Game 6 is now a must-win for the Bruins back in Boston Monday night. If the Bruins win, Game 7 is back in Vancouver Wednesday night.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Alain Vigneault, Boston Bruins, Maxim Lapierre
Alain Vigneault says Roberto Luongo will start Game 5 06.09.11 at 9:32 pm ET
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Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said Thursday at Rogers Arena that he will not be making a goaltending change prior to Friday’s Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals. Vezina finalist Roberto Luongo has allowed 12 goals over his last two games (both lopsided Bruins wins), but Vigneault said he will not be turning to Cory Schneider, as he did in the first round after Luongo struggled in Games 4 and 5.

“My gut at that time told me that putting Schneids in was the right thing to do, but it was just a one-[time] thing,” Vigneault said. “Roberto is the guy. He’s my guy, and he’s playing. It’s that simple.”

Schneider replaced Luongo after the Bruins’ scored their fourth goal in Wednesday’s Game 4 at TD Garden. The Marblehead native and former BC netminder stopped all nine shots he saw.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Alain Vigneault, Cory Schneider, Roberto Luongo
Claude Julien: ‘We’ve got to bring our game with us’ at 12:16 pm ET
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Default Player for embeding in WEEI.com columns and blogs.


Now comes the hard part.

The Bruins have turned the 2011 Stanley Cup finals upside down. They have overcome two remarkably heartbreaking losses in Vancouver by not just beating the Canucks on their Garden home ice but running the Sedin twins and the rest of the Western Conference champs right out of the building.

The Bruins dominated in every way possible, outscoring the Canucks, 12-1, in the two wins to even the series and turn it into a best-of-3.

Now, the Bruins have to carry that momentum with them on their cross-continent flight and translate it enough on the Rogers Arena ice on Friday night to give them a chance to win the Cup on that same Garden ice on Monday night.

How do they do it?

“I think we’ve got to bring our game with us, simple as that,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We have to bring our game. That has to continue in Vancouver. It doesn’t matter where you are, you got to play the same way whether you’re at home or on the road.”

And that mean laying out the hits, doing everything possible to keep the aggressive Tim Thomas in his comfort zone between the pipes, and continuing an amazing run on the penalty kill.

In the two wins, the Bruins outhit the Canucks 67-58 and Thomas stopped a remarkable 78 of 79 shots on goal, primarily because he saw nearly every single one of them. That’s where it gets tricky. The Canucks will no doubt run more bodies at Thomas in front and the Bruins defenseman must continue to clear bodies away. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Alain Vigneault, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien
Alain Vigneault still unhappy with Tim Thomas, talks to league 06.08.11 at 12:38 pm ET
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Canucks coach Alain Vigneault expressed frustration with Bruins’ goaltender Tim Thomas Wednesday, saying that he has spoken to the NHL about the way Thomas plays outside the crease and initiates contact with players. He also had a problem with Thomas’ hit on Vancouver center Henrik Sedin in the third period of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, a hit that occurred in the crease.

“We’ve asked the league, obviously,” Vigneault said. “Part of Thomas’ way of playing is playing out of the blue paint, initiating contact, roaming out there. He seems to think that once he’s out, he’s set and makes the save, that he can go directly back in his net without having anybody behind him. That’s wrong. He’s got the wrong rule on that.

“If we’re behind him, then that’s our ice. We’re allowed to stay there. We’ve talked to the NHL about that. We’ve talked to the NHL about him initiating contact, like he did on Hank, and they’re aware of it. Hopefully they’re going to handle it.”

Vigneault had also complained about Thomas after Game 1, in which Thomas drew a tripping call on Canucks winger Alexandre Burrows.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Alain Vigneault, Alexandre Burrows, Henrik Sedin
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