|P.K. Subban talks ‘unfortunate’ Brad Marchand suspension, ‘respect’ for Tom Brady ahead of Winter Classic||12.31.15 at 4:33 pm ET|
The Bruins-Canadiens rivalry may get ratcheted up a notch in Friday’s Winter Classic given the Gillette Stadium setting and national exposure. But it will also be missing one key part of its recent history, as Brad Marchand will miss the game after getting suspended for a low hit on Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki.
No one is more familiar with what Marchand brings to the rivalry than Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, who has had more than a couple run-ins with the pesky Bruins forward during his career.
The two have exchanged hits, punches, slashes, words and more over the years, not to mention plenty of great one-on-one play given the skill level of each player and the fact that they’re usually on the same side of the ice.
The next chapter in the Marchand-Subban rivalry will have to wait, though. On Thursday, Subban was asked if he’s going to miss Marchand.
“Well, I know Brad’s a big part of their team, so I’m sure they’re going to miss him,” Subban said. “As far as I’m concerned, I know there is a rivalry between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins. I don’t ever think of playing a specific player. But obviously with the history of us playing against each other, going back to World Juniors playing with each other and against each other in the playoffs and during the regular season, yeah, there’s been some heated battles.
“But that’s just a part of the game. There are many players I can probably think of in the league that I’ve had heated battles against. But it’s unfortunate he’s not playing tomorrow.”
Subban and the Canadiens enter Friday’s game having lost 11 of their last 13. Subban said he’s hopeful that the big stage and added excitement Friday can help his team pull out of that skid.
“I think for us right now it’s about building confidence from one shift to the next shift,” Subban said. “So we have an opportunity to do that again tomorrow, and I think that this is perfect for us. A stage like this where everybody can get up for and it’s refreshed, right? Your family and friends there and everybody watching. So you want to be at your best. I think when we’re at our best, there are not too many teams in the league that can compete with us.”
Subban’s excitement did take a bit of a hit Thursday, though. He was hoping to meet Tom Brady, but things didn’t work out.
“Tom, just so much respect for him as an athlete,” Subban said. “I was hoping to bump into him today in the hallway. I was probably going to jump on him or something like that. … A player like Tom Brady is special. It would have been nice to meet him today. But we’ll have to save that for another day.”
|Brad Marchand suspension forces Bruins to send Colin Miller down, recall Alexander Khokhlachev||at 10:57 am ET|
FOXBORO — Brad Marchand‘s suspension has created a bad ripple effect for the Bruins.
Without Marchand’s services, the Bruins were down to 12 forwards and eight defensemen for the Winter Classic. As such, they opted to send down a defensemen in order to recall forward Alexander Khokhlachev. Unfortunately for them, the only defenseman they could send down without waivers is Colin Miller, who just so happens to be one of their best defensemen.
Miller has been up with Boston all season, playing in 28 of the Bruins’ 36 games. The rookie has two goals and 10 assists for 12 points this season.
Marchand will not appeal his three-game suspension for clipping Ottawa defenseman Mark Borowiecki. He apologized Thursday for his actions.
“I just want to acknowledge the situation that I’ve put my team in for being undisciplined and affecting the game for them, taking away from the excitement for the fans, being part of this rivalry, taking that away from them and also for affecting this game for myself and putting myself in the situation to not be part of this,” Marchand said. “I want to apologize and I truly am sorry to everyone about the situation. It was not my intent to make a hit or try to injure anyone on that play.”
With Thursday’s roster move, the Bruins’ lineup in practice was as follows:
|Brandon Prust fined for spearing Brad Marchand, calls it ‘best money I ever spent’||12.06.15 at 5:43 pm ET|
Canucks forward Brandon Prust was fined $5,000 for spearing Bruins forward Brad Marchand in the privates late in Saturday’s game between the teams.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Prust said he did not regret his actions.
“Best money I ever spent,” Prust said. “I kind of that’s what would happen. It wasn’t that hard and he sold it pretty good. I saw him laughing on the bench after, so I don’t think he’s too hurt.”
Prust also suggested that Marchand, a player with a reputation for dirty plays and suspensions, is deserving of occasional cheap shots.
“I think he does that every night, so sometimes you want to do it back,” Prust said.
Hear from Brandon Prust following Sunday’s practice at Rogers Arena. https://t.co/gY9MW8H8Wz
|Alain Vigneault calls Claude Julien old, raises important question of whether Brad Marchand or Henrik Lundqvist would make a more desirable son||11.28.15 at 1:08 pm ET|
Alain Vigneault and the Bruins have gone back and forth in the media ever since the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup championship over the Vigneault-coached Canucks. Despite Vigneault being long gone from Vancouver, that spat is now in its latest installment.
The Rangers coach responded Saturday to Claude Julien and Brad Marchand voicing their frustrations with an uncalled Henrik Lundqvist embellishment on a Brad Marchand goaltender interference penalty in Friday’s Bruins win. In particular, Vigneault seemed annoyed with Julien summarizing Lundqvist’s dive by quipping, “I know he does some acting on the side, but I don’t think it needs to be on the ice.”
“Well, [the Rangers public relations staff] filled me in a little bit on what was said after the game,” Vigneault said Saturday, per the New York Daily News. “I mean, it’s a little disappointing. Obviously everybody saw the knee to the head. The comments on Hank were very inappropriate. The way Hank conducts himself, on the ice, away from the rink, off the ice, the example that he sets.
“Who would you rather have as a son: Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Marchand? For him to say things like that about Hank, totally wrong, and probably Claude is getting a little older and needs to check his eyesight.”
Exclusive video of Vigneault, Marchand and Lundqvist pic.twitter.com/uNa3AaBp8N
‘ DJ Bean (@DJ_Bean) November 28, 2015
The “check his eyesight” comment is absurd given that there is little debate as to what happened on the play. Marchand made contact and Lundqvist had a woefully delayed reaction. Both players deserved penalties.
As for the stuff about having Marchand as a son, this marks the latest occurrence of Vigneault having something peculiar to say about the B’s left wing. After Marchand low-bridged Sami Salo in a January 2012 game that earned him a five-game suspension, Vigneault made what the Bruins perceived to be a threatening comment about Marchand.
“Marchand — and this is just my feeling — but some day he’s going to get it,” Vigneault said back in 2012. “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.”
Then-Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli had an impromptu media session with reporters after those comments were made to voice his feelings on Vigneault’s handling of the situation.
“I think we’ve learned our lesson over time that that’s a real inappropriate comment,” Chiarelli said. “That’s a real inappropriate comment, and it’s an unprofessional comment.”
Vigneault’s words about Marchand aren’t the only comments about the Bruins he’s made in recent days that raised eyebrows. On Friday he compared an uncalled boarding penalty on Matt Beleskey to Aaron Rome targeting the head of Nathan Horton in Game 3 of the 2011 Cup Final.
The Bruins did not practice on Saturday, but they’ll have the opportunity to respond to Vigneault’s words after Sunday’s practice.
|Claude Julien, Brad Marchand call out Henrik Lundqvist for embellishing: ‘He must’ve got hit with a cement block’||11.27.15 at 5:13 pm ET|
If the Bruins hadn’t come back Friday afternoon, it would have been a tough loss to swallow. Not coming back would’ve meant that the Rangers’ winning goal would’ve come on a power play they shouldn’t have had.
With 12:01 remaining and the game tied 2-2, Brad Marchand drove to the front of the net as Adam McQuaid put a shot on goal from the point. Marchand made a little bit of contact with Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, and Lundqvist reacted with a delayed flop to the ice.
The referee called Marchand for goaltender interference, which may have been a bit of a soft call, but there was contact, so you can at least understand that.
What’s hard to understand, though, is how Lundqvist didn’t get called for embellishment. Worst-case scenario for the Bruins should’ve been matching minors. Instead the Rangers got a power play and then scored on it to take a 3-2 lead.
After the game, the Bruins didn’t hide their frustration with the no-call, and with Lundqvist himself.
“I was upset when it first happened. I think this was the second time — in preseason Lundqvist did the same thing,” Claude Julien said. “I know he does some acting on the side, but I don’t think it needs to be on the ice.
“Referees are there to protect goaltenders, and they should, but goaltenders shouldn’t take advantage of referees. He may think it’s a good play for his team to get a power play, but we’re all trying to get that out of our game. If my guys do that, I’m going to address it. I’m not hypocritical about that. We’re trying to improve the game here.”
Marchand, who has embellished more than once himself in the past, also didn’t appreciate Lundqvist’s behavior.
“He must’ve got hit with a cement block the way he went down,” Marchand said. “I didn’t know I was that strong. It’s tough. It seems like they don’t call goalies on that one. Maybe they should. There’s a lot of that around the league.”
Fortunately for the Bruins, the no-call and ensuing power-play goal didn’t cost them the game. Ryan Spooner tied the game with 3:46 to go and then David Krejci scored what proved to be the game-winner with 1:43 remaining.
“We didn’t get all rattled and thrown off our game,” Julien said. “We just stuck with it. It was frustrating to see them score on that, but at the same time it was up to us to keep our heads there.”
Sell! Sell! Sell! pic.twitter.com/KHC9xGEwMg
‘ Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) November 27, 2015
|All things considered, Bruins fortunate with result of Gabriel Landeskog hit on Brad Marchand||11.12.15 at 11:27 pm ET|
Brad Marchand chose his words carefully after Thursday night’s loss to the Avalanche. He was visibly angry — perhaps because the Bruins had just turned in yet another bad performance at home, but more than likely because he took an unnecessary hit to the head in the second period.
Marchand was the recipient of a hit to the head from Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, who flew into the Colorado zone and caught Marchand in the head with his shoulder after the veteran Bruins winger had released a shot from above the left circle. Though Marchand took a few seconds to get up, he promptly skated to an ongoing scrum and delivered a sucker-punch to Landeskog’s mouth. Landeskog, who was assessed a match penalty for his hit, automatically has a hearing with Department of Player Safety. Marchand reportedly does as well.
Terrible Landeskog hit on Marchand pic.twitter.com/0fniXhoQT2
‘ Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) November 13, 2015
“I tried to let up and then I tried to skate up and apologize and tell him I didn’t mean to come across and he — obviously he wasn’t hurt, with that sucker punch,” Landeskog said after the game. “I’m happy he didn’t get hurt. I feel like the principal point of contact was shoulder, and like I said I’m happy he didn’t get hurt.”
|Brad Marchand feels Reilly Smith can thrive in Florida||10.28.15 at 8:15 pm ET|
Panthers games aren’t just Shawn Thornton reunion nights anymore for the Bruins. In addition to former B’s Thornton, Steven Kampfer and Jaromir Jagr, the B’s will see Reilly Smith Friday in the first meeting between the teams since Smith was traded to Florida in the offseason.
Smith’s two-year tenure with the Bruins had highs and lows that were exacerbated by a number of things. In addition to being part of the return for Tyler Seguin, Smith was extremely streaky. Because the Bruins were low on cap space last season, the B’s had to stick him with an underpayment of a $1.4 million one-year contract. Peter Chiarelli made it up to Smith by giving him a two-year extension worth $3.42 million a year, a contract that, despite not being much of an overpayment for Smith’s previous work, it was given during a 13-goal season. When the offseason came, new general manager Don Sweeney traded Smith to Florida for Jimmy Hayes and devoted the money saved towards Matt Beleskey’s contract in free agency.
The Bruins gave up a good player. At 24, Smith could very well end up having a better career than Hayes or Beleskey. With Smith off to a strong start (seven points in nine games), he’s been able to adjust well to a new team, just as he did when he began the 2013-14 season in impressive fashion with the Bruins. If there’s a silver lining for him with his departure, however, it’s that the pressure that was often on the self-effacing winger in Boston won’t be there in Florida.
“Yeah, he seems to stick to himself and be a little quiet,” former linemate Brad Marchand said of Smith. “Sometimes guys can thrive in those environments where there’s not as much pressure. Maybe that’s why he fits well down there right now. You don’t really have the choice of where you’re going to be a lot of the time, so you’ve got to be able to adapt and play in that situation.”
Marchand said he is not surprised that Smith is performing well. He noted that last season’s low output from Smith was a product of him missing a large portion of training camp because he hadn’t yet been given a contract.
“He’s a really good player. He’s very skilled,” Marchand said. “He’s going to get his points and goals in this league. He’s going to do well.”
When the points didn’t come for Smith in Boston, things seemed to snowball. When Smith got sick and lost weight during his first season with the Bruins, he had a hard time finding his game again before finally reigning it in the playoffs. Last season, with the Bruins fighting for a playoff spot down the stretch, Smith scored just one goal over his last 22 games and was made a healthy scratch on March 21 in Florida. His struggles while all eyes were on the B’s made him an easy target for fans and observers.
“It’s a town where you’re expected to do well and you’re expected to play to your ability. I think in Florida, in lesser hockey markets, it’s a little different. You can get away with that kind of stuff and hide in the weeds, but there’s a lot of media attention here and the fans are very into the stats and the games and they keep an eye on that stuff,” Marchand said. “So you can’t get away with it, you can’t hide. Same thing in the room. Guys expect a lot and expect you to carry your weight.”
Added Marchand: “I think you’ve got to be able to understand each guy on the team and find a way to work with him. I don’t know exactly what his [outlook is] and how he wants to deal with situations, but regardless, when we do have that pressure on us and we’re in a tough situation, we need everyone to step up. Regardless of if you like it or not, you’ve still got to be able to play your game.”