|Bruins prepare for Canadiens||01.11.12 at 1:17 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — With the Canadiens coming to town Thursday, the Bruins returned to practice Wednesday after Tuesday’s 5-3 come-from-behind win over the Jets.
All members were present for the B’s, including the suspended Brad Marchand. Normally the team’s second-line left winger, Marchand skated as the extra forward on the third line with Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley and Zach Hamill.
The Habs, who are currently 12th in the Eastern Conference, are coming off a 3-0 loss to the Blues Tuesday night.
Thursday marks the Bruins’ final game of a four-game homestand before they hit the road for four in a row. Coach Claude Julien said he expects to call a forward up from Providence for the trip, as the Marchand-less B’s currently do not have an eligible 13th forward. Assume that player will be Jordan Caron.
|Some notes on the hockey game being played today||01.10.12 at 12:59 pm ET|
The war of words between the Canucks and Bruins may or may not be over, but what we do know is that the B’s actually have a hockey game Tuesday. Here are some quick notes to get you prepared:
– With Brad Marchand suspended for the next five games, Benoit Pouliot will play in his place on Patrice Bergeron‘s line with Tyler Seguin. Pouliot has eight points (three goals, five assists) over his last eight games.
– The move to put Pouliot on Bergeron’s line means that Zach Hamill will step in and play on the third line with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. Hamill has played well with the B’s this season but is still looking for his first career goal.
– No word of who is in net for the Bruins, as Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas left Tuesday’s morning skate at the same time. Rask was ahead of Thomas, but only by a step. Thomas was in net for the Bruins’ 4-2 win over Winnipeg on Nov. 26, while Rask manned the pipes in a 2-1 loss to the Jets on Dec. 6.
– Old friend Blake Wheeler comes into Tuesday’s game on fire. The former Bruin has 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) over his last 14 games. Five of those six goals have come on the power play. Wheeler skates on the Jets’ second line with Bryan Little and Evander Kane and is on the team’s second power play unit.
– Bruins killer Dustin Byfuglien is out for the Jets with a knee injury. The defenseman had a goal and an assist against the B’s on Nov. 26.
|Suspended Brad Marchand responds to Alain Vigneault’s ‘threatening’ comments, Kevin Bieksa||at 12:13 pm ET|
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.”
|Peter Chiarelli: Brad Marchand asked league for clarification this fall on low hits||01.09.12 at 7:14 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli issued the following statement after Brad Marchand was given a five-game suspension for his hit on Canucks defenseman Sami Salo:
“While we respect the process that the Department of Player Safety took to reach their decision regarding Brad’s hit on Sami Salo, we are very disappointed by their ruling.
“While we understand that the Department of Safety is an evolving entity, it is frustrating that there are clear comparable situations that have not been penalized or sanctioned in the past.
“It is equally disappointing that Brad sought the counsel of the Department this past Fall for an explanation and clarification regarding this type of scenario so as to adjust his game if necessary. He was advised that such an incident was not sanctionable if he was protecting his own safety. Given our feeling that Brad was indeed protecting himself and certainly did not clip the player as he contacted the player nowhere near the knee or quadricep, today’s ruling is not consistent with what the Department of Player Safety communicated to Brad.”
|Brad Marchand suspended five games for hit on Sami Salo||at 6:30 pm ET|
Bruins forward Brad Marchand was suspended five games by the NHL Monday for Saturday’s low-bridge hit on Canucks defenseman Sami Salo. Because the hearing was conducted via phone, five games was the maximum penalty Marchand could receive.
Marchand saw the Canucks defenseman coming in to hit him along the boards late in the second period of the 4-3 loss, lowered his body and hit Salo in the hip area. The hit was called clipping on the ice, and Marchand was given a five-minute major and game misconduct.
“As the video shows, Marchand skates towards Salo along the boards,” NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said. “Rather than deliver a shoulder-to-shoulder check, Marchand drops dangerously low into Salo’s knee area, propelling Salo up and over, causing an injury.
“While we understand that in certain instances, a player may duck or bail instinctively in order to prevent himself from an imminent, dangerous check, we do not view this play as defensive or instinctive. Rather, we feel that this was a predatory, low hit delivered intentionally by Marchand in order to flip his opponent over him. Further, Salo is not coming at Marchand with great speed nor in a threatening posture. He does nothing to indicate that Marchand is about to be hit illegally or with excessive force. To be clear, we do not consider this to be a defensive act where there were no other options available to Marchand.”
Marchand, 23, has now been suspended twice in his career, as he was given two games last season for his elbow to the back of R.J. Umberger’s head. Earlier this season, Marchand was fined $2,500 for slew-footing Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen.
Marchand will begin serving his suspension Tuesday night against the Jets. He will be eligible to return to the lineup Jan. 19 against the Devils.
|Claude Julien finds Canucks ‘so hypocritical’ for pointing finger at Brad Marchand, Bruins||at 1:53 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien was among those who took issues with the Canucks’ criticism of Brad Marchand‘s style of play. The B’s coach responded to Vancouver coach Alain Vignealt‘s comments that Marchand’s hit on Sami Salo was dirty and that Marchand “plays to hurt players.”
“I think it’s pretty hypocritical, everything that’s been going on,” Julien said. “It’s unfortunate. Sometimes you’ve got to look in your backyard. We all know that he’s got the same type of players on his team, and they’ve all done the same thing. You just have to look at Burrows putting his blade in Thornton’s throat. It’s so hypocritical. It’s unfortunate. I guess we’re stupid. We’re idiots and they’re the smartest team in the league. I guess we need to listen to all the gab they have to say.”
Like general manager Peter Chiarelli, Julien did not like that Vigneault said “someone is going to hurt” Marchand, as former Canucks forward Brad May infamously said Avalanche Steve Moore had a “bounty” on his head before then-Canuck Todd Bertuzzi ended Moore’s career with a cheap punch to the back of the head.
“We all know that that comment’s been said before, and it didn’t turn out well,” Julien said, “so we’ll leave it at that.”
Julien also said he feels teams focus on the Bruins as being dirty more than they do on similar plays from other teams, including the Canucks.
“They can say whatever they want, but everything that happens, whether it’s Zdeno Chara last year, him in Montreal, we saw how many clips of that happening to everybody else, yet the focus was on Chara,” Julien said. “The focus is on Marchand right now. Why isn’t it on [Mason] Raymond for last year? Why isn’t it on other people? There’s [Keith] Ballard on [Jamie] McGinn.
“There’s all kinds examples, but somehow the Bruins happen to be the team that people prefer picking on and think we’re the bruisers and we’re the example of the league. We have to live with that, but the one thing we won’t do is change our style of play. Our team is built that way. I think we play pretty entertaining hockey. We’re a fast team. We’re a skilled team. We’re also a physical team, and we’re Stanley Cup champions, so I don’t see why we should change.
|Peter Chiarelli finds Alain Vigneault’s threatening comments about Brad Marchand ‘real unprofessional’||at 12:48 pm ET|
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.”