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Brad Marchand calls out Matt Cooke, while Claude Julien takes subtle jab 03.21.11 at 12:48 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — The Bruins’ dressing room seemed to be silent Monday when it came to discussing Matt Cooke‘s latest cheap shot. Shawn Thornton didn’t like the idea of commenting on it, while Johnny Boychuk claimed to have not seen the hit. Despite not everybody talking, Brad Marchand and even coach Claude Julien said enough to make it clear that Cooke’s act is not appreciated in these parts.

The Bruins, of course, have a direct tie to Cooke in that they are currently playing without Marc Savard, who has not been the same since Cooke blind-sided him last season.

“I think that it’s about time he gets — he’s got to be taught a lesson,” Marchand said. “He’s doing that stuff left, right, and center. I expect that he’ll probably get a bunch of games, but he’s got to be taught a lesson. You can’t be running around doing that stuff all the time. He’s going to seriously hurt someone again. Look at Savvy, and now McDonagh. He could have easily hurt him.

“It just seems to be part of his game. He likes to throw cheap shots around. I don’t know if he’ll learn. Hopefully he does. Hopefully he doesn’t hurt someone to the point where their career is over. You want to get that stuff out of the game, and hopefully he does learn his lesson.”

Marchand is coming off a two-game suspension of his own for a blindside elbow on Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger last week. As a first-time offender, Marchand and Julien hope that theta young forward’s lesson has been learned, but when asked about Marchand, Julien worked in a jab at Cooke.

“I think you need to trust your players to do the right things,” Julien said. “You have to trust your players that they’ve learned from those things and they don’t let it happen, although there are certain guys in the league that don’t seem to be learning.”

There was a light-hearted reaction to the Cooke reference, though when asked to comment further on the Penguins forward, Julien got serious and politely declined.

“No reaction, no comment,” Julien said. “I think right now I’ve got my hands full with trying to get our team back on track. This is an opportunity for me to let the league do their job.”

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All sorts of videos of Matt Cooke’s cheap shots 02.09.11 at 6:27 pm ET
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With Wednesday’s news that Penguins forward Matt Cooke has been given a four-game suspension for his hit from behind on Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin, it shouldn’t come as a shock that DeadSpin put together a video consisting of two minutes worth of Cooke’s cheap shots. Video of Cooke’s hit on Tyutin can be seen below.

Bruins forward Shawn Thornton was asked whether or not he saw the hit.

“I did not,” said Thornton. “Nor do I give a [care].”

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Mike Milbury on D&H: Andrew Ference overstepped his role at 1:32 pm ET
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Mike Milbury

NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins and the NHL. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

B’s coach Claude Julien announced at the morning skate that Tyler Seguin would be a healthy scratch for Wednesday night’s game vs. the Canadiens. “Well, it’s been a long time coming,” Milbury said. “His level of involvement has been less than you would hope for. He’s got a lot of things to learn. There was a lot of pressure on this kid coming into the season. And the expectations, as I think we all knew, and I stated it earlier, were a little unrealistic.

“There are some 18-year-olds, the rare exception, who can come in and be an impact player of some form or another. But most go through a fairly long growing phase. And that’s what he’s in. And that’s what he’s going to have to go through when he sits out and watches the game, and hopefully sees the kind of pace he needs to play at and sees the kind of physical involvement, the price he needs to pay, and I’m sure that’s why Claude made this decision.”

Asked for a particular criticism on Seguin’s game, Milbury said: “I think he’s way too comfortable. I’m not talking about being a Shawn Thornton fighter or a [Brad] Marchand-type hitter, but he’s got to get involved physically. He’s got to scrum for loose pucks, he’s got to brush a body on the way by. Right now, he’s a circler. He circles forward and he circles back. There’s got to be a little more stop-and-go to his game and a little more determination.”

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli acknowledged Tuesday that it’s likely the Bruins will make a move in an effort to bolster the roster following the loss of Marc Savard. Milbury is not surprised. “If the Bruins feel that they’re in the position to take a swing at a Stanley Cup, then much like Chicago last year, they have to throw everything at it,” he said.

The other big Bruins news of the past week was Danielle Paille‘s four-game suspension for his hit on Dallas’ Raymond Sawada on Thursday. Following the game, Andrew Ference spoke out about the hit. Milbury was among those who criticized Ference for speaking out against a teammate.

“I agree with Andrew Ference. This was a play that was worthy of suspension, and this was something that the league quickly acted on and did suspend the player,” Milbury said, adding that he was surprised Paille didn’t get more than four games. “I don’t have any trouble with him going to Danny Paille and discussing the issue with him. I don’t have any trouble going to his player rep and discussing it with him. I don’t have any trouble having a discussion in the locker room with any of those guys or the coaches or the manager. But it’s not his role, it’s just not his role to pontificate about this thing in the media.”

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Marc Savard hasn’t forgotten about Matt Cooke 01.15.11 at 5:22 pm ET
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It was 10 months ago that Matt Cooke hit Marc Savard with a blindside hit on a Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh that put not only his season but his career in jeopardy.

Savard did come back and appeared in the playoffs, scoring the game-winning overtime goal against the Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semis. But still, he was not the same.

On Saturday, Matt Cooke returned to Boston with the Penguins and was booed lustily by the Bruins crowd each time he touched the puck. The Bruins Johnny Boychuk even tried to engage him long enough to drop the gloves. No luck.

“He won’t do a thing,” Savard said. “Johnny [Boychuk] has tried him last few games and he just skates away. He’ll get you from different areas but he won’t get you head on, obviously.”

But on Saturday, it wasn’t Cooke but rather defenseman Deryk Engelland that leveled him with a clean hit along the far boards in the third period, knocking him off-balance and into the boards.

“A little woozy, to be honest with you,” Savard said. “But we’ll see how I feel the rest of the day here tonight and stuff, because… I don’t know I haven’t seen the replay, it felt like he just got my head, so I don’t know. But a little woozy.”

Savard, as was the case in Pittsburgh last March 8, was caught off-guard.

“Yeah, I think I was looking kind of behind me for a pass to make, and I think he closed me off,” Savard said. “I felt okay, I felt a little bit… a little winded king of thing. Nothing bad right now.

“All I wanted to do, is make sure I gathered my thoughts, you know, and everything came back together … fine so, I’ll monitor it and watch the rest of the day here, see how I feel a little bit … I was a little bit shaken up.”

He is just hoping he’ll be okay to skate with the team during it’s Sunday practice in advance of Monday’s matinee with the Hurricanes.

“Just a little dazed,” Savard said. “I haven’t gotten a headache yet or anything like that. Just a little dazed and just getting your bell rung a bit. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about right now.”

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Mike Milbury on D&H: Forget about Matt Cooke, B’s have ‘other things to worry about’ 11.10.10 at 12:39 pm ET
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Mike Milbury

NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance with the Dale & Holley show Wednesday and talked about the Bruins’ game on Wednesday night vs. the Penguins and instigator Matt Cooke. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Milbury said the Bruins aren’t likely to spend much time focusing on Cooke. “No, they’ve got other things to worry about right now,” Milbury said, although he added that the Bruins will be “much more willing to answer the bell if he rings it.”

Added Milbury: “I’m not big on the staged thing or the planned vengeance. I mean, it’s a hockey game, after all. They got their pound of flesh, or at least some of it, maybe a half-pound with [Shawn] Thornton last year. Get over it, play the game. They’ve got a couple of injuries, they’ve got other things to worry about right now. They’re playing two tough teams back to back. They’ve got to get some points on the board while they’re waiting for people to get back in the lineup.”

Asked his opinion of Cooke as a player, Milbury said: “He’s not a bad player. He’ll get his share of goals. He clearly is a guy that will mix it up, will look for a good hit. And I have no trouble with that. It’s when he crosses the line that you start to get agitated. The Bruins probably were slow to react to some of the things he did, but I don’t think he’s Darth Vader or anything. I just think he’s one of those guys that likes to toe the line, and sometimes he crosses it.”

Andrew Ference stood up for teammate Mark Recchi on Saturady night, jumping in to fight St. Louis’ David Backes after Backes had drilled Recchi with a clean hit. “Somebody’s got to do it for grandpa. You’ve got to step in,” Milbury said, although he noted: “Recchi’s no angel either on the ice. Even at his age he can be frisky.”

With the injured David Krejci joining Marc Savard on the sideline, Milbury said the Bruins can only do so much to fill the holes vacated by their top two centers. “When you take two of your better players out of the lineup, you’re not going to replace them,” Milbury said. “Not in the salary cap era. You just can’t do it.”

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Tim Thomas, Bruins return to Pittsburgh hoping to Cooke up better results at 11:57 am ET
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The Bruins are still dealing with the bad that came of their last trip to Pittsburgh, so it’s only natural for memories to kick in as they return to face the Penguins (now at the CONSOL Energy Center) for the first time since March 7 of last season.

Of course, it was on that day that a head-hunting Matt Cooke blindsided Marc Savard, who would miss the rest of the season and return for the second round of the playoffs before encountering more post-concussion syndrome symptoms that still have him a ways away from returning to the B’s lineup.

The Bruins caught flack for not responding to the Cooke hit 11 days later at the Garden. Shawn Thornton fought Cooke and Zdeno Chara squared off with Mike Rupp, but the Bruins put only 17 shots on Marc-Andre Fleury, who easily shut out the B’s in a 3-0 Penguins victory.

“It creates a bit of a rivalry between the two [teams],” Milan Lucic told NESN on Tuesday. “We definitely want to win that one for Savvy. I know he’s going to be watching that one closely.”

Claude Julien, on the other hand, seems to be pushing the mindset for the B’s to not dwell on last year when trying to get a couple of points, saying that Cooke shouldn’t get any extra attention unless he brings it on himself.

“If he acts in a certain way that deserves retribution,” Julien said, “we’ll deal with it then.”
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- It’s hard not to find the Bruins’ 15 points a little more impressive than the Penguins’ 15 points. Of course, that’s a given when considering that the Bruins have played 11 games to the Penguins’ 15.

- Lucic has scored in five of the Bruins’ road games. Of course, one of them was an empty netter, but his out-of-town numbers are still attention-grabbing. Lucic has yet to score at the Garden this season.

- The Penguins as a team haven’t exactly blown minds statistically, as their numbers in scoring, goals against, and power play seem to agree with the standings, which has them as a .500 team (7-7-1). Pittsburgh’s 2.8 goals per game is 14th in the league, while their 2.6 GAA is 13th in the league. The Penguins are just 21st in penalty killing percentage (13.3), though their penalty kill percentage of 87.5 is sixth in the NHL.

- With Fleury posting just a 1-6 record thus far on the season, between the pipes for the Penguins will be 6-1-1 Brent Johnson, according to the Globe.

- Tim Thomas was first off the ice for the Bruins in their morning skate, so expect him to be in net for the B’s.

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Proposed blindside hit ban goes through 06.25.10 at 2:46 pm ET
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Anyone upset with the way the whole Marc Savard/Matt Cooke/Colin Campbell situation was handled last season can rest easy, as the NHL Board of Governors approved a ban on blindside blows to the head. Players who commit lateral blindside hits, such as Cooke’s March 7 hit on Savard, now can be given a five-minute major and a game misconduct. If a player racks up two game misconducts for blindside hits to the head, he will automatically be suspended for the next game.

The proposed rule change had been drawn up last week by the NHL’s competition committee. Campbell, the senior vice president and director of hockey operations, fell under heavy criticism in March when he decreed that Cooke had technically not done anything on the hit of Savard to warrant a suspension. Later that month, the general managers called for a revised rule, which now has been passed.

The actual language of the rule outlaws ”lateral or blindside hits to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principle point of contact.”

Though stricter punishment is now in place, Bruins president Cam Neely is still hesitant to treat the problem as being solved.

“The one concern that I have is that it’s still going to be a tough rule to call,” Neely told WEEI.com’s Graig Woodburn on Thursday. “I don’t know if you’re going to get everyone happy. That’s the problem.”

Neely, whose playing career was cut short due to injury, can appreciate that though players may still be at risk, the initiative taken to cut down on risk is a step in the right direction.

“I think it’s going to be tough for the referee in that split second to really judge the call. Like all new rules, there’s going to be some questions,” he said. “At least there is an attempt to get [hits to the head] out of the game.”

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