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Brad Marchand on M&M: Actions of Canadians fans ‘just embarrassing’ 02.17.12 at 2:56 pm ET
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Brad Marchand. (AP)

Bruins forward Brad Marchand made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni Friday afternoon to discuss his criticism of Canadians fans and his father’s role in keeping him stable after the Stanley Cup last summer, among other things.

After Canadiens fans cheered Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara getting hit in the face with a puck in the Bruins’ 4-3 win Wednesday, Marchand was publicly outspoken about the fans’ reaction. To him, it was a disrespectful move that is never justified in sports, no matter what teams are playing.

“Anytime a guy gets hurt, you have to respect the fact that he’s out there doing his job, trying to make a living,” Marchand said. “It’s a dangerous sport, it’s a dangerous game and when people are cheering…if he takes a puck in the throat, it could have been a really bad situation. The fact that they were cheering when he got hurt, it’s just embarrassing.”

Marchand has found himself in the news recently for his off-the-ice actions, as he revealed in a recent Sports Illustrated interview that he was too drunk to appear in the Bruins’ commemorative championship DVD. He admitted that he had too much fun in the aftermath of winning the Stanley Cup, but that his father was a crucial figure in helping him stay in line.

“He sat me down after a while and was actually really upset with me, just like, ‘You’re taking it too far, you’ve only won it one time. I don’t want you to win it once, I want you to win it three or four [times],’” Marchand said. “So he said, ‘If you win two Cups in the next three years, I’ll leave you alone and let you celebrate and party the way you want to.  He said, ‘Until then, I’m going to be all over you until you do it again.’ I like the challenge.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Andrew Ference on D&C: ‘I totally understand’ Habs fans’ cheering of Zdeno Chara’s injury at 11:48 am ET
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Andrew Ference

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning and touched on the behavior of Canadiens fans after Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was hit in the face Wednesday night by a clearing attempt by Tomas Plekanec. Habs fans cheered while Chara was down on the ice and bleeding.

The social media world soon blew up with tweets lecturing Montreal about showing class as a fan base, but Ference appeared less concerned.

“I wouldn’t say I was offended,” Ference said. “You don’t like it, but I know where they’re coming from. I don’t know if it’d be a very different story in a lot of arenas for whatever big rivalries happen no matter what sport it is. … It’s just the way it is. It’s not something you really like but, like I said, I totally understand it.”

Added Ference: “When people talk about it being it being a heated rivalry and people caring a lot about it, it’s true, it’s not just kind of empty words. They do care a lot about it. They’re passionate about hockey and so when one of your most hated rivals and the biggest guy on the team goes down like that, like I said, it’s not that surprising.”

Ference also discussed the domino effect of losing key players on the team and what kind of impact it’s had on other players and the way the Bruins have played night in and night out.

“It’s not easy, especially if you’ve been playing with a certain guy for a long time, it makes it more difficult. But that just comes down to something that if GMs are looking at players, they wonder how adaptable they are and how quickly they can either change their style of game or change the way they play with certain players, and that’s obviously a plus,” Ference said. “The more people you can have that can do that the better, and obviously some people are better at doing it than others. I think that over the past few years we’ve had pretty good success with injuries and dealing with them, and some pretty big guys. I think you just kind of cross your fingers and hope that guys will keep their game at a high level despite their linemates being out.”

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History repeats itself: Zdeno Chara breaks his own hardest shot record with 108.8 mph blast 01.28.12 at 9:30 pm ET
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Zdeno Chara's 108.8 mph shot Saturday was the hardest in NHL history. (AP)

Another year, another new record.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara broke his own record for the NHL’s hardest shot, blasting a 108.8 mile-per-hour bomb on his second attempt in the hardest shot contest Saturday night in Ottawa.

Chara won the contest for a fifth straight year, defeating Shea Weber, amongst others. The previous record, which Chara had set last year, was 105.9 mph. He broke that on his first attempt Saturday with a 106.2 mph shot, before registering the all-time best 108.8 mph. His last two attempts clocked in at 106.9 mph and 107 mph.

Tyler Seguin, who competed in the accuracy shooting competition, struggled and did not complete the drill in 30 seconds. Dallas’ Jamie Benn won the competition.

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Zdeno Chara looks to keep hardest shot title for fifth straight year at 3:11 am ET
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The All-Star captains picked participants for Saturday night’s skills competition, and it’s no surprise that Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber will once again square off in the hardest shot contest.

Chara, who has won the competition for the last four years (he broke his own record with a 105.9 mile per hour blast last year), will be joined by Dennis Wideman, Dion Phaneuf and rookie Luke Adams on Team Chara. Team Alfredsson’s group for the competition includes Weber, Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and rookie Justin Faulk. Chara will also participate in the skills challenge relay.

Tyler Seguin will represent Team Chara in the accuracy shooting competition. He will be joined by Jamie Benn, Marian Hossa and rookie Cody Hodgson. Representing Team Alfreddson will be Spezza, Steven Stamkos, Daniel Sedin and rookie Matt Read. Both Seguin and Tim Thomas will participate in the elimination shootout.

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Claude Julien to coach Zdeno Chara’s All-Star team 01.20.12 at 4:10 pm ET
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Straight from the “no duh” department, but the NHL announced Friday afternoon that Bruins coach Claude Julien‘s staff, consisting of Julien and assistants Doug Houda, Doug Jarvis and Geoff Ward, will coach Zdeno Chara‘s team in the All Star Game on Jan. 29.

Daniel Alfredsson’s team will be coached by John Tortorella and Todd McLellan.

Chara and Alfredsson will pick their teams in a fantasy draft on Jan. 26.

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P.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty say Bruins aren’t dirty 01.12.12 at 12:56 pm ET
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Max Pacioretty wishes the Habs played more like the Bruins. (AP)

While there has been talk out of Vancouver about the Bruins having dirty players, members of the Canadiens said Thursday that their rivals are not dirty.

“No. They play a certain way and I think that’s why they’re successful,” Max Pacioretty, who had his season ended last year by a shove from Zdeno Chara, said when asked if he finds the B’s to be dirty. “To some extent, I wish we played a little more like them. Maybe not as much as they do, but they’re definitely an intimidating team to play against. They have so many guys who can step up — I’m not talking about fighting — I’m talking about physical. You watch the games recently in the NHL, and there’s not many pretty plays happening. They’re all tough, grinding goals, and a big body presence. I think that’s why they’re successful this year.”

Defenseman P.K. Subban said he has not seen former world junior teammate Brad Marchand‘s hit on Sami Salo, but that he does not consider Marchand or the Bruins to be dirty.

“It’s tough,” Subban said. “There’s a fine line now when you’re throwing hits, so you’ve just got to pay attention to it.”

Said Subban of the B’s: “They’re in your face, you know what I mean? They’ve had a lot of success over the year. They’re Stanley Cup champions, and they’re playing some good hockey this year. Whatever they’re doing, they’re doing something right. Whenever you play them, you know they’re going to be in your face, they’re going to finish their checks and they’re going to work hard.

“They’ve got some tough guys on that team. Some real tough guys. They play the game hard. Our team, we’re not built to kind of brawl it out every night. We’re going to stick up for each other as a unit as a group.”

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Tamer Bruins-Canadiens rivalry a relief for Max Pacioretty at 12:28 pm ET
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It goes without saying that the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry has lacked the fireworks it had last season. There have been only two fights, and, at last count, zero criminal investigations. That’s quite the departure from what we saw last season.

Count Habs forward Max Pacioretty among those who has no problem with that. The Connecticut native was the center of attention in the rivalry last season. It all started when he celebrated his Jan. 8 game-winning goal in overtime by shoving Zdeno Chara. He then found himself in the middle of it again when he jumped former college teammate Steven Kampfer in a scrum on Feb. 9.

Of course, the most memorably part of last season’s rivalry came when Chara shoved Pacioretty into a stanchion at Bell Centre on March 8. The play was highly controversial and ended Pacioretty’s season.

So by comparison, the 23 year-old finds this season’s tamer edition of the rivalry to be a relief.

“It definitely is,” Pacioretty said Thursday. “That’s in my past, and hopefully it’s in everyone else’s as well. I’m just looking to help my team win hockey games. Especially against a top team in our conference, I want to do whatever I can to help, and I’ve got to put the past behind me.”

This season, Pacioretty has 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points.

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