HBO 24/7 Wish List (Part 2): The Canucks, Bruins Rivalry

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By Dave Cunning

Is it too late to change my vote for the featured teams in next year’s Winter Classic and HBO 24/7 Series?


As good as I still do think that a Canucks/Blackhawks behind-the-scenes series and outdoor showdown would be, I’m starting to think that a Canucks/Bruins tell-all and tilt would be at least as good – if not better. The Hawks hate Vancouver, Boston hates Vancouver, and the Canucks hate them both right back. But surely we can all agree that the tagging of the Canucks as “the most hated team in the NHL” was not misplaced.

Roberto Luongo even gets heat from Bruins fans when he sits on the bench for games in at the TD Garden, while Cory Schneider gets to play instead. It’s rumored Luongo can let in less than 20 goals from that location.  

This latest development of Brad Marchand’s 5 game suspension for clipping Sami Salo is helping to fuel the hatred fire. Let’s break the post-incident war of words down, and explore the growing rivalry a little further:

BetOnHockey_Claude_Julien_Bruins.jpg1)     Bruins head coach Claude Julien buries himself, and defends Marchand’s hit as self-protection, as Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli also chimed in and digs himself a hole, saying “Brad was indeed protecting himself and certainly did not clip the player as he contacted the player nowhere near the knee or quadricep”.  

    Both of these comments are completely asinine. Seriously Peter, nowhere near the knee or quadricep? Does he actually know where these locations are on the human body? Did he even see the play?  For one, the hit was directly at knee level. The only rational thing that was said was by Alain Vigneault, who bluntly called it a “stupid comment”.

Secondly, Chiarelli clearly has no idea what clipping even is. Luckily Brendan Shanahan does, and defined it in his suspension explanation video ( ) .

From the NHL rulebook on ( ):

Rule 44 - Clipping

44.1 Clipping - Clipping is the act of throwing the body, from any direction, across or below the knees of an opponent.

A player may not deliver a check in a “clipping” manner, nor lower his own body position to deliver a check on or below an opponent’s knees.

An illegal “low hit” is a check that is delivered by a player or goalkeeper who may or may not have both skates on the ice, with his sole intent to check the opponent in the area of his knees. A player may not lower his body position to deliver a check to an opponent’s knees.


44.3 Major Penalty - If an injury occurs as a result of this “clipping” check (Salo received a concussion), the player must be assessed a major penalty.

Thirdly, show me how to hit a player at a different location on the body besides the knee or quadriceps area and produce the same physical result that Marchand’s hit did (see: Salo pretzel/accordion). You Mr. Chiarelli, are an idiot. And mostly importantly, completely incorrect.   

Further, Brendan Shanahan does a phenomenal sleuthing job, and reveals that Marchand and Salo contacted each other in an identical play only 16 seconds earlier. The puck came to Marchand’s hash marks, Salo pinched in with a standard body check, and caused a Marchand inspired turnover that led to a Canucks scoring chance. Marchand was clearly rattled he got owned on the wall, and (in my speculation) in an effort to get even for the embarrassment that was probably going to cost him some upcoming ice-time that night, sewered Salo on a carbon-copied play that Salo was only coasting into. Beyond that, neither player even touched the puck.     

2)     Claude Julien redeems himself, referring to the Canucks as being hypocritical while Alex Burrows remains on their roster.

BetOnHockey_Marchand_Hit_Salo.jpg        As much as I agree with Vigneault’s notion that eventually “somebody’s going to say enough is enough, and they’re going to hurt the kid”, and as much as I think Marchand would probably deserve it, uttering threats is probably not the best idea for a team that was oh-so-close to removing the Todd Bertuzzi-Steve Moore incident from fan’s memories, until this incident reminded them of when the Canucks put a bounty on Moore’s head in 2004 for taking a liberty on Markus Naslund.  The only question is, are Burrows’ finger bites or Marchand’s submarine clips dirtier? Either way, the White Spy has met the Black Spy (please tell me you readers are all old enough to remember Mad Magazine).

3)     Brad Marchand buries himself by saying he’s disappointed in Shanahan’s decision, reiterates that he thinks he didn’t hit Salo in the knee area, and even says he thought the video clearly proves this (hint: it doesn’t. It proves he did). Marchand then redeems himself in the same interview, responding to Kevin Bieksa’s comments that the Bruins play a “stupid” style of hockey. Ala Patrick Roy ( ), Marchand concludes Boston’s style is stupid enough to win them a Cup. Game. Set. Match. Cup watch: Boston - 6, Chicago – 4, Vancouver – 0. Take a seat, Kevin.  

BetOnHockey_Canucks_Bruins_Rivalry.jpg4)     Canucks redeem themselves by actually standing up to the Bruins and fighting back in their game on January 7th, and by winning the game. Vancouver was heavily criticized last year for letting the Bruins beat them up in the Finals, so good on them for figuring it out. But then, Canucks fans promptly buried their team by saying this was Game 8 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, and that the series was now tied 4-4.  

My count has both teams scoring pretty well even on the burial/redemption scale. But no matter who wins or loses this battle, on or off the ice, us fans win by getting to take in all the entertainment all season long.





Read Dave’s blog and follow him on Twitter: @davecunning




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