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Chiarelli's Turn

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA -- It's not often that Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli will stop by the media room inside the TD Garden and hold court -- it's just not his style.

But today, the Black & Gold's GM had heard enough comments out of Western Canada about his team and decided he needed to speak.

"It's not normally my style to respond in the media to stuff like that, especially when there’s a hearing coming up," said Chiarelli. "I would like to respond in the spirit of protecting our players."

On Saturday, Boston forward Brad Marchand and Vancouver defenseman Sami Salo collided and while doing so the B's forward ducked and sent the Canuck defenseman hard to the ice, injured.

Marchand was sent to the locker room with a five minute major and a game misconduct for clipping and the Canucks scored twice on the ensuing power play and won the game 4-3.

Since then, Vancouver General Manager Mike Gillis characterized the play as "a dirty hit by a dirty player" in Vancouver's The Province and Canucks Head Coach Alain Vigneault also told the newspaper that Marchand could be in jeapordy.

"This is just my feeling on this -- some day he's going to get it.," said Vigneault. "Somebody is going to say enough is enough and they're going to hurt the kid, because he plays to hurt players and in my mind if the league doesn't take care of it, somebody else will."

Chiarelli responded and told reporters in Boston, "I don’t like that."

"Brad [Marchand] does play on the edge, but he’s no dirtier than maybe two or three of their players. After an incident or after a game like that, you see all the high-handed propaganda – I feel the need to respond. It’s not whether it’s from coaches, GMs or players, I don’t like to hear that kind of stuff.

"Certainly I think there’s a lobbying element to it – I feel the league does a really good job in these hearings, and I don’t think it’s necessary to have that out there," he said.

Moreover, Chiarelli also addressed Vancouver defenseman Keith Ballard's comments regarding the Marchand hit.

"Normally when I do that, the guy has the puck and the guy is coming down on me and trying to beat me," Ballard told The Province. "There is a difference and anybody who says there's not a difference is an idiot."

"With respect to some of the comments made from a player regarding what’s a hip check, what’s clipping, I think that’s naïve too," said Chiarelli. "What makes a difference if you have the puck or you don’t on a hip check.

"What’s the difference? To say there’s a difference – there’s not. It’s like a reverse check.

"And that player is notorious for that stuff with or without the puck," continued Chiarelli. "I like the league to take care of these things, I don’t think you have to plead them out in public."

The NHL will certainly have the final say and no matter what is dicussed in the interim Marchand's hearing with the league is this afternoon. But regardless of the outcome, Chiarelli said he doesn't want his team or his player to change its mode of play.

"No, listen we’re a physical team and we’re going to be under the microscope for being that, but our players are generally clean," said Chiarelli. "Every team has players that do dirty things, and a dirty thing is an illegal thing, it just happens.

"That’s why penalties are in place, that’s why supplemental disciplines are in place. But he was protecting himself, and we’re going to tell our players to protect themselves."

And clearly Chiarelly will continue to protect his players, too.

"The lobbying, I call it propaganda, that comes out yesterday, I think it’s distasteful," said Chiarelli. "I’m friends with Mike [Gillis] and I’m friends with Alain [Vigneault].

"But I don’t like the way it comes out and I have to respond.

"There’s other teams that do it, and there’s the old adage, ‘The squeaky wheel gets the grease,’" added Chiarelli. "Teams in general keep on doing it and I’m not going to make a practice of doing it.

"But when they go after a player, we’re going to respond."
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