BOSTON.COM – After Saturday night’s loss to Vancouver, Head Coach Claude Julien defended Brad Marchand’s hit on defenseman Sami Salo and said he tells his players to protect themselves.
With the history the organization has in regards to the concussions suffered by Patrice Bergeron, Nathan Horton, Marc Savard and others, Julien’s protective stance certainly isn’t arbitrary.
Yet, Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault called Julien’s comments “stupid”, and the B’s Head Coach emphatically stood behind his Saturday statements on Monday.
“We’ve had some serious injuries to this hockey club,” Julien said. “The one thing we’ve taken charge of ourselves as an organization is to protect ourselves better. That doesn’t necessarily mean being illegal, but to protect themselves. And I’d rather see a guy protect himself and take a penalty than not protect himself and lose him for the year.
"I’m going to make that point and I don’t care what anybody else thinks about it.”
Julien felt strongly about the allegations and comments coming out of Vancouver.
“It’s unfortunate, because sometimes you just have to look in your backyard,” Juliens said. “You just have to look at [Alexandre] Burrows putting his [stick] blade in [Shawn] Thornton’s throat – it’s so hypocritical.
“I guess we’re stupid, we’re idiots and they’re the smartest team in the league so I guess we need to listen to all the gab they have to say.”
Today, Marchand and General Manager Peter Chiarelli have a phone meeting with head disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan at 12:30 p.m., and Julien paralleled his GM’s stance – and that’s to let the league deal with the issue.
However, Julien felt that Marchand’s hit – which was considered clipping and resulted in a five-minute major along with a game misconduct – is prevalent in the game and happens frequently without penalization.
“We’ve done our research – there’s a lot of plays out there, examples of the team we played doing the same thing,” Julien said. “We all know about [Mason] Raymond on Marchand last year, but because Marchand didn’t get hurt I guess they think it’s ok for Raymond to do that.
"But since Salo got hurt, it’s not. We can’t have double standards here, and all I’m saying is that whatever the league decides to do we respect.”
Julien also said that he felt as if the Bruins are the center of the league’s attention, pertaining to Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty and the other hits similar to Marchand’s.
“We saw how many clips of that happening to everyone else, but yet the focus was on Chara,” Julien said. “The focus is on Marchand right now, why isn’t it on [Raymond last year. Why isn’t it on other people – there’s [Keith] Ballard’s [hit] on [Jamie] McGinn, there all kinds of examples.
"But somehow, the Bruins happen to be the team people prefer picking on and think we’re the bruiser, and we have to live with that.”
With that being said, regardless of the league’s decision on Marchand’s hit, Julien will not expect the team to change its playing style.
“I think we play pretty entertaining hockey,” Julien said. “We’re a fast team, we’re a skilled team – we’re also a physical team.
"And we’re also Stanley Cup champions so I don’t see why we should change.”
--- Anthony Gulizia