The drama between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins didn’t end with Saturday’s Stanley Cup Finals rematch.
On Monday, NHL Disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan suspended Bruins forward Brad Marchand for five games after his game misconduct for clipping Sami Salo in the team’s 4-3 loss at TD Garden.
Here’s Shanahan’s explanation of the punishment:
One day later, the Canucks announced that Salo had sustained a concussion from Marchand’s clip and is ruled out indefinitely.
Salo’s diagnosis, however, wasn’t the end of the drama in the aftermath of Saturday’s matchup.
Sure there were shots fired on both ends after the Canucks’ victory. But it was Claude Julien’s comments that stood out the most regarding Marchand’s hit.
“I always told my players that they need to protect themselves,” he said. “The last thing I want my players to do is get hit and then end up with a concussion, or maybe end his career like [Marc] Savard. In my opinion, if guys start protecting themselves like Marchand did, maybe guys will stop taking runs at other guys because that’s the consequence you end up paying for taking runs at guys…I know we’re trying to fix that part of the game, but it’s still there and it’s still not fixed.
One day later, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault provided more fuel to the fire with his comments on Julien’s claim that Marchand defended himself.
“That’s a stupid comment,” Vigneault said about Julien’s statement. “What Marchand did, you could end a player’s career doing that. I’ve never seen Sami Salo take a run at any player in the NHL. All Sami Salo does is play the game with integrity.
“Marchand — and this is just my feeling — but someday, he is going to get it. Someday, someone’s going to say ‘enough is enough’ and they’re going to hurt the kid because he plays to hurt players. And if the league doesn’t take care, someone else will.”
Luckily for Vigneault, the league took care and gave Marchand the ban. But not before the Bruins fired back.
Nearly 24 hours later, Julien and Bruins’ GM Peter Chiarelli fired another shot at Vigneault and the Canucks’ organization.
“I think we’ve learned our lesson over time, and that’s a real inappropriate comment,” Chiarelli said about Vigneault’s remarks from Sunday. “That’s a real inappropriate comment. And it’s an unprofessional comment. There’s a carryover effect from the playoffs. It’s a big game and a hyped up game. There’s a lot of probably pent-up emotion was behind the comment. Having said all that, they shouldn’t say stuff like that.”
“I think its pretty hypocritical,” Julien said. “Sometimes you have to look at your own backyard. We all know [Vigneault] has the same type of players on his team. You just have to look at [Alex] Burrows putting his blade at [Shawn] Thornton’s throat [prior to Saturday's first period brawl].”
Re-iterating Vigneault’s statement about a “stupid comment” Julien had this snark remark: “It’s so hypocritical. I guess we’re stupid. We’re idiots and they’re the smartest team in the league. We need to listen to all the gab that they have to say.”
Ultimately, the Bruins let Shanahan have the last say in this particular incident.While there’s certainly both sides to the argument — I certainly didn’t see how he should be suspended, but also wouldn’t have been surprised if he did get a ban based on his reputation — Marchand is banned for five games and this particular event can be put to rest.
However, the Bruins-Canucks rivalry has more than heated up after Saturday’s rendezvous in the only meeting between the two teams. And if anything, there are still a few scores to settle.
Come June, another matchup for Lord’s Stanley could help write another chapter in this rivalry.