As soon as former Sabre Thomas Vanek made it 4-0, with 4 minutes left in the game, I immediately texted a couple of my friends, predicting that the Bruins would take dirty measures at the end of the game. “They will call it ‘setting the tone’ as an excuse,” I said to them. I would not call this a prediction of Nostradamus proportions by any means, as this has become a ‘normal’ response from the Bruins over the years.
Players including Jerome Iginla, Zdeno Chara, and Milan Lucic were seen sucker-punching various Canadiens players at the end of the game. It was blatantly obvious that the Montreal players did not want to fight, and were not interested in being goaded into the Bruins shenanigans. It is even dirtier that the Boston players were punching with their gloves still on.
This type of behavior is embarrassing for the NHL. Even casual fans have pointed out to me that it seems as if the Boston Bruins get away with dirty acts, whereas other teams and players get punished for similar actions. From Milan Lucic steamrolling Ryan Miller a few years ago, to Lucic trying to hack Justin Abdelkaders private parts in half in the last series, to Brad Marchand taking a dive and faking an injury to the wrong leg (idiot), to Shawn Thornton squirting water on PK Subban’s visor from the bench during gameplay in Game 5…There are so many more incidents, that we could be here for awhile. Countless sucker-punches and intentional acts to try and injure, especially in the playoffs.
Don’t get me wrong. Aside from Vanek and Danny Briere, I am not a Canadiens fan, either. I am also one of the first people to get amped up over fights and legal body-checks. I also understand the play and emotions getting ramped up during the NHL playoffs. Yet, this behavior that was exhibited at the end of the game tonight was pathetic, and sad. Since the NHL appears to have no interest in intervening, it will only continue. The game was over, Boston knew it, this was unnecessary.
The behavior and actions of the team seem to trickle right on down to the Boston fanbase, as seen by the slew of racist tweets geared towards Canadiens defenseman PK Subban during this round. Do these same fans not realize Subban’s brother Malcolm is the Bruins AHL goaltender? Did it escape their minds that Iggy is on their team? It was not too long ago that the Boston fans did THE SAME THING to Joel Ward. PK has taken the professional high-road in response to the tweets and water-spraying incident, which is impressive. If it was the other way around, and a Boston player got sprayed, the Bruins would whine for eternity about it.
Here’s to hoping that the Bruins can someday learn to play their rough style, without resorting to dirty, goon tactics. I will retain my doubts, though.