Bruins' Julien comes to the defense of Matt Cooke

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Bruins' Julien comes to the defense of Matt Cooke

BUFFALO Claude Julien would be the last person anybody would expect to come to the defense of Pittsburgh Penguins hit man Matt Cooke, but thats exactly what happened when he was asked about the CookeErik Karlsson incident from a couple of days ago.

Cook sliced up Karlssons Achilles tendon while the two were tangled up in the corner battling for a puck, and the Ottawa Senators have lost their Norris Trophy-winning defenseman for the season.

Ottawa GM Bryan Murray and owner Eugene Melnyk werent happy that the NHL decided to opt against disciplinary action against Cooke for a play that has been dissected by hockey experts for two days since it happened. In slow motion it looks like Cooke came down with his skate blade on the back of Karlssons foot in an unnatural way, but the NHL felt it was just a hockey play that had gone bad.

Julien saw the sinister side of Cook three years ago when a flagrant blind side elbow to Marc Savards head effectively ended the Bruins centers NHL career after causing a severe concussion. But the Bruins coach also felt the incident with Cooke wasnt an intentional action to hurt Karlsson the polar opposite of when Julien felt Cookes shot to Savards head was an intentionally dangerous play worthy of suspension several years ago.

Ill be bluntly honest. I looked at the play. If you look at in slow motion, sure its going to look deliberate, said Julien. But in normal speed I dont believe it was deliberate. But I can understand why Bryan Murray is upset. If I lost a player like that Id be upset too, but sometimes when youre upset youre not being realistic.

I certainly didnt think it was purposefully done, but because it was Matt Cooke that conversation is going to be there.

Furthermore Julien hopes that more players start donning the Kevlar hockey socks that can provide greater protection for areas like ankles and wrists that can be exposed to skate blades in certain situations. The Bruins felt it was more safety issues than comfort issue, but its a touchy subject with some players.

It will be a topic no matter, but then there will always be something that happens to bring it back just like the visors, said Julien. The one thing players will tell you is that in order for them to play well they have to be comfortable with what theyre wearing. Ive never tried them so I cant really comment on whether those socks are comfortable or not.

But if there are no issues with the socks then I would advise guys to wear them. Its just like the visors. Whether it relates to being tough or not being tough, its always there for people. Im somebody thats very sensitive to the skate blade thing. Just look at what happened here in Buffalo. Clint Malarchuk was a teammate of mine and that was a scary scene. We saw Richard Zednick get cut with a skate blade. One was in the neck area and one was in the wrist area. Were seeing it more and more. Maybe Im a little sensitive to it, but I fear for the worst.

It remains to be seen how quickly all players adopt the protective socks, but its pretty clear they might cause gruesome events like the CookeKarlsson incident to be a thing of the past.

Pastrnak, Marchand and Vatrano represent Bruins at World Championship

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Pastrnak, Marchand and Vatrano represent Bruins at World Championship

The Bruins have three players headed to the IIHF Hockey World Championship, which begin this weekend in Russia.

Brad Marchand was invited to play for Team Canada early on in the process, coming off his 37-goal season for the Bruins. Last week the Czech Republic added 19-year-old right wing David Pastrnak to their squad with plans to skate on a line with the Montreal Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec.

And Frank Vatrano -- who scored a total of 44 goals between Boston and Providence in this, his first full professional season -- was added to the Team USA roster this week. Vatrano, 22, confirmed it on his own Twitter account on Tuesday night prior to hopping on a flight bound for Russia:

Torey Krug played for Team USA last season, but was unavailable this time around after undergoing right shoulder surgery just a couple of weeks ago that will have him sidelined until late October. 

Vatrano is one of four Massachusetts players on this year's version of Team USA. The others are Canadiens goaltender Mike Condon, Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin and Devils D-man David Warsofsky.

Both Marchand and Pastrnak previously suited up for their countries in the World Junior championships, and Vatrano played in the U.S. National Team Development Program prior to playing college hockey at the University of Massachusetts. Vatrano also previously represented the U.S. at the 2012 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic, where he helped Team USA claim the gold medal.

The IIHF Men's World Championships will start Friday and run until May 22 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. It features featuring many of the NHL players that aren’t participating in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Haggerty: Anticipate ‘great deal of player movement’

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Haggerty: Anticipate ‘great deal of player movement’

Ahead of the expansion draft, teams may look to get something in return for players they’d otherwise lose for nothing.

May 4, 2016: If expansion hits, which Pens goalie is protected?

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May 4, 2016: If expansion hits, which Pens goalie is protected?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while giving a warm May the Fourth Be With You to everybody out there.

*Mike Francesa has declared sports radio war on former New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro, and it’s getting ugly folks.

 

*A humbled Bruce Boudreau, who really didn’t need to be humbled given what a nice man he is, will have a long line of NHL suitors interested in his services.

 

*The Northeastern University hockey team has gone to some extremes with their pregame wrestling matches.

 

*Pro Hockey Talk asks the question: if there’s an expansion draft, which goaltender should the Penguins protect given what’s going on in their playoff series?

 

*A really nice gesture within the PHT morning skate with Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper going to bat for a Lightning beat reporter that finds himself out of a job.

 

*Max Domi had a very memorable rookie season even if it didn’t end with any serious consideration for the Calder Trophy.

 

*The Nashville Predators got a little better this week with the decision to kick Mike Ribeiro up into the press box.

 

*For something completely different: these Han Solo uniform jerseys for the Durham Bulls’ Star Wars Night are the freakin’ truth.