The Vancouver Sun used an image of Brad Marchand as a rat in today's paper that can now be found on their website. It's clear how that part of North America feels about Marchand and the Bruins. But is that the sentiment in other cities?
Sure, the Bruins are tough and unmerciful when it comes to doling out physical punishment on the ice. But how does one determine then if the Bruins have stepped over the line between "physical" and "dirty" territory?
How about asking the Bruins sworn hockey enemies since the dawn of NHL history?
With the Montreal Canadiens in town, CSNNE.com asked a group of Habs players whether they felt that the Bruins were considered an honest and clean team, or if the accusations of dirty play were in fact accurate.
(Warning: The answers may shock and surprise you. Readers may actually find themselves growing to like Canadiens players.)
Canadiens defenseman and vocal leader Josh Gorges looked shocked when asked if he considered the Bruins a dirty team.
I dont think the Bruins are a team where you saw coming in 'Ive got to have my head up here because theyre going to do something dirty,' " said Gorges. Its a physical team. They play hard. They hit. Do they cross a line? I dont know. I think they play physical. Hockey is a physical game. Do they get suspensions? Of course they have, but you could say the same thing about 29 other teams in the league.
Take Marchand's speed bag" incident from last years Finals, when he repeatedly punched Vancouver's Daniel Sedin. Marchand was given penalties for the string of undefended punches to the Canucks superstar, but that isnt something Gorges finds dirty in his book of hockey.
If you get a punch in the face after a whistle I dont think thats being dirty. Thats part of hockey. Hes going to get a penalty and maybe you throw one back and get a penalty too. I dont think thats dirty hockey. I think its part of the aggression of playing hockey and thats what makes our sport great -- the physicality part of it. I love that part of the game.
Surely Bruins Public Enemy No. 1 P.K. Subban would be licking at his chops to throw both Marchand and the rest of the Bruins under the bus after the run-ins theyve had over the last two years.
Right . . . right?
The Habs defenseman said he respects the Bs for the way they play the game despite their frequent skirmishes during the season and postseason.
You dont ever want to see players get suspended. Marchand is a great player and a big part of their team, said Subban. We need to focus on whoever is in the lineup. Whether its Marchand or Benoit Pouliot on that first line we just need to be ready to play.
The Bruins are in your face. You know what I mean? Theyve had a lot of success over the years. Theyre Stanley Cup champions. Theyre playing some good hockey this year. Whatever theyre doing, theyre doing something right. Whenever you play them you know theyll get in your face, theyll finish their checks and theyre gonna work hard. For our team coming into this building its going to be the work ethic thats going to let us have success here, and nothing else.
Habs defenseman Hal Gill is in a unique position, having played for both Montreal and Boston. The veteran blueliner said the Bruins merely plays the kind of game they've played for 40 years without crossing the line that would be considered cheap or dirty.
Theyre a physical team and they like to intimidate and come in with force. Its not about who's tougher. Its about going to the dirty areas and getting the job done. The Bruins have always been a big and imposing team. Theyre big and theyre strong, said Gill. They toe that line. Thats part of their modus operandi.
Form their lips to Vancouver's ears. The Habs opinions prior to their Thursday clash with the Bruins speak volumes.