Canadiens say Bruins don't play dirty

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Canadiens say Bruins don't play dirty

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.

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious. 

Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

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Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It’s a bit of a helpless feeling for an NHL general manager watching their star players participate in an intense hockey tournament like the World Cup of Hockey that doesn’t directly benefit their respective teams.

Not helpless because of the tournament’s outcome, obviously, but helpless because players could return from Toronto dinged up, or even worse significantly injured.

Aaron Ekblad had to shut it down for Team North American with what many speculated was a concussion, and Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray is out a month, or more, with a broken hand sustained playing for the same young guns team.

So, it certainly must have been an uneasy few moments for Don Sweeney when Brad Marchand was pulled from Team Canada’s last game for the concussion protocol after a nasty-looking collision with Team Europe forward Marian Hossa.

Marchand went through the testing, and ended up returning to the game no worse for the wear. But it could have been a lot worse for a Bruins team that can’t afford to be missing Marchand, Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara, who are still playing for teams alive in the semifinal round of the tourney.

“I would expect all of us to have been in a similar situation. For everybody - any general manager, coaches, staff, you're concerned about [injuries],” said Sweeney, talking about the World Cup and Marchand’s close call. “I mean, especially when you realize the stakes are going to go up as the tournament goes along. The pride involved - it's a risk. There's no question, it's a risk.

“But you also want to see them play their best hockey and they're not going to hold back. Yeah, it's a definite concern. You've got your fingers and toes crossed.”

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask have already returned to Boston fully healthy. David Backes should be joining the team anytime now after Team USA’s rude dismissal from the tournament. But Sweeney and the Bruins still have their sensors out for the three B’s players taking part that aren’t quite out of the woods yet before returning to B’s camp in one piece.