Haggerty: Bruins are no 'emperors of embellishment'

Haggerty: Bruins are no 'emperors of embellishment'
April 30, 2014, 10:15 am
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So the full scale attack on the Boston Bruins has already started up in Montreal, and that should be no surprise given that the second round series will be the first one to kick things off Thursday night at TD Garden. A Canadiens blog called “Habs Eyes on the Prize” – which just screams out down the middle objectivity, of course – has turned the tables on the Bruins, and attempts to paint B’s players as the “emperors of embellishment.”

First of all that would make these Montreal bloggers the high priests of hyperbole, but they go on to show anecdotal video evidence of Bruins players diving for calls: most notably Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand are featured. Clearly both have embellished a bit at times to work referees, and earn power plays for their team in tight games. You almost never see it during the regular season, but you’ll definitely see it from time to time in the postseason where every little bit counts.

The video evidence is clearly there, and there was at least one example from each player “working” a penalty call during playoff series against Detroit while a case of chronic stick-holding went largely uncalled against the Red Wings. Marchand taking knee-on-knee contact from Brendan Smith on his left leg, and then limping off favoring his right leg took Twitter by storm after the Game 3 event took place at Joe Louis Arena.

These little morsels of evidence pushed the Montreal blog to go cuckoo for cocoa puffs with the idea that the Bruins embellish for calls with greater frequency than the Montreal Canadiens:

Ladies and gentlemen, the proof is in the pudding.

Which team tends to milk calls, take easy falls, and attack the balls? The answer is clearly the one, the only, the despicably hypocritical Boston Bruins.

Their dedication to diving has brought them success in the past, so expect the embellishment to be a major part of Boston's game plan while facing the Habs in the second round of the 2014 playoffs.

The Bruins are, after all, the undisputed diving champs of the NHL.

All due disrespect to Montreal blogging fan boys out there, but the proof isn’t in a group of hand-picked videos. The proof is in the numbers, plain and simple. The Bruins were dead last in the NHL with 230 power play chances in 82 regular season games during the 2013-14 regular season, and were – yup, you guessed it – dead last in the NHL during the 2012-13 regular season with 122 power play chances during the lockout-shortened 48 season campaign.

In fact the Bruins have consistently ranked from 23rd-30th in the NHL for power play chances under Claude Julien because the Boston coaching staff preaches a non-diving philosophy, and it’s something that Julien, in particular, feels is disrespectful to the game of hockey. It also embarrasses the referees that are trying to do the right thing.

It doesn’t appear there was the same kind of fan outrage or coaching staff displeasure when Habs defenseman P.K. Subban executed a perfect Nestea plunge, without being touched, to try and draw a penalty call during Game 7 of the 2011 playoffs, which was more egregiously phony than anything Marchand has done in his entire career. 

Which team led the entire league in power play chances last season, and had nearly twice as many with 203 power play chances in those 48 games? That’s right, it was Les Habitants. They were off their game while ranking 11th in the NHL this season with 279, which was still almost 50 more power play chances than the Bruins.

In 2011-12 the Habs ranked third in the league with 301 power play chances in 82 games, and the Bruins were 23rd in the NHL with 251 power play chances.

So either the Bruins are the worst divers, embellishers and play actors of all time because they’re not actually consistently getting any of these penalty calls, or this fallacy is pure 100 percent grade A baloney from a bunch of Habs blogger fan boys that have their “Eyes on the Prize.”

We’ll let the readers – and the actions of both teams once their hate-filled playoff series begins – decide which is which.