Haggerty: Hopefully Lucic suspension ends NHL conspiracy theories

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Haggerty: Hopefully Lucic suspension ends NHL conspiracy theories

Peter Chiarelli has heard the conspiracy theories that the Bruins get preferential treatment from the NHL. Whenever a borderline hit or questionable hockey play involves the Stanley Cup champs, the media and fan bases swirl up a concoction of Colin Campbell-fueled conspiracy theories that leave the Bruins free to burn and pillage the 29 other NHL organizations without any fear of retribution.

Never mind that Campbell is no longer the hockey executive in charge of handing out supplemental discipline to offending players. To those convinced theres something amiss when it comes to the league and the Bruins, logic and reason dont seem to actually apply.
They simply want to paint the Bruins as a team thats unfairly benefited from kid gloves when they are the offenders as a big, physical hockey club. Chiarelli said its all poppycock and hopefully Milan Lucic getting slapped with a one-game suspension for boarding Zac Rinaldo quiets some of that chatter.

That whole line of conspiracy thinking and Ive seen it on the record and stuff I mean, weve had our share of bumps along the way, with the Marc Savard stuff and the Patrice Bergeron stuff, said Chiarelli. I dont buy any of that stuff. Usually I look at stuff independently, and I think any arbiter will, or should. We may go forward at times now with getting a suspension, and I may complain on a case-by-case, but those are the rules that we play by, and Im okay with it.

The Bruins are a team that plays on the edge as evidenced by the recent 2500 fines handed out to Brad Marchand for slew-footing Matti Niskanen and to Adam McQuaid for kneeing Nick Foligno and they have players like Lucic getting banged with suspensions just like everybody else. Following a one-game playoff suspension for cross-checking Maxim Lapierre in the face, crushing Freddy Meier late in a game against the Thrashers last season that incited a team-wide brawl or slamming into Ryan Miller this season, Lucic was on thin ice in the leagues eyes.

So the hit from behind on Rinaldo was the perfect situation to make an example of Lucic, but hes also a player thats careful to keep his rage and aggression in control when it comes to his physical play. There arent many besides Ryan Dice Man Miller that view Lucic as anything but an honest player that plays an intense brand of hockey, and thats why the Bruins dont earn more suspensions.

For the most part the Bruins are bigger and stronger than nearly everybody else in the league, and can dominate without resorting to dirty tactics or edgy plays that could bring on injuries. That doesnt do much to further any conspiracy theories that have become more prevalent since the Bruins essentially bullied the Vancouver Canucks in seven games on their way to a Stanley Cup title.

The Bruins arent going to ask Lucic to play any differently now that the league is scrutinizing him more closely, and nor should they.

We went into the year with the new rule changes thinking that we were going to be a little more heavily scrutinized. We might have even played a heavier game in the playoffs, and people were clamoring that we got away with stuff. Maybe we did, maybe we didnt, said Chiarelli. But thats the way we built the team and Im going to continue to build it that way. If I could find another Milan Lucic, Id be very pleased. I think everyone in the league would want a player like that."

We wont stray from how we built it, and well continue to put the pieces in that have some character and have some toughness.

Theres little reason for the Bruins to shy away from the way they play the game of hockey. The Big Bad Bruins style has won them 19 games in their last 22 tries and again has them as the rightful top dog in the Eastern Conference for the first time all season. The Bs even weathered a game without Lucic after he served his suspension while missing out on a rivalry games against the hated Habs. It was a shame for Lucic given how much he enjoys playing and beating Montreal, but perhaps it will finally put to bed the notion that the Bruins get preferential treatment from the NHLs hockey ops department.

Nah, it actually probably wont. That would mean 29 other teams would need to look in the mirror and admit when they were beaten by a Bruins team that plays honest, punishing hockey that few other clubs can hang with.

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while digging the Spider-Man trailer that dropped last night. 

*John Scott has finally called it a day and announced his retirement, and apparently there’s a book of his memoirs also coming out too. I’m predicting it’s not headed for the New York Times best seller list. 

*Winter Olympics participation and the CBA negotiations for the NHL are starting to merge into giant issue.  

*Connor McDavid calls the Flyers' Brandon Manning classless for telling him on the ice that he purposefully tried to hurt him last season. Some players might also take issue with McDavid making public what another player said to him on the ice. That’s kind of a no-no for most hockey players and breaks an unwritten rule that McDavid might think he’s above given his star status. This whole thing isn’t a good look for anybody. 

*Kevin Stevens pleads guilty to federal drug charges in what’s become a pretty sad situation for the former NHL star. 

*New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to raise questions with his play, and his massive price tag. 

*Youngsters Zach Weresnki and Dylan Larkin took similar paths to the NHL, and are both considered part of the talented young generation full of hockey stars. 

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Carey Price taking a nutty on Kyle Palmieri after the player crashed into his crease last night. Price is being celebrated for sticking up for himself, but if another goalie did that to a Habs player at the Bell Centre, there would already be a warrant out for his arrest. Play it both ways, Montreal!  

*For something completely different: here’s the aforementioned new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer that looks pretty darn good. 

 

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster.