BOSTON -- Claude Julien seemed to admit on Thursday that the Bruins should have issued some kind of physical response to Wednesday night’s Brad Marchand head shot, while stopping short of calling anybody out just a couple of weeks short of the playoffs.
Marchand took an Anton Volchenkov elbow to the side of the head with five minutes remaining in the second period, and immediately went down with what appears to be a concussion. Volchenkov was slapped with a five-minute major, a game misconduct and, on Thursday, a four-game suspension for the nasty flying elbow that targeted Marchand’s skull.
Nothing has been diagnosed and Marchand underwent evaluation as the Bruins went through a sparsely-attended optional morning skate on Thursday morning prior to a game against the New York Islanders.
In the aftermath of the dirty hit on Marchand, Jaromir Jagr cruised over to give Volchenkov a couple of shoves. But Jagr, Gregory Campbell and Johnny Boychuk were among the skaters who did little to address the situation.
Instead the Bruins went on a power play, where they looked just as dazed as Marchand wobbling his way back to the Boston dressing room, and gave up a shorthanded goal when Milan Lucic lost the puck to Travis Zajac at center ice. That made it a one-goal game, and gave way to little physicality in the third period as the Black and Gold were simply hanging on to win the game and reclaim first place in the division.
The whole sequence of events had an unfortunate similarity to Marc Savard getting leveled by Matt Cooke in Pittsburgh in 2010, with the Bruins offering zero response to a hit that took out one of their best offensive players.
Julien was asked about the incident Thursday and seemed to indicate this team would have responded in a different way in years past. But he also indicated that the team is in “the battle” against a media corps that’s questioning many things within the Bruins’ minds and hearts.
“We’ll deal with it internally,” said Julien. “I don’t throw my guys under the bus. There was a situation that happened last night . . . would we [have responded physically] in the past? I think you would’ve seen that. Is there a reason why it didn’t happen? Not really.
"You guys can do what you want, but I’m going to let the negativity – for example, you guys saying we’re not hitting enough. My job is to right the ship and make sure that we’re ready for the playoffs.
“The battle is with ourselves to be better, and the battle is to battle against [the media] where you guys find those kinds of things. We’re not going to let that creep into our dressing room.”
If the battle is against the media for saying what needs to be said, then it’s a fair bet whatever that is has already crept into the B’s dressing room with only eight games remaining until the all-important Stanley Cup playoffs. It's also a fair bet that the Big Bad Bruins team that won the Stanley Cup two years ago would have never let one of their own get steamrolled on the ice without even a whimper of a response with 25 minutes to go in a game.