Julien stands firm on embellishment comments

Julien stands firm on embellishment comments
March 4, 2013, 11:15 pm
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WILMINGTON, MA – A day after tearing into the NHL and the Montreal Canadiens for embellishment after a frustrating loss for the Bruins, Claude Julien clarified his comments while still sticking to his guns. Julien wanted to make it clear he wasn’t questioning the character of the Canadiens players, though he did mention defenseman P.K. Subban by name while blowing off some postgame steam.

Instead Julien is pushing for the NHL to find a workable way to get diving, flopping and feigning injury for penalties out of the game. Obviously there are anecdotal examples of every team embellishing things to try and work the refs for a call, and Brad Marchand has done it on occasion with the Bruins.

But it’s never part of Boston’s game plan and it certainly isn’t present in their team identity as it can be for some teams. All that being said the Bruins coach never meant it as indictment of the people inside the Habs dressing room.

“I didn’t question their character because they play hard. They’re a good team. The only thing I talked about is the embellishment,” said Claude Julien. “I wasn’t just talking about them, but I was talking about something that we’re trying to clean up in the league. There are times when certain things frustrate you and I thought after the game that embellishment is something that embarrasses the game.

“I have a strong opinion about it and I stand by it. We’re a professional league here. The NBA went through it and kind of cleaned things up, and I’m hoping that we’ll do the same thing with hockey.

Julien was asked if he had heard from the NHL about a possible fine, and the Bruins coach wondered aloud why since he’d done nothing wrong. He didn’t single out of the referees for criticism, and in Julien’s mind stamping out embellishment would make their jobs easier in the long run.

“I didn’t blame the refs. I didn’t blame anything. I said the embellishment puts refs in a tough position because they call it and that's one thing. But if they call it and the guy is really injured then it puts them in a bad position,” said Julien. “We’re not helping the referees by embellishing.

“It puts them in a tough position. It’s not as easy to correct as it seems. There are consequences if they call [a play] an embellishment and then it’s not [fakery] with a guy that’s injured and out for three months. Then it doesn’t look good on them. You’re embarrassing the game and there’s no room for it [in the game].”

There will always be human error as long as referees rather than machines are officiating professional sports, and any new rules to snuff out embellishment would have some stumbling blocks along the way. But it’s been obvious for some time the NHL needs to do something about the diving, flopping and play acting on the ice, and any step toward eliminating it would be an improvement.