Marchand and Subban step into the ring


Marchand and Subban step into the ring

BOSTON -- It was bound to happen sooner or later between the nose that knows, and the demonstrative defenseman that needs to act like he's been there before.The newest chapter in the BruinsCanadiens rivalry opened up Thursday nightwith Brad Marchand and P.K. Subban finally dropping the gloves multiple times, and finally engaging in an honest-to-goodness fight to end it all.

The duo has been involved in plenty of chippy play overthe last season plus, but that finally bubbled over into theextended dropped gloves session with the decision going to the smaller, scrappier Marchand. It also acted as the most exciting point in the B's 2-1 loss to the Habs at TD Garden.
It started with Marchand jumping on Subban for a few choice shots that sent each player off with matching holding penalties in the second period. Then both players went at each other coming out of the boxbefore they were separated by the refs and slapped with delay-of-game penalties. Both tone-settersthen finally got down to business by dropping their gloves, elbow pads, helmets and any other piece of hockey armor in a full hockey yard sale -- not to be confused with its skiing cousin -- before engaging in some old-fashioned hockey fisticuffs.

Both sides have been waiting for the antagonists to finally drop the gloves since Subban smoked the Bs winger with a bone-rattling body check at the Bell Centre early last season, and it all went downin a Boston defeat that sank the B's into last place. Give Marchand credit for attempting to spark his team with some emotion, but the Bruins once again eventually flatlined.

Stuff happens in a game. Emotions ran a little high, admitted Marchand, who said the fight escalated from a conversation prior to a face-off. I think it all started off the draw. He kind of gave me a little shot with his elbow and then I grabbed him and he grabbed me.

I thought he wanted to go then so I dropped my gloves. But when we were in the box he asked me to go and I said no. And then back in the second time he asked me again, and I couldnt say no. So it was nice to get it out of the way.

The bout included a series of wild, off-target Subban haymakers that Marchand was able to avoid, and a few short right-handed jabs from the Honey Badger that scored points with the suddenly frenzied crowd. Unfortunately the Bruins couldnt ride the momentum for long enough, and Raphael Diaz smothered a seemingly sure Patrice Bergeron goal into an empty netin the second that followed Marchands bout.

The MarchandSubban bout the second career fight for the Bs trouble-maker after a bout against Andrew Coglianothe Oilers in Edmonton last season probably would have been looked as more of an emotional starter had the Bruins won the game. But it did expose Subban as a hockey fighter thats going to get his clock cleaned pretty badly if he ever scraps with somebody that knows what theyre doing.It was Subban's fifth career fight at the NHL level, but he appeared like he might need to go back to the drawing board given the checks that his wordsand haughty actions can sometimes write on the ice.

Im not a very good fighter, so, I guess you could say I was going for the knockout, but it was a pretty bad attempt, said Subban, who said after the win that he would consult the video with Georges Laraque and Travis Moen to improve his fighting technique. So I dont know, Im probably better to keep my gloves on most of the time.

I know Marchand pretty well and its just a matter of us both being frustrated out there and thats how you settle your differences. I mean, we were kind of laughing about it after, we gave each other a pat on the pads, I dont think theres any true animosity between us two.

Who knows when the next bout will come for the flamboyant Subban, but its more than likely not the last time the Habs defenseman will be dropping the gloves against a Bruins team unafraid to show their dislike for him and his in-your-face game.Marchand and Subban Part II coming to a rink near you this winter and beyond.

Saturday, Oct. 22: Coyotes' growing pains


Saturday, Oct. 22: Coyotes' growing pains

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while suffering from the same “general soreness” as Tuukka Rask.

*The Arizona Coyotes are suffering from growing pains that were extremely evident during a winless road trip.

*Steve Dangle is obviously jacked and pumped about his Maple Leafs, but wondering about the future of Roman Polak. But aren’t we all at this point?

*Old friends Johnny Boychuk and Dennis Seidenberg both scored the victorious Islanders in a Friday night win.

*Clarke MacArthur isn’t ready to retire even as concussion issues are really starting to impact his ability to stay on the ice.

*Teemu Selanne gives fellow Finn Patrick Laine a thumbs up as he was in town for events with his former Winnipeg Jets.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the details on noted Bruins killer Dale Weise getting suspended for three games after some dirty activity with the Philadelphia Flyers.

*For something completely different: Geoff Edgers has been trying to reach Bill Murray for weeks, and here’s what happened when he finally called back.


Bruins looking for a lift from stagnant power play


Bruins looking for a lift from stagnant power play

BRIGHTON, Mass. – One area where the Bruins are looking for more after a mostly positive first four regular-season games: the power play.

The B’s are a downright gross 1-for-14 on the man-advantage to start the season and were 0-for-4 on Thursday night while squeaking out a last-minute win over the New Jersey Devils. The early-season 7.1 percent success rate doesn’t have them last in the NHL, but only the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames have performed at a lower PP clip.

It’s a subject that Claude Julien knew was coming from the B’s media, and so he was ready to answer for it ahead of Saturday night’s rivalry renewal with the Montreal Canadiens.

“I knew it was just a matter of time before that question came. It is what it is. I think we had some opportunities, but we haven’t finished,” said Julien. “At the end of the day our power play is judged by whether you score or not, and I thought our second period [vs. the Devils] wasn’t great. But our third period had some really good power plays, but we didn’t manage to score.

“Where we need to get to right now [on the power play], is to find a way to finish. There’s no doubt the absence of Patrice Bergeron there brings somebody else in, and maybe there’s not as much chemistry as we’re used to. But I think with him back now we can even be better, and get a little more movement…not be so stagnant. When we struggle a bit it’s because we’re a little stagnant, and we need to get a little better there.”

Quite a bit of the struggles go back to Bergeron missing the first three games of the season and the top power-play unit missing No. 37 from his trademark bumper role at the center of the PP action. The power play remained scoreless as the unit adjusted to Bergeron's return on Thursday night, but it seemed that things started to click a little bit as that game went on.

“It’s not moving right now. We’ll just work through it. There were times last year where it let us down, and there were times last year where it helped us through some tough moments,” said Torey Krug of the PP. “Right now we’re able to play through it, but at some point this team is going to need this PP to step up and score some goals. We rely on that, and the guys on the power play take a lot of pride in it.

“[Bergeron] does a lot of things for us. Instead of me having to go all the way to the other end to break the puck out where I’m losing 20 seconds and frankly it’s tiring to break the puck out, now we have him winning face-offs and we’re starting with the puck in the zone. That’s a big thing, and he collects puck like nobody else in the league. With him back on the power play it brings another important player to the forefront, but it’s a five man unit and when everything’s working out there [on the PP] we have a good unit.”

Now with Ryan Spooner expected to rejoin the B’s lineup, after being healthy scratch vs. New Jersey, that adds another dangerous power-play weapon that practiced with that unit on Saturday morning ahead of the traditional morning skate. The hope is that installing Bergeron and Spooner will help kick-start a special teams unit that’s been less than explosive, and not quite cohesive, in the first four games of the season.