Marchand fires back at diving accusations

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Marchand fires back at diving accusations

WILMINGTON, Mass In the case of the Brad Marchand vs. the People that Think Hes a Diver, the feisty agitating forward fired back against his critics on Tuesday afternoon.

The Little Ball of Hate has been accused of diving and embellishing at several different points in the series by the Washington peanut gallery, and he was none too pleased about it.

The most notable diving accusations in the series: 1) An accidental blow near the visor from Karl Alzner in Game 3 that sent Marchand tumbling to the ice, and 2) a blindside hit from Jason Chimera in Game 6 that sent him spinning like he was on the Tea Cups at Disney World.

Marchand absorbed a Chimera spear to the groin that awarded the Bruins a power play in a vicious Game 3 victory, but he was derided by Washington Capitals fans as a flopper after that vitriolic contest.

For a Bruins team that has always prided itself on rising above the world of diving, flopping finesse teams like the Canadiens and the Vancouver Canucks, its the ultimate Scarlet Letter in hockey.

Marchand said he was moving on from any accusations of diving, and had the medical care to prove it wasnt a figment of his imagination.

I got cut there. I got a stitch, said Marchand, referencing his lip that was bloodied after the Chimera play. Whether it was a penalty or not that doesnt really matter. The game is over.

Marchand was asked whether it was his own stick that nicked him in the mouth and created the bloody lip.

I dont know. I havent seen the replay, said Marchand. I dont really know what happened. I didnt even see him coming. I was focused on Backstrom. I dont really know what hit me. It doesnt matter at this point.

The Game 3 incident forced Alzner to apologize postgame for the dangerous play.

"I didnt think he was going to stop short as I was bracing for a hit, and when he did my elbow hit him up in his visor," Alzner said. "I was like, Oh no, I hope that doesnt get me a penalty and it was really fortunate because it could have been much worse. I could see by his expression that he didnt see it coming at all. Im not that that type of player and I wanted to make sure Marchand knew that after the game.

Ive had other guy say my bad to me when Ive been hit like that before, so I wanted to make sure I extended that courtesy to somebody else. Marchand is one of the few guys on the Bruins that I know, so I wanted to make sure he knew it wasnt purposeful.

Later on in Tuesdays media scrum Marchand was asked about the diving allegations a second time, and this time he let loose against the Capitals fans that have criticized him.

For them to judge what knocks you down, they don't know your balance or whatnot on the play, Marchand told WEEI.com. They're sitting at home watching on TV. I don't really care what they say. They have no impact on my game, my life. They mean nothing."

Thursday, July 28: Will the Bruins end up with Jimmy Vesey?

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Thursday, July 28: Will the Bruins end up with Jimmy Vesey?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading after a pretty amazing, on-point succession of speeches by Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg and Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention last night. It was quite a contrast to the absolute circus sideshow that went on in Cleveland last week.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynksi chronicles the Jimmy Vesey Sweepstakes, and the late entry of the Chicago Blackhawks as a suitor. Wysh still feels, as I do, that the Bruins end up getting this talented player at the end of the day.

*The details of the charges levied against Evander Kane paint an ugly picture of a hockey player doing a lot of the wrong things.

*PHT writer Mike Halford says that the Carolina Hurricanes might be ready to snap their playoff drought after extending head coach Bill Peters.

*John Tavares tells the Toronto media not to count on him ever pulling over a Maple Leafs jersey amid post-Stamkos speculation.

*Well, would you look at this? The Nashville Predators are providing salary cap and contract info on their own team website. What a concept!

*The Edmonton Oilers say they will have a new captain in place by opening night, and it will be interesting to see if they go the Connor McDavid route.

*Brian Elliott is thrilled at the opportunity to be “the man” between the pipes for the Calgary Flames this season after splitting time in St. Louis.

*For something completely different: a great feature on Howard Stern, and his transformation from shock jock to master interviewer.

Joe Haggerty can be followed on Twitter: @HacksWithHaggs

Bergeron and Marchand convinced Backes to join Bruins

Bergeron and Marchand convinced Backes to join Bruins

JAMAICA PLAIN -- For those excited about the idea of an intense, hard-hitting David Backes in a Bruins uniform for the next five years, you have Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand to partially thank.

Backes, 32, didn’t know either of them all that well prior to this summer, aside from his experiences on ice against them. But Bergeron and Marchand called Backes multiple times while recruiting him to Boston, and it was a major factor in the former Blues captain signing a five-year, $30 million deal with the B's.

“Being an outsider, we need to have a little bit of confession here that Marchand is the kind of guy that gets under everybody’s skin. I was no different,” said the 6-foot-3, 221-pound Backes, who has 206 goals and 460 points in 727 career NHL games, all with St. Louis. “But then talking to him a little bit in the interview process prior to July 1, I hung up the phone and had to take a deep breath and say to myself, ‘That little disturber, he’s actually a pretty good guy.’ Those guys end up being the best teammates.

“A guy like Bergeron, when you play against him [he's] always in the right spot, and is never making mistakes. Those types of guys, again, are guys you want on your team, and guys you want to go to war with. They’re All-World players, Bergeron is an All-World player. But he’s also a down-to-earth guy that puts his work boots on, takes his lunch pail and plays his butt off. He’s nice to the young kids, and he’s nurturing in helping them come along. I think you’ve seen in the NHL that you need a few guys on entry-level deals, or a few guys to outperform their contracts, in order to have success in the salary-cap era. That nurturing and mentorship can really foster those kinds of performances.”

While Backes went on to mention Zdeno Chara as another highly respected, formidable opponent with whom he’ll now share a dressing room, it was interesting to note that players who currently have letters on their sweaters, like Chara and David Krejci, didn’t play a part in the recruiting process. Instead it was the next captain of the team (Bergeron) and a player (Marchand) currently in the middle of negotiations entering the last year of his contract.

“I talked to both Bergeron and Marchand twice before July 1," said Backes. "Just the way that they spoke about their team mentality, and teaming up together and sharing the load of hard minutes that need to be played, and also sharing the load of the offensive necessities that a team has . . . those things just rang true to my beliefs of a team.

“You’re all equals whether you’re the top-paid guy, or the top-minute guy, or the low-minute guy, or the guy that’s playing every other game because you’re the healthy scratch in the other games.

“We all needed to be treated equal, and do whatever we can to support the next guy. When the next guy has success, we have to be just as happy as if we scored the goal. That’s the type of thing where, when you get that from the full 20 guys on the ice, it’s so tough to be beat. Those are the teams that win championships.”

It will be interesting to see just how much involvement Backes has with the Bergeron and Marchand combination. He could very easily be a right-wing fit with those two dynamic forwards next season, or he could be a third-line center behind Bergeron and Krejci and give the Bruins elite depth down the middle of the ice.

True to his team-oriented nature, Backes said he’ll be happy to play at either position and do whatever Claude Julien feels is best.