Chiarelli: Canucks' comments 'inappropriate'

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Chiarelli: Canucks' comments 'inappropriate'

BOSTON -- Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said that he'll speak to Alain Vigneault at some point, regarding his latest comments, in which the Vancouver Canucks coach said that Brad Marchand "plays to hurt players" and that "someday, he's going to get it."

But on Monday at the TD Garden, Chiarelli defended his player in front of the media, calling Vigneault and Vancouver defensemen Keith Ballard's comments "distasteful" and inappropriate.

"I just feel the need to respond," said Chiarelli. "Whether it's from coaches, GMs, or players, I don't like to hear that kind of stuff. Certainly, I think there's a lobbying element to it. I feel the league does a real good job in these hearings. And I don't think it's necessary to have that out there.

"I like the league to take care of these things. I don't think you have to plead them out in public. But when they talk about our players, I feel the need to respond . . . We try to take the high road on responding to stuff, but when it comes at us like that, we have to respond. That's our position."

Marchand was hit with a game misconduct for "clipping" on Saturday after he took a defensive approach to being hit by Vancouver's Sami Salo, and ducked down at the last minute, sending Salo over the top of him.

Salo left the game with an upper-body injury.

Because of the hit, Marchand had a hearing with the league on Monday. But prior to the hearing, Chiarelli defended Marchand, and told the media that he doesn't want his pesky forward to change his game.

"It's about protecting yourself," said Chiarelli. "That's what this is all about.

"We're a physical team, and we're going to be under the microscope for being that. But our players are generally clean. Every team has players that do dirty things. A dirty thing isn't an illegal thing, it just happens. That's why penalties are in place. That's why supplemental discipline's in place.

"But Marchand was protecting himself, and we're going to tell our players to protect themselves."

Chiarelli pointed out that Keith Ballard is notorious for hip checks, and asked what the difference was between his signature hits and the one Marchand put on Salo on Saturday.

"With respect to some of the comments made from Ballard, regarding what's a hip check and what's clipping, and all that stuff, I mean, I think that's naive too," said Chairelli.

"What makes a difference if you have the puck or if you don't, on a hip check? What's the difference? To say that there's a distinction, there's not. It's like a reverse check. And Ballard, he's notorious for that stuff, with or without the puck."

Chiarelli said he didn't know what to expect from Monday's hearing, but he does know that there's no need for the other side calling out Marchand before that hearing.

"I look at the hit, I certainly don't think it was clipping," said Chiarelli. "He hit him in the rear, if you look at it closely. But if they think it is clipping and they hand something down, fine, we'll accept it. Again, I think they do a good job. There's a lot of discussion amongst their group when they hand out these things.

"But the lobbying, I call it propaganda that comes out yesterday, in advance of the hearing, I think it's distasteful."

The most distasteful comments he heard was from Vancouver's coach, about Marchand going to "get it."

"I think we've learned our lesson over time, that, that's a real inappropriate comment," said Chiarelli. "That's a real inappropriate comment. And it's an unprofessional comment.

"There's a carryover effect from the playoffs. It's a big game, it's a hyped-up game. There's a lot of probably pent-up emotion that was behind Vigneault's comment. Having said all that, they shouldn't say stuff like that."

Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

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Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

It’s only a coincidence that it will air the same week that the Boston Bruins went Hollywood with their annual three-game road trip through California, but David Backes and his wife Kelly are going to get some solid TV time this weekend. The animal-loving couple are going to be featured Saturday night in the all-new Animal Planet special "Stars to the Rescue," which highlights the Backes family’s excellent work to ensure every animal has a ‘furever’ home.

The lifelong animal lovers have adopted five rescue pets that all made the move from St. Louis to Boston this summer, and launched Athletes for Animals in 2013, a non-profit organization supporting professional athletes and animal advocacy efforts. The 32-year-old Backes chose a Boston animal shelter as his first setting to meet with the Boston media this summer after signing with the Bruins in free agency, and spoke glowingly about his inspiration for marrying two of his passions: helping animals and sports.

“The full story is that in college we wanted an animal or two, but it just wasn’t responsible because we were renting and the landlords didn’t approve," said Backes, the proud owner of four dogs (Maverick, Rosey, Marty and Bebe) and two cats (Sunny, Poly). "We just didn’t really have the time or resources to support them, so we volunteered at the local shelter for the three years I was in school.

“When my wife [Kelly] and I moved to St. Louis, we wanted to connect with the community, be a part and use our voice to influence social change to do our part making the world a little bit of a better place. So we said, ‘Why not connect with the animal welfare rescue community?’

“We absolutely love doing it: Walking dogs, scooping litter boxes and cleaning kennels. Let’s use our voice to kick this off and see what we can do, and it really just snowballed from that to then trying to tie other guys into it. It’s not limited to the animal stuff, but the animals that don’t have a voice, and the kids that don’t have a voice, really tug at our heart strings. We want to help them with this blessing of a great voice we’ve been given as professional athletes, and to really use that to give them some help.”

The “Stars to the Rescue” special premieres on Saturday night at 8 pm on Animal Planet where there will be a full segment on the Backes family, but here’s a clip where Backes talks about his well-publicized involvement with a number of stray dog rescues during his 2014 Olympic Hockey stint with Team USA in Sochi, Russia.

Backes isn’t the only Boston athlete featured during the Animal Planet special as it also chronicles the stories of other well-known athletes and celebrities and the dogs they can't live without: Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, Baltimore Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley, Selma Blair, ESPN Correspondent Michelle Beadle, WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and more. From training buddies to comforting companions, “Stars to the Rescue” shows first-hand how these celebrities first met their cute rescued canines and how their dogs have impacted and transformed their lives for the better.

What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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