Marchand: Cup Finals much bigger than finger pointing

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Marchand: Cup Finals much bigger than finger pointing

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON With the threat of a two-minute minor penalty and a 10-minute misconduct awaiting any player that throws an extended face wash, bites a finger or mockingly dangles his fingers in front of another players face, its expected that the finger play is going to cease in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

No more Maxim Lapierre finger-dangling, Alex Burrows finger-biting or retaliatory finger jabs from Mark Recchi or Milan Lucic. The message was sent loud and clear from Bostons side in a scolding by Claude Julien amidst the victorious Game 3 festivities, and it was backed up by the NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations, Mike Murphy, in a discussion with the media during the Tuesday off day.

A habitual line-crosser like Brad Marchand knows that the series will still hold plenty of fury, intensity and physicality, but it appears as if the finger stuff has been played out three games into the Stanley Cup grudge match.

The finger stuff doesnt prove anything," Marchand said. "It doesnt do anything. Its good for a laugh or two, but for the most part its not effective. You dont want to be sitting in the box because of it. You can only see that so many times before its old news. Were done with the finger stuff.

While the killer face-washes are certainly going to be curbed on Wednesday night, it appears that just about everything else will continue to be in play between two teams with a huge game for control of the series.

"We're all fighting for something we've wanted for so long, Marchand said. Both teams won't let the other one take it from them.

If the Canucks take Game 4 and push a 3-1 lead in the series with Nathan Horton out of the lineup, thats a virtually impossible mountain to climb for the Black and Gold.

Meanwhile the Bruins can really push the momentum hard if they can even up the series and continue hammering away at the Canucks physically while slowing them down from their frenetic early game pace. There's an interesting pattern for the Canucks as theyre sitting at 5-5 in Games 3-5 during the middle of their four playoff series' in this seasons Stanley Cup run.

Were in the Finals right now, and the refs dont want any light calls to cost us games," said Marchand. "So the refs are not going to be calling it too safe out there. Theyll let us play and let us battle, and obviously if things get too out of control then theyll take care of it. Its the Finals. Thats how it's got to be. It has to be a battle every night with guys throwing their body on the line and making sacrifices.

Jordan Caron skated with the Bruins during morning skate for the first time during the playoffs, and will be a part of the pregame warm-up as one of Bostons 23 skaters following the season-ending concussion for Nathan Horton.

Tyler Seguin did such a good job when he stepped in and he was ready to play, Caron said. I think I just need to be ready like he was."

Marc Savard is expected to be in attendance again at TD Garden for the Boston Bruins after making it to one game during the Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Claude Julien wouldnt say whether Nathan Horton would be in attendance for Game 4 just 48 hours after his severe concussion at the hands of Aaron Rome, but the power forwards presence is doubtful given the symptoms and issues in the immediate aftermath of a serious head injury.

"I cant say one way or the other because I dont have an answer, said Julien. As you know being around a bunch of people is not the best thing for people dealing with concussions."

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

Blidh plans to bring some energy to Bruins after call-up

Blidh plans to bring some energy to Bruins after call-up

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Anton Blidh plans on keeping things pretty straightforward on his first call-up to the NHL. 

The former sixth-round pick of the Bruins has earned his stripes at the AHL level with Providence over the last couple of seasons, and comes to Boston as a gritty, energy forward capable of stirring things up in otherwise sleepy games. There’s also a bit of offensive upside for a fourth line-type player with five goals and nine points with 22 penalty minutes and a plus-eight rating in 19 games for the P-Bruins this season. 

It remains to be seen if the Blidh call-up means that the Bruins intend to scratch a player or that somebody is questionable for Saturday afternoon’s game in Buffalo, but Patrice Bergeron did miss Friday’s practice without any real defined reason for his absence. The 21-year-old Swede said he plans to play to his strengths if he gets into the lineup for the Black and Gold, and that could mean getting under the skin of his Sabres opponents. 

“It’s my first time called up, so I’m happy,” said Blidh, who was asked what he'll bring if he gets into the lineup. “I’ll just play simple and play my own game: be hard on the puck and play with some energy. I worked hard [in Providence] and then I got some confidence. I’m not a goal-scorer, but I scored a couple of goals and got some confidence.”

Claude Julien hasn’t been able to catch up Blidh’s work since the season got started, but was pleased by the youngster’s progress in training camp, where he earned notice for his feisty, physical play on a line with Noel Acciari. 

“They said he’s playing well, so they brought him up. We’ll get to see him, hopefully tomorrow,” said Julien. “I didn’t hear a ton of fine details aside from him being a guy that was certainly playing with a lot of energy. I didn’t mind him in training camp either. He works really hard and competes hard, and we could use that.”

That would certainly be the case after watching the Bruins go through the motions for long stretches Thursday night against Carolina before essentially stealing a game that they didn’t deserve to win. 

Friday, Dec. 2: Toews vs. Matthews

Friday, Dec. 2: Toews vs. Matthews

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading, while everybody in New England is in mourning over the latest Gronk booboo. 

*A pretty neat sharpshooting video with Jonathan Toews and that young whippersnapper Auston Matthews squaring off against each other. 

*Craig Custance looks a little deeper into the situation with the Florida Panthers and how things are stabilizing after the rough firing of Gerard Gallant last week. 

*Now. let’s get to the real important stuff: the San Jose Sharks website has put together their Movember rankings for the player’s mustaches. 

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bruce Garrioch says that the plans for an outdoor game in Ottawa are again back on the NHL’s agenda. 

*Erik Erlendsson has put together a “Lightning Insider” website where you can find all the latest news about the Tampa Bay franchise. Check it out. 

*As guys such as Anton Khudobin prove when they’re thrust into the starting spot, backup goalies matter in today’s NHL. 

*For something completely different: a mash-up of Kylo Ren and “Girls” from the mad mind of Adam Driver is exactly just that.