MONTREAL By and large, Claude Julien has given up weighing in with his opinions on borderline hits and hockey offenses that might garner the attention of Brendan Shanahan and his Department of Player Safety.
There were a handful of sketchy on-ice incidents that alternated between unnoticed and handled by the games overwhelmed referees at the Bell Centre on Wednesday night, but a pair gained traction in the hours following the contest.
A knee-on-knee collision between Hal Gill and Rich Peverley has sent the Bruins winger back to Boston to undergo testing and meetings with doctors to determine the extent of an injury that knocked him out in the third period. Despite lamenting the loss of Peverley while already one right winger short in Nathan Horton, the Bs coach didnt want to weigh in too strongly after reviewing the game video.
It doesnt matter. Whether I like it or dont like it I dont make the decisions, said Julien with a smile on his face. Were going to move forward with that. Im done commenting on that kind of stuff.
Julien did actually comment a little more substantively when asked about the Brad Marchand clipping penalty on Alexei Emelin and whether the Bruins expected any league reprimand for a player thats already been suspended five games for clipping Sami Salo. There were an entirely different set of circumstances on the Emelin hit, which Marchand seemed to target above the knee, and it was clearly a softer collision with the Montreal defenseman able to skate away from the impact.
Were at a stage where it doesnt matter what we think. Its what they look at and what they feel is the right thing, said Julien. You have to respect what theyre trying to do and move forward here.
My eyes saw Marchands butt hit the other guys butt. Clipping and a suspension is going after a guys knees. Thats the way I saw it and Im hoping the league sees it the same way.
While there's been no word about the league looking into the Gil kneeing hit, Brendan Shanahan addressed the Marchand clip Thursday afternoon in several tweets.
"Like all penalties on the ice, not all "clips" rise to the level of supplemental discipline," he tweeted. "This check by Marchand was delivered to the upper thighhip and not the knee area. We don't like it, but not SD."
Celtics fans aren’t the only ones thinking of ways Kyrie Irving could end up in Boston.
Even though it would be hard to imagine last season’s No. 2 seed in the East trading one of the best players in the league to last season’s No. 1 seed in the East, ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote Monday that the Celtics have indeed called the Cavs about the 25-year-old point guard.
Most teams, including the asset-rich Celtics, have placed the obligatory call letting Cleveland know they would like to be kept in the loop, sources say. Boston could offer Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and one of their golden picks -- Brooklyn's pick next season, or the Lakers/Kings pick they got from Philly in the Markelle Fultz deal. It's unclear if they would dangle all of that, but those picks could represent the young stud Cleveland needs. Regardless, a deal between the East's two best teams seems unlikely.
While nobody’s counting on Irving joining the Celtics, a trade of Irving elsewhere could still swing the balance in the East in Boston’s favor depending on what Cleveland gets back. Irving reportedly requested a trade from Cleveland earlier this month.
The figures and briefs are in for the Bruins and Ryan Spooner for their arbitration hearing Wednesday, but both sides are still hoping that a deal can be reached prior to it. The Bruins have submitted a one-year contract offer for $2 million. Spooner’s camp countered with $3.85 million, creating a sizeable gap of almost $2 million between the two.
Spooner, 25, has averaged 12 goals and 44 points the past two seasons with the B’s, including 35 power-play points while working the half-wall for a Boston PP that’s been ranked seventh overall two seasons in a row.
Spooner is coming off a two-year contract worth $1.95 million and his is a complicated situation for the Black and Gold. Spooner holds significant value as a trade piece and has been an important part of a very effective power play, but he also finished the playoffs as a healthy scratch after going quietly the past few months of the season.
Spooner was one of the major pieces discussed in trade talks with the Minnesota Wild around the draft prior to the Wild shipping Marco Scandella to the Buffalo Sabres and he's been involved in trade discussions with several teams the past couple of years.
The Bruins have prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson waiting in the wings if/when the B’s decided to spin Spooner to another team, but they also enjoy his speed and playmaking when he’s on his game. There’s clearly a scenario where the Bruins start the season with Spooner installed as their third-line center and perhaps explore more trade discussions while seeing if a full season under Bruce Cassidy can unlock his significant offensive potential.
If that's still in the plan, they’d be wise to come to an agreement and avoid the hearing Wednesday where they’d ostensibly be bad-mouthing a player they’d want back on their team. The Bruins have the right to walk away from Spooner should he be awarded the full $3.85 million by the arbiter. Still, it’s hard to believe they’d do that given that he’s a homegrown asset with trade value.
The feeling at this address is that there’s a deal to be made between the two sides for something around the $3 million mark. That’s something that would be worthwhile for the Bruins if they have any designs on continuing on with Spooner.