|Bruins winger Nathan Horton and Canucks winger Dale Weise fight during first period action in Boston on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012. (REUTERS/Adam Hunger)
It is a measure of the disdain that exists around the NHL for the Vancouver Canucks that even in a circumstance where they could be seen as the victim, they find a way to get ripped.
The Canucks are the most hated team in the league, their reputation for arrogance without having won anything and the antics of players like Maxim Lapierre and Alex Burrows rubbing people the wrong way, particularly in Chicago and Boston after meetings in the playoffs.
Saturday's eventful Stanley Cup final rematch between the Bruins and Canucks had goals, fights and controversy, along with a low hit by Boston's Brad Marchand on Vancouver defenceman Sami Salo which left the oft-injured blueliner with a concussion and Marchand with a five-game suspension.
There was a flurry of accusations and threats which led Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli to take an uncharacteristic step and visit the media room in Boston Monday to defend Marchand and take some shots at the Canucks.
Chiarelli was upset with a comment by Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, who said Marchand "is going to get it."
That was in response to Bruins coach Claude Julien, who said Marchand saw Salo coming at him and went low to protect himself.
"That's a stupid comment," Vigneault told Vancouver reporters. "What Marchand did there, you could end a player's career doing that and I've never seen Sami Salo take a run at any player in the NHL. All I've seen Sami Salo do is play with integrity and play the right way.
"Marchand -- this is just my feeling on this -- someday he's going to get it. Somebody is going to say enough is enough and they're going to hurt the kid, because he plays to hurt players and in my mind if the league doesn't take care of it, somebody else will."
Said Chiarelli: "I think we've learned our lesson over time that that's a real inappropriate comment. That's a real inappropriate comment and it's an unprofessional comment. There's a carryover effect from the playoffs. (The rematch) is a big game, it's a hyped-up game, and there's a lot of probably pent up emotion that goes behind that comment. Having said all that, they shouldn't say stuff like that."
Probably not a bad guess that Chiarelli is referring to the talk before the infamous Todd Bertuzzi-Steve Moore retribution incident, involving the Canucks.
"It's not normally my style to respond in the media to stuff like that, especially when there's a hearing coming up," Chiarelli said. "I would like to respond in the spirit of protecting our player. The comments made about our player, I don't like that. Brad does play on the edge, but he's no dirtier than two or three of their players."
Julien had clearly heard enough from Vigneault.
"It's unfortunate, because sometimes you just have to look in your backyard," Juliens said. "You just have to look at Burrows putting his blade in (Shawn) Thornton's throat, It's so hypocritical.
"I guess we're stupid, we're idiots and they're the smartest team in the league, so I guess we need to listen to all the gab they have to say."
I like the fact Julien isn't making any apologies for the way his team plays.
"Somehow the Bruins happen to be the team that people prefer picking on and think we're the bruisers and the example of the league," he said. "We have to live with that, but the one thing we won't do is change our style of play. Our team is built that way. I think we play pretty entertaining hockey. We're a fast team. We're a skilled team, but we're also a physical team. We're Stanley Cup champions, so I don't see why we should change."
It's too bad the players and the league couldn't agree on a new realignment scenario. You know, one that sees the Bruins and Canucks meet 20 times a year.