B-Ruining the game...
"The hate was on full display." John Shorthouse commented at the end of the first period.
"Wolf pack mentality by the Boston Bruins" - Nick Kypreos.
If the Canucks are the most hated team in hockey, it is because Boston has the most hate to give.
The way they play the game, Boston makes the wave of penalties absolutely necessary and force the hand of the officials - if officials resort to the rulebook, there are practically no skaters left in the game by the end of the first period. Who is ruining the game? The received logic is that the officials ruin the game when the exert control over the sideshow, but in this context, Boston is ruining the game; the officials only start to participate in that if they start "letting it go", the implications being that a war breaks out and few are left standing; and hockey becomes second fiddle to punk antics. Boston literally over-reacts to everything - this is how they set the standard low for their own conduct, with consistent over-reaction, of which only some can be called, and they are hair-trigger sensitive to what they will tolerate from their opponents, setting off such over-reactions. Aside from forcing imbalanced official impact in the game, it is actually a rip-off for those of us who want to watch hockey. We are used to 60 minutes of hockey and instead we see about 5 or 10 minutes of it. By the second period the official's heads are in a spin and they practically become complicit, because to call everything would actually make the game a backlog of powerplays. They lose their ability to make even an icing call. The B-ruining of the game is off the tracks; the game is 2-1 with 6 minutes remaining in the second period, and it is on life-support. Shockingly, it is on the border of boring - at this point, the life is all but out of the Boston Gardens.
This is not very good for the durability of the athletes involved, who are expected to perform for a hundred games and provide the entertainment that fans want.
There might have been 30 seconds of consecutive skating at some point, but otherwise, it is garbage hockey. Very little flow; a persistent feeling of dust settling in the air. It is almost as though the Boston Bruins are over-compensating - they aren't that bad of a hockey team. But they are on a hair-trigger - perhaps trying to avoid being shut down the way they were in 3 games against Vancouver last year. Boston won the Stanley Cup, but instead of the air of champions, they are carrying themselves like like they lost, with a chip on their shoulder. The reckless abandon they resorted to may have paid off when the finish-line was in sight in the SC Finals, but in game 42 what it spells for the NHL is unsustainable.
It just goes from anger to tragi-comedy. The bottom line is that the intent to injure is literally escalated 10 or 100 fold and the lack of respect is fanned. All the tough posturing and cheap shots taken by Boston is a contradiction - they are trying to command respect using disrespect. In my mind, they won the Cup despite the antics. Would they be a better hockey team if they were more disciplined? Boston ironically is a very dramatic team - despite the posturing, they are prone to their share of diving and embellishment and whining about calls. The result is reductive for the game and the NHL - it becomes impossible to respect them as their persistent intent to injure threatens to take too many key players out of the game. That is simply bad for the game for a number of reasons, not least of which is that as a spectator sport, people want to see key players playing - when a team so regularly and willfully disregards the safety of players, it makes it very difficult to appreciate their success the way we would a Joe Sakic, Steve Yzerman, or Ray Bourque.
So the question that comes to mind, is this actually strategic for Boston? Boston is behaving like Vancouver are the Champions. Perhaps there is something to that.
Surprise... Marchand just stooped even lower - an obvious intent to injure and cower from a body check, against one of the true class acts in the NHL, Sami Salo. If the Canucks have lost Salo, win or lose, this game will come at too great a cost. In an injury prone sport, Boston sets the standard of crossing the line. It doesn't make sense or respect.
Garbage is being thrown on the ice to dispute the call, but that only makes literal the kind of hockey Boston was already throwing on the ice.
The actual hockey almost scarcely matters at this point - it results in at least a serious injury a game and a suspension or two (or three) - add that up = B-Ruining the game...
"Bowness is going through the gum."
John Garrett captured it perfectly.
He was referring to how angry and outspoken Canucks assistant coach Rick Bowness was behind the bench during today's whatever-that-was that played out at the Boston Garden. A gong show.
The game is over. The Canucks were vindicated but at what cost?
The aftermath? The body count? At this point, who knows.
Well done, Boston - you didn't even get a point out of it.
The same building that taunted a player with a broken back in last year's SC Final, today could be heard protesting Marchand's cowardly injuring of Sami Salo.
The only point you make is that the Stanley Cup was lost on you. A poor loser is one thing. But a bad winner?
What a sense of entitlement.