Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Feeding the fuel to the feud

There's no doubt that at the moment, the NHL's biggest blood feud is that between the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks, a combustible combination that seems to bring out the nasty in everyone whenever the two teams are mentioned, let along meet.

For a few moments on Saturday, viewers might be forgiven if they thought they had time travelled back to June of 2011 and some of the more heated and uglier moments of the Stanley Cup Final.

Last Saturday was the latest instalment of the Hatfield's and the McCoy's NHL style (or as David Shoalts' in the Globe and Mail puts a revisit of the worst of Iran and Iraq), a match up that provided for the anticipated fisticuffs and inevitable cheap shots.

This time around it was a game that featured Brad Marchand playing the role of grand villain in this episode for his blatantly cheap shot on Sami Salo, a low bridge take out that has left Salo sidelined for an undetermined amount of time.

A nasty little event that has popped up on the NHL radar and as we see above, resulted in Chief Justice Brendan Shanahan providing for a five game suspension for that particular dirty shot.

Shanahan's punishment has done little to mollify the Canucks, nor temper the hostility of the Bruins, in fact four days later, Saturday's game still seems to be one of the main topics of discussion whenever the NHL comes up in discussion.

And as the teams and players opined on the results of Saturday's latest bout of mayhem, the media on both sides of the 49th weighed in, recounting each sentence as though papal encyclicals, anxious to interpret and perhaps invent, all in the cause of good copy and or good ratings and sales.

From north of the line:

Vancouver Sun-- Bruins' Marchand out - but Cancuks' Salo may be out longer
Vancouver Sun-- A bridge to far?  Bruin Marchand's Salo submarine not his first...
Vancouver Sun-- Bruins' Marchand suspended five NHL games for "predatory," dangerous...
Vancouver Sun-- Canucks' pushback against Bruins meant more than score
Vancouver Sun-- Vancouver wins game but loses Salo, Canucks furious...
Vancouver Sun-- Canuck power-play beats big, bad Bruins...
Vancouver Province-- Bruins-Canucks brouhaha not likely to settle
Vancouver Province-- Bruins' Marchand and Chiarelli could be fined for comments
Vancouver Province-- Canucks 'posers and floppers': Boston sports columnist
Vancouver Province-- Canucks' Vigneault on Bruins' Marchand: "someday he's going to get it"
Vancouver Province-- Canucks wage hockey "holy war" against Boston
Sportsnet-- Province columnist "ambushed" by Boston media ...
Globe and Mail-- 'Some day he's going to get it" Vigneault says of Marchand
Globe and Mail-- Canucks win Stanley Cup rematch against Bruins
Globe and Mail-- Bruins' Marchand facing hearing for hit on Canucks' Salo
Globe and Mail-- Canucks - Bruins rivalry enters the sandbox
National Post-- Canucks finally get payback
National Post-- Brad Marchand tried to injure Sami Salo: Canucks
National Post-- Canucks win heated Stanley Cup rematch over Bruins
Toronto Star-- Canucks win nasty Stanley Cup rematch in hostile territory

From points due south:

Boston Herald-- Brad Marchand sticks to his story
Boston Herald-- Brad Marchand frustrated by sentence
Boston Herald-- Canucks anger B's brass
Boston Herald-- Marchand suspended for five games
Boston Herald-- Brad Marchand defends self
Boston Herald-- Brad Marchand: My instincts were to protect myself
Boston Herald-- Bruins caught short in feisty Cup rematch
Boston Herald-- Canucks take bite out of Bruins
Boston Herald-- NHL absolves Lucic following wild melee
Boston Globe-- Marchand dirty player?
Boston Globe-- Entertaining matinee lived up to the billing
Boston Globe-- Power punched
Boston Globe-- Poor decisions prove very costly
Boston Globe-- Marchand ban: Five games
Boston Globe:  Chiarelli takes Canucks to task, defends Marchand
NESN-- Bad Blood from Bruins-Canucks rivalry bringing out ugly side of sports
NESN-- Canucks expose One of Boston's few flaws that could prove costly in playoffs
ESPN-- Bruins' Brad Marchand disappointed
ESPN-- Neely: Marchand penalty was too harsh
Comcast-- Thornton lays smackdown on Vancouver columnist

It all makes for fascinating copy for the local newspapers and no doubt the thing of a producer's dream for the many sports radio and television shows not only in Boston and Vancouver but across the continent.

Will destiny bring these two malcontents together once again?

Only the Hockey Gods know for sure.

The two teams won't renew acquaintances again this year unless they meet in another Stanley Cup final, an event that, considering the animosity that is being fomented across the board from players to fans, leaves you wondering if the NHL is hopeful of, or fearful of.

No comments: