Friday, February 9, 2007

Karen Guregian Says the Lack of Fight Might be the Bruins Problem

After watching Bruins rookie David Krejci be concussed by a flying elbow from rugged Sabre Adam Mair, Bruins fans wondered where the retribution was. As Karen Guregian, from the Boston Herald, writes,

There’s an unwritten rule in hockey that says if an opponent takes a liberty with a teammate, there will be hell to pay. In other words, Mair should have been taken to task for the questionable hit on Krejci. He had to take his medicine, only there was no one on the Bruins willing to dish it out in a swift and decisive manner.

More from the article. Some great quotes in here. Former Pen, Kevin Stevens adds:

“It’s an unwritten rule. You don’t sit there and tell someone they have to do it or don’t have to do it. It just happens,” said former Penguins and Bruins [team stats] power forward Kevin Stevens, now a pro scout for Pittsburgh. “You don’t think about it. You even have guys who don’t fight, do it to stick up for a teammate. I’ve seen a lot of guys who don’t fight that often jump in there. They’ll take a beating, but they’ll do it for the team. I think you have to do it.”

“The game has definitely changed, but it still happens,” said Stevens. “I saw (Sheldon) Souray do it the other night. Colby Armstrong hit Saku Koivu behind the play. And Souray jumped him right away. It was a clean hit, but Souray still went after him. The Canadiens wound up losing in overtime, but it gave the Canadiens and their fans a huge lift. For him jumping in, the Penguins may have scored a power-play goal, but I think it was important to do that.”

Adds former Bruins great Cam Neely:

“Contact is part of hockey. “You want emotion. You want guys sticking up for each other. The thing I loved about hockey is something Harry (Sinden) used to say. There’s no out of bounds. There are unwritten rules and codes that we all lived by. We’d police ourselves. Now if you touch someone, you’re in the box.“It’s not the game fans grew up watching, especially the ones around here.”
Former Bruins coach and host of the most popular hockey show in the World, Don Cherry says:

Jaromir Jagr has no enforcer, and he gets whacked around pretty good. Sidney Crosby is getting speared and is getting the (expletive) kicked out of him. How do you think Saku Koivu feels having the best defenseman in the league coming to his rescue? Now, you can’t have a Souray or a (Zdeno) Chara do that all the time, but it’s admired when they do and it makes a difference. Teams that are pushed around aren’t going to win the Stanley Cup. Look at Anaheim. They lead the league in fights. Brian Burke has put together a terrific team. They have balance. They’re smoking everyone”

I just know this... There was a time when everyone was terrified of the black uniform. Sometimes, we’d lose a game, but because we’d win five fights, we’d get a standing ovation walking out of the building. Fans loved us because we were the toughest team out there “Sweetheart" hockey is not the Bruins. In Boston, they’ve got to be the toughest. When you put that black sweater on, you
can’t play sweetheart hockey. If you don’t stick up for each other, you’re not going anywhere.”

And to make you feel even better about your Bruins, current GM Peter Chiarelli, takes a page from our great Commissioner's book and denies that anything is wrong:

“Do we need to get tougher? Yes, we do,” Chiarelli said. “We need more team toughness, but we have to be smart about it. Do we need an enforcer? No. We just have to play mentally tougher and physically tougher.”

Said Chiarelli: “Can the players take care of the justice? I’m not sure they can.”

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