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It seems like Mark Recchi and his Boston Bruin teammates were the largest proponent of the Hate-on Vancouver movement, but with recent developments is the tide beginning to turn?
Last Saturday's game was yet another very entertaining Canuck affair. While this team and it's star players might not get the positive attention they deserve, for those in the larger hockey East who pay attention to what's going on on the left coast there's been some very exciting hockey played in the Pacific North West. Vancouver has a slew of rivalries brewing, like conference rivals Detroit, San Jose and Chicago, but the mother of all grudges is with the boys from Beantown...too bad we only see them once in a blue moon.
Both teams are the class of their respective conferences right now, and it's very possible they'll renue acquaintances in a rematch of last year's cup final, and if Saturday's tilt was any indicator of the lack of love lost between these two sides then it could be even more heated than round one.
Shawn Thornton, considered to be the spark that woke the Bruins up when he entered the series in game three, is among the most effective pugilists in the league, but do not underestimate his ability to be an affective all around player. He scored double-digits goals and is a very adequate skater, but he's still a goon, and in this instalment of the Nux/Bruins his temper became the Achilles Heal of the Bears, not the catalyst. He was lured in to a brawl which gave the Canucks powerplay time, cost them their star power-forward Milan Lucic just about three minutes in to the contest, and eventually the game.
In that melee Nux forward Dale Weise had an epic slug-fest with Bruin forward Nathan Horton, and upon leaving the box after a loud tyrade Thornton tried to fight Weise all in the first period. His reputation as a veteran game changer has to be called in to question for those antics. Lucic has been a lightning rod for attention all season for his cheap-shot on Vezina calibre goalie Ryan Miller. Perhaps the most contreversial of the Bruins, Brad Marchand, had been flying below the radar before his submarine hit on Sami Salo, which resulted in a concussion for the oft-injured Finn. This dragged Bruin coach Claude Julien and GM Peter Chiarelli in to the fray, and their comments were less than flattering. After being suspended Marchand addressed the media refering to himself as a small player just trying to defend himself against Salo, one of the classiest men in the league, and tried to warp Alain Vigneault's words in to a threat. Lets not forget that former disgraced league disciplinarian Colin Campbell's son Gregory is a Bruin. Marchand's suspension was appropriate, but there are many who feel the Bruins have been getting off scott-free for their thuggery.
It all seems like the Bruins might just have gone a step too far. Maybe Recchi should've retired his opinions too. The attitude, performance and actions of the Bruins are going to turn them from parade-master to public enemy number one. It doesn't help that Andrew Ebbet and Sami Salo have been added to the long list of players to be severely injured against the Bruins, the sum-total of the punishment for literally bludgeoning their way to the top of the East: This one long past due suspension to Marchand.
If you doubt me, why don't you ask the Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadiens or Calgary Flames what they think of Boston? These are big, influential markets with a strong distaste for all things Bruin. Looks like the shoe is on the other foot now.
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