VANCOUVER – His team had just lost 6-2 to the Vancouver Canucks but it was the antics of one of his own players that upset Boston Bruins’ coach Claude Julien the most.
Julien wasn’t impressed that pest Brad Marchand had skated by the Canucks bench, then mimicked raising the Stanley Cup and kissing his NHL championship ring. Marchand made the gestures after a scrum with Canuck centre Ryan Kesler early in the third period. It was Boston’s first game in Vancouver since defeating the Canucks in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final.
“Sometimes his emotions get the better of him,” said Julien. “We work with him and we are going to continue to work with him. The perception it gives our organization is not what you want to see with those kind of things.
“I don’t know what he said to you guys but it’s certainly something we are going to deal with. He’s too good a player, and we don’t want him to be a different player, but there are certain things we want him to be different at. From what I hear, what happened, that’s definitely not something we will accept in our organization.”
Marchand defended his actions by saying he was reacting to Kesler “eye-gouging” him.
“I did it after he was eye-gouging me,” he said. “My emotions were a little high after that. He’s welcomed to say what ever he wants.
“We both play different games. What ever happens on the ice, stays out there.”
Canuck captain Henrik Sedin has a history with Marchand. During Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final Marchand punched him several times in the head. Sedin wasn’t surprised by Marchand’s recent act.
“It shows what kind of guy he is,” said Sedin, who scored a power-play goal during the game. “He is a great player. It’s too bad he is acting like he does but that’s the way it is.”
The sellout crowd at Rogers Arena booed Marchand each time he touched the puck. To be expected, said Marchand.
“You can tell when we played them in the finals how intense their fans are,” he said. “They showed that again tonight.
“They love their team, they have a pretty crazy crowd. We were expecting that.”
It was an ugly end to what had been a pretty good looking Canadian road trip for the Bruins.
The loss followed wins in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton and snapped a four-game win streak. Boston, which is second in the Eastern Conference with a 22-8-2 record, has won eight of its last 11 games.
“We’ve been through a lot this week,” said Julien. “We were battling the flu and came out of this road trip 3-1, so I can’t complain.
“It could have been worse but our guys showed character. Every day you never knew who was going to be out, whether we’d be short or not.”
Reilly Smith scored both goals for the Bruins, who outshot Vancouver 41-30.
Besides having players battling the flu during the trip, Daniel Paille (upper body) and Dougie Hamilton (lower body) were sent back to Boston.
The team was already without Shawn Thornton, who was suspended 15 games Saturday for punching and injuring Penguins’ defenceman Brooks Orpik. The Bruins placed Loui Eriksson (concussion) and Adam McQuaid (lower body) on injured reserve and Chris Kelly (broken fibula) on long term injured reserve.
It looked liked the injury bug had struck again when forward Jarome Ignila left during the first period of Saturday’s game favouring his hand.
A television replay showed Iginla’s left ring finger protruding at a bizarre angle as he headed to the dressing room following a fight with Kesler.
The altercation started with just over six minutes gone in the game when Iginla levelled Kesler with a clean check. Kesler leaped to his feet, the two players shed their gloves, and began exchanging punches.
Kesler drew a loud roar from the crowd when he waved his arms above his head on the way to the penalty box. Iginla went straight to the Bruins’ dressing room. He didn’t return until the start of the second period. He later traded punches with Vancouver defenceman Dan Hamhuis in a third-period scrum.
“That’s the kind of toughness Iggy has,” said Julien. “He wasn’t going to be denied the opportunity to come back and he made that decision.”