What a fucking weekend.
Normally, when the Bruins have a four-point weekend, the late comeback versus new #1 rival Pittsburgh and spanking of division rival Toronto would be the main talking points. But thanks to a tit-for-tat escalation of rule-breaking body contact that finally came to a (punched) head, people are still zoomed in on a weekend of cheap hits, misguided retribution, atrocious reffing, and yet at least another concussion. This means your doing it wrong, NHL.
First things first. Shawn Thornton was in the wrong. He took his Pearl Harbor Day celebration to the extreme and Brooks Orpik ended up at MGH (before flying back to Pittsburgh with the team). After the game, he owned it and made no excuses. Thornton is as honest as they come and I do believe him when he says that he didn’t intend for things to play out as they did. I don’t think he just snapped because of the events leading up to it.
After chucking Orpik to the ice in a sort of controlled-slew foot (he did hold hid jersey), Thornton delivered two quick punches that were not the type you typically associate with knocking somebody out. It looked like he wanted to give him a couple of “why-I-oughtta”s but instead of ought to doing it, he actually did it. On his way off the ice, he appeared to look as though he realized he went overboard.
Like the rest of the Bs, Thornton was heated over Orpik smoking Loui Eriksson just as the puck arrived, a hit that resulted in another concussion to a top player that just returned from a concussion. Orpik likes to fly around and bundle guys like that but, unlike many D-men his size, he doesn’t like to drop the gloves when he throws questionable hits. This didn’t stop Thornton from trying to get him to answer for his hit. But Orpik hadn’t fought in over five years and his pacifist streak would stay intact.
The Fahrenheit on the Bruins’ blood temperature hit 212 when James Neal, whose head-hunting “skills” would earn him honorary chief status in numerous Amazon River tribes, deliberately changed direction to steer his knee into the back of a fallen Brad Marchand’s squash. It was a gutless, dangerous hit that will get the piece of shit no more than a five game suspension.
During the ensuing stop in play, Thornton crossed the line. In a roundabout way, it’s as if Orpik ended up with the result Neal had penciled in for Marchand when he kneed him in the back of the head. But that’s not what happened. Thornton grabbed an unsuspecting Orpik and pummeled him and now he’ll pay the price, likely with an eight-game suspension. The hockey world is once again focused on all the wrong things because, quite simply, players just don’t have the respect they should for each other. And I don’t know what it’s gonna take for that to change.
A few more buds for your bowl…
*A familiar refrain after Saturday was that “if this happened on the street, Thornton would be arrested”. Yeah, just like he’d be arrested if he buried somebody with his head down walking down Canal Street or delivered a cross-check to a guy in Dunkin’ Donuts. But it WAS on the ice during a game. If my aunt had nuts…
*Claude was also criticized in some quarters for getting Thornton’s back (i.e. he didn’t throw him under the bus). But that’s horseshit. A coach is going to stick with his guy in that situation, particularly when he’s the guy who sends him over the boards. I got no problem with a coach circling the wagons for his player. What the hell else is he gonna do right after a game like that, side with Pittsburgh?
*Late in the third period of last night’s win in Toronto, Dion Phaneuf continued the weekend of foolishness when he recklessly buried Bruins D-man Kevan Miller into the end boards. It was a textbook match penalty that the NHL’s brutal refs missed. It looked like the Bs would have yet another concussion on their hands and be down yet another defenseman when Miller was slow to his feet then had to leave the game. Fortunately, Claude said after the game he’d be fine and will continue on the road trip. But just a horrible, useless, and cheap hit by Phaneuf that was lucky to not incur any permanent damage.
*We all know the Internet is full of shitheads that say foolish stuff, especially during and after games like Saturday. For the life of me, I don’t get how other Americans can actually bring up a terrorist attack while discussing a game and then actually mocking it when called out. But that’s exactly what the idiots at The Pens Blog did. After writing “the city of Boston cashed in the chips from everyone’s sympathy for the past 8 months, and they’re back to doing what they do”. Huh? You shitting me? Though the sentence barely makes a lick of sense, it’s still a classless callback to the Marathon bombings that has zero place in a story over a hockey game. When called on it, one of the site’s goons (Derek) first tried to accuse me of making it up. Then he played dumb with denial (“no Marathon mention IMO”). Then it was “could mean a lot of things really” but that he “stands by” the author. Then he joked that it meant “probably the Red Sox losing a game once” and that he’s “okay about it really”. Bad, right? Then the asshole who actually wrote it (Adam) chimed in yesterday morning with “what marathon bombing” and “what marathon are you talking about”. Then he actually, with a straight face claimed that he “did my math wrong. i meant sympathy from blowing the SCF late. world doesn’t revolve around marathon bombing, bud”. Are you fucking kidding me? What a fucking pussy. What a coward. Makes a classless remark about a bombing that killed an 8-year-old, among others, but then doesn’t even have the sack to own it because he claims he did his math wrong after mocking the attack. Get the fuck outta here. What an embarrassment to hockey fans and an embarrassment to the city of Pittsburgh (to say nothing of their terrible writing). Two big fucking pussies. What a karmic shame it would be if some Stoolie cyberhacker were to wreak havoc on their shitty site.