BOSTON (CBS) — Brad Marchand, in his three seasons in the NHL, has embellished more than a couple of calls. He’s done it on the national stage, during playoff games, and video evidence is just a quick YouTube search away. There’s no arguing against it.
So when Claude Julien spoke to the media Sunday night and railed on P.K. Subban, the Montreal Canadiens and the rest of the league for “embarrassing the game” by embellishing injuries, many Bruins critics were quick to point out that No. 63 has been known to be a fake artist from time to time.
Julien again addressed the media at practice on Monday, and while he didn’t back off any of his comments, he did address any such tactics taken by his own players.
“That’s my philosophy,” Julien said of players’ responsibility to not fake injury in order to draw a penalty. “I’m not going to say one of our players would never embellish, because that would be hypocritical. But I’m going to tell you right now that after it’s done, he would hear from me that I don’t want embellishment on our hockey club. Our organization doesn’t want embellishment from our hockey club. If we keep the guys accountable to that, if they do it and you keep them accountable, then we’re helping clean up the game, and I think everybody has to take that approach.”
Julien stressed that while Sunday night’s comments came after a loss to the Canadiens, his message was not strictly directed at Subban or Montreal.
“I didn’t question their character, because they play hard and they’re a good team. The only thing I talked about was their embellishment, and it wasn’t just directed at them. It was directed at what we’re trying to clean up in the league here,” Julien said. “There are times where certain things frustrate you, and I thought after the game, the embellishment is something that to me embarrasses the game. I have a strong opinion on certain things and I stick by it. We’re a professional league here. Basketball’s been through it and they’ve kind of cleaned that up. And I’m hoping we’re going to do the same thing with hockey.”
Julien said he doesn’t anticipate being punished by the league, because he didn’t call out the referees but rather blamed players for making referees’ jobs more difficult.
“I know for a fact that a lot of the coaches have talked about it, and we don’t like it,” Julien said. “It’s important that we help the game progress by doing the right things.”
Bruins winger Milan Lucic, who has been called for penalties as often for his reputation as a big, bruising body as often as he has for actually breaking the rules, echoed Julien’s sentiment about Bruins players embellishing to draw a call.
“You definitely would like to see a lot less embellishment,” Lucic said. “I know the way that we are as a team and how we play and the type of people that we are, we don’t really accept that type of play here in this room. We don’t like our guys diving, we don’t like our guys embellishing and stuff like that. You definitely don’t like to see it around the league and hopefully the right calls are made and hopefully guys will take pride in not being that type of guy or that type of player.”
Critics have also expressed outrage at Zdeno Chara for fighting Alexei Emelin, who has metal plates in his face after facial reconstruction surgery stemming from a fight in the KHL in 2009. Chara went after Emelin for a cross-check on Tyler Seguin in the neutral zone, which was applied with enough force to break Emelin’s stick.
Lucic said it’s not Chara’s responsibility to know that about Emelin, and Emelin himself has a responsibility to act a certain way if fighting is off-limits.
“No, not at all. If that’s the case, wear a cage for the whole year,” Lucic said. “If you got a plate in your face and don’t expect for guys to fight you and stuff like that, maybe don’t take cheap shots and cross-check guys and break your stick over him. If you’re going to do stuff like that, you should be expecting what happens after.
“I mean if I did that and cheap-shotted a guy, and Z was on a different team and we were playing against each other and I did the same thing, I would expect the same reaction from someone else if I did the same thing,” Lucic said.