The Boston Bruins have learned a valuable lesson after Marc Savard was taken down by a repeat offender in blindside hits in Matt Cooke.
Last night was a shining example on what the Bruins will do if a player is hit in dirty fashion.
The recipient? Raffi Torres.
The Phoenix Coyote forward has been known to dish out some punishing hits, but he is well-known around the league for hits that are known to be dirty. Just ask Brent Seabrook, Jordan Eberle, Milan Michalek, Max Pacioretty and, just recently, Andrew Ference.
Fortunately for Ference, he doesn't seem to have been affected by the hit, but it was enough for Adam McQuaid to step to the defense of his teammate.
"It was kind of a race for the puck, but kind of an early, reverse hit on Fer,” said McQuaid. “I kind of saw his head snap back. I just wanted to get in there and stand up for a teammate.”
Now I can see some of the readers saying, "but the Bruins play dirty."
I'm going to digress here for a moment or two...
To a degree, I will agree that some of the hits that the Bruins have made were dirty, or unnecessary. Just like any other team in the NHL.
Most recently, Milan Lucic's hit on Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller was unnecessary. He could have veered, but we don't know what was in his head at this point. Had he veered, it could have been an injury to himself as there was a potential to blow his knee, twist something and instead he went head-on.
On the other coin, he could have made the hit much worse. Instead of making himself compact and explode on Miller, he stood up and that would cause Lucic's impact to spread out and actually lessened the impact.
Do I agree with the hit? Absolutely not.
Go back a little further and we have Johnny Boychuk who took Vancouver's Mason Raymond out of a play that resulted in a serious injury. Some called it dirty.
The problem with this is that the slow-motion video is repeatedly showing the play and people are shouting the puck was LONG gone. So slow-motion video is deemed to be so accurate to some, others have a brain and watch the play in real time.
Anyone who has played the game of hockey or has any hockey knowledge will tell you that you are taught to finish the check.
In real time, this play lasts about two seconds. See about the four-second mark in real time. Plus the fact that both players got tangled up, it was a hockey play that went bad.
Further back, the Max Pacioretty hit from Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara. While very unfortunate, it was a hockey play that went wrong. Did he interfere with Pacioretty? Absolutely. Did he slam his head with his hand into the stanchion? This photo clearly shows his forearm into Pacioretty's shoulder and he was being rubbed out into the boards. The stanchion was too far out and had no function in the structure of the rink.
Shortly after, another Canadien was hit into the stanchion (opposite side of the the Pacioretty hit) and it was later recessed from the boards...like it should have been to begin with.
My point is, yes, the Bruins do play with aggression and yes they can be borderline dirty. I cannot, in good conscience, deny this.
But when you have known players who repeatedly do the same thing and hardly anything called on them? If they are on your favourite team, please refrain from calling the kettle black because your guy(s) is/are the pot.
At any rate, the Bruins are the type of team that most fans would love it have. Hard-hitting, make their opponents earn every inch of ice and back up their teammates.
If you are not that kind of fan, then may I suggest figure skating...
I welcome all questions, comments and, undoubtedly, nasty remarks.
This is Cory Ducey saying "Hit Hard, Keep It Clean and Happy New Year".