James Neal James Neal James Neal

Boston Brutality: Game One Gets Ugly

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Boston was holding onto a one goal lead late in the second period, when James Neal took a pass and turned toward the offensive blue line when Brad Marchand came full stride, with his hands up and knocked Neal into the side boards in front of the Pittsburgh Penguins bench.

Marchand was called for boarding and served his two minute minor, but he made sure to plead his case on the way to the sin-bin. Now, Marchand has a history of cheap shots, and dirty plays, and for that he has earned himself the number 3 spot in the NHL’s Most Hated Players according to Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated. But, when a player has his back to you, you simply do not hit them. It’s as easy as that. In full stride, Marchand nearly lunged himself into Neal, sending him into the boards.

Most of the attention in game one between the Penguins and Bruins was focused on the hit Matt Cooke put on Adam McQuaid. Now, the difference between these two hits, is McQuaid knew the hit was coming, he clearly saw Cooke behind him, and he left himself vulnerable to the hit. Neal, was completely vulnerable and Marchand appeared, seemingly, out of no where.

Marchand’s hit on Neal came just 60 seconds after the hit on his teammate Adam McQuaid. And, then again after the period had ended, the two teams exchanged shots. Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin threw a few punches with Boston’s Patrice Bergeron. It all started on the skate to the bench, when captain Sidney Crosby gave goaltender Tuukka Rask a little shove and a few words. Tempers escalated and Boston captain Zdeno Chara took matters into his own hands and shared his concerns with Crosby.

Now, I don’t mean to get away from the subject or anything, but I would just really like to say something. Sidney Crosby is one of the most skilled players I’ve ever seen. He is also the subject of many hate filled tweets on my timeline on a nightly basis during Pens games. So, all I want to say, is enough with the tough guy act Sid. Get back to playing hockey. No more cheap shots, smacks, hacks, or shoves behind the referees where you know you can get away with it. Just go out, and play hockey.

Matt Cooke recieved a game misconduct, and Adam McQuaid left the game with an upper body injury.

I don’t like seeing hits like this. I love hockey, and I love it even more when a rivalry is built in the playoffs when two hard-nosed teams collide in an all out physical war, but no one wants to see this. Both hits were illegal, both hits had the potential to injure, and one of them even did. No suspensions were, or will be handed out to either player, but I’m sure someone will be talking to them both at some point.

Now, it’s the playoffs, and we’re down to four remaining teams. The intensity is building, and everyone knows they are only a few games away from a potential spot in the Stanley Cup Finals. The games are going to be physical, and I have no doubt, that after game one, the rest of this series is going to be very interesting. I just hope that they can clean up the dirtiness of these hits and get back to playing clean, physical, rough hockey. No one wants to see players get hurt, and I hope we won’t have to touch on this subject again, but unfortunately, that’s the game. And so, I look forward to watching the rest of this series that has promised to be a great one with the Boston Bruins up by one, it will be interesting to see how the Penguins can respond on home ice after suffering a 3-0 shutout loss in game one.