While the Canucks were getting into Boston this afternoon, their arrival led to some rather interesting reactions from GM Mike Gillis and coach Alain Vigneault. While many would be curious about what their mindset is coming to Boston with a 2-0 lead, they had other things on their mind like standing up for one of their players.
During last night’s Game 2, defenseman Kevin Bieksa was felled with a slash to the back of his leg from Bruins forward Rich Peverley. The chop dropped Bieksa to the ice and left him hobbled for the remainder of the game and leaving him a step or two slow, the Canucks certainly took notice of who did it and they’re unhappy that there was no call made on the play.
During today’s press conference Vigneault made it known that they’re not happy. Commence the politicking.
Q. Alain, you knew what the Bruins were about before this series, one of the more physical teams in this league. Bieksa and Kesler were hobbled a little bit last night. Do you sense them playing that card in this series?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I think if you look at the stat sheet at the end of the day, we’re hitting as hard as they are. If you look at the stat sheets throughout the playoffs, we’re the team that’s got the most hits. That’s part of our game.
Kevin didn’t get hit by Peverley, he got a cheap shot in the back of the knee, so that’s totally different. He went down because of something that obviously you don’t want to see in the game.
But at the end of the day, we know that they’re a big, physical team. We can play a speed game, but we can also play a physical-type game, which I think we’ve shown throughout the playoffs.
Gillis was asked later on if he approached the NHL about the Peverley infraction in question and Gillis was quick to the point saying, “I didn’t talk to them.”
What’s fascinating here is that we’re just a day removed from seeing Alex Burrows being the man of the match in Game 2 scoring two goals and an assist in a game he likely shouldn’t have been playing in after biting Patrice Bergeron. Of course, all that is out of sight and out of mind for the Canucks staff when it comes to their own players.
If you’re a Bruins fan and you’re reading all of this we apologize for the rage you’re feeling about all this but it’s all part of how things go off the ice in the game. The Canucks have shown a masterful ability to get after the officials in their own subtle ways and the bristling that was evident out of both Gillis and Vigneault shows how deadly serious they are in getting that little edge. It may not come off sound fair nor right to Boston fans and it probably makes you hate the Canucks all the more but it’s these sorts of things that teams feel give them an edge.
While they didn’t look to the NHL to take any action on Peverley, them saying what they did this evening wasn’t intended for their ears. They’re hoping that tomorrow night’s officials heard everything loud and clear.