Vancouver Canucks v Boston Bruins - Game Four

Video: Brad Marchand goes wild on Vancouver; Alex Burrows and Tim Thomas tussle


You knew Game 4 was going to see a bit more of the rough stuff between Boston and Vancouver one way or another. After all the insanity that we saw in Game 3 and all the chatter and sniping both teams were doing at each other things had to boil over in the midst of yet another Bruins beat down against the Canucks.

Sure enough we would see the usual suspects center around everything in the end of it all. It all started with just under 2:30 left to play in the third period and the Bruins ahead 4-0 when Brad Marchand would make his presence felt drawing a penalty for clotheslining Christian Ehrhoff. Marchand would touch the puck up to get the whistle for the penalty but not before dumping Daniel Sedin with a hip check that sent Sedin tumbling to the ice.

Marchand had his gloves off and ready to fight the oncoming Keith Ballard meanwhile Adam McQuaid jumped in to deal with Ehrhoff who tried to get involved with Marchand. You can never keep these two teams apart for too long. Marchand would receive three minor penalties on the play getting one each for roughing, tripping, and holding. Keith Ballard also received a roughing minor while McQuaid got a ten minute misconduct.

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With Marchand going off like that it seemed like a very foolish move on his part. After all the game was virtually over with and now he’d given the Canucks a reason to be motivated in Game 5 to get back at them. Luckily for the Bruins, Alex Burrows still plays for Vancouver.

While the Canucks were on a four minute power play to close out the third period, Burrows parked himself in front of Tim Thomas and started having his own brand of fun. Burrows took a whack at Thomas’ stick trying to knock it out of his hands and when Burrows backed in a little closer to Thomas’ crease, Thomas chopped Burrows in the ankle with his stick. As you might expect, that didn’t sit too well and Burrows went after Thomas and the two exchanged blows while Ryan Kesler and Zdeno Chara came together to exchange pleasantries.

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Thomas received two minutes for slashing while Burrows got two for cross checking. Chara and Kesler came out worse for the penalty wear each receiving two for roughing and a ten minute misconduct. Burrows instigating that whole brouhaha effectively wipes the slate clean for nonsense as both teams and now they both have even more reasons for hating each other a little harder.

With Game 5 ahead on Friday night we can basically circle anyone and everyone for a potential scrum. And you thought everyone was going to play nicely.

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”