Marc Savard couldn’t even think after he was blindsided by Penguin forward Matt Cooke early last week. The hit was dirty- Cooke left Savard motionless with a hot head on cold ice while teammates, opponents and fans held their breath with worry. But as silent as Savard has been after the incident, his teammates have been just as uninspired to respond to bring their star center and point leader any justice. The Bruins should be ashamed to call themselves Savard’s teammate.
No one really knew how the team would respond to the brutal attack on their star player when the teams met again on March 18th, as pressure from the league, the media and the fans was pushing them to react in opposite ways. The fans and Boston media publicly called for an attack on Crosby. “The Penguins took our star player out for the season so theirs’ should be next, right?" Well, not exactly.
The league was pushing them to do nothing. Surrounding the game from all angles, the NHL had their VP in attendance along with assigning their top referee team to the ice. But everyone expected something to go down.
Boston Globe Columnist Ron Borges called for an all-out attack on the Penguins, writing in his article “What the Bruins should do instead is play their most physical game of the year. Contest every loose puck. Take Sidney Crosby down every chance they get. He, not Cooke, is the Penguins’ heart and soul. Make him bleed for the sins of his teammate.”
Borges continued ranting, “Take him into the boards. Knock him down every chance you get. Bounce a puck off his nose if you can. If you get a blind side shot at him, put your body through his chest.”
Although all of this attack is vicious, I understand the hate and I respect the passion of the Boston fans. If Crosby had been taken out for the season-or heck, just a week-I’d be calling for heads from the team that crossed the line. I’m all for passion and revenge, I’m just at a loss for words as to why that passion wasn’t matched by the Bruin players themselves.
Alas, all the Bruins mustered up was a sloppy fight with Matt Cooke to get even in the rematch. But the fight didn’t bring Savard justice in the least. Cooke “lost” the fight, but his grit seemed to give the Penguins more inspiration than the Bruins mustered up in the game. Penguins stood up on the bench and banged their sticks against the boards to commend Cooke for putting himself out there and taking the fall for his dirty deeds. As for the Bruins, after your star player was knocked out for the season on a dirty hit, the only thing you answer with is a little fight? Don’t those scruffs happen almost every game?
Look, its fine if you don’t want to get vengeance with dirty hits or big fights. If the Bruins had taken out Crosby or Malkin, who knows what the game would’ve escalated to, or how far this revenge would go on either side of the puck. It’s probably for the best that the Bruins didn’t go for that type of revenge. But they didn’t even play inspired, or even that vengeful intensity in game play. The Bruins went on to lose the game 3-0 with completely no offense, and a lackluster performance on defense. Is this the only effort this Boston squad can manage, when these guys are supposed to be playing for their leader, their teammate, their captain?
It’s not like the Bruins even needed further reason to win the game. They’re on the brink of missing the playoffs, and need to win every game they can get to earn the eighth spot in the conference. If this team can’t play inspired when they’re supposed to be getting revenge, is there really any hope for them? As a Penguins fan, all I can do is chuckle and shake my head, but all you Bruins fans out there must be reeling in frustration. At this point, the fans are the people taking shots to the head.
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