Well, it looks like Claude Julien’s take on the diving skill of the Montreal Canadiens has gone viral. Julien did comment later that while he thought Montreal was a good club, he was tired of the childish embellishments made by members of the squad. The responses have also been mixed. I’ve seen Bruins fans march in support of Julien. Coach Julien is a hard worker, and he works his team hard too. Bruins fans know this. They understand it, and they respect it.
However, certain hockey fans on the other side of the border though Julien was blowing hot air. Furthermore, the Canadiens’ fans claim that 1.) That game finally proves we are the best in hockey. (Let’s wait and see if the Chicago Blackhawks get the President’s trophy first.) 2.)We’re not divers….we’re play makers! (Meanwhile, the league installs a springboard on center ice of the MTS Centre. At least then the fans will get to judge the dives on skill and difficulty level.) and my personal favorite: 3.) The Habs play clean hockey, as opposed to the Bruins boarding everyone! (Ah yes, I’m sure Emelin was confused. He suddenly thought he was a spear fisherman and not a hockey player. Perhaps he really didn’t mean to skewer himself a Canadian. It did get him a beatdown by a Slovak though.) and 4.) Marchand’s a diver!
In over twenty games, the Canadiens have been on the power play over one hundred times. Some of those penalties assessed against them were legitimate. A few dozen however, were carefully crafted to inflict maximum sensitivity to the guys with a whistle. (I think we can save the overall lack of consistant calling for another article.) The Habs are approaching the Casey Anthony level of getting away with murder here.
Now on to the case against Marchand. I would love to argue that Marchand is 100% squeaky clean here. To do so would insult some reader’s intelligence and damage my integrity. Did Marchand pop a dive or two in those first two seasons? A few of them are over the top acting jobs. I would ask the readers if they can point out any examples of Marchand doing it this season? You won’t find any.
Maturity. Marchand is small for a NHL player. Those first few years in the NHL, he was trying to find his niche. Was he a first-class instigator? Certainly. Did he throw down the gloves once too often? Probably. Did he dive on occasion to make a play? The evidence clearly shows it. Does he do this now?
Brad Marchand has done something that members of a certain organization has not done. He grew up. In the off seasons, Brad Marchand focused on his game. He became a better HOCKEY player. He leads the team with eleven goals and is only one point behind Patrice Bergeron for overall points. He can outmuscle players the size of Dustin Byfuglien, and can out maneuver most players in the NHL. Why? He stopped being the ‘Little Ball of Hate’ and became ‘Little Demon that can Skate’.
I would ask if the Canadiens have reached that level of maturity? No, they still go for the dive, they still play dirty, and I have to wonder if the organization makes certain players sign a ‘no integrity’ clause in their contracts. Don’t be surprised when you see the Habs logo on the Canadian diving team in the 2016 Olympics.