In the last few seconds of game six, with the Canadiens secure in a 4-0 lead, things got ugly at the Bell Centre. The Bruins were on the power play and the Canadiens thought it would be a good idea to trip and then spear the largest man in the entire league. Apparently Andrei Markov had just got done reading the David and Goliath story on the bench when he decided to pull this little stunt.
Here’s the whole scrum, starting from the Markov trip. Twenty eight minutes in penalties ensued on this little fracas. Bruins forward Jarome Iginla and Canadiens defenseman Mike Weaver both received misconduct penalties and were ejected from the game.Markov received no penalties for his role in lighting the powder keg and then running for his life. (Although his collapse from the gloved hit of Iginla later was worthy of ESPY award.)
To top it off, the Montreal Canadiens Twitter accounted posted “#stayclassy” as the Canadiens fans began throwing trash on the ice. (It has yet to be determined if that was an insult to the Bruins and/or an admonishment to the fans throwing garbage at the Bruins.) Since it happened at the Bell Centre, the local media chose to ignore what started the fight and immediately painted the Bruins as the villains in this altercation.
“All I said was that we’re perceived like the bad guys, and they’re the good guys,” said Claude Julien after the game. “When Markov trips Chara and puts his stick between his legs, somebody’s going to react. Whether it’s right or wrong, Zdeno reacted and then everything else happened. There was a slewfoot before, Desharnais on Marchand. It was a slewfoot. Those are things we keep talking about that are dangerous in our game. It’s a rivalry and there are some things going on on both sides. I’m not portraying ourselves as innocent here, I’m just saying it takes two teams to tangle and that’s what happened.”
That whole mess is completely subjective to your opinion. There were a few French tweeting Canadiens who responded with pure joy at the end of game six and responded with a cacophony of profanity. Social media lit up in the defense of the Canadiens. My personal favorites were the ones that argued that Markov had a legal right to spear Chara due to what Lucic did during the Red Wings series. (That’s right Habs fans, #stayclassy.)
At the time of publication, the National Hockey League has chosen not to fine either Desharnais or Markov for their hits. I’d say that should silence some of the Francophiles in the Canadiens fan base that insist that the NHL is biased against the Habs(and Canadian teams in general). Then again, fining Shawn Thornton two grand for a squirt on the ice, and Henrik Lundqvist five grand for the same infraction (although his was done after the play, and Thornton’s was during the play) has shown how maddeningly inconsistent things are over at the Department of Player Safety.
In spite of all this, the Canadiens would love to see more of this in game seven. “I love it,” Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban said after the game. “That’s what playoffs is all about. I hope the crowd is louder than in here. I hope it gets nasty. I hope it gets dirty. At the end of the game, when you’re shaking hands, whoever wins, that’s what the feeling is all about. Knowing that you battled, knowing that you went through a war. You know what? We’re gonna be there at the end standing tall.”
He’s right about that. Someone will be standing tall tomorrow night. Recent history favors that it will be the Bruins. Boston has won three of its four previous best-of-seven series at home. The most memorable one has got to be the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs last season.