Bruins GM defends Brad Marchand

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien took exception to abrasive comments made by Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault and GM Mike Gillis about Bruins forward Brad Marchand for his hit on Canucks defenseman Sami Salo.

After the Bruins' 4-3 loss to the Canucks in their Stanley Cup finals rematch Saturday, Julien said Marchand was protecting himself when he hit Salo, a remark that enraged the Canucks.

"That's a stupid comment," Vigneault said from Sunrise, Fla., according to The Province, a British Columbia newspaper. "What Marchand did there, you could end a player's career doing that and I've never seen Sami Salo take a run at any player in the NHL. All I've seen Sami Salo do is play with integrity and play the right way.

"Marchand -- this is just my feeling on this -- someday he's going to get it. Somebody is going to say enough is enough and they're going to hurt the kid, because he plays to hurt players, and in my mind if the league doesn't take care of it, somebody else will."

Julien fired back Monday.

"I think it's pretty hypocritical with everything that's been going on," Julien said. "It's unfortunate and sometimes you've got to look in your backyard. We all know he has the same type of players on his team and they've all done the same thing. All he has to do is look at [Alex] Burrows putting his blade in [Shawn] Thornton's throat. It's so hypocritical."

Julien was referring to a play early in Saturday's game that touched off one of several skirmishes between the teams that met in last season's Stanley Cup finals, which the Bruins won 4-3.

"It's unfortunate," he continued, "but I guess we're stupid, we're idiots and they're the smartest team in the league. I guess we have to listen to all the gab they have to say."

Marchand responded to Vigneault's comments Monday night.

"He obviously wanted to take a shot at me and stir the pot for the hearing today," Marchand said. "It just shows the class he has or lack thereof. I really am not going to respond or bite into what he's trying to feed me there.

"I don't really care what my reputation is. I just want to play. I'm doing this as my job. I love this team. I'm just trying to be a player and I don't care what my reputation is really. I'm not out there to hurt guys. When I'm out there, I play a hard-nosed game and play hard. If guys are soft and don't like it, then that's fine. I'm not out there to please anybody. I'm out there to do my job."

Chiarelli took exception with Vigneault's suggestion that Marchand be dealt with through vigilante justice, saying, "I think we've learned our lesson over time that that's a real inappropriate comment. That's a real inappropriate comment and it's an unprofessional comment. There's a carryover effect from the playoffs. It's a big game, it's a hyped-up game, and there's a lot of probably pent-up emotion that goes behind that comment. Having said all that, they shouldn't say stuff like that."

Marchand was suspended for five games by NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan on Monday evening.

"It's not normally my style to respond in the media to stuff like that, especially when there's a hearing coming up," Chiarelli said. "I would like to respond in the spirit of protecting our player. The comments made about our player, I don't like that. Brad does play on the edge, but he's no dirtier than two or three of their players."

He added: "I just feel the need to respond. Whether it's from coaches, GMs, or players, I don't like to hear that kind of stuff. There's a lobbying element to it. I feel the league does a real good job in these hearings and I don't think it's necessary to have that out there."

When asked about Vigneault's comment that Marchand would get his, Julien said, "We all know that comment's been said before and it didn't turn out well, so we'll leave it at that."

Julien did not specify what incident he was speaking of, but the assumption is he was referring to an incident involving the Canucks' Todd Bertuzzi and Avalanche's Steve Moore in 2004.

Moore suffered a broken neck when he was sucker-punched by Bertuzzi after then-Canuck Brad May called for a bounty on Moore in retaliation for an earlier hit by Moore against Vancouver's Markus Naslund. Bertuzzi was suspended by the league for the remainder of the season.

Also Monday, Bruins forward Milan Lucic was still irked by the erroneous game-misconduct call that got him ejected from the game. It happened when Lucic reacted to the aftermath of the Burrows-Thornton incident, when Thornton was getting mugged by six Vancouver players in front of the Canucks bench, and Lucic -- in the midst of a legal change -- skated over to lend support. Lucic was ejected, but the NHL rescinded its decision almost immediately after the game because replays showed Lucic had "previously entered the ice over the boards legally to join the play."

"It was difficult," Lucic said about the game misconduct. "The toughest part about it is getting over the fact that it was a 6-on-1 and they picked me out of the group to give a penalty like that to when I was clearly on the ice."

Julien said the Bruins are not going to alter their style of play.

"Somehow the Bruins happen to be the team that people prefer picking on and think we're the bruisers and the example of the league," he said. "We have to live with that, but the one thing we won't do is change our style of play. Our team is built that way. I think we play pretty entertaining hockey. We're a fast team, we're a skilled team, but we're also a physical team. We're Stanley Cup champions, so I don't see why we should change."

ESPNBoston.com intern Darren Hartwell contributed to this report.