It really speaks volumes about the way the Philadelphia Flyers are perceived around the NHL, doesn't it? If they were to pull off the antics that the Boston Bruins pulled out on Monday night, all hell would've broken loose in the hockey media. All the stories this morning would be about those dirty Flyers who have no class -- love when that term is thrown around -- and no respect for the game.
But when the Bruins do the same, you can barely even find the thing on YouTube.
Typically, it takes about 30 minutes -- maybe an hour --- for a questionable hit or a questionable play in the NHL to make its way from broadcast to Internet. I was planning on writing this story in the early morning hours following Game 5, but I couldn't find any clips of the incidents on YouTube. Why is that? Is it because Marc Savard was one of the parties gooning it up? Is it because people just don't care that the Bruins were gooning it up? Is it the playoffs? I don't have an answer to those questions.
This morning I did find one relevant clip on YouTube, finally, seemingly captured by a Flyers fan since it's from the CSN broadcast. We'll watch some tape and review some things after the jump.
We'll start with the less egregious of the two major incidents in this game. With less than six minutes left in the third, Mike Richards hit Marc Savard in the corner. It looked to me as if Savard turned into the hit, and Richards hit him from the side. Savard certainly wasn't facing the boards and he had the puck, so to me, that's a clean hit.
What isn't clean is the reaction from Savard and the retaliation involved. To that lone YouTube clip...
Savard just absolutely goes ballistic on Richards there. He gets up, goes right after him, turns him around, cross checks him in the face and rides him into the glass. Milan Lucic then double teams the helpless Richards, who holds on for dear life until his teammates realize what is going on behind the play and come to his aid.
Richards, Lucic and Savard all get two minute minors out of the deal. Here's what the rule says on the subject:
Rule 59 - Cross-checking
59.4 Match Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty if, in his judgment, the player or goalkeeper attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent by cross-checking.
Anybody with a brain in between their ears can see that Savard clearly intended to injure Richards in this situation, and I know it's the playoffs, but if the rules are the rules, Savard deserved a match penalty and possibly more. I don't see how there can be any debate about that. Notice how that case isn't being made anywhere, though.
The craziest part about Savard's night, though, was how the media just ate up his quotes about how "enough is enough," never mind that his words are completely rooted in a fantasy land, of course.
"I just got fired up. I got one the other night in Philly from behind [which was called boarding against Darroll Powe], and then I was facing the glass again in the same situation and then I look back at [David] Booth, [David] Krejci, those guys … I mean, enough’s enough. I mean, I don’t know. That’s all," said Savard after the loss, which sends the series back to Philly for Game 6 Wednesday night.
Richards' hit on David Booth from earlier this season has created a scenario where media people have the opportunity to paint Richards as a bad guy. In reality that's just not true, but it's pretty evident in today's press that journalists will cover the attractive story, the truth be damned.
No, the truth is that Savard's quote is absolutely laughable. Yes, Savard was hit from behind by Darroll Powe in Game 4, and yes, it's understandable that he's touchy about potential head injuries given the way his season was derailed by Matt Cooke. But since when does that give a guy a right to attack a player in the way Savard did in Game 5, adrenaline or not?
And since when does the media not have the balls to corner him on that? They ate up his "enough is enough" quote and asked no further questions. Video of Savard's post game media availability is conveniently absent from the Bruins site, but CSN New England does have part of it.
Nobody confronted him. Nobody pointed out how the Krejci hit was 100 percent within the rules. Nobody pointed out how, no, Savard wasn't facing the glass in this Richards hit like he said he was. And nobody called him on his absolutely bonkers retaliation. Nope, it's part of the game, and hey, Savard's been victimized this season, so he can't possibly be in the wrong anyway. It's just ridiculous. Really disappointing stuff.
But believe it or not, that wasn't even the worst showing by a Bruins player on Monday night. There's no video of this other one, either, unless you delve into the TSN highlight package. It's 1:24 in on this video, linked here, but even there, it's only briefly mentioned and shown for a split second. No mention of how Giroux was slow to get up. No mention of how Giroux only say 15 seconds of ice time after that hit. No mention of how, as I write these words on Tuesday afternoon, Giroux is in testing to see if he has a concussion.
No outcry. If a Bruins player deserves a suspension for any action in Game 5, it's Begin for his hit on Giroux. An elbow to the head from behind deserves punishment every single time, and the fact that there's been absolutely no uproar about it screams hypocrisy from the hockey media as well.
Honestly, I don't really care if either player gets suspended. To be completely honest, I'd rather see them back on the ice so the Flyers can continue to hit them cleanly and get under their skin, because these actions are what rattled hockey players resort to and it's clear that a rattled Bruins team can't beat these Flyers.
But to say it doesn't piss me off that the Bruins aren't called out by the sports media when they goon things up, while the Flyers are always, ten times out of ten, held to that standard is the understatement of the century.