NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Monday, a day after the Bruins dropped a 4-3 decision to the Canadiens.
Following the game, B’s coach Claude Julien was critical of the Canadiens for what he deemed to be “embellishment” to draw penalties. McGuire empathized with Julien.
“I think it’s always been a problem in the league,” McGuire said. “Nobody likes to see embellishment. We’re not soccer. No disrespect to soccer players, either; I think that’s more in the culture in their game than it is in ours. And I don’t think there’s any coaches or general managers or even officials that want to see embellishment. It’s a hard enough game for the officials to referee now. With the embellishment that does take place from time to time, it’s really a tough game to officiate, even tougher.
“I can tell you, I’ve talked to a ton of coaches and a ton of players around the league and a ton of managers. Every one, to a man, they don’t want embellishment.”
McGuire said Zdeno Chara deserves credit for going after Alexei Emelin after the Canadiens defenseman sent Tyler Seguin to the ice with a cross check to Seguin’s side that broke Emelin’s stick.
“At the end of the day, Chara did what he was supposed to do. Chara showed leadership on Emelin,” McGuire said. “I thought that was a great job by him. You’ve got to think the referees missed the cross check that Emelin dished out to Seguin. You don’t like that. I didn’t like that.”
McGuire said Chara’s message got through, and not just to the Canadiens.
“I think what Z was doing more than anything else is he’s sending a message not only to the Montreal Canadiens but to the rest of the league. And believe me, that message has resonated. I just got done watching Tampa and Pittsburgh skate, and all the players know what happened last night. And they’re like, they don’t want to mess with Chara.
“So, it gives some more room to Seguin, it gives some more room to [Brad] Marchand, it gives some more room to [David] Krejci. People are aware in the league. While it’s a small sample size of, are you mad because Boston lost if you’re a Bruins fan, you look at it long term, it will probably pay itself off in the long term.”
Looking at the NHL this season, McGuire puts the Bruins in lofty company — alongside the record-setting Blackhawks.
“The Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins right now are the two best teams in the league, in my humble opinion,” he said. “And I’ve watched every single team in this league so far since the season started. The fact that they lost a tight game to Montreal, I don’t think it was all about embellishment. I just think there were some things Boston needed to do better in that game, and they didn’t get it done.”
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