January 7, 2012

Right or wrong, Julien believes Marchand was just protecting himself

By Jesse Connolly

BOSTON -- Claude Julien was smart enough to know that criticizing the on-ice officials would have landed him in some hot water. So for the Bruins bench boss, mum was the word when asked to comment on Brad Marchand being given a major penalty for clipping and a game misconduct for his hit on Sami Salo late in the second period of Saturday's game against the Canucks. 

Julien, however, defended Marchand's actions, as the coach believes No. 63 in Black and Gold ultimately saved himself from suffering an injury of his own when Salo came charging in from the blueline for a loose puck.

"All I’m going to tell you is that I always told my players that they need to protect themselves," said Julien. "The last thing I want my players to do is get hit and then end up with a concussion, and they have to protect themselves. Whether it’s the right way or the wrong way, it’ll depend on how the league looks at it.

"I’d rather have a guy take a two-minute penalty than turn his back to the play, stand up straight, and then get his face knocked into the glass and be out for maybe the rest of the year with a concussion, or maybe end his career like [Marc] Savard."

The B's bench boss believes it's something the league should give serious consideration to.

"In my opinion, if guys start protecting themselves the way Marchand did, maybe guys will stop taking runs at other guys because that’s the consequences you end up paying for taking runs at guys, too," Julien said. "Who knows where we’re going to go with this. I know we’re all trying hard to fix that part of the game, but it’s still there, and it’s still not fixed."

Still, Boston's coach wasn't going to make any kind of excuses for his club failing to overcome the loss of both Marchand and Milan Lucic, who was given the gate just 3:54 into the contest after allegedly coming off the bench to join in on a fracas.

"We had some pretty big obstacles to overcome, and some of it was losing two real good players out of your lineup and having a short bench," Julien said. "That didn’t help, but having said that, had we stayed out of the box, and not given them the power plays that we gave them, I really felt, five-on-five, we controlled the play.

"That’s where our strength is, and unfortunately, when you give up four power play goals in a game, you’ve got to look at yourself and take the blame, and it’s as simple as that."

Depending on how a few upcoming conversations between league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan and both Marchand and Lucic go, Julien may have to forge ahead without two of his key forwards in the week ahead.