“Run the siren. Run the goddamn siren! I’m payin’ for it. Let ’em know there’s gonna be blood in there!” – Reggie Dunlop, Slap Shot
Can we get today’s game started now because I can’t wait until tonight. The New York Rangers will be host to the Boston Bruins for the first time since a November 27th matchup.
Back on that day Alain Vigneault subtly revealed again how much losing Game 7 to Boston in Stanley Cup Finals still rattles him when he sarcastically asked post game who would make a better son, Brad Marchand or Henrik Lundqvist? Marchand had made some aggressive contact with Lundqvist during that game. Once it led to a goal, a second time it led to a penalty. Vigneault was none too happy about either. And when you’re not happy about a certain players actions, a player who celebrated the most painful loss of your career in your own barn, what do you do? Obviously you have make it personal with a completely irrelevant question.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Vigneault is a great coach. He’s one of the best if you ask me. He’s been a Jack Adams award winner for NHL Coach of the Year, and a Presidents Trophy winner. He gets a ton out of his players when consider he’s been to two Stanley Cup Finals, and a Game 7 of another Eastern Conference Final. Any team would be lucky to have him as their coach. But the guy must have nightmares about Marchand. Not every night of the week, but certainly the days leading up to playing Boston.
The Marchand/Lundqvist soap opera is only amplified by the fact that Marchand also scored 2 goals and had an assist in the Bruins 4-0 Game 7 Cup clinching victory over Vigneault’s Canucks in 2011. The flashback of 63 burying one into the empty net on Vancouver ice that July night must still resonate so deeply. Because there’s no other reason for a coach to take a personal dig at an opposing teams player unless there’s something else there. Something rooted deeper. Like a player directly helping in snatching a Cup from your grasp. And pile on the fact that that individual player is a pain in the ass and it’s a recipe for frustration.
Both sides are saying the right things going into tonight’s game. They’re saying they’re looking forward, the past is the past, and it’s just about tonight. But it’s not. And I hope it shows. I hope it’s nasty and chippy. I hope Claude Julien stands on the bench with a foot up on the boards screaming “are you not entertained?!” Gladiator style. I hope Marchand chops Lundqvist stick out of his hands on the first shift. Just keep this rodeo going, boys. I need Vigneault bringing up entire family trees and who’d be a better drunk uncle by the time this one is over. “Run the siren”, I want a Slap Shot circus.
This rivarly keeps inching forward each season. And as long as Marchand is a Bruin up against a Vigneault coached Rangers team it should stay hot for awhile.
Puck drops just after 7pm.