Bruins

Felger: Montreal 'hypocrisy . . . drives me nuts'

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Felger: Montreal 'hypocrisy . . . drives me nuts'

When it comes to local sports, Michael Felger -- the self-proclaimed "impartial observer of the Boston sports scene" -- is sometimes (frequently?) at odds with the fandom.

But in the Zdeno Chara controversy, he's the leader of the pack.

Felger says the "hypocrisy" of the Montreal fans screaming for Chara's head "drives me nuts" -- especially in light of Canadien questionable hits that drew nary a peep from our friends north of the border, such as Max Pacioretty, the victim of Chara's check, boarding the Islanders' Mark Eaton -- and he got into it pretty heavily with hosts from CJAD Radio in Montreal on Thursday. Felger and his partner on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Tony Massarotti, simulcast their show with CJAD . . . or at least they did until CJAD, disgusted with Felger, pulled the plug and hung up. Listen to the entire segment here.

Thursday night, on Mohegan Sun's Sports Tonight with co-host Lou Merloni and former BU and NHL star Shawn McEachern, Felger expounded on the subject:

"When you hit a Canadien, it's always different than when you hit someone else. And this is what drives me nuts. I gave those guys on the radio a million examples of Canadiens cheap-shotting other players; no investigations, no arrests, no anything. But as soon as it's against a Canadien? 'Oh my God!' "

"The Bertuzzi attack on Steve Moore obviously crossed a line. McSorley and Brashear, two-handing a guy with a stick in the face? Okay, that's assault. But riding a guy into a turnbuckle? . . . There's borderline hits in every hockey game . . . If you start bringing in the cops every time there's a borderline hit, you can't have a league. It's ridiculous."

"The only people who think Chara should have been suspended, and I'm one of them, are people who didn't play. Everyone who's ever played the game said . . . that's part of the rink, it's sort of a hockey play . . . I've never heard one player who played the game, outside of Montreal, who said he should be suspended."

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Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

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Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime. 

The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half. 

“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period. 

All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far. 

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”

It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game.