CAROLINA – Don Cherry had some words of warning for the Bruins after the first period of Tuesday night’s Game 3 in Carolina. He saw Brad Marchand suckering Hurricanes captain Justin Williams into taking a stupid penalty in Game 2, and then mocking Williams with a hand “C” gesture and directions to the penalty box after duping the esteemed playoff veteran.
It led to a Bruins power-play goal in a blowout win in Game 2 in Boston, and the Hockey Night in Canada analyst thought Williams was going to make the Bruins pay in Game 3 at PNC Arena after watching the scoreless first period dominated by the Hurricanes.
“Never, ever, ever upset a guy like [Justin] Williams. He was fast asleep. I’ve watched him for 18 years. I’ve never seen him like this before. He’s got that team pumped up right now,” said Cherry. “It’s because of him. He’s the captain. Think if you ever did that to Steve Yzerman or Wayne Gretzky. There would be riots. He is ready. I’m telling you in that dressing room, he’s got them wired. I still say that the Bruins are going to win, but it’s going to be a lot harder because you did a stupid think like that with Williams.”
Well, not so much.
Instead of getting the Hurricanes pumped for a necessary win in the series, Williams took three penalties in the first period and took to Marchand-like activity, punching David Backes in the head while on top of him in the scrum by the Carolina net. It seemed like Williams had a thirst for vengeance with Torey Krug rather than Marchand after both players got matching penalties for throwing punches to the head, holding Krug’s stick and then throwing an elbow aimed at Krug’s head in the closing minutes of the first period.
Just watching Williams take run after dangerous run at Krug while playing with legitimate recklessness was enough to make this humble hockey writer wonder what kind of uproar it would cause in Canada if it was a player like Marchand behind it all. Instead, the Canadian media was talking about how “pumped up” Williams was and justifying each of the cheap, dangerous things he did on the ice against the Bruins.
That’s quite an interesting double-standard going on there.
It was also pretty clear that Marchand is in Williams’ kitchen cooking bacon and eggs right now given that he couldn’t let it go in Game 3, and instead executed his own personal parade to the penalty box during a pivotal first period for his hockey club.
That complete lack of poise and self-control was pretty stunning from a Game 7 playoff hero and a captain like Williams, and, contrary to Grapes’ opinion, it didn’t help the Hurricanes at all in a 2-1 loss at PNC Arena on Tuesday night.
“We’ll look at everything tomorrow, but right now it’s a very disappointing loss,” said Williams. “It was more of how we wanted to play, but it just didn’t happen for us. It stinks but that’s how it happens sometimes.”
“Too many penalties for us. If we want to win we can’t take that many penalties and we know that. A couple of the [Williams penalties] I thought were kind of light… especially this time of year,” said Rod Brind’Amour. “I think that’s the thing, but he has to understand how they’re calling. You’ve got to kind of understand that. But he’s just trying to win and giving us everything that he has.”
Williams was asked about the penalties and getting preoccupied with Krug in this game, and he just answered with a quick “no.”
The 37-year-old must have been watching a different game than the rest of us in all those minutes that Williams spent in the penalty box.
Instead, the Canes are on the brink of elimination with a possible sweep in Thursday’s Game 4 in Carolina, and the “poop sandwich” bonanza may just keep on coming into the offseason for the humbled Williams and his Carolina teammates.
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