WILMINGTON, Mass. — The Bruins knew heading into their Eastern Conference semifinal series with Philadelphia that cooler heads had to prevail against the would-be “Broad Street Bullies” in order to maintain the upper hand.
Although it didn’t prevent Boston from going up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series Monday night, Steve Begin was very close to crossing the line into a territory that could’ve damaged the Bruins’ chances. Begin retaliated to a Daniel Carcillo blindside hit with a crosscheck to the upper torso that sent Carcillo flying. Boston then killed the ensuing Philly power play, and there weren’t many incidents the rest of the night.
So maybe Carcillo and the Flyers got the message from Begin.
“It’s part of the game. Sometimes it can happen,” said Begin after taking part in an optional practice at Ristuccia Arena this morning. “But you have to be disciplined for sure. But, it just happened. We killed it, it’s good. We have to make sure we’re disciplined and they’re going to try to draw us and that’s what they’re trying to do. We have to be smart.”
“I went right after him,” Begin continued, “and I thought it was a little bit of a dive too. But that’s him.”
In the heat of the battle, Begin went after Carcillo. But in retrospect he realizes he would’ve done the same thing to Carcillo had the roles been reversed. When the puck and the man are together, it’s open season for an open-ice check.
“It’s a hit. I gave a hit, I got hit. It’s part of the game. So there’s nothing else about it,” Begin said. “I had my head down. I was trying to find the puck. The puck was on me. I mean, I was pretty sure someone was coming but I had to do something with it. And I got hit. So it’s just point of the game. … Sometimes you get hit, it’s fine. It’s nothing bad about it. It wakes you up and gets you going.”
Head coach Claude Julien doesn’t want his team getting goaded into too much extracurricular activity. But he trusts his veterans like Begin to pick their spots, and his penalty kill to back his tough players up.
“Those most of the time you end up killing,” said the coach. “I think he took a pretty good run at him. It was deemed a clean hit, and I don’t necessarily disagree with that either. But it was, I’d say, borderline charging, and it’s basically just him saying ‘Listen, you crossed a line.’ He sent a message. Again, that’s just part of the game. I don’t see any issues either way, from either team.”