In a world where only Andrew Ference is willing to look beyond sweater colors and logos to tell it like it is (and then take unwarranted criticism for it), Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault carried on the most prominent tradition in the NHL — hypocrisy — today.
When asked about the Bruins upping their physical play and slowing down some of Vancouver’s better players in Saturday night’s Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, Vigneault today went out of his way to comment on Bruins forward Rich Peverley’s slash on defenseman Kevin Bieksa.
“Kevin didn’t get hit by Peverley, he got a cheap shot in the back of the knee, so that’s totally different,” said the coach. “He went down because of something that obviously you don’t want to see in the game.”
Bieksa was hobbled but didn’t miss a shift. The officials missed the slash, so there was no call. Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis today said he had not heard from the league about the play.
I think we’ll all agree that Peverley’s slash was a cheap shot. If Bieksa had been seriously injured, Peverley would’ve been suspended. You could argue he should still be suspended, even though we know the league doesn’t operate that way.
Nonetheless, Vigneault decides to publicly declare it a cheap shot just days after his own player Alexandre Burrows takes a bite out of Patrice Bergeron’s finger. And a day after Maxim Lapierre decides this is the proper way to act in a scrum on the ice when near Bergeron:
Vigneault ducked every question about the bite and the subsequent league decision to not suspend Burrows last week. He wasn’t asked about Lapierre, but you know he would never acknowledge that his would-be agitator might want to consider better tact.
Vigneault might want to concern himself more with his own players’ embarrassing actions and leave the policing of the Bruins to their organization.