April 18, 2012

Julien: Accusing Bruins of headhunting is ludicrous

By Jesse Connolly

As is always the case when an opponent gets suspended, the Boston Bruins gave the customary batch of safe, clichéd answers when asked about Nicklas Backstrom’s one-game ban. 

Bruins coach Claude Julien (left) wasn't fond of Dale Hunter's accusations. (Getty Images)

Rich Peverley, the recipient of the cross-check to the face that led to Backstrom’s one-game ban, said it didn’t matter whether or not he was satisfied with the punishment, that the league was responsible for the decision and that they dealt with it.

But when asked about Caps bench boss Dale Hunter said his team had been targeting Backstrom’s head in the series, Bruins coach Claude Julien firmly shared his opinion on the accusation.

“I don’t know any coach that would tell his team to go after somebody’s head,” said Julien. “It speaks for itself, so that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

How about the odds of it being an independent motive from the players?

“No it’s ludicrous,” said Julien “It’s ridiculous. There’s always going to be emotions in games… We’re not whining about the referees as much as we want here.  We need to win a game and we need to win the series and that’s where our focus is on and that’s what it should be.”

Julien can understand Hunter being obligated to defend his players, but making a bold statement in which the Bruins are painted as predators didn’t seem to sit well with the B’s coach.

“I don’t blame Dale for defending his player if that’s what he’s trying to do,” Julien said. “To me it’s going to war for your team and that’s why I’m not commenting anymore on that. I’m not going to comment on his comments of protecting his player if that’s the case, but if he really believes the other way around I think that’s a part I don’t… to be accused of headhunting is ludicrous.”

Peverley was also asked about the opposing coach's thoughts on his team's behavior. 

"Well it doesn’t really matter what he says, it’s his opinion," said Peverley. "I think that if you watch the games you can see if that’s true or not. I’m not going to comment on that."

The Bruins and Backstrom-less Caps will square off in Game 4 on Thursday night at Verizon Center, where Boston will look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.