Bruins coach Claude Julien calls Canadiens out for embellishing

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As if the Montreal Canadiens-Boston Bruins rivalry needed any more juice, it got some from Bruins coach Claude Julien following Sunday night's 4-3 Canadiens win over the B's in Boston.

The game, like most between the heated Original Six rivals, was physical. It saw Zdeno Chara draw a 10-minute misconduct as well as a fighting major and an instigator penalty for going after the Habs' Alexei Emelin after he cross-checked Tyler Seguin. Julien wasn't upset about that, although it was a 3-2 Bruins lead before the fight and a 4-3 Canadiens lead when Chara returned. He could live with his teammates sticking up for each other. His problem was with the Canadiens.

Specifically, his problem was with the Canadiens' embellishment. From CSN New England's Joe Haggerty:

"The frustrating thing is that we get 17 minutes into the penalty box when we should have been on the power play. It's as simple as that," said Julien. "It's frustrating because tonight -- as everybody saw -- there's a lot of embellishment. This is embarrassing for our game: the embellishing. Right now they've got over 100 power plays [this season] and it's pretty obvious why.

"We're trying to clean that out of our game, and it's got to be done soon. It's not about [Sunday]. It's about the game and the embellishment embarrasses our game. We need to be better than that. It's pretty obvious when P.K. [Subban] gets hit and throws himself into the glass and holds his head. You know what? If we start calling those penalties for embellishment, maybe teams stop doing it. But until we take charge of that it's going to be an issue."

That wasn't all the Bruins had to say about it. Milan Lucic added further on Monday (again via Haggerty).

"You'd like to see a lot less embellishment," Lucic said. "I know the way we are as a team and type of people we are. We don't accept that in our room."

I'm not entirely sure how the gradients work, but I think calling a team a bunch of divers (or alluding to it) is awfully high on the disrespect meter in hockey.

There was obviously a release of some frustration from Julien in this. His team has seemed to be on the short end of the stick often in penalty calls to the point that they have the fewest power-play opportunities in the league thus far. Conversely, the Canadiens have had the most power plays. The difference between the two teams is 39 man advantages ... that's a lot.

Part of that might actually be on the Bruins. As Lucic said, they don't accept that in their locker room and with a few exceptions, that's mostly true. The Bruins do a good job of staying on their skates, they don't sell a lot of calls and that's probably part of the reason why they don't get a lot of calls. From the sounds of it, though, they don't seem like they want to start hamming it up now, either.

Still, it's a pretty harsh criticism from Julien. After all, the Bruins have some awfully big boys, and when they hit you it's going to hurt. That doesn't mean he doesn't have a point, though.

While I won't talk specifically to the Habs' accusations and PK Subban, diving has been an issue in hockey. We're not talking about a soccer-level epidemic, but it happens and the officials rarely call players on it. When they do it's almost always canceled out by a matching minor for an actual infraction. For example, a player gets two minutes for tripping while the player he tripped gets two minutes for diving. The net effect is nothing but four-on-four.

The question remains for me, though, is how do you get rid of embellishment? The referees on the ice take a lot of heat, but that is not an easy job at all, especially in a sport that moves as fast and has as much contact as hockey. They have a lot of things to watch on the ice at all times, it's tough to expect them to be able to see if a player embellished a penalty or not. So is it something that should be subject to supplemental discipline where there is the advantage of replay? It's a bit easier to see guys needlessly flail in slow-mo.

Whether Julien is on the money or over the top with his criticism, it's excellent to see the heat returning to the Bruins-Habs rivalry. It certainly helps that both teams are having great seasons to add that extra bit of spice made twice as nice with Julien's words.

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