The Punk Test: The Big Bad Bruins Run Amok

This may be the written blog I’m most proud of. It was originally
posted on RealSports.ca in mid-November of 2011, but it got deleted. Then I posted it on SteveDangle.com in January of 2013 but I just recently deleted that site, too. For those who missed it and those who want to revisit it, here is “The Punk Test” once again.

I first heard of the punk test in a
clip of Sirius XM’s Opie and Anthony Show. Comedian Patrice O’Neal, a regular
guest of the show (who sadly passed away only weeks after this was written),
told a story of a time he was robbed as a teenager, a terrifying incident he
now looks back on and laughs about. Before the robbery could take place,
Patrice says his attacker gave him the “punk test.”

“It’s like five phases,” Patrice
explains, only half-joking. “I bump into you, you go ‘there was enough room for
me and you to walk without you bumping into me.’ Then it’s like a step on your
foot, then it’s like a hard pinch. He’s doing recon.”

After issuing the punk test, the bully
makes his move.

“I tried to be hardcore, but he had
already given me the punk test. I failed miserably.”

His attacker demanded for Patrice to
strip and stole his “4X tall Puma suit.” The successful comedian managed to
escape the situation unharmed, and talk about the “punk test” in his comedy.

It got me thinking though.

After what Bruins forward Milan Lucic
did to Ryan Miller the other day, I am convinced that the Boston Bruins are
giving the other 29 teams in the NHL the punk test. So far, everybody has
failed it.

If you haven’t seen the incident in
question, here it is:


Milan Lucic steamrolled Ryan Miller,
and while Miller has struggled of late, he is still considered not only
Buffalo’s starting goaltender, but one of the best goalies in the world. The
Buffalo Sabres response: nothing. Well, not quite nothing. They said stuff.

It almost looks like Lucic is wearing
Miller’s mask like a parrot.

“I just stuck around because I just
want to say what a piece of s*** I think Lucic is,” a severely pissed off Ryan
Miller told the media after the game. “Fifty pounds on me, and he runs me like
that. It’s unbelievable. Everyone in this city sees him as a big, tough, solid
player. I respected him for how hard he played. That was gutless. Gutless,
piece of s***.”

Miller’s teammate Paul Gaustad said he
was embarrassed the Sabres did nothing.

“I can do more,” Gaustad said. “I’m
embarrassed that we didn’t respond the way we should have. It falls on myself.
I look at myself first, and I wasn’t good enough… We didn’t push back. There’s
no reason to be scared. We had to go after it, and we didn’t.”

Whether or not what Lucic did was an
act worthy of a suspension is another story. The key factor here, at least in
regards to the punk test, is that the Sabres did nothing. The Boston Bruins got
away with not just bullying and running over their goalie, but knocking him out
of the lineup for an undetermined amount of time.

One point many have raised is something
along the lines of “can you imagine if the Sabres had done something similar to
Bruins goalie Tim Thomas?”

No, I can’t.

Alex Burrows tried to fight back
against Tim Thomas during the Stanley Cup Final this past June, and Thomas,
along with his Boston teammates, nipped that in the bud immediately.


Milan Lucic, apart from being a
30-goal-scorer, is not just one of the league’s toughest heavyweights, but also
a trained boxer.


Keep in mind, Lucic was just a teenager
in this clip. A puppy. Now the Vancouver native stands at 6’4″, 220 lbs.

The Bruins also have captain Zdeno Chara,
a 6’9″, 255 lbs giant. This makes him the tallest player in the league, and one
of just six current NHL players playing at 250 lbs or more. While an NHL all
star and reigning hardest shot champion, Chara has been know to turn players
into a human faucet from time to time.


We haven’t even mentioned Shawn
Thornton yet. The fan favourite is Boston’s designated enforcer, has had no
less than 122 penalty minutes in the last three seasons, and with 34 PIMs in 15
games so far, Thornton is on pace to flirt with the 200 PIM plateau.

Who do the Sabres have that would make
sure something like this would never happen to their goalie for as long as
they’re around?

Who could forget during the Stanley Cup
Final, when then Bruins rookie Brad Marchand repeatedly punched Canucks star
Daniel Sedin in the face.


Daniel Sedin, and his teammates, did
nothing. Brad Marchand is 5’9″, 183 lbs. Never mind the feistiness or gusto the
little guy has. Never mind the excuse that it was a playoff game the Canucks
had to win, since they were down 5-2 with 1:33 to go in the third period. Never
mind the fear of one of your stars getting injured in a fight because even a
shove back would have been more than what happened in this clip. Brad Marchand
was allowed to get away with punking and bullying one of the Canucks’ star
players and the NHL’s leading scorer from 2010-2011.

When Marchand delivered a late hipcheck, once again to Daniel Sedin, behind the Canucks net during the same
series (Canucks down 4-0 with 2:28 to go in the third), at very least Keith
Ballard dropped his gloves. Granted, Ballard only managed to land one
harmless-looking shot on Marchand once he tore the Bruins agitator’s helmet
off, but at very least he responded.

Even before the playoffs, Zdeno Chara
rode Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty along the bench and into the
stanchion in Montreal’s Bell Centre. Again, whether or not Chara should have
been suspended for what he did is another story. There was even a contingent
that wanted Chara arrested and charged for what he did. I’m not pointing out so
much that the league let Chara get away with this, but rather the Canadiens let
Chara get away this this. Here is the incident, including the Canadiens’ on-ice
response.


Scott Gomez did nothing to Chara but
talk at him, but at the same time, Gomez is giving up about a foot to Chara.
Who do the Canadiens have that could even come close to standing up to Chara?
Maybe the 6’7″ Hal Gill? No, Gill learned what kind of fighter Chara is when
Chara was an Ottawa Senator and Gill was, oddly enough, on the Boston Bruins.

My question for the rest of the league
is this: What reason do the Boston Bruins have to stop doing things likes this?
Who is going to stand up to them? Who is going to make them think twice about
running your goalie?

I’m certainly not suggesting the Sabres
put a bounty on the head of any of the Bruins. The last thing the NHL needs is
another Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Moore incident.

Many thought that if Brendan Shanahan
had issued a suspension to Milan Lucic, it would send a message. Unfortunately
for Sabres fans, Lucic escaped the incident with no punishment from the league.
During the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast from this past Saturday, new Hockey
Hall of Fame member Mark Howe spoke of an old era of hockey where the players
policed themselves. This looks like the only way to solve the big bad Bruins.
The big problem there is every team that has tried to fight fire with fire
against Boston has gotten put out.

After a rough start for the Boston
Bruins, the reigning champions have their swagger back. Unless somebody passes
the Bruins’ punk test, it’s possible things will stay that way.

Here is the original Patrice O’Neal
punk test story from Opie & Anthony. Be warned: It’s not safe for work, and
if you’re easily offended, it’s not for you (NSFW)
.