This may be the written blog I’m most proud of. It was originally posted on RealSports.ca in mid-November of 2011, but has since been deleted during site maintenance. Luckily, I found it on a blog that plagiarized it, and have re-posted it here. Thanks, thieves! Enjoy. Steve – Jan 25, 2013
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, since this blog was written, has passed away), 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 hip check, 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.
EDIT – June 5, 2013
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.