VANCOUVER — The last time the Bruins had walked out of the Rogers Arena, they had cigars and champagne and a Stanley Cup. They walked back in Saturday for their first matchup with Vancouver since January of 2012, and their first trip to the city since Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on June 15, 2011.
And they were sporting bruises after the Canucks administered a 6-2 pounding.
The Little Ball of Hate was at the center of a simmering rivalry that boiled over.
Brad Marchand kissed his ring finger — the one that sports the 2011 Stanley Cup ring — after skirmishing with Ryan Kesler of the Canucks during the game.
“I did it after [Kesler] was eye-gouging me,’’ Marchand claimed. “Just my emotions were a little high after that. He’s welcome to say what he wants. We both play different games, and whatever happens on the ice stays out there.”
Kesler saw it differently.
“Obviously no class,’’ Kesler said of Marchand. “I’m a firm believer you win with class and you lose with class, and it’s all I got to say about that.’’
Bruins coach Claude Julien did not defend Marchand.
“He’s a good player and he’s an agitator,’’ Julien said. “There’s some good things to that part of his game, but there’s certain areas where, again, I’ve said it before, you can’t cross the line. Sometimes his emotions get the better of him. We’ve worked with him and we’re going to continue to work with him.
“The perception that it gives our organization is not what you want to see with those kind of things. Certainly something that we’re certainly going to deal with. He’s too good of a player, and we don’t want him to be a different player, but there are certain things we want him to be different at. From what I hear, what happened, that’s definitely not something that we will accept in our organization.”
Before the game, the Bruins were asked about the fond memories of their previous visit here, Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
“Obviously it does bring back a lot of memories, just being back in the locker room and out on the ice also,” Patrice Bergeron said. “It’s been a long time, but it’s our first time being there. It does bring back some memories, but at the same time we’ve got to put it in the past.”
Said hometown boy Milan Lucic, “That’s naturally never going to go away, that postgame celebration, achieving your ultimate goal as a hockey player. It was cool to experience that feeling here this morning, but kind of being here now for the last two, three hours, you start to get more focused on the game tonight.”
Dennis Seidenberg said, “It’s definitely a rivalry. We obviously all have good memories from here, but it’s 2½ years later. It’s a new season. A lot has happened since then.’’
In January of 2012 at TD Garden, emotions erupted in a physical game that resulted in a five-game suspension for Marchand for a hit on Vancouver’s Sami Salo.
Seidenberg was ready
The swelling on the right side of Seidenberg’s jaw had gone down by Saturday morning, though sporting an unrelated black eye, he looked a little lopsided.
But the defenseman, who didn’t miss a shift after taking a deflected puck to his face against the Oilers Thursday, said he was ready to play against the Canucks. His jaw hurts, and “looks weird.”
“I was definitely worried,” Seidenberg said. “But once I saw there was no blood, I knew I’d be OK.”
Seidenberg said there was “a buzzing right after [getting hit in the face], but once I sat on the bench and I had a couple of minutes, it was fine.”
Reilly Smith missed the morning skate with flu-like symptoms, which has swept the team this week. He was sent back to the hotel to rest, but was in the lineup. The Bruins, with only 12 forwards, didn’t have much of a choice. “Kind of give him the best opportunity possible to try and flush it out, get some rest, and at least be as ready as they can,” Julien said. Smith scored both goals in Saturday night’s loss . . . Daniel Paille, who was sent back to Boston earlier in the week with an undisclosed upper-body injury, is day to day. There was no additional information about his condition Saturday . . . Lucic, a native of Vancouver, got the chance to see some family and friends Friday night with dinner at his grandmother’s house. “Don’t get to have that too often,” Lucic said. “It’s been 2½ years since we had a chance to play here, so it’s nice to be back.” . . . Julien had a chance to attend Friday night’s Vancouver-Edmonton game at Rogers Arena, where he was scouting for both the Bruins and Team Canada. “It was a little bit of two jobs here, watching two certain guys here that are on the Olympic list,” Julien said. “At least being here, it’s a lot better than watching them on TV.”Amalie Benjamin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.