|05.17.14 at 3:30 pm ET|
When teams win, every player is appreciated in some way, shape or form. Even Tomas Kaberle ended up positively impacting Boston’s Stanley Cup run with a big assist on Michael Ryder‘s first goal of Game 4 against the Canadiens, and when the Cup was raised, all was forgiven.
When teams lose, it’s a different animal, and underperforming players might have reason to worry about their future.
Of the Bruins’ biggest names under contract, Brad Marchand might be most likely to hear his name pop up in trade chatter. He’s relatively young (26) and on a pretty good contract (three more years with a $4.5 million cap hit in each), but after an up-and-down regular season and a goose-egg in the goal column for the entire postseason, his future with the Bruins is no sure thing. If there is a bigger move for Peter Chiarelli to make, Marchand would be a logical candidate to be moved.
This isn’t the first time Marchand’s had to wonder about whether his time with the B’s was coming to an end. When Tyler Seguin was traded last summer, Marchand wondered if he might be on the move too. On Friday, he reiterated that point and said he hopes to stay in Boston.
“A guy as talented as Segs gets traded at such an early age and it’s an eye-opener for everyone,” Marchand said. “I don’t know. Hopefully I’m not going anywhere, but that’s up to management and the coaching staff. I guess we’ll see.”
Though Marchand is viewed universally as a pest, he’s one of Boston’s best players when at the top of his game. A plus two-way player, Marchand is fast, has underrated hands and kills penalties.
Yet when factoring in Marchand’s quiet end to the last postseason, the pesky forward has now gone 20 playoff games without a goal. That’s not good enough for a player who should be expected to score 25 to 30 goals a season (he scored 25 this season after recovering from a dreadful start that saw him score just three goals in the first 25 games of the season).
“It’s very tough,” Marchand said of his postseason shortcomings. “You really want to perform and help the team. Playoff time is when you need to be big and you need to produce. I wasn’t able to accomplish that this year. I’ll have to focus even harder for next year.”
Marchand was the victim of a horrendous call in Game 7 of the second round of the Canadiens, as he was called for goaltender interference when Andrei Markov cross-checked him in the head, sending him into Carey Price.
As frustrating as that “reputation call” may have been, Marchand — admittedly, to his credit — has earned the reputation to get those bad calls. Reputation calls aren’t given to players who take a lot of penalties; they’re given to players who get away with a lot of stuff that refs don’t always see, such as his punch to the head of Tomas Plekanec before a faceoff that went uncalled.
“It’s frustrating, but I dug that hole for myself and I’ve got to live with it,” Marchand said after Game 7.
If the Bruins were to move Marchand, it would be interesting to see what kind of return he would yield. After being eliminated by the speedier Canadiens and assuming they’ll have to face them at some point most years in the playoffs with the new playoff format, Boston should be in no hurry to remove more speed from its top two lines.
Still, depending on what the B’s could get back and whether it could save them some money against the cap (re-signing Jarome Iginla to anything but a one-year, bonus-laden deal seems to be their only bet at retaining Iginla unless they shed salary), anything might be worth exploring for Chiarelli.
|05.16.14 at 6:45 pm ET|
Shawn Thornton‘s future with the Bruins is murky at best, as he was not told that he wouldn’t be re-signed Friday, but Peter Chiarelli did not tell him the team plans to retain him.
Thornton, a free agent, wants to play another two years. His preference is to play in Boston, so the sense is that if the Bruins will have him back, he’ll return. If they don’t want him, he won’t. Chiarelli told Thornton that he needs to look at some things before he decides whether the team will make him an offer.
“Thorty I thought had a kind of up and down year,” Chiarelli said. “He got, obviously, the incident with Pittsburgh and you know, there’s trends in hockey and the fisticuffs trend — again, this doesn’t characterize Thorty as just a fighter because he contributed on that [fourth] line.
“That line has had a lot of success in the past, but there is definitely, we’re trending away from that style. I had a discussion with Thorty this morning and I said, ‘Look, give me a couple weeks to digest what’s happened and then we’ll go from there.’ That same comment applies to [Jarome Iginla]. I haven’t talked to the other [unrestricted free agents] yet but to Iggy and Thorny so far.”
Iginla is a free agent as well. He played this season on a one-year deal in which the Bruins were able to pay him bonuses that will go against next year’s cap in order to save money on this year’s cap. The team can keep doing that on Iginla, but only on one-year deals.
Iginla, who tied for the team lead with 30 goals in the regular season and led the team with five postseason goals, said he does not wish to negotiate publicly, so he was generally tight-lipped about what he wants. He did say that at age 36, he still feels he can play a while longer.
“I still want to play for a while before I quit. I’ll push myself to be better and there are no issues,” he said. “I loved playing here with the guys and there’s a great chance for next year for the Stanley Cup. They keep getting better with the young guys that they have, Dougie [Hamilton] and [Matt Bartkowski]. The core is still young. There’s lots of reasons. Very fortunate if I can be back here.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|05.16.14 at 5:27 pm ET|
Bruins forward Milan Lucic said at Friday’s breakup day that he does not regret what he did in the handshake line following Game 7 of the second round, when he allegedly told Canadiens players that he was going to kill them.
Canadiens forward Dale Weise told reporters about the incident after the game, which drew criticism from Lucic both after the game and again on Friday.
“What’s said on the ice, stays on the ice and fortunately that code is broken and it’s unfortunate that it blows up to what it is now,” Lucic said Friday. “I’m not the first guy to do it, I’m not the last guy to do [it]. I’m not sorry that I did it. I’m a guy that plays on emotion and this is a game of emotions. Sometimes you make decisions out of emotions that may not be the best ones. That’s what it is. I didn’t make the NHL because I accepted losing and accepted failure. I think that’s what’s got me to this point and made me the player that I am. Other than that, there’s not that much to it. I’m not the first guy to do it and I’m sure I won’t be the last.”
Lucic was asked for clarification as to whether he wasn’t sorry.
“I can’t take back what I said,” he said. “I’m not apologizing for what was said in the handshake and, like I said, it’s just unfortunate that what was said on the ice gets leaked out and gets blown way out of proportion.”
|05.16.14 at 1:30 pm ET|
As is customary on breakup day, word emerged on injuries the Bruins dealt with during the postseason. The bravest of the bunch proved to be Matt Fraser, who played the entire postseason with a broken foot.
Fraser, who was sporting a cast and crutches Friday, broke his right foot in Game 1 of the first round of the AHL postseason while playing for the Providence Bruins. He was dealing with the injury when he was called up in the second round by the Bruins and he scored the overtime winner in Game 4 of the second round for Boston.
Chris Kelly, who suffered a back injury late in the season, had a herniated disc and said it was the most pain he had ever dealt with. Kelly said he hoped he could have returned in some point in the playoffs but wasn’t sure. Kelly will undergo surgery at some point.
Milan Lucic was sporting a soft cast on his left wrist after suffering an injury in Game 7 of the second round against Montreal. He was set to receive an MRI on Friday.
Regarding Zdeno Chara‘s fractured finger, the Bruins captain said that he might not need surgery.
As for Dennis Seidenberg, the defenseman said his plan all along was to return this season after tearing his ACL and MCL on Dec. 27 and having surgery in early January. Seidenberg said he would have been able to play in the Eastern Conference finals had the team gotten there.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|05.16.14 at 12:49 pm ET|
NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to break down the Bruins’ 3-1 season-ending loss to the Canadiens in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
The Bruins found themselves in trouble from the start in Game 7, after noticeably poor execution led to a quick Dale Weise goal to give the Habs a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“It started with a bad turnover by Matt Bartkowski, we showed it on television. That puck has to be in deep,” McGuire said. “I know it’s a simplification and people are probably saying, ‘What does that have to do with it?’ It had a lot to do with it, because you had all your forwards expecting to shoot it, and they don’t get back in time. Montreal makes a really smart move and Brandon Prust wins a footrace and gets it to Danny Briere, who eventually gets it to Weise, because Bartkowski’s looking at the puck.”
McGuire told Mut & Merloni on Wednesday that Game 7′s first goal would be significant, and he was proven right by the outcome of the game.
“I told you guys the other day the first goal was going to matter. The Bruins were never able to get it back on the rails,” he said. “Now, give Carey Price some credit, and the Bruins also didn’t have a lot of puck luck, but that was a bad start and it carried over to most of the rest of the game.”
McGuire said he could tell from his spot between the benches that the Bruins seemed deflated by the early goal.
|05.16.14 at 10:43 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss the B’s season-ending loss to Montreal in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series, as well as his future in Boston. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Canadiens broke through with the game’s first goal from Dale Weise just 2:18 into what was generally considered an ugly opening period for the Bruins in their 3-1 loss Wednesday. Thornton was on the ice for the goal.
“That goal against 2 1/2 minutes in, kind of, didn’t take the passion away, but they’re a good team,” Thornton said. “They’re a tough team to battle back against. We can’t give them that goal. It was a bunch of errors that led up to it, but it was Game 7, you don’t want to be battling from behind 2 1/2 minutes into the game.”
Thornton said the locker room was quiet after the game and that he’s still in disbelief over the outcome.
“We’re just disappointed. We’re still in shock, I think. We planned on winning it,” he said. “We planned on going until the end, winning it all. We’re just as in shock as everyone else, if not more.”
Asked to rank the most significant factors in the series, Thornton put the play of goaltender Carey Price, who made 29 saves in Game 7 to cap off an impressive seven-game stretch, and the Canadiens’ role players ahead of Montreal’s speed and quickness.
“I don’t think [speed and quickness] was the reason,” Thornton said. “We didn’t bury enough of our chances. We had ample opportunities to bury it. … A little bit of puck luck, a little bit of timing and I think it could’ve been different, but it wasn’t. They won, they move on. We don’t, we drown in our sorrows.”
|05.15.14 at 7:56 pm ET|
Slovakian national team general manager Otto Sykora told reporters Thursday that Bruins captain Zdeno Chara would not be joining the Slovakian team at the World Hockey Championships because Chara required surgery on a finger he fractured during the second round of the NHL playoffs against the Canadiens.
Chara was slashed in the first period of Game 3 by Michael Bournival and left the ice briefly but returned to the game. Chara’s play diminished as the series went on, and he looked to be in pain after being slashed in the same area by Max Pacioretty in Game 7.
The final two games of the series were particularly bad for Chara, as he failed to take the body on Pacioretty in Game 6 on a play in which Pacioretty scored, while he had a pair of weak giveaways during a first-period penalty kill in Game 7 and saw Montreal’s final goal of the series go off his skate and past Tuukka Rask.
This marks the second consecutive season in which Chara had to play through an injury at the end of the season, as he struggled through a hip injury against the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals last season.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
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