|03.29.15 at 9:45 am ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli joined Sunday Skate with DJ Bean, Joe McDonald and Pete Blackburn Sunday morning to talk all things Bruins heading into the final few games of the regular-season as the team battles to make the playoffs. To hear the interview, go to the Weekend Shows audio on demand page.
Milan Lucic has seen his play improve with new linemates recently, but the team could an interesting choice with him going forward given that next season will be the final year of a three-year, $18 million deal. Chiarelli was asked about the team’s intentions with the player.
“I think I would put him in the overall group that we’ve all kind of underperformed,” Chiarelli said. “I haven’t made any real decisions on really anything and that includes Milan’s case. He’s done a lot for this organization. But, like I said, I think a lot of personnel have underperformed, so I would put Milan in that category like the rest of the group, myself included.”
Also a major topic of late with the Bruins is the job security for both Chiarelli and Claude Julien. Unlike past seasons, the final games of the regular-season have much more importance and therefore Chiarelli is in a different position than he’s ever been in.
“Yeah, interesting is a good way to put it,” he said of this season. “The year has been a bit of a difficult year. We’re battling for a playoff spot now. Much chronicled about Claude’s job and my job, but we’re professionals. We try and get the best out of our team — I try and make the right decisions and it’s a grind every game to watch. It seems like every game goes to overtime and it’s been difficult, but part of the business.”
When asked if he thinks his position should be reviewed, especially having made the postseason seven straight seasons, he refrained from going into detail.
“I am not going to comment on that,” said Chiarelli. “I am a professional paid to make the right decisions and make decisions that are best for the organization. These are things that happen in our business. … If it’s my job, it’s my job, but I hope that it’s not.”
If the Bruins do make the playoffs and Chiarelli does keep his job, there has been concern from the fanbase that the team would be satisfied with the current roster and refrain from making the necessary changes to avoid another season like this one. Chiarelli said he would plan on making the moves this team needs regardless of how it fares down the stretch.
“What we’ll do at the end of the year is, we’ll look at this roster,” Chiarelli said. “You ask me about all the things — I call them reasons, you may call them excuses — why the team isn’t performing the way it’s supposed to or where the expectations are, we’ll look at those. We’ll look at how the season finishes off. We’ll look at each individual player and make decisions, well-informed, educated decisions based on that.
“For me to say, ‘OK, what if things go well?’ I’m not going to speculate on either [scenario]. We have the season we’re having. I’m going to go through this process and we’ll make the proper decisions.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|03.28.15 at 10:13 pm ET|
How did the Bruins beat the Rangers? Why did the Leafs beat the Senators? Why did the Leafs… want to beat the Senators? Are the Senators actually bad? Are the Bruins still bad? Is Tuukka Rask hydrated? Will Pete Blackburn ever have his name said in the show open?
Discuss all these things and more in the Sunday Skate Live Chat with Pete Blackburn, DJ Bean and Joe McDonald from 7-9 a.m. Click here to listen to the show online. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli will join the show in the 8 o’clock hour.
|03.28.15 at 3:41 pm ET|
The Bruins got a big lead on the Rangers early and then held on for a 4-2 win without their most important player. Fortunately for them, Tuukka Rask is OK.
Claude Julien said following the game that Rask was “fine” and that he would travel with the team for Sunday’s game against the Hurricanes. Julien clarified that Rask would be an option to play.
It wasn’t as clear a picture when Rask left the game. At the second period’s first stoppage, Rask said something to referee Jean Hebert, after which Herbert permitted him to head to the bench. Rask’s skating was fine and he did not appear to be in noticeable pain as he headed to the tunnel.
Niklas Svedberg came in to spell Rask with the Bruins leading. The B’s added to it with Reilly Smith’s 13th goal of the season, though Rick Nash would net his 40th goal of the season to get the Rangers on the board. Former Bruin Matt Hunwick brought the Rangers within two with less than 23 seconds to play.
Bruins goaltending coach Bob Essensa changed into goalie equipment and was on the bench late in the game as the team’s emergency goaltender. He wore No. 70, which actually turned out to just be a Malcolm Subban jersey with tape covering the name.
The win netted the Bruins a pair of much-needed points, improving them to 87 points on the season through 75 games. The Senators, who have 85 points in 73 games entering their Saturday night contest against the Leafs.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday:
LUCIC NETS TWO
Though they gave Kevin Hayes’ line ample opportunities, Ryan Spooner’s line with Milan Lucic and David Pastrnak once again produced.
Lucic had a pair of goals (the first of which came with Patrice Bergeron on the ice for Spooner on an early shift) to bring him to 17 goals on the season. Lucic’s second goal came as a result of some pretty passing from Spooner and Torey Krug.
With Saturday’s performance, here are the updated numbers for the Lucic-Spooner-Pastrnak line:
5-on-5: 8 GGF, 2 GA
Partial 5-on-5 (two members of line): 2 GF, 3 GA
4-on-4: 1 G
SMITH AND SODERBERG GET IN ON THE ACTION
There were plenty of positives for the Bruins Saturday, but none were bigger than the fact that both Reilly Smith and Carl Sodeberg can feel good about their games for the first time in a while.
Smith had as pretty a shift as he’s had all season when he executed a quick self-pass up the boards in the defensive zone before racing through the neutral zone and dumping the puck off to Torey Krug. The play was capped by Smith taking a feed from Loui Eriksson and beating Lundqvist from the slot to make it 4-0.
Earlier in the game, Soderberg knocked the puck away from old friend Matt Hunwick in the neutral zone and caught up with it for a breakaway. He then deked and beat Lundqvist with a wrist shot for his 12th goal of the season.
KICKING OFF THE SCORING
Boston’s first goal looked like a sure thing to be disallowed, but the Bruins, a game after perhaps falling victim to a bad non-call, got some help from the officials.
Patrice Bergeron‘s shot on Henrik Lundqvist on an early first-period rush yielded a mammoth rebound. With Lucic going hard to the net, the puck went off the side of his skate and, because of his momentum, fired into the net as if the puck had been shot. The play was immediately called no-goal on the ice, with replays showing little to suggest there was no distinct kicking motion.
(GIF courtesy of @PeteBlackburn and Days of Y’Orr)
Perhaps to the surprise of many, the call on the ice was indeed overturned after a video review. The league offered the following explanation following the ruling:
At 1:41 of the first period in the Rangers/Bruins game, video review determined that the puck deflected off Milan Lucic‘s skate and into the net in a legal fashion. According to Rule 49.2 “A puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player’s skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal.” Good goal Boston.
Without Dougie Hamilton, it seems the Bruins will mix and match on their back end more than they usually do.
Saturday’s line rushes saw Zdeno Chara paired with Adam McQuaid, Torey Krug with Dennis Seidenberg and Matt Bartkowski with Zach Trotman. As was also the case Thursday, Claude Julien wasn’t afraid to move guys around in-game.
Trotman skated most of his shifts the first two periods with Chara, which he did often last Sunday against the Lightning. Seidenberg saw ample time with both Krug and McQuaid, with Bartkowski playing mostly with McQuaid.
|03.28.15 at 11:11 am ET|
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will return from a seven-week layoff to face the Bruins Saturday.
Lundqvist, who has been out with a blood-vessel injury in his neck, has not played since Feb. 2. The Rangers have still found success without him, as their work with Cam Talbot has taken them to the top of the Eastern Conference. With 101 points through 73 points, New York is the clear front-runner to take the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins enter Saturday’s game desperate for two points, but the Rangers may be equally motivated to decrease Boston’s chances of being their first-round opponent.
“We’re ready for a tough game,” Patrice Bergeron said Saturday morning. “We’re ready for a big game and it’s definitely going to be right from the start. I think it shouldn’t matter who’s in net. We need to make sure we worry about our start and the way that we want to play and establish that right from the get-go.”
|03.27.15 at 12:57 pm ET|
The Bruins prepared for the Rangers Friday, skating at TD Garden in anticipation of a Saturday matinee against the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Boston’s lines and defensive pairings were unchanged from Thursday’s overtime loss to the Ducks, though Friday did mark the first full practice in which Brett Connolly has participated since breaking his finger earlier this month. Connolly, who also took part in Thursday’s morning skate, hopes to be game-ready before the end of the regular season.
The Bruins’ lineup in practice was as follows:
|03.27.15 at 12:36 pm ET|
Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry joined Middays with MFB to discuss the Bruins’ playoff chances going into the final eight games of the regular season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Bruins are tied with the Senators for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 85 points, but Ottawa holds a game in hand.
“That game in hand is a killer,” Cherry said.
On Thursday night the B’s had a chance to jump over Ottawa for the second wild card spot after the Senators got blown out, 5-1, by the NHL-leading Rangers. The Bruins had a 2-1 lead over the Ducks entering the final minute of play, but Anaheim scored with just over 30 seconds left to tie the game, and then notched the game winner on a tip-in in overtime.
“That was a killer last night,” Cherry said, adding: “The winner went in off a stick, so you can’t blame [Tuukka] Rask for that one.”
The B’s goalie has not had his greatest season, but he usually has been good enough to at least give the team a chance to win.
“The problem is not Rask,” Cherry said. “He’s not stealing the games like he did last year, but he’s got a great [goals-against] average, 2.26, and a .924 save percentage. That’s pretty good. Their problem is they can’t score. And of all of the teams playing in the playoffs already, they’re the worst. They’ve got one 20-goal scorer right now, and that’s [Brad] Marchand. You’re not going to win many games if you don’t have any 20-goal scorers.”
Added Cherry: “Now they’ve got [Dougie] Hamilton hurt, he was their second-leading scorer. They’re in deep trouble right now. They’ll have to dig down.”
Cherry, a former coach of the Bruins, does not blame current coach Claude Julien for the B’s underwhelming season.
“Listen, it’s not Julien’s fault, he’s not going out telling them to not score,” Cherry said. “These are the guys, they can’t score. … He puts them on the ice and they don’t score. What, is he supposed to put the puck in?”
If the Bruins are able to rally and make the playoffs, they likely will face either the Rangers, Canadiens or Lightning. While they certainly wouldn’t be favored over any of those teams, Cherry wouldn’t count out the B’s.
“Just make the playoffs,” Cherry said. “Anybody that gets in the playoffs can make it.”
For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
|03.27.15 at 12:19 pm ET|
Former Bruins defenseman Nick Boynton, now a radio analyst for the Coyotes, was placed on leave from his job after being arrested at a Buffalo casino early Thursday morning.
“A police investigation is underway,” the team said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the situation closely and until the continuing legal process is completed, we will have no further comment. Mr. Boynton has been placed on a leave of absence.”
Boynton, who joined the Coyotes radio broadcast team last July and was in Buffalo to broadcast Thursday night’s Coyotes-Sabres game, was charged with assault, disorderly conduct, harassment, resisting arrest, criminal mischief and obstruction of government administration. Police say he became abusive toward patrons and security personnel at the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, damaged casino property, then bit the hand of an officer who was trying to subdue him.
“When a customer sitting on a chair in one of the game pits asked him to stop yelling and swearing, Boynton went over to the customer and shoved him off the chair onto the floor,” a police source told The Buffalo News. “I didn’t think someone could get so crazy on alcohol. He was cursing and shouting that he knew how to make money and the casino didn’t.”
Boynton, 36, was in police custody at a Buffalo hospital Thursday night, apparently to get treatment for a condition related to his diabetes. He was due to be arraigned Friday in Buffalo City Court.
An Ontario native, Boynton was drafted by the Bruins 21st overall in 1999 and played in Boston from 1999-2000 through 2005-06. He then played for the Coyotes, Panthers, Ducks, Blackhawks and Flyers before retiring in 2011. He won a Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010.
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