|05.16.13 at 5:05 pm ET|
Appearing with “Salk & Holley” Thursday afternoon, ESPN analyst Barry Melrose said he believes the Bruins are a “better team” than the Rangers, and believes the upcoming Eastern Conference semifinals will be a series “we can really get excited about.”
“Obviously, the injuries to the Bruins are a big factor,” he said. “If those guys can’t play — the defensemen — that’s going to be something that will be very interesting. It certainly helps the New York Rangers out. I like Chara playing against whoever they feel like is the dominant forward. He’s seems to always do a good job in that area. Obviously, the Bergeron line has to play better than they did in the Toronto series — those guys have to score to take some heat off the Krejci line. I’m hoping it’s a real aggressive, physical, nasty series, like Boston and New York used to have.
“Neither team is a great offensive team — they both stress defense first, so it should be a lot of close checking. A lot of grinding and a lot of board play. That creates a lot of anger, a lot of animosity. Hopefully, it’ll be a series we can really get excited about.”
Here are some more highlights of the Q&A. Head over to the Salk & Holley homepage for more:
|05.16.13 at 2:12 pm ET|
No one in black and gold was more under the microscope in the near-disastrous series with the Maple Leafs than Tyler Seguin.
The third-year super-talented winger had no goals and one assist in the seven games, with the one assist coming on the final goal of the series, when he was on the ice for the series-winning goal by Patrice Bergeron. Things got so bad that Seguin was demoted to the third line of Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley while Jaromir Jagr skated with Bergeron and Brad Marchand, a trend that continued at Thursday morning’s pre-game skate.
“Whole new series. Game 7 doesn’t matter and what happened in the last series doesn’t matter in this series,” Seguin said after Thursday morning’s pregame skate. “You have to come in fresh and ready to go.
“[This is a] fresh start for everyone. When I look at myself, it’s a whole new team, and my sisters don’t have to worry about going to school. It’s going to be nice. It’ll be nice to get things going.”
Seguin believes he was close to breaking through in the opening round series but just didn’t get rewarded.
“I thought the whole seires was kind of up and down,” he said. “I had a couple of games there where I thought I was playing great and wasn’t rewarded and there were a couple of games where I felt I wasn’t making smart plays or smart decisions and but in the end, being in overtime, getting the result says a lot, felt great and definitely gives me confidence.”
Seguin had three goals and four assists in 13 playoff games in 2011 after two goals and an assist against the Capitals in the only playoff series of 2012.
Seguin said he is hopeful that the team can take the momentum from the last 10 minutes of Game 7 and apply it toward this series, and maybe, just maybe, it will rub off on him.
“You try to take the momentum but also I think our team does really well and we succeed when we keep an even keel after losing and winning games,” Seguin said. “Obviously, you can’t block out the emotion of what happened in the last game and we wanted to make sure we enjoyed it but we want to make sure [we're focused] and get ready for tonight.”
|05.16.13 at 1:47 pm ET|
Rangers coach John Tortorella grew up around these parts. He went to high school at Concord-Carlisle and played college hockey at Maine. Now the Rangers’ head coach is back in New England to coach against the Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals, so how does he –
“Don’t ask me questions about me,” Tortorella said. “Ask me about the team, please.”
And we’re off.
Tortorella is known for his unusual dealings with the media. Like Bill Belichick, he doesn’t have much interest in divulging information or patience for questions he doesn’t like, but unlike Belichick, he can be confrontational about it. That’s not a knock on him; it’s just the way he is with the media.
On Thursday, Claude Julien‘s press conference concluded with Channel 7′s Rhett Lewis asking if the Boston coach had any pointers for getting reporters to answer their questions.
“I’m sure he’s excited about answering your questions,” Juien said with a grin. “Good luck, guys!”
And then Julien, almost in drop-the-mic fashion, got up and left. Then Tortorella came in, and things weren’t so funny.
On both Wednesday and Thursday, Julien had some nice words for Tortorella, saying Thursday that even though he didn’t plan on talking to him during the series, he can appreciate him as a coach.
“I certainly respect him for what he’s done and who he is,” Julien said. “He has his own personality and I’m one of those people that respect people for who they are. I’ve had some good chats with John in the past.”
Tortorella didn’t exactly return the favor.
“I’m not going to talk about him,” he said. “I’ll talk about the Rangers.”
This series could come down to goaltending, as two of the league’s goaltenders in Henrik Lundqvist and Tuukka Rask will face one another. What does Tortorella think of Rask as a player?
“I don’t coach him,” he said. “I’ll answer questions about the Rangers.”
Tortorella was then asked about getting more zone time on the power play as the Rangers’ first-round series against the Capitals went on. The Rangers were 2-for-28 on the man advantage against the Capitals over the seven-game series.
“Eh, it still wasn’t good,” Tortorella said of the power play.
The Rangers’ coach isn’t a man of many words, but this will certainly be an interesting series with him around.
|05.16.13 at 1:39 pm ET|
Claude Julien isn’t apologizing for his team’s miracle in Game 7 Monday night that has them opening an Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Rangers.
He also doesn’t want his team apologizing for being there either.
“For some reason, this last series seems to have been looked upon as negative for some people,” Julien said after Thursday’s pre-game skate at TD Garden, hours before Game 1 with the Rangers.
“For us, it was a great character win, we’re looking forward to moving ahead and we’re not looking at it the way a lot of people are looking at it. It’s not a chance to redeem yourself because we’re in the second round, we don’t have to redeem ourselves for anything. What we have to do here is look forward to this series and do whatever we can to move ahead. The character win that this team showed in Game Seven should be looked upon as a positive. That’s the way I look at it.”
One thing is for certain, no one is going to feel sorry for the Bruins having three injured defenseman heading into the series. With Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden all missing Thursday’s skate, it’s high likely that Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski will all play in Game 1 against the Rangers Thursday night.
The one advantage of it all, though, is the fact that two of the three, Krug and Bartkowski, have played the same defensive system with AHL Providence this year.
“It helps everybody because [Providence Head Coach] Bruce Cassidy and his coaching staff seem to see the game the same way we do,” Julien said. “There’s a good connection there in the way we coach our teams, very much the same approach. I know I’ve talked to Bruce; the things we do, he does as well.
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|05.16.13 at 12:42 pm ET|
You can call what happened in the third period and overtime of Game 7 against the Maple Leafs a lot of things. To some, it was one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the game. To others (including yours truly), it was a monumental collapse from a team that, after storming back from a 3-1 deficit, somehow forgot that desperation works both ways.
For Chris Kelly, it was a case of a team making the best of a bad situation. While he is proud of what the B’s were able to do in the final 20 minutes of the series against the Maple Leafs, he looks at the overall product in Game 7 and sees a lot the Bruins need to fix.
As such, he hopes that the B’s don’t feel too good after advancing past the Leafs. Asked about a potential letdown in Game 1 against the Rangers after Monday’s emotional win, Kelly put things in perspective.
“There had better not be,” Kelly said. “All we did was give ourselves a chance to play in the second round. We put ourselves in that situation being down 4-1. Yeah, it was a great comeback, but — and it’s a big ‘but’ — we put ourselves in that situation in order to comeback and win.”
The Rangers are coming off a seven-game series of their own after coming back from a 3-2 series deficit to eliminate the Rangers in the first round.
|05.16.13 at 11:57 am ET|
Following the Bruins’ morning skate, coach Claude Julien said that Brad Marchand will be “there” for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Rangers after leaving the skate early with an apparent injury.
Marchand walked through the B’s dressing room following morning skate and seemed to be in good spirits. He was not limping or noticeably encumbered, though he declined to talk to the media.
“He’ll be fine,” Julien said of Marchand. “He’ll be there tonight.”
Though Marchand did appear to be fine when walking through the room, Carl Soderberg might be the more likely candidate to play in his place than Kaspars Daugavins if Marchand is unable to go. Though Daugavins played in Game 1 of the first round and said he is ready to make a return to the lineup, he stayed out on the ice with the healthy scratches while Soderberg left with the players who figure to be in the lineup.
“First thing that comes to your mind is it sucks when somebody get hurts, first of all,” Daugavins said. “Especially a guy like Marchy who is one of our better players on the team. You know it’s not good for us. Even when you want to play, you don’t want to see your best player go down. It’s tough, but whatever happens happens and you have to be ready just in case they tell you you’re playing. I’m ready. I’m waiting for my chance, and if I go in I’ll do my best.”
As for the trio of injured defensemen, Dennis Seidenberg, Wade Redden and Andrew Ference (none of whom were there for the morning skate), Julien offered no update but said, “Doesn’t look good.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|05.16.13 at 11:16 am ET|
The Bruins and Rangers are set to begin their Eastern Conference semifinal series Thursday night at TD Garden, and we want to know how you think the series will play out.
When we last asked our readers for a prediction, the results were mixed. In a poll asking who would win Game 7 of the Bruins-Maple Leafs series, the response that ranked last of the six options — with just 7 percent of the voting — was “Bruins in overtime.”
The top choice, with 32 percent of the 612 respondents, was “Bruins in a close game in regulation.” Just two votes behind was “Maple Leafs in a close game in regulation.”
Let’s see if our readers can be more accurate in prognosticating this series.
Who will win the Bruins-Rangers Eastern Conference semifinal series?
- Bruins in seven (33.0%, 94 Votes)
- Bruins in six (33.0%, 92 Votes)
- Rangers in six (16.0%, 46 Votes)
- Bruins in five (7.0%, 20 Votes)
- Rangers in seven (5.0%, 13 Votes)
- Rangers in five (4.0%, 10 Votes)
- Rangers in four (1.0%, 4 Votes)
- Bruins in four (1.0%, 3 Votes)
Total Voters: 282
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