|10.30.14 at 2:07 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB in advance of Thursday night’s Bruins game with the Sabres and to talk about the injuries the Bruins have been forced to deal with. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Bruins have lost two of their last three games, including two, one-goal games at home — the latest a 4-3 loss to the Wild where they blew a two-goal lead in the third period. McGuire stressed even if the Bruins were to lose to Buffalo Thursday night, it would not be a time to panic.
“It’s an 82-game schedule,” McGuire said. “This isn’t football, it’s not every week being a Super Bowl game. You have to understand there are ebbs and flows in every season and there’s huge peaks and gigantic valleys that you have to climb out of. This reminds me so much of what Detroit went through last year without [Henrik] Zetterberg and [Pavel] Datsyuk — they had so many key injuries. Jimmy Howard was not doing well due to injury and illness. Everyone said they wouldn’t make the playoffs – 22 years in a row they made it, 23 won’t happen — but, guess what? They found a way.
“I believe this Boston Bruins team will find a way and a lot of those young players are getting an opportunity to play now, they are going to be the beneficiaries in this.”
Added McGuire: “I’m bullish on the Bruins, I really am. There’s no substitute for grit and there’s no substitute for maturity and this is a mature leadership kind of team that has a tremendous amount of grit.”
The Bruins have had a number of injuries to their defensive group, including Zdeno Chara (ligament tear in knee), Torey Krug (broken finger), Kevan Miller (upper-body) on top of the trade of Johnny Boychuk to the Islanders before the season. McGuire says this is a time for three other Bruins defensemen to step up, as well as an important stretch for assistant coach Doug Houda.
“The biggest thing is – limited ice time — this is where Doug Houda, who is not a real big-name on the Bruins, but he’s the assistant coach that changes the defense, he’s got to really pay attention to matchups,” said McGuire. “This is where [Dennis] Seidenberg has to play like he played in Toronto the other night — almost 26 minutes, he was really good. Dougie Hamilton obviously was fantastic in that game. He’s going to have to be good. This is where you need Adam McQuaid to be a little bit more stable and better with the puck. Those three guys are going to have to be a lot better, especially when you consider not having Chara, Krug and the trading of Boychuk.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
|10.29.14 at 1:26 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB to discuss the Bruins’ disappointing start to the season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Bruins blew a two-goal lead and dropped a 4-3 decision to the Wild on Tuesday night, putting their record at 5-6 on the young season. Brickley said the team is “treading water,” evidenced by Tuesday’s performance.
“It was 3-1 after two periods, but the Bruins were not playing all that well,” Brickley said. “That score did not indicate that the Bruins were the better team through 40 minutes. There were just too many mistakes, lack of focus, poor decision-making, getting beat on the backcheck, the defense for Minnesota was jumping into the play. And every line was guilty, none more so than the [Patrice] Bergeron line.”
Brickley said coach Claude Julien might have to resort to mixing up lines in an attempt to jump-start the team.
“It’s that one step forward, one step back that has plagued this team this year, and that’s that lack of focus and the lack of compete and consistency, just not there. It’s really hard to understand, because the core group is together and should be well schooled in all these areas and understand what they have in front of them in terms of not wanting to chase it the first two months of the season and get too far behind in the standings.
“As a coach in these situations you try to emphasize the positive things when you think that’s the right approach. Sometimes you’ve got to call guys out — not in public, but certainly within the room. Claude right now is very frustrated on what he needs to do to get this team to play better. You may even have to see some line juggling. Maybe you keep that [Carl] Soderberg line together to give you the one constant. The way the [David] Krejci line produced last night, maybe you keep them together. But I don’t know, maybe the Bergeron line needs a little change of scenery because it’s not working right now.
“You could appeal to players’ sense of, you know, ‘We’ve got to win some hockey games here, boys, and we’ve got to play better and we’ve got to do the little things that make us a good team, and we’ve got to work together as five-man units,’ because they’re just not getting the results. It’s hard to explain, it’s hard to get your hands around. And that’s the challenge for the coaching staff right now.”
|10.29.14 at 12:28 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins reshuffled their lines in Wednesday’s practice, with both Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith being moved off Patrice Bergeron‘s line. Marchand left the ice during practice, with Claude Julien saying afterwards that the left wing “tweaked something.” Marchand’s status for Thursday’s game in Buffalo is unknown.
Upon Marchand leaving the ice, Matt Fraser switched jerseys and went from the fourth line to the third line, playing the left wing with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson. It’s worth noting that Fraser was the best he’s been as a Bruin when he played in that spot last postseason while Chris Kelly was out with a back injury.
David Krejci‘s line remained the same after a strong showing in Tuesday’s loss to the Wild, but all of the other lines were changed. They were as follows:
Lucic – Krejci – Griffith
Kelly – Bergeron – Gagne
Marchand/Fraser – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Smith/Fraser
Both Joe Morrow and David Warsofsky were on the ice after being recalled earlier in the day.
|10.29.14 at 11:46 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins announced Wednesday that defenseman Torey Krug will miss 2-3 weeks with a broken finger. The injury was suffered on a third-period slash from Zach Parise in the Bruins’ 4-3 loss to the Wild Tuesday night.
The team also recalled defensemen Joe Morrow and David Warsofsky from Providence Wednesday. Both players were on the ice for Wednesday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena.
Warsofsky figures to inherit some of Krug’s responsibilities, while Morrow could challenge Matt Bartkowski as the team’s third-pairing left defenseman.
Morrow, who was recalled Friday but sent back to Providence Sunday, has played five games for Providence this season, registering a goal and an assist for two points and a plus-4 rating. Warsofsky has no points and a minus-2 rating in seven games.
In 11 games this season, Krug has two goals and four assists for six points and a plus-2 rating. Usually a third-pairing player and power play asset, Krug was being used as a top-4 defenseman with Zdeno Chara out due to a PCL tear.
The injury is the latest to a depleted Bruins blue line. In addition to Chara’s injury, the B’s are without Kevan Miller, who suffered a dislocated shoulder in a fight on Oct. 18.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|10.29.14 at 12:05 am ET|
No Stanley Cup was on the line Tuesday night at TD Garden, but Seth Griffith certain woke up the Gallery Gods echos when he made like Bobby Orr of May 10, 1970, and flew through the air to score what was, at the time, the go-ahead goal in the second period.
But the trouble with this airborne goal is that it wasn’t the final goal of the season. It wasn’t even in the final goal of the game.
The Bruins would score again, on a power-play tally from Milan Lucic, to go ahead 3-1 entering the third period. But the final 20 minutes featured a meltdown as the Wild outworked the Bruins and came away with a 4-3 win at TD Garden.
Still, the Griffith goal is what many Bruins fans will take with them out the door as the lone highlight. Gregory Campbell made it all possible when he rushed the net, drew a defender and left Griffith alone to come down the slot and finish it off. It was the rookie’s second goal of the night and third of the season. He also added an assist and was just a fight shy of the Gordie Howe hat trick.
“It’s kind of hard to be happy but two goals — obviously the win is more important,” Griffith said. “It’s too bad we didn’t have a very good third.”
|10.28.14 at 9:44 pm ET|
The Bruins surrendered a two-goal lead in the third period to fall, 4-3, to the Wild Tuesday at TD Garden.
With the loss, the B’s fell to 5-6-0 on the season. The loss saw a three-point performance from Seth Griffith (one goal, two assists) go wasted.
The Wild took the lead at 4:51 of the first period after Thomas Vanek stole the puck from Matt Bartkowski behind the net and sent it in front for Nino Niederreiter to bury past Tuukka Rask. Boston tied it at 1:37 left in the period when David Krejci sent an impressive saucer pass from the half wall past two defenders to Griffith, who tipped it past Niklas Markstrom for his first of the night. In getting the secondary assist on the goal, Zach Trotman registered his first career NHL point.
The Bruins took the lead in the second period on a goal-of-the-year candidate from Griffith. With Milan Lucic sending the puck up to Gregory Campbell in the neutral zone, Griffith raced to the net from the defensive zone and, after Campbell patiently waited to make the pass in front, Griffith got his stick on the puck as trip attempts from Niederreiter and Nate Prosser sent him flying as he reached the net. The puck went in as Griffith toppled to the ice, with his gloves breaking his fall.
Milan Lucic added to the lead with a power play at 16:59 of the second period, redirecting a Torey Krug shot from in front of the net for his second goal of the season. Griffith picked up the secondary assist on the goal.
The Wild, who were playing their second game in as many nights, would answer back in the third period with goals from Zach Parise and Justin Fontaine. A Marco Scandella slapshot from the point that sailed past Tuukka Rask at 14:07 of the third capped the come-from-behind victory.
The Bruins will next head to Buffalo, where they will get a layup against the Sabres before hosting the Senators at the Garden Saturday.
Here are some observations from the game: Read the rest of this entry »
|10.28.14 at 1:04 pm ET|
Dougie Hamilton is receiving praise left and right for what some might call a breakout* performance against the Maple Leafs, but it was his response to the low moment of his three-point game that might be the biggest takeaway.
Hamilton was the last line of defense as the Bruins, stuck in their zone, surrendered the Leafs’ lone goal of the game in the third period. The man Hamilton was covering, Richard Panik, scored with the Bruins scrambling during a delayed penalty to break up Tuukka Rask‘s shutout. Rask could be seen barking at Hamilton after the goal.
On Hamilton’s next shift, James van Riemsdyk went to the net and Hamilton manhandled him on a play that resulted in matching roughing minors. Intentionally or not, it was a good sign that Hamilton, a 6-foot-5 third-year player with no fighting majors to his name, does not want to be taken lightly around his net. Furthermore, it was a response Rask was happy to see.
“That’s what you have to do; you have do hold your ground and not let those guys get in there,” Rask said. “That’s exactly what he did. As long as it’s an even call, that’s alright.”
Shifts are usually around 45-50 seconds, sometimes more and sometimes less. Hamilton ended up being stuck on the ice for 1:37 on the shift that cost Rask what would have been his shutout of the season. During a delayed penalty call on Daniel Paille for tripping Panik, Rask had to face three shots from three different angles. A point shot squirted into the corner and was retrieved by Nazem Kadri, whose cross-ice pass to Cody Franson yielded another shot stopped by Rask. Tyler Bozak whacked the rebound across the net to Panik, who jammed it past both Rask and Hamilton, the latter of whom had been covering Panik but retreated into the net amidst the chaos.
“It was definitely my fault,” Hamilton, who had a goal and two assists in the game, said of the goal. “I was gassed and trying to playing to goalie, obviously with the shutout on the line. I apologized to him.”
Rask said Tuesday that though he reacted vocally, he didn’t mean to chew Hamilton out any more than he intended to express frustration with the overall work in front of him on the shift.
Hamilton said that on his next shift, he felt he had to “refocus and make sure I was being strong.” That ended up being subpar news for van Riemsdyk, who became the focal point of Hamilton’s aggression.
Rask wants and expects the defensemen in front of him to box players out and make them pay a price if they want to get close to the net. When that doesn’t happen, he isn’t afraid to tell them. That isn’t such a bad thing.
With Zdeno Chara out for at least a few more weeks, other players need to provide the physical presence and intimidation factor around the net. Rask will be happy to see more of that from Hamilton as he continues to round into a top defender.
“He obviously wants to be one of the best defensemen in the league, and that’s something he has to get better at, is the defensive side of his game,” Rask said. “He’s really picked up on that and gotten better, so I like it.”
*Hamilton broke out last season.
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