|10.11.14 at 1:15 pm ET|
This season, the NHL is hitting accused divers where it hurts. Guess which Bruins player doesn’t like that?
Under a new set of rules for this season, players will be given a warning for their first dive, a $2,000 fine for their second, a $3,000 fine for their third, a $4,000 fine for their fourth and a $5,000 fine for any and every dive after that.
They’ll also likely find themselves in the doghouse, as coaches will be fined $2,000 if one of their players dives a fourth time, $3,000 if they dive a fifth time and $5,000 for any other dives.
Brad Marchand, a player with a track record of embellishment penalties, was given the first of the 2014-15 season Thursday night when he was sent off for selling a Henrik Zetterberg interference penalty. The penalty came on the first shift of the second period.
There was just one problem: Marchand didn’t appear to dive on the play. It looked like, after passing the puck back to the point in the offensive zone, he was trying to avoid Zetterberg by jumping around him.
(GIF courtesy of Boston.com)
Both Marchand and Claude Julien took issue with the call, which in all likelihood shouldn’t have been a penalty on either player. Whether Zetterberg even knew Marchand was there when they made contact is up for debate as well.
Dives — whether penalized or not — are reviewed before action is taken by the league’s part. The Bruins have yet to hear whether Marchand has received a warning for the play, with Claude Julien saying Saturday that, to his knowledge, Marchand hadn’t. The Bruins will know more soon, as a list comes out each week indicating which players have earned a strike.
Whether or not the clock has started on him, Marchand still opposes the league’s new approach.
“I think the new rule is a little absurd,” Marchand told WEEI.com Saturday. “It’s all a judgment call by the referee. How do you judge how guys are on their balance, how they’re on their skates? What if they’re on one foot and on their turn a guy gets pushed? Does that mean that he has embellished?
“The fact that guys are going to start getting fined for it, I don’t agree with that. It’s all the discretion of the referee and you’ve got to try to play within the rules. We’re going to try to find that line, but at end of the day, it’s up to the referees with what they want to call, and you’ve got to live with it.”
Though certain teams — the Bruins certainly among them – have played the “everyone dives but us” card over the years, the fact is that if you want to look for it, there’s proof of selling calls with every team and many, many players throughout the league. Some are known more for it than others, and some of Marchand’s more egregious falls, as well as closer calls, have earned him a reputation that might make keeping all of his $4.5 million salary more of an uphill climb this season.
Marchand is correct, however, when he questions what is is viewed as embellishment. He brought up a terrific example of a player grabbing his face when he has not been hit with a stick.
“There’s no real definition of embellishing,” Marchand said. “Even when a guy sees a stick up on his face, it happens so quick, it might not hit you, but at the same time, you’re going to react to a stick up within inches of your face. It’s just everyone’s natural reaction. Sometimes it hits you, sometimes it may not. Yeah, you might think it’s going to hit you and you move your head back and that’s [considered] embellishing. It’s just a natural reaction; you may not even mean to do it.
“That’s where there’s such a fine line between that rule. I’m not too fond of all the fining and all that, but if that’s where it’s going to go, then you’ve got to live with it.”
Marchand knows he has a reputation for many things, and diving is among them. Of all the things for which he’s known, Marchand says the “diver” label is the most infuriating.
“It is,” he said. “Especially after a play like last game, I think it was an absolutely ridiculous call, and the fact that now I have a strike against me because of something like that [Editor’s note: Said strike is TBD]. I don’t think you can argue anything; I had my feet completely taken out from under me. What are you supposed to do there? It’s a bit of a ridiculous call, but that’s how it is.”
Julien says that he has ‘no doubt’ that referees are more inclined to call such penalties on Marchand, but he puts that on the player.
“That’s up to him to clean up that situation. He created it, right?’ Julien said. “I think he’s done a great job this year of staying focused and just playing his game. Whether he gets in the other team’s kitchen or not, that’s part of his game. But I think it’s just about making sure you don’t lose the respect of your referees by chirping or by continuing to do things after the whistle when they tell you to stop. I think that’s where he’s lost those guys a little bit. You can always redeem yourself, or you’d like to think players can, he’s really tying to do that.”
Julien has gone after other teams – specifically the Canadiens – in the past for embellishing. On Saturday, however, he admitted what many know to be true but don’t always want to say: Everyone dives.
“I don’t encourage embellishment. I don’t want to see it. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen every once in a while on our team,” Julien said. “Like anybody else, I just don’t like it. Our players are clear on that. We’re not clean; we do make those kind of mistakes every once in a while, and when it becomes an issue, it gets addressed.
“The league is doing a great job of trying to take that out of the game, and I think it’s a real important thing to our game to take out because it really tarnishes what this game’s all about.”
|10.11.14 at 12:06 pm ET|
Both Gregory Campbell and David Krejci participated in Saturday’s morning skate, though neither will be on the ice when the Bruins host the Capitals at TD Garden Saturday night. Krejci is on injured reserve and is not eligible to play until Monday at the earliest, while Claude Julien said there is no timetable for Campbell, who has yet to be cleared for contact.
The B’s survived an injury scare in practice when Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara collided and Chara was hit in the eye by Lucic’s stick. Chara was down for a moment before getting up and holding a towel over his face. Chara stayed on the ice for the rest of the skate.
Based on morning skate, the lineup for Saturday is unchanged from the first two games:
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Lucic – Spooner – Fraser
Paille – Cunningham – Robins
Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – McQuaid
Krug – Miller
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|10.11.14 at 7:55 am ET|
During a recent exhibition game against the Washington Capitals, Bruins 32 year old rookie Bobby Robins was mic’d up for an episode of NESN’s “Behind the B.” Here is a sample of what Robins brings to the table:
|10.09.14 at 10:13 pm ET|
The Bruins didn’t have the puck enough to avoid a 2-1 loss to the Red Wings Thursday at Joe Louis Arena.
The Bruins didn’t get their first shot on goal until 12:01 of the first period, but fortunately for them, it went in for Patrice Bergeron‘s first goal of the season. Bergeron intercepted a Jonathan Ericsson pass in the Detroit zone, took a couple of strides towards the net and ripped a shot over the glove of Jimmy Howard to give Boston a 1-0 lead.
The Red Wings would continue to dominate possession until Justin Abdelkader tied it 3:52 into the second period. Gustav Nyquist would make it 2-1 at 14:46 of the second on a power play goal off a pass from Darren Helm after Craig Cunningham struggled to get the puck out of the zone.
The B’s survived an injury scare from Bergeron, who left the ice after his first shift of the second period after hitting the boards oddly. Following the game, Claude Julien told reporters that Bergeron’s absence was a result of the B’s following the league’s concussion testing protocol. Bergeron ended up being OK, returning to the game 13 minutes later but he taking a slashing penalty that led to Nyquist’s goal.
The B’s got a break late in the game when Johan Franzen elbowed Bergeron at 17:26, but Chara was penalized for goaltender interference 48 seconds into the Bruins’ power play. Up until Chara’s penalty, the Bruins went with the aggressive move of pulling Tuukka Rask to give them a 6-on-4 advantage.
Boston mustered only 17 shots on goal in the game.
Here are some observations from the game:
– The Bruins squandered a good opportunity when, 41 seconds into 4-on-4 play that followed Brad Marchand embellishing a Henrik Zetterberg call, Tomas Tatar went off for tripping Kevan Miller to give the Bruins a 1:19 4-on-3. With more space in the offensive zone, the B’s foursome of Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Ryan Spooner and Reilly Smith fell victim to overpassing, most notably from Spooner, who got lots of pucks sent his way low in the zone but dished rather than going to the net.
The B’s wasted another power play when Brendan Smith was sent off for slashing Chris Kelly. Boston had no shots on goal during the ensuing man advantage.
– Jimmy Howard robbed Brad Marchand‘s wrist shot from the right circle just under midway through the third period off a nice pass from Reilly Smith. Marchand also rang iron on Boston’s final power play in the closing minutes. The Bruins’ chances were few and far between Thursday, with Marchand’s bids among their better chances in the third.
– The Bruins’ lineup was as follows:
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Lucic – Spooner – Fraser
Paille – Cunningham – Robins
Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug – Kevan Miller
|10.09.14 at 5:14 pm ET|
The Bruins recalled Jordan Caron on Thursday, with the 23-year-old winger “re-joining” the team in Detroit.
Caron was technically sent to Providence prior to Tuesday’s roster deadline, but general manager Peter Chiarelli had said earlier in the day that the team would be making temporary paper transactions as a means of maximizing potential cap space for the season using the long-term injury exception.
As such, AHLers Malcolm Subban and Brian Ferlin were “sent back” to Providence as part of Thursday’s transactions.
The Bruins placed Caron and Craig Cunningham on waivers Saturday, with both players going unclaimed. That allowed the Bruins flexibility to send them back and forth between Boston and Providence 30 days from them clearing without having to be put on waivers again. If they play 10 games in that span, they would again require waivers to be moved.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|10.09.14 at 1:52 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his first weekly appearance of the season Thursday on Middays with MFB, following Wednesday night’s Bruins opener. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
McGuire said there is reason to believe the Bruins, who opened with a 2-1 victory over the Flyers, will be able to overcome the losses of Jarome Iginla and Johnny Boychuk and put together a season similar to 2013-14, when they had the best record in the NHL before falling in the second round of the playoffs to the Canadiens.
“They have a healthy Chris Kelly, I think that makes a big difference,” McGuire said. “Carl Soderberg is a ton better, you saw that last night. I think Loui Eriksson will be a ton better this year. Dougie Hamilton, even though he had a couple of turnovers, you could see when he really amped his game up he was very good. Having Dennis Seidenberg back makes them better. Tuukka Rask is a year more mature.
“I think they’re a lot better in a lot of areas. I think they’re the best team in the Eastern Conference. I’m not changing on that; I won’t change even when we’re on Game 40, barring injuries, obviously. I think this team is extremely good.
“I like the energy of a young player like Craig Cunningham. I love the energy of Bobby Robins. They obviously got last night done without David Krejci and Gregory Campbell. This is a really good team. They’re really a good team, and they’re going to be a ton of fun to watch.”
McGuire said he saw lots of promising things from the opener.
“I thought Tuukka when he had to be was really good,” he said. “I thought Kevan Miller played a solid, physical game. I like the way Torey Krug started to jump into the rush. And I like the way that the Bruins defensemen really held the offensive blue line. And probably more importantly than anything else they’re much more aggressive offensively. I know it didn’t translate because I thought Steve Mason from Philadelphia played a great job so the scoreboard’s not indicative of that. But by and large they’re a much more aggressive offensive team, and I think that’s really important for them.”
Looking at the Eastern Conference, McGuire said the Bruins’ biggest challenge might come from the Lightning.
“I think Tampa Bay’s a very good team, and I know a lot of people are talking about them, but I would look out for the Tampa Bay Lightning. I would be a little bit nervous about them,” McGuire said. “It’s going to be interesting to see how everything translates in Pittsburgh, because it is a little bit of a different roster, it’s a different coaching philosophy going from Danny Bylsma to Mike Johnston. So we’ll see how that plays out. … I don’t know if there’s a team outside of Tampa and maybe Pittsburgh that’s going to be able to play and have enough depth to play against Boston. Boston’s just that good. Montreal’s really good, I just don’t know if they’re big enough to play against Boston when Boston’s healthy. Boston’s a really, really good team.”
|10.09.14 at 12:23 am ET|
In theory, Wednesday night’s season opener between the Bruins and Flyers should have given us a great back-and-forth battle between two of the NHL‘s best centers. Patrice Bergeron and Claude Giroux both finished in the top five in Hart Trophy voting last season, and their lines were matched against each other for most of the game Wednesday night.
But instead of that great battle, what we got was a total beatdown in favor of the Bruins. Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith dominated Giroux, Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek all game long, rendering one of the best players in the league virtually invisible.
Bergeron won 10 of the 12 faceoffs he took against Giroux and ended up with a plus-16 Corsi (22 shot attempts for, 6 against), according to hockeystats.ca, while Giroux finished the night with a minus-18 Corsi (6 attempts for, 24 against). Bergeron and his linemates combined for seven shots on goal, while Giroux and his managed just two. It seemed like every time the two lines were on the ice, the puck was in the Flyers’ zone, and the numbers reflect that.
“They take pride in being a better line than the line that they’re facing up against,” Claude Julien said. “It’s just a trait that they have. They worked hard. You have to give them credit, too, for how they checked against that line because it had a lot of potential to be dangerous offensively. But those guys did a pretty good job of taking away those opportunities.”
The key was winning battles. Bergeron is one of the best faceoff men in the NHL, but it’s not like he won all 10 of those faceoffs cleanly. Some of them required him outworking Giroux on a second or third attempt to win the puck back, and some of them required Marchand or Smith to jump in and beat the opponent to a loose puck.
Battles in the corner led to longer offensive-zone possessions. One of the best examples of this came with around 9:40 left in the second when Bergeron won a 1-on-1 battle in the corner to the left of the Flyers’ net. He came away with the puck and moved it back to Zdeno Chara at the left point. Chara then moved it over to Adam McQuaid, who sent a shot through a nice Smith screen, one that he was able to set by winning a battle for position. The shot didn’t go in, but it wasn’t an easy save either. Read the rest of this entry »
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