|Bruins expect changes from Rangers in Game 4||05.23.13 at 1:13 pm ET|
NEW YORK — So Brad Richards won’t be in the lineup in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. That’s pretty big news purely from a standpoint of how far he’s fallen. As it pertains to this series, it isn’t really that big a deal unless the guy who plays in his place (Kris Newbury and Michael Haley are the candidates; fellow fourth-liner Arron Asham is a potential scratch as well) has a big performance.
John Tortorella was playing Richards on the fourth line. Richards played only 8:10 in Game 3, so although he’s a big name with a big contract (his nine-year, $60 million deal of which he’s in the second year screams amnesty buyout), it isn’t like the Rangers are taking one of their top-six forwards out of the lineup.
So when the Bruins, who were on the ice for their morning skate when Richards said he wasn’t playing in Game 4, found out about the development, they didn’t begin to think about all the questions that will accompany it (Has Richards played his last game as a Ranger? Will Tortorella get fired?).
“Obviously they’re going to make changes, but that’s their job,” Chris Kelly said. “Our job is to focus on our team and be ready to play right from the drop of the puck and be ready to play a good road game.”
Daniel Paille sees the move as something that will give the Rangers a greater focus in Game 4 as the team tries to stave off elimination.
“I think whoever’s going to take his spot is going to want to be a difference-maker, and it’s just going to make it that much harder,” he said. “I think that will wake up their team and [help them] realize that they have to play hard.”
The Bruins are clearly focused more on their lineup than New York’s. The B’s are expected to go with the same group they’ve used in the first three games of the series, as Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden still aren’t expected to jump back in.
As for Richards’ take, he was a man of few words Thursday morning. He admitted that it was difficult to be productive on the fourth line, but that the development is all the motivation he needs for him to never let it happen again.
Richards won’t be the only new absence to the Rangers’ lineup. While Asham did not confirm that he is out, defensemen Anton Stralman was hurt in Game 3 and is expected to be replaced by Roman Hamrlik.
|Rangers’ Brad Richards a healthy scratch for Game 4||05.23.13 at 11:53 am ET|
NEW YORK — With the Rangers on the brink of elimination, John Tortorella is sitting embattled center Brad Richards, the slumping scorer revealed Thursday after staying out on the ice following the team’s morning skate.
Richards, who is earning $12 million this season in the second year of his nine-year, $60 million deal (carrying a cap hit of $6.66 million), has skated on the fourth line in the first three games of the conference semifinals against the Bruins. He has no goals this postseason after scoring 11 in the regular season.
Richards said Tortorella called him Thursday morning to tell him he would not be playing.
|Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins ‘far more prepared’ to win a closeout game vs. Rangers||05.23.13 at 11:49 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to preview Game 4 of the Bruins-Rangers playoff series.
The Bruins are looking to close out the series with a sweep, but Brickley said he does not expect the Rangers to lay down.
“They’re not going to want to lose on home ice,” Brickley said. “They’re not going to want to go down four straight to this Bruins team. They want to force a Game 5. They absolutely have a lot of pride. They’re professional athletes. They’re a team that was expected to do something this year, and the opportunities are sliding away quickly. So, I expect them to bring their ‘A’ game, and I expected their goaltender to play as well as he did in Game 3.”
The Bruins are coming off an impressive win in Game 3, as they delivered a solid effort for 60 minutes and scored two third-period goals to pull out the win.
“The thing I loved about the Bruins in Game 3 was no Jekyll and Hyde persona that Claude [Julien] likes to talk about; far more consistent,” Brickley said. “The best measure is quality scoring chances given up, and you can count them on one hand against [Tuukka] Rask in Game 3. Even though they needed two goals in the third period, the Bruins were never in any real trouble despite the one goal that beat Rask through a whole bunch of bodies from a screen on that shot by [Ryan] McDonagh from the point.
“The only thing that concerned you a little bit was the scoring chances that they had in the first period and were unable to beat [Henrik] Lundqvist. But their mentality coming into the series was that’s what they expected from Lundqvist all along, even though they didn’t get it in Games 1 and 2. So, I think the Bruins mentally and emotionally were prepared for that kind of performance. And they just try to stay on the attack and play to their identity, which was to roll those four lines.
“What they’ve shown us in this series is incredible depth that they have. No [Dennis] Seidenberg, no [Andrew] Ference, no [Wade] Redden. You get [Matt] Bartkowski, [Torey] Krug and [Dougie] Hamilton, and that gives you a different dynamic to your team — that speed, quickness and mobility on the back end. But I think you also saw their depth in Game , with your fourth line and the matchups you get with that fourth line and how good they played, with experience and with familiarity and their forechecking game — simple, fundamental and effective. And they end up being difference-makers on the scoresheet.”
The Bruins’ lack of success in non-Game 7 closeout games over the past three years has been well-documented. Brickley said the B’s appear to be better equipped to provide a finishing touch Thursday.
“I still have memories of Game 5 on home ice against Toronto, up 3-1,” Brickley said. “The way [the Bruins] responded in Game 3 [vs. the Rangers] makes me think that they’re far more prepared — mentally, physically, emotionally — for a closeout game situation. They needed three closeout games to beat the Leafs. You hope it’s a lesson learned. I expect the Bruins, since they’ve found some consistency now in their game, that they’ll be far better tonight.”
|John Tortorella has no use for a pregame press conference||05.23.13 at 11:00 am ET|
NEW YORK — Maybe it’s the pressure of being down 3-0 to a superior team. Maybe it’s the fact he knows his team is cooked. Or maybe, just maybe, John Tortorella has absolutely nothing of value to say to reporters hours before a game that could end his season and his tenure with the Rangers.
Whatever the reason, Tortorella needed just 19 seconds Thursday to dismiss any questions from reporters before his team’s morning skate here at Madison Square Garden.
Reporters asked just two questions and then became hushed.
Here were the two questions and answers:
Any update on defenseman Anton Stralman, after he was knocked out of Game 3 in the third period?
“No. No updates,” Tortorella said.
What do you tell your team before a game like this?
“I’ve talked to them. I don’t need to talk about it here,” he responded.
After six seconds of silence, Tortorella uttered the word “OK” and exited stage right.
Game 4 is Thursday night (CNBC, 7 p.m.).
|Wednesday practice notes: Claude Julien likes where his team is right now||05.22.13 at 4:49 pm ET|
NEW YORK — The Bruins have the look of a very confident team right now, as well they should being up 3-0 in the Eastern Conference semifinals and getting stronger and stronger with each game.
But Claude Julien knows full well he’s going to hear plenty about being up 3-0 in 2010 against the Flyers and 3-1 against the Maple Leafs last round, showing incredible difficulty in closing out in both cases.
“I think we live in the moment,” Julien said, sounding a highly philosophical tone. “You learn from the past but you live in the moment but you don’t live in the past. So, right now, we’re living in the moment. I like where our team is right now.
“The attitude, the approach and we’re certainly not looking at it the way all the people are going to look at it and try and find reasons to give New York some hope and say, ‘Look these guys have done this and these guys have had trouble doing this.’ We’re certainly not even going there. We’re looking at the present right now and the present is getting prepared to play a real good game [Thursday], kind of like we played [Tuesday].”
Julien, repeating the theme of taking nothing for granted, said a closeout of the Rangers will require an effort as good – if not better than – Tuesday’s performance in Game 3.
“I think if we don’t take the same attitude as we took [Tuesday], then we shouldn’t expect to win the hockey game,” Juilen said.
Other notes from Wednesday’s practice:
It was a light turnout for a laid-back practice on the ice as Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference, Rich Peverley, David Krejci, Daniel Paille, Adam McQuaid, Johnny Boychuck, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic all had the day off from skating. Bergeron and Marchand were among those working on their hand-eye skills with a soccer ball in the hallway outside the Bruins dressing room.
Tyler Seguin, Jaromir Jagr, Dennis Seidenberg, Wade Redden, Chris Kelly, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, Jay Pandolfo, Kaspars Daugavins Aaron Johnson were among those taking part.
The Bruins skated for about 40 minutes before calling it a day.
Claude Julien said both Seidenberg and Redden are making significant progress each day and their status will be evaluated Thursday. Meanwhile, Ference (lower body), who hasn’t played since Game 5 against Toronto, is still nursing an injury that has put him on the sidelines indefinitely.
“He’s doing OK,” Julien said. “He’s improving although you haven’t seen him on the ice. Better. I haven’t talked to our trainers about his return date to the ice but I think it’s getting closer all the time.”
|Dennis Seidenberg on playing Game 4: ‘There’s a chance for sure’||05.22.13 at 4:07 pm ET|
NEW YORK — Dennis Seidenberg hasn’t played in a game since skating his first two shifts in Game 7 against Toronto on May 13, when he suffered a lower body injury.
“There’s a chance for sure,” Seidenberg said after skating for about 40 minutes during an lightly attended skate Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. “But again you don’t want to come back too early so I think we’ll see how it feels [Thursday] and go from there.”
How did he feel?
“Better again,” he said. “Today I went a little harder in practice and felt OK. But again, it’s still day-to-day, see how it feels tomorrow and go from there.”
Considering the Bruins are up 3-0 and all three rookie defensemen – Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski – are handling themselves well, there’s no sense in rushing back until he’s 100 percent, or close to it.
“It’s a little bit more comforting but at the end, you want to be back as quick as possible,” Seidenberg said. “Watching games is always the toughest part, and not being part of it. You definitely want to be back in there as soon as possible. You also want to be smart about it.
“For the team, it’s great. To see them perform the way they have, being poised with the puck, playing strong defensively is definitely something nice to have that depth coming from Providence. It’s nice to see. Everybody knew they knew how to play hockey and they were really good players in the minors. To have them come up and play with poise, playing confident hockey and just contributing offensively as well as defensively is definitely nice to see.”
Seidenberg missed time during the 2010 playoffs when he suffered a freak injury to his wrist, and had to watch as the Bruins blew a 3-0 lead to the Flyers.
“It’s always the same,” he said. “You don’t like sitting out. We talked about it a couple of years ago. It’s not fun watching games. I definitely want to be back in there and help.”
Seidenberg and Wade Redden were both on the ice Wednesday while Andrew Ference was not. Coach Claude Julien says Seidenberg and Redden are both getting closer and closer to returning.
“Every day they’re better,” Julien said. “That’s progress. To me, it goes down to making that decision when the time comes and that decision will be made tomorrow. I like the direction both of those guys are going in right now so we’ll keep our fingers crossed.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Tyler Seguin ‘about to break through’||05.22.13 at 12:07 pm ET|
NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, following the Bruins’ 2-1 victory over the Rangers in Tuesday night’s Game 3.
The Bruins controlled the first couple of minutes of the game, despite the Rangers’ desperate situation, sending an early message.
“If you’re going to start a game on home ice, you’re down 2-0, you know you’re never in trouble in a playoff series until you lose on home ice, you want to set the tone early,” McGuire said. “So, you want to go after it, you start your heavy hitters, you start Brian Boyle, you start Derek Dorsett, you start Taylor Pyatt. You start your bangers, I call them the stampeding elephants, and you’re expecting them to stampede. Well, they didn’t. In fact, Boston took the game to them. That really set the whole tempo for the game, I thought.”
McGuire said the Bruins have the upper hand because they have the Rangers questioning themselves.
“There’s three things you want to accomplish in a playoff series: concern, doubt and fear, if you’re the opponent,” McGuire said. “Right now the Rangers are clearly concerned, they clearly have doubt, and I thought last night in the third period in particular after [Daniel] Paille scored the second goal, they had fear. If you can accomplish those three characteristics in a playoff series, your chances of winning are really good. I think the Bruins have put themselves in that position right now.”
Shawn Thornton sent a message to the Rangers in the third period when he stepped in for Brad Marchand and confronted Derek Dorsett, who had been trying to goad Marchand into a penalty.
“Shawn is an emotional leader and he’s not going to burn you defensively,” McGuire said. “And he’s a tough guy. When they started challenging Marchand last night with Dorsett, you saw what happened on the offside faceoff: Marchand comes off, Thornton comes on, Dorsett gets stabilized, no more issues.”
That said, McGuire insisted Dorsett’s failure to respond physically doesn’t reflect badly on the Rangers winger.
“I don’t think he backed down,” McGuire said. “I just think at that point their team’s kind of lost some momentum. Thornton’s not going to fight him, but he’s going to tell him in his ear, whisper sweet nothings: Listen, dude, do you want to mess around? We will dance, and it won’t be fun for you. That’s all Shawn had to do.”
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