|04.16.14 at 10:30 pm ET|
In the interest of transparency, following is my ballot for the 2013-14 NHL awards.
Before I jump into it, I will freely admit that the votes that you see here are the ones I had in the final hours before they were due Wednesday at 7 p.m. and I changed my mind on some of them several times leading up to the deadline.
I also didn’t arrive at my votes totally by myself – nobody does – but through discussions with other writers. In particular, I discussed the various awards with two non-voters in WEEI.com’s Scott McLaughlin — one of the premier advanced stats nerds and a major help to geezers like me who see a place in the world for some of the crazy numbers out there but can’t always understand them — and the MetroWest Daily News’ Dan Cagen. The Pro Hockey Writers’ Association cut the number of voters this season down to 150, with Cagen being Exhibit A of the baby being thrown out with the bath water.
At the end of the day, any votes here you don’t like are still my fault. Also, the PHWA doesn’t vote for the Vezina Trophy or the Jack Adams, as those are determined by NHL general managers and broadcasters, respectively.
[Also, in the interest of transparency, I will admit that the first explanation I wrote was for Hart and was way too long. Given that I had other work to get to, I decided to only write out explanations for the heavy hitters (Hart, Norris and Selke). If you have any questions about any of the votes, you can find me on Twitter @DJ_Bean.]
(“To the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team”)
The Penguins led the NHL in man games lost due to injury with 429. While that was happening, Sidney Crosby was doing everything, and he finished with an NHL-best 104 points en route to leading the Penguins to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Points-wise, it wasn’t even close, as nobody else had 100, or even 90. Getzlaf was second with 87. Plus, it wasn’t like achieved his numbers by being surrounded by Pittsburgh’s star forwards. His third most-common linemate was Lee Stempniak.
Bergeron was a real toughie, because I believe in the eye test over stats when appropriate. I gave Jonathan Quick a Hart vote the year they won the Cup for that reason even though other players had better numbers. Yet when determining a middle-of-the pack Hart candidate who didn’t have the traditional numbers, it’s difficult to figure out where they fall. For example, I had him ahead of Seguin despite not having similar numbers, so why wouldn’t I have him ahead of Getzlaf?
|04.16.14 at 1:11 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about Dennis Seidenberg and the upcoming playoff series against the Red Wings. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
When Seidenberg tore his ACL last December, most assumed he was done for the season. But with Seidenberg back on the practice rink, some have speculated that he could be back at some point, including Peter Chiarelli. Brickley said if Seidenberg is going to come back, he has to come back at full strength.
“He’s just such an incredibly strong athlete that if he can look like he’s able to play and actually get up to speed and be a productive player then that would be a tough decision, but a good decision to have to make,” Brickley said. “That being said, I’m still in the camp that I just totally don’t expect it.”
Added Brickley: “I think if he’s back he’s going to play regular minutes. And I don’t think they want him in a 10-15-minute range. … If he’s in the lineup and he’s playing, he needs to be able to handle similar minutes.”
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was the coach of the Canadian team for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, with Claude Julien his assistant. While the two shared coaching ideas and strategies during that time, Brickley doesn’t see it as an advantage for either coach.
“I don’t think we’re at any point of the season now where there are any secrets, with all the video pre-scouting that you do, with all the actual scouts that represent Detroit that have been following the Bruins over the last month or two,” Brickley said. “Everybody is well aware of how the Bruins play and everybody is well aware of how Detroit defends as well. Usually Claude Julien gets the checkmark when it comes to who’s got the better coaching when you’re comparing two teams, but this one is a pretty even matchup when it comes down to that.”
|04.16.14 at 11:12 am ET|
WILMINGTON – Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly both missed Wednesday’s practice. Both players missed the team’s final game of the regular season, with Kelly sitting out the last three with back spasms and Paille suffering what appeared to be a head injury in the team’s second to last game.
Also missing from practice were defensemen Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller. Claude Julien had said numerous Bruins were battling the flu Tuesday, but Patrice Bergeron, Andrej Meszaros and Loui Eriksson were all back at practice Wednesday as missing Tuesday’s skate.
The Bruins’ lines in practice were as follows:
Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Florek – Soderberg – Eriksson
Caron – Campbell – Thornton
Dennis Seidenberg skated again Wednesday, marking at least his third straight day on the ice. Seidenberg was on the ice for about 25 minutes and did the same thing as Tuesday, working with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides as he did big circles, then smaller circles, shot and practiced taking pucks on the blue line and moving across it.
Adam McQuaid was not on the ice Wednesday and did not skate Tuesday.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|04.15.14 at 10:59 pm ET|
The Detroit Red Wings present plenty of problems for the top team in the East. But Claude Julien isn’t worried about his Bruins being overwhelmed with the many challenges they’ll see from Detroit starting Friday at TD Garden.
“We’ve played fast teams before,” Julien said, referring clearly to teams like Montreal and Ottawa. “And again, we can look at their record whichever way we want and see us 1-3. I look at the games we played against them and there was one game, the first one in Detroit that we didn’t play very well. The other three, we could have won the two that we lost, I mean, we had the lead in that last one.”
Julien brought up the three regular season losses because he is more than aware that there are those who think this is the worst possible first-round match for his team that finished with an NHL-best 117 points. But then Julien offered perspective, specifically that it’s the Red Wings who have to be worried about containing the weapons of a team that won 54 games.
“So I don’t think that it is going to be that big of an issue as much as we may be an issue for them,” Julien said. “Teams have strengths and it’s how you counter those things. I think our team can certainly skate, I don’t think we’re a slow team whether people underrate our skating or now, I don’t know. But we’ve shown that we can skate with these guys but certainly close the gap quick on those guys too. And that’s what you have to do, you have to make sure you don’t give those guys too much room because they will make plays and they will take the ice that you give them.”
With a team like the Red Wings loaded with offensive firepower, Julien was asked if he sees similarities to his young team that fought the 2007-08 Canadiens team tooth and nail before losing in seven games.
“I don’t know, they’re not all that young,” Julien said. “They have some young players but so do we. I’m not sure that that’s the same situation to be honest with you. You know, you have the [Pavel] Datsyuks and [Todd] Bertuzzi will be in there, they have some veteran players. And I know the [Gustav] Nyquists and [Tomas] Tatars, those kinds of guys have carried their team when they needed it the most but I think our young Ds have done a pretty good job the same way when a guy like [Dennis] Seidenberg went down.
“I think there are a lot of similarities there and I don’t think they’re as young or that much younger than we are, I haven’t done the math yet when it comes to the age of both teams because that’s not the important thing to me. But again, like I said, I don’t think that is going to be comparable to what we went through against Montreal. We had some real key players who had to grind it out, you just have to look at our roster now and look at where those guys are, a lot of them aren’t seen any more. So it was just one of those years where, to us, talent was fairly low for whatever talent we had was extremely young. But we had a really good work ethic.”
|04.15.14 at 3:46 pm ET|
Zdeno Chara spoke for an entire organization when he responded to the question Tuesday of what the one year anniversary of the most painful day in Boston history meant to him.
“I’m not born and raised but I feel a part of the city,” the Bruins captain from Slovakia said with pride. “I’m always going to call myself a Bostonian. It’s just one of those things that it feels like a home. You try to respect the city and what it represents.”
The Bruins held practice Tuesday morning at TD Garden, getting ready for their playoff opener on Friday against the Detroit Red Wings. But after practice, coach Claude Julien, Chara and Jarome Iginla all recalled what they were feeling one year ago to the day when Boston was terrorized and attacked by the bombings at the Boston Marathon and the weeklong manhunt that nearly shut down the city.
“Anybody who doesn’t know this is the anniversary isn’t paying attention,” Julien said. “But it’s got some good and it’s got some bad obviously. It’s sad what happened but for us, I look at how the city just came together and how everybody helped each other and did everything they could to help one another so that’s what kind of sticks in my mind.
“But at the same time it was a tough few days from the lockdowns and everything else, those are the things that are coming to mind and some games that were postponed, rightfully so. So some of it isn’t great memories but some of it ‘ certainly the way the city came together is what I’m trying to remember it the most for.
Julien and Chara were getting ready to play Iginla and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, April 19 at TD Garden when a manhunt for the two bombers centered in Watertown shut down the entire city. The game between the Bruins and Penguins was eventually called off on that Friday night and rescheduled for the next day.
The Bruins had two games rescheduled due to the bombings and the manhunt. On April 15, the Bruins postponed their game against the Ottawa Senators to the last day of the season.
On Tuesday, the Bruins reflected on that day in 2013, and how sports and the Bruins helped the city heal.
|04.15.14 at 1:02 pm ET|
Multiple Bruins are dealing with the flu, Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s practice. Missing from the practice were Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, Patrice Bergeron, Loui Eriksson, Matt Bartkowski, Andrej Meszaros and Kevan Miller.
Julien would not specify which Bruins have the flu and which were battling other ailments, but Kelly, Paille, Bergeron and Miller all missed time late in the season.
Asked specifically about Paille, who did not play in Sunday’s regular season finale after leaving Saturday’s game with what looked to be a head injury, Julien declined comment. Paille had two concussions earlier in the season,
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|04.15.14 at 11:39 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to talk about the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing and the playoffs. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Last year’s Bruins playoff run served as a positive distraction for those dealing with the impact of the attacks on Boylston Street.
“I think a lot of people around the city did a lot of things to help the healing, and we were happy to be a small part of it,” Thornton said.
“We like hearing that, but we’re also aware that we just play a game, that what happened in the last year is life and a lot of people were affected, so it’s really hard for us to talk about because we’re happy to be a distraction at that time to try to put a good product out there for three hours and take people’s minds away from what was really going on. That was an honor. But at the end of the day, we just play a game, so it’s kind of tough to talk about.”
Thornton, as well as many other professional Boston athletes, visited those who were impacted by the attack in hospitals and rehabilitation centers.
“It put a lot of things in perspective,” Thornton said. “I know we say that all the time, but it’s true.
“I guess the lasting impression, [one of the Norden brothers] didn’t know who I was. I had gone there with Ken Casey from the [Dropkick Murphys], and I think he thought I was part of the band and he walked in and grabbed my ass. Then afterwards he was like, ‘Oh my God, I grabbed Shawn Thornton‘s ass.’ He was a huge hockey fan, he just didn’t recognize me at first. It was pretty funny, actually.”
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