|01.08.15 at 2:15 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to look back on Wednesday’s Bruins overtime win against the Penguins, a game McGuire called, and also to discuss recent trade rumors with the team. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
There have been a number of rumors circulating with the struggling Bruins, but one player not to expected to be traded according to McGuire is Milan Lucic.
“I would be absolutely shocked if Milan [Lucic] was traded out of Boston — at least for this year. I would be really surprised,” said McGuire. “If you watched my interview with him after the game, that is an invigorated Milan Lucic. I thought after the first period, and even parts of the first period, he made a huge difference in that game. He was skating, he was going to the boards, he was dictating the slot, he was fore-checking with a purpose. He obviously was a very good assist player last night. He made a real good play on the game-winning goal. I would be shocked if he were traded out of Boston, I really would be.”
Earlier in the week, Charlie Jacobs, the new CEO of Delaware North’s Boston Holdings, which runs the Bruins, TD Garden and NESN, fired a warning shot across the organization, saying not making the playoffs wouldn’t be acceptable. The Bruins are currently 20-15-6, and sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
McGuire sensed a team that wasn’t its normal self before the game on Wednesday night, their first since the Jacobs comments, but as the game went along the team got their “swagger” back.
“What was amazing to me was before the game how some of the swagger I am used to seeing the Bruins have, wasn’t there. There just wasn’t that Bruins swagger. Then at the end of the game, that Bruins swagger was back,” McGuire said. “They are not an arrogant, pompous, rude team — there are some teams in the league that are — they’re not. They are a hard-working, industrious and proud group. They have very good internal leadership. It was interesting to see how it changed from before the game to after the game and if you watched my interview with Claude Julien after the second TV timeout in the second period, he basically said, ‘Listen we’re a team that doesn’t have a lot of confidence right now. We’re working to get our confidence back.’ You could see as the game went along they started to get their confidence back.”
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|01.07.15 at 10:54 pm ET|
Milan Lucic chose the right time to have one of his better games of the season.
After turning in a heavy performance with new linemates in regulation, Lucic fired a wrist shot from the top of the zone in overtime that Patrice Bergeron tipped on its way past Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Bruins a desperately needed 3-2 victory over the Metropolitan-leading Penguins on Wednesday (click here for boxscore). Lucic finished the game with a pair of assists, both of which came on Bergeron goals.
With the Maple Leafs losing to the Capitals Wednesday night, Boston’s victory put the Bruins into the playoff picture. Now 20-15-6, the B’s are currently in possession of the second wild card spot to sit eighth in the Eastern Conference.
The victory was Boston’s first with a healthy roster this season, as they are now 1-1-3 in games in which they’ve had no players out with injuries.
Tuukka Rask made 37 shots on 39 shots faced. The win technically extended a point-streak to five games for the Bruins, though they’re just 2-0-3 in that span.
Here are four more things we learned Wednesday:
BRUINS MORE NERVOUS THAN DETERMINED
Given how they played Sunday and what Charlie Jacobs said about the team Tuesday, you would think that the Bruins would come out furious each period. Instead, the Bruins came out for the first two periods Wednesday looking just as indifferent as they have all season.
The Penguins carried the pace early in the first period before the B’s found their legs as the frame went on.
Given that the B’s were able to tie the game late in the period on a Zdeno Chara slap shot, you would think they’d come out for the second period riled up. Instead, the Bruins did not attempt a shot until 8:31 into the second.
In the third period, the Bruins landed just one shot on goal in the first 13-plus minutes, though they were at least shooting the puck, which was, horrifyingly, a step in the right direction.
Things like leadership are not quantifiable, but some of the alarmingly poor starts to periods the Bruins have had this season were not regular occurrences in years past.
|01.06.15 at 2:24 pm ET|
The Bruins are ready to continue with the David Pastrnak experiment.
After being recalled from Providence Monday, the Czech 18-year-old rotated with Seth Griffith on the right wing of David Krejci‘s line and worked with Krejci, Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand and Torey Krug on Boston’s first power play unit. Though it’s not known when he will get back into game action, it appears the Bruins are turning to Pastrnak as they desperately seek any sort of offensive presence.
Pastrnak had a goal and six assists for the Czech Republic during the World Juniors. He played Sunday in Providence, and now the Bruins will determine a game plan for when to get him back into Boston’s lineup.
“I definitely have to talk to our group here and see how they want him to be utilized,” Claude Julien said. “I don’t make those decisions by myself. I work with my general manager and we look at the situation. He’s come back from the World Juniors. Is he still tired? What’s the situation? Do they just want to get him into a few practices before we put him in a game? I haven’t had a chance to discuss that with Peter [Chiarelli].”
Pastrnak said he isn’t tired from World Juniors, saying he feels ready to resume his NHL career. He was impressive in his five-game stint with the B’s earlier this season, getting ample playing with Patrice Bergeron and landing seven shots on goal in Boston’s Nov. 28 win over the Jets.
Yet it seems this recall isn’t about Bergeron’s line, but rather Krejci’s. Pastrnak, a right shot right wing, grew up idolizing Krejci, while Krejci has has seen a cast of players — Griffith, Simon Gagne, Loui Eriksson, Craig Cunningham and Reilly Smith — used as his right wing this season.
Though he is young and still very light (he’s listed at 165 pounds and probably weighs somewhere around 170), Pastrnak would give the Krejci line the most talented and dynamic right wing its had all season. The 2014 first-round pick leads Providence with 10 goals and 27 points on the season.
Pastrnak downplayed his excitement to potentially skate with Krejci.
“I don’t know,” Pastrnak said. “I had one practice with David and he’s a great player, but everybody here is good and I’d be happy for any minute I’d be on the ice.”
If Pastrnak plays five more NHL games this season, the first year of his three-year entry level contract will be burned.
|01.06.15 at 1:19 pm ET|
Torey Krug and Brad Marchand got into a tussle during battle drills in Tuesday’s practice. The two had to be separated after some netront battling escalated. Shortly after, the two led the team’s stretch together.
The dustup was the second the Bruins have had during a practice this season, as Claude Julien had to separate Tuukka Rask and Carl Soderberg on Nov. 24 during a morning skate.
“I don’t think it’s a big issue,” Julien said of Tuesday’s fracas.
Marchand and Krug both said they were fine with each other after the practice, with Marchand saying it was a result of him telling Krug’s “brother’s fiance’s friend” that he was taller than Krug. So there’s that.
“It shows emotion, and right now that’s one thing we need, is to show a little more emotion,” Marchand said. “That’s what we need. Obviously you don’t want to be going at each other in practice, but sometimes things happen and hopefully that all carries over into the game.”
|01.06.15 at 1:04 pm ET|
Charlie Jacobs held a press conference Tuesday to announce that he has been named CEO of Delaware North’s Boston Holdings, which runs the Bruins, TD Garden and NESN. Suspicions of the press conference’s timing were confirmed when Jacobs used the opportunity to fire warning shots across the Bruins organization.
Jacobs said that the entire Bruins organization is under evaluation, something he repeatedly referred to as a “fluid process.” He noted that he had met with both team president Cam Neely and general manager Peter Chiarelli to discuss the team’s status within the last 24 hours.
Asked whether players, coaches or management should be worried about their jobs, Jacobs repeated, “It’s a fluid process.”
At 19-15-6, the Bruins currently sit ninth in the Eastern Conference. Jacobs said missing the playoffs would be an “incredible failure.”
“When you think about what has been put into this team, in terms of … all of the scouting, all of the drafting, all of the money spent on player personnel, for us to be a team that’s out of the playoffs is absolutely unacceptable,” Jacobs said. “Everybody in the executive office is fully aware of how I feel and they feel the same way, which brings us to this evaluation process, and it’s fluid. I can’t say at any moment that we have a final decision other than to say it would be an utter disappointment and a failure.’
Claude Julien batted down a question Monday about whether players should fear for their jobs, but having the Principal of the team come out and say it forced Julien to weigh in.
“To be honest with you, I’ve always felt that we’re under evaluation all the time,” Julien said. “You don’t take this job and go in there and think it’s OK. Every year you’re being evaluated on what’s going on with the team and everything else. I think that’s a fair assessment. We all should be evaluated. Whether because he’s saying it now, is it because of the situation? Maybe. I don’t know, that’s up to Charlie to answer that. I’m OK with that statement.
“We made the playoffs seven years in a row with a lot of this group and this coaching staff, so at the same time, you look at the situation and you say what is the real issue and how do we deal with it, and that’s going to be up to them. So I have no issues. My job is always under evaluation, and I evaluate myself. I evaluate my coaches as well, I evaluate the players as well. I do that also. So I don’t know, maybe for you guys it’s a big statement — for me, it’s not.”
Julien was given a contract extension earlier this season. He compared this year’s Bruins to last season’s Red Wings, a squad that dealt with injuries to key players and made the playoffs. That’s a tough comparison to make, as the Bruins, who have missed Zdeno Chara and David Krejci for stretches, are completely healthy heading into the second half of the season.
“I guess everybody evaluates differently,” Julien said. “I look at our situation right now a lot like the Detroit Red Wings last year. A lot of injuries, a lot of in-and-outs and everything else. I’m not using excuses. We’ve not had the stability that we’d like to have, and it’s made for a rough road. Last year they made the playoffs with two or three games left. I’m not saying we’re going to be there with two or three games left. My evaluation and my job is to turn this thing around as quick as possible. There was no panic there. They understood the situation. I think right here, I don’t know how they evaluate the situation, but I know for a fact our guys, our group, our coaching staff, we’re going to try our best. It’s not good enough right now, but we’re determined to turn this thing around. Once it’s turned around, everyone will have smiles on their faces.
“Nobody likes to lose. The urgency that you’re alluding to, I’d be disappointed if we didn’t have that same urgency before even he said that. That would be a knock on our group. There is some urgency even if not everybody believes it. My job in the last couple days has been to get the guys to relax a little bit and not get so tense. Hopefully these comments don’t make it any worse. This is what we’ve got to deal with. I’ve got enough experience in this league to take this group of players and make them feel comfortable and understand that they’re capable of turning this around. I believe in this group, I really do.”
|01.06.15 at 10:58 am ET|
Patrice Bergeron returned to practice Tuesday at TD Garden, while David Pastrnak skated alongside David Krejci for the first time since training camp.
Pastrnak, recalled Tuesday morning, served as the fourth forward on Krejci’s line with Milan Lucic and Seth Griffith.
Bergeron took a maintenance day and missed Monday’s practice but was back with his usual linemates Tuesday.
The lines in practice were as follows:
Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – McQuaid
Krug – Miller
The B’s will travel to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins Wednesday.
|01.06.15 at 9:18 am ET|
The Bruins announced they have recalled forward David Pastrnak from Providence. The 18-year-old will join the team for practice on Tuesday at TD Garden and travel with the team to Pittsburgh when the Bruins take on the Penguins on Wednesday.
The forward was playing with his Czech Republic squad before they were eliminated in the quarterfinal of the 2015 World Junior Championship on Jan. 2. He led the team in points (seven) and assists (six), while also scoring a goal in the tournament. He returned to the Providence Bruins for one game, Jan. 4, before now being recalled for his second stint in the NHL this season after being the Bruins’ first-round pick in the 2014 NHL entry draft.
He’s appeared in five games for the Bruins, including his NHL debut against the Penguins on Nov. 24. He has one assist in his five games. He can play four more NHL games this season without burning off the first year of his entry-level contract. With his 10th NHL game of the season, the three-year contract will begin. If he plays less than 10 NHL games this season (including playoffs), the contract will slide to next season.
In 24 games with Providence, he has totaled 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points with a plus-14 rating. The forward’s 10 goals and 27 points lead Providence, while his 17 assists rank second the team to Alexander Khokhlachev’s 18.
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