|02.17.12 at 11:48 am ET|
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning and touched on the behavior of Canadiens fans after Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was hit in the face Wednesday night by a clearing attempt by Tomas Plekanec. Habs fans cheered while Chara was down on the ice and bleeding.
The social media world soon blew up with tweets lecturing Montreal about showing class as a fan base, but Ference appeared less concerned.
“I wouldn’t say I was offended,” Ference said. “You don’t like it, but I know where they’re coming from. I don’t know if it’d be a very different story in a lot of arenas for whatever big rivalries happen no matter what sport it is. … It’s just the way it is. It’s not something you really like but, like I said, I totally understand it.”
Added Ference: “When people talk about it being it being a heated rivalry and people caring a lot about it, it’s true, it’s not just kind of empty words. They do care a lot about it. They’re passionate about hockey and so when one of your most hated rivals and the biggest guy on the team goes down like that, like I said, it’s not that surprising.”
Ference also discussed the domino effect of losing key players on the team and what kind of impact it’s had on other players and the way the Bruins have played night in and night out.
“It’s not easy, especially if you’ve been playing with a certain guy for a long time, it makes it more difficult. But that just comes down to something that if GMs are looking at players, they wonder how adaptable they are and how quickly they can either change their style of game or change the way they play with certain players, and that’s obviously a plus,” Ference said. “The more people you can have that can do that the better, and obviously some people are better at doing it than others. I think that over the past few years we’ve had pretty good success with injuries and dealing with them, and some pretty big guys. I think you just kind of cross your fingers and hope that guys will keep their game at a high level despite their linemates being out.”
|02.15.12 at 10:20 pm ET|
The Bruins blew a two-goal lead in the third period, surrendering goals to Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole to tie the game after the B’s had led, 3-1. They had only two shots on goal in the second period, but bounced back with a strong effort in overtime before Tim Thomas blanked the Habs in the shootout. Thomas is now a perfect 5-0 in shootouts this season.
The Bruins first got on the board with Andrew Ference’s fifth goal of the season, which set a new career high for the veteran defenseman. Mathieu Darche tied the game for the Habs with a shorthanded goal early in the second period, but masterful work from Benoit Pouliot on Chris Campoli gave the B’s the lead back. Patrice Bergeron added to the lead with a power-play goal.
Brad Marchand could be getting a call from NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, as the 23-year-old winger clipped Habs defenseman Alexei Emelin at the end of the second period. Marchand was suspended for five games last month for clipping Canucks defenseman Sami Salo.
Marchand almost ended the game in overtime, beating Carey Price with a wrist shot that rang off the crossbar and into the stands with 2:19 remaining.
There were a whopping four goaltender interference penalties called in the first two periods. Pacioretty went off in the first period for contact with Tim Thomas, and the second period featured matching goaltender interference calls on Louis Leblanc and Daniel Paille. Forty-seven seconds later, Cole was called for the same infraction, leading to Bergeron’s power-play goal.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Ference set a new career high with his fifth goal of the season, though with 21 points at this point, he still has a ways to go to match his career best points total of 31, which he registered in the 2005-06 season with the Flames.
Ference nearly added his sixth of the season with just over five minutes left in regulation, but his shot rang off the post. With Bruins’ defensemen’s contracts coming into focus given the extension the B’s gave to Johnny Boychuk Tuesday, Ference sure is a bargain at $2.25 million a year.
– Tyler Seguin picked up the primary helper on Bergeron’s tough-angle goal, giving Seguin his first point in his last four games, and second point in his last eight games. Seguin had four shots on goal for the B’s, though he had a bad turnover in the second period on which Tim Thomas bailed him out. The B’s are obviously looking for more production from the second-year player, though it may have been unrealistic to expect him to maintain the torrid pace on which he began the season.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bell Centre crowd was pretty classless in the seconds that followed a pretty scary play for the Bruins. With just seconds remaining in the first period, Tomas Plekanec tried clearing the puck out of the Habs’ zone but hit Zdeno Chara in the face with the puck. The Bruins’ captain fell to the ice, bloodied, before heading straight off and down the tunnel. Though Plekanec immediately went to check on Chara, while the Bell Centre crowd cheered. Luckily for the Bruins, Chara was alright after getting stitches and returned at the start of the second period.
– Speaking of Chara, the Bruins’ captain was on the ice for all three of the Canadiens’ goals. He committed an especially uncharacteristic turnover prior to the Habs’ third goal, as a lazy pass in the Bruins’ zone was intercepted by Cole, who beat Thomas to tie the game.
– Wednesday’s game marked Thomas’s fourth consecutive game in which he allowed three or more goals. That matches Thomas’ longest such streak from last season. The current rough stretch for Thomas dates back to last Wednesday, when he allowed three goals in relief of Tuukka Rask in Buffalo.
– Rich Peverley left the game late and did not return. If he is injured, Peter Chiarelli’s job just got a little tougher.
– Darche’s shorthanded goal was the first that the Bruins had allowed this season. Until the second-period goal, the B’s were the only team left in the NHL that had not allowed a shorthanded tally.
|02.15.12 at 6:04 pm ET|
On Tuesday night, Peter Chiarelli said he is approaching the trade
deadline as though he will have Nathan Horton again this season. While that’s good news for the Bruins, it isn’t overly reassuring. Given the uncertainty of concussions and the fact that Horton had a setback last week when he tried skating, who’s to say that Horton won’t face more roadbumps as he attempts to return to the lineup? What if he gets hit again, a la Marc Savard, when he does come back?
These are questions Chiarelli, one of the best GMs in the game, must be considering. That’s why, if possible, he would be wise to add a right winger who can provide not only depth, but some serious scoring.
That player might be 41-year-old Ducks forward Teemu Selanne. He isn’t the same player he was when he scored 76 goals for the Jets in the 1992-93 season, but he is still a capable scorer, having totaled 18 goals and 33 assists for 51 points this season. Yes, he’s played two more games than the B’s, but those 51 points are four more than Patrice Bergeron, who leads the Bruins with 47.
If the Bruins were to get Selanne, they could either play him on the top line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci until Horton returned, or they could leave Peverley with Lucic and Krejci and stick Selanne on Chris Kelly’s line. Things would get interesting once Horton returned, as they could put both Peverley and Selanne on the third line, with one player having to play their off wing. That would mean bad news for Benoit Pouliot, but it would mean a significant upgrade.
Getting both Selanne and the Ducks to sign off on a deal may be tricky, as the alternate captain has a no-trade cklause that he could use to block any deal should the destination not strike his fancy. From Anaheim’s standpoint, there may be sentimental value tied to Selanne, meaning it might take a little more to get them to ship him out. A Ducks legend, Selanne was on the team that won the Cup in 2007 (Shawn Thornton played on that squad as well), and in two seperate multi-season stints with the club has put up some of the best years of his career. Recent play has also put the Ducks eight points out of a playoff spot, and if they want to take a risk and go for it, they’d want to do so with Selanne.
Those issues aside, Selanne doesn’t have much more ahead of him, and coming to Boston would give him as good a chance at winning the Cup again as he could possibly get. Last season we saw Mark Recchi stick around another year with the B’s so he could hoist the Cup once more. Could a trade to Boston do the same thing for Selanne?
|02.14.12 at 9:41 pm ET|
Like many teams this season, the Bruins were reminded of just how good Henrik Lundvist is, as the New York goaltender blanked the B’s, 3-0, Tuesday at TD Garden.
The Bruins fell behind in the first period on a Ryan Callahan power-play goal, and were seconds away from heading into the first intermission down by just one before Ryan McDonagh threw a puck off Zdeno Chara and past Tim Thomas with 12 seconds remaining. The teams skated to a scoreless second period that was mostly dominated by the Bruins, but they couldn’t get anything past Lundqvist. Artem Anisimov made it 3-0 in the third period.
The Bruins thought they had a goal in the third period on a Dennis Seidenberg shot from the point, but replays showed that it missed and went in through the side of the net.
With the loss, the Bruins are now 8-8-1 over their last 17 games.
The Bruins will now leave for a six-game road trip that will begin Wednesday against the Canadiens in Montreal.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Rangers’ second goal was a rather flukey one, as McDonagh threw the puck in front from the half wall, and it went off Chara and in. The timing of the goal was also hard on the Bruins, as it came with just 12 seconds left in the first period. Goals allowed late in periods can be discouraging, and there’s a big difference betewen trailing the Rangers by one and trailing them by two.
– For the second time this season, the B’s, who lead the NHL in goals per game, couldn’t beat Lundqvist. He allowed two goals in the team’s overtime win over the B’s last month, and didn’t give them anything to work with Tuesday. If you’re wondering who will be this year’s Vezina winner, look no further than Lundqvist.
It’s performances like Tuesday’s that should have hockey fans hoping for a Bruins-Rangers Eastern conference finals. Putting two brick walls against one another would make for a very tight and highly entertaining series.
– Speaking of goaltending, Thomas has now allowed three goals in three consecutive games. It’s the second time he’s done that this season after only having one such stretch last season (though that one lasted four games).
– Slumpwatch: Tyler Seguin. No 19 has just one point (a goal) over his last seven games.
– Through the first 15 minutes of the third period, the Rangers had only one shot on goal. Unfortunately for the Bruins, it went in.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– The second period has plagued the B’s in recent games, but they came out Tuesday with a far stronger effort in the second. THe B’s dominated the period, outshooting the Rangers by a 14-6 margin but Lundqvist proved to be the difference. The best opportunity came when
Lundqvist and other bodies were down with action in front, but the puck never crossed the goal line.
– Not necessarily something right, but an important note. Claude Julien went back to his usual lines for Tuesday night’s game, returning David Krejci to the top line between Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley. Chris Kelly went back to centering Jordan Caron and Benoit Pouliot.
|02.14.12 at 7:07 pm ET|
|02.14.12 at 3:28 pm ET|
My initial reaction to the news that Johnny Boychuk got a three-year extension: semi-surprise.
That’s a lot to pay your fourth-best defenseman, but the Bruins thought it was worth it for Boychuk. In the end, maybe it works out. Remember, once upon a time, people were blasting Peter Chiarelli for giving $2.25 million a year to Andrew Ference, and that deal has proven to be a heck of a bargain for the Bruins this year.
A common counterpoint to the idea that the B’s overpaid for Boychuk is that he would have made big bucks on the open market, and that’s true. With 10 points (three goals, seven assists) and a plus-23 rating that has been helped by playing with Zdeno Chara, Boychuk would have been the next pretty good defenseman to get paid like a very good defenseman. If Christian Ehrhoff can get a 10-year-deal, Boychuk probably could have gotten upwards of $4 million as a free agent.
But that’s the issue with the signing. The Bruins paid Boychuk too close to what a desperate overpaying team would have given him. The B’s should have been in the driver’s seat in negotiations. After all, they have Dougie Hamilton presumably coming along next season, and all they’d simply have to find a replacement for Joe Corvo (also a free agent) in order to have their six defensemen.
With all of these signings, the ultimate question is what it means for the rest of the players who are at or near the end of their contracts. Tuukka Rask and Chris Kelly are the team’s two biggest players with expiring deals, and Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Nathan Horton are all up at the end of next season. Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell are also unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.
If Boychuk can prove to be more than the guy who plays with Chara, this could end up being a good deal. If the money allocated to him gets in the way of the team keeping some of their better players, this could go down as one that Chiarelli regrets.
|02.14.12 at 11:47 am ET|
Josh Hennessy is happy to be back in the NHL. The Rockland native hasn’t played at this level since the 2009-10 season, when he played four games for the Senators.
After being called up Monday to joing the team on its upcoming six-game road trip, the 27-year-old doesn’t know whether he’ll find his way into the lineup, but he’ll use his past experience to handle the situation as best he can.
“I think I’m more mature and a little bit more responsible defensively,” Hennessy said after taking part in the Bruins’ morning skate Tuesday. “I might have been more one-dimensional then.”
Asked whether he was viewing the callup as a reward or an audition, Hennessy felt the it was a little of both.
“This is why I play,” he said. “This is why I’ve played forever, so I’m not just going to act like I’m on vacation. I’m going to try to make an impression in any way possible and help this organization in any capacity. I’m just absolutely thrilled to be here.”
B’s coach Claude Julien hadn’t gotten to speak to Hennessy before meeting with the media Tuesday morning, but he likes what the Bruins have in Hennessy. Through 49 games in Providence, Hennessy leads the Baby B’s with 15 goals.
“We knew when we got him that he was a pretty good player. …A skilled player,” Julien said. “I think he’s done a pretty good job in Providence.”
Julien said that Hennessy getting into the lineup “could be a possibility,” either as a potential replacement for an injured player or otherwise.
“You don’t want guys getting comfortable,” Julien said, “but at the same time, if there’s an injury on this road trip, it’s a lot easier to bring that guy along if he’s been around the team than to just fly him out and expect him to jump in there and do the job.”