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Claude Julien: Maxim Lapierre’s taunt ‘wouldn’t be acceptable on our end’

06.06.11 at 1:11 pm ET
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There may not have been any biting in Game 2, but there was still plenty going on after the whistle. While Claude Julien and the Bruins players downplayed the significance of the league’s decision to not suspend Alexandre Burrows, Canucks forward Maxim Lapierre chose to mock the whole incident by sticking his fingers in Patrice Bergeron‘s face after a whistle and appearing to offer him a bite.

When asked about the incident on Monday, Julien initially said he wasn’t going to say much about it, but then he went on to say quite a bit.

“If it’s acceptable for them [to do that], then so be it,” Julien said. “It certainly wouldn’t be acceptable on our end of it. I think you know me enough to know that. … The NHL rules on something. If they decide to make a mockery of it, that’s totally up to them. If that’s their way of handling things, so be it.”

When asked to respond to Julien’s comments, Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault denied having any knowledge of the incident.

“If that happened in between whistles, I didn’t see it,” Vigneault said. “I focus on the play that’s going on between whistles, so I can’t really comment on that.”

Lapierre also took the easy way out by giving a “no comment” when asked about the incident.

In the Bruins’ room, Chris Kelly said everyone has pretty much come to expect that kind of behavior from Lapierre.

“That’€™s nothing new with him,” Kelly said. “We know what type of player he is. It is what it is.”

Taunting opponents might be unacceptable to Julien, but getting caught up in it or worrying about getting revenge would be just as bad, according to Julien.

“We can’t waste our time on that kind of stuff,” Julien said. “We really have to focus on what we have to do. The last time I looked, we’re down two games to none. All our energy has to go towards that.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Chris Kelly, Claude Julien, Maxim Lapierre

Gord Kluzak on D&C: Zdeno Chara in front of net ‘a waste of energy and time’

06.06.11 at 11:04 am ET
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NESN Bruins analyst and former defenseman Gord Kluzak called in to the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to discuss the Stanley Cup finals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Kluzak said that the Bruins could have won either of the first two games had they played slightly better.

‘€œI think they have had breakdowns at times that have really hurt,’€ Kluzak said. ‘€œI think if they get back to what they can do ‘€“ and the model is Game 7 vs. Tampa Bay ‘€” this thing is very winnable. I’m much more optimistic than I hear you guys were this morning.

“I don’t think Vancouver is as good as advertised. I’ve never been overly impressed with the Sedins. I think [Ryan] Kessler may be hurt, the way that [Johnny] Boychuk hit happened early on in Game 2. I didn’t think Kessler was the same player, and I think if you’re the Bruins you’re trying to be as physical as you can with him because he is the key, in my opinion. I think this is still very winnable. The Bruins obviously have to play near-perfect hockey, but I think they can do that.’€

Kluzak said two specific adjustments the Bruins should make is getting Zdeno Chara away from the net on the power play and including Rich Peverley on the Patrice BergeronBrad Marchand line.

‘€œChara up front in the power play is just a waste of energy and time,’€ Kluzak said. ‘€œLook at the way Milan [Lucic] scored his goal. It was a rebound in front. Well, that’€™s what the power play is all about. That’€™s why you need him out there, and it doesn’€™t help you to have the guy that you rely on the most in your own zone up front of the net on the power play when you have a guy that’€™s probably better at it and would be more suited to it.’€

Kluzak said he thought that Peverley’€™s speed ‘€œwould open the ice up a little bit more for Bergeron.’€

Kluzak said he did not think fatigue is an issue for Chara. ‘€œThis is a guy who rides 110 miles on a bike through the mountains every summer day,’€ Kluzak said. ‘€œThis guy is the best-conditioned athlete I think I’€™ve ever seen.’€

Despite Shawn Thornton‘s physicality, Kluzak said more playing time for the enforcer is not the answer for the Bruins.

‘€œThe guy you would have to take out of the lineup is [Daniel] Paille, and Paille is an outstanding penalty-killer,’€ Kluzak said. ‘€œHe’€™s executed that, and I think you really need that skill set. You don’€™t want to use your better offensive players in that penalty-killing situation.’€

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Gord Kluzak, Roberto Luongo, Stanley Cup Finals

Green Men on D&C: ‘We’re two grown idiots in spandex’

06.06.11 at 9:15 am ET
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Vancouver’s Green Men, Force and Sully, stopped by the WEEI studio for a visit with Dennis & Callahan Monday morning while in Boston for Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup finals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The two Canucks fans clad in spandex bodysuits made a name for themselves by annoying opposing players in the penalty box at Rogers Arena, but the NHL restricted their behavior after they became cult favorites.

“The NHL directly told us: ‘No more handstands, you can’t touch the glass.’ We were told we were not allowed to agitate the players,” Sully explained. “So, we just have to step up our game and be more creative. It seems to be working. We’re getting under a few people’s skin.”

Diminutive Bruins forward Brad Marchand engaged in a feud with the pair last week. “Marchand gave us a couple of chirps, I got doused with some water,” Sully explained. “You get that when you ask if he’s sitting on phone books.”

Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, on the other hand, enjoyed the Green Men’s tribute to Bruins legend Cam Neely‘s acting career. “We had the Cam Neely ‘Sea Bass’ from ‘Dumb and Dumber’ reference ‘€” the trucker caps,” Force explained. “Seidenberg appreciated that. He said he’d pass that along to Cam Neely.”

Added Force: “I think Cam Neely upstairs is either laughing or wanting to fight us. I’m not sure.”

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Read More: Brad Marchand, Cam Neely, Dennis Seidenberg, Force

Bruins-Canucks preview: Three keys, stats, and players to watch

06.06.11 at 1:54 am ET
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The Bruins have a tall task ahead of them as they look to overcome an 0-2 hole and turn the Stanley Cup finals into an actual series. Both games have been determined by just one goal thus far, and though the Bruins have played poorly from the most part, the first two games have shown the B’€™s can hang with the Canucks, even if they haven’€™t totally shown up yet. With the number three in mind, here’€™s a preview of Monday’s Game 3.

THREE THINGS THE BRUINS NEED TO DO

– Get better looks vs. Roberto Luongo and establish a net-front presence. We’€™ll say it until it changes, and it didn’€™t change enough in Game 2. The Canucks have been able to box the Bruins out so far in the series, but look at how the B’€™s scored their goals in Game 2. Milan Lucic buried a rebound from in front, and Mark Recchi redirected a shot in front of Luongo. When the Bruins were able to set up shop and do things from close range, the puck went in. It seems trying it any other way is an exercise in futility.

– Keep moving Zdeno Chara around on the power play. Recchi’€™s goal came as a result of Claude Julien moving Chara back to the point, but Julien should keep mixing it up when it comes to the Bruins’€™ mammoth captain. He still appeared to be a nuisance in front of Luongo in Game 1, so Julien should have enough confidence in Chara’€™s abilities in both areas to play him in different spots from power play to power play.

– Use the home crowd to their advantage. Whether or not they want to admit it, Rogers Arena was absolutely electric and had to have been a tough place to play. If the Garden can turn down the music and let the fans create an authentic atmosphere, maybe the Canucks can truly feel like they’€™re at an opponent’€™s home and not a wrestling match.

THREE STATS

– Both the Bruins and Canucks have seen four of their last five games be determined by one goal. The Bruins are 2-3 in that span, while the Canucks are 4-1.

– The four goals Tim Thomas has allowed over the last three games ties this stretch with his best of the postseason. Thomas let in four goals over Games 2 through 4 of the conference semifinals vs. the Flyers, though the difference is that the Bruins won all three of those games and have lost two of the three games in this stretch.

Brad Marchand has gone four games without scoring. In the other two instances this postseason in which he went four straight without a goal, he scored the following game.

THREE PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

Tim Thomas: He plays aggressive ‘€“ the sky is falling! As bad as the game-wining goal he allowed in overtime Saturday looked, the reaction by some suggest nobody has actually watched Thomas before. He’€™s all over the place, and he plays farther out of his net than most. It will be interesting to see how be performs in Game 3 given all the heat he’€™s been under for his style this series.

Alexandre Burrows: The Bruins have every reason to be furious that Burrows wasn’€™t suspended for Game 2, though they’€™re not showing it. At any rate, their No. 1 concern should be finding away to stop the guy who showed Saturday that his offensive ability (2 G, A in Game 2) is just as sharp as his teeth.

Rich Peverley: Where to play the speedy winger? Peverley has seen time on the second line, third line and fourth line (and the first if you want to count him taking one of Nathan Horton‘€™s shifts in Game 7 of the conference finals when Horton was banged up) in recent games. Peverley could continue to take some of Mark Recchi‘€™s shifts on the second line, or he could skate with Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder, as he did from late in the second period Saturday to the end of the contest. If and when Julien makes a move to get Shawn Thornton in the lineup at the expense of Tyler Seguin this series, the line of Kelly centering Peverley and Ryder would make sense.

Also, don’€™t rule out Peverley having a target on his back in Game 3. His two-handed slash to the back of Kevin Bieksa‘€™s knee didn’€™t go over well with Bieksa, his teammates or his coaches. Given the nature of the play, it shouldn’€™t have. Peverley really got away with one, and had he scored on his shot that followed the non-penalized slash, it would have looked even worse.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Alexandre Burrows, Brad Marchand, Chris Kelly

Travel and fatigue are challenges, not excuses, for the down but not out Bruins

06.05.11 at 10:34 pm ET
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One thing is for certain, that five-hour plane ride that began early Sunday morning in Vancouver would’ve been a lot shorter if the Bruins had found a way to hold onto their 2-1 third-period lead in Game 2 Saturday night.

But the Bruins had no choice but to get on the 7 a.m. bus and catch their 8 a.m. (PT) flight back for Boston. At least it was a charter and at least it was a big plane so most everyone could catch up on sleep and relaxation.

“We’re not going to hide the fact that we don’t travel as much as they do,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said, referring to the fact that the Canucks basically head out on a lengthy road trip every time they don’t play at Rogers Arena. “They’re probably used to this more than we are. So I think it was important for us to really look at it in a way where we had to make it the best possible way for us.”

When they beat Tampa Bay, 1-0, in Game 7 of the Eastern finals, Julien and the Bruins knew managing their travel would be nearly as important as solving Roberto Luongo. Julien wanted his team to leave Sunday morning so they could get back Sunday afternoon and get back on Eastern time ASAP, with Game 3 Monday night at 8 p.m. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup, 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien

Alain Vigneault calls Rich Peverley’s slash on Kevin Bieksa a ‘cheap shot’

06.05.11 at 10:32 pm ET
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Upon his arrival in Boston late Sunday afternoon, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault called Rich Peverley‘€™s slash on Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa in the second period of Saturday’€™s Game 2 a dirty play.

‘€œKevin didn’€™t get hit,’€ Vigneault said when asked about the Canucks matching the physical play of the Bruins. ‘€œHe got a cheap shot in the back of the knee, so that’€™s totally different. He went down by something you don’€™t want to see in the game. But at the end of the day, we know they’€™re a big, physical team and we can play a speed game but we can play a physical game, which I think we’€™ve shown throughout the playoffs.’€

Bieksa returned after limping to the bench and no penalty was called on the play. The Canucks outhit the Bruins, 40-31, Game 2 Saturday after the Bruins held a 31-30 advantage in Game 1.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Alain Vigneault, Kevin Bieksa, Rich Peverley

Tim Thomas is perfectly happy with the way he’s playing, so is Claude Julien

06.05.11 at 6:13 pm ET
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Tim Thomas made one thing pretty clear Sunday.

He’s not about to change his aggressive approach in goal now.

The 2009 Vezina Trophy winner was outstanding in Game 1 and for most of Game 2 before allowing the game-tying goal with over 10 minutes left in regulation and a bizarre goal 11 seconds into overtime when he fell down chasing Alex Burrows.

Upon his arrival back in Boston Sunday afternoon at the Garden, Thomas was asked about whether he regrets his aggressive approach or plans on adjusting his tact in goal.

“I have a pretty good idea how to play goalie,” Thomas said at the beginning of the press conference. “I’m not going to take advice or suggestions at this time. I’m just going to keep playing the way I have.”

Following a five-hour flight back from Vancouver, Thomas and the rest of the Bruins came to the Garden briefly to check into their dressing room and fulfill a media obligation on the offday between Games 2 and 3 of the Stanley Cup finals.

“I think we’ve played in front of Timmy Thomas,” coach Claude Julien said. “To me, he’s a Vezina Trophy winner. We are here right now because his contribution has been really good. For us to be sitting here having to answer those questions is ridiculous to me. He’s won a Vezina Trophy already, he’s probably going to win one this year, in my mind anyway, for what he’s done. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup, 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Alex Burrows, Andrew Ference

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