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Claude Julien confident Milan Lucic won’t be suspended

01.07.12 at 5:02 pm ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Saturday’s loss to the Canucks that he is not concerned about forward Milan Lucic possibly being suspended. Lucic was given a game misconduct for leaving the bench to join an altercation. If the league deems that Lucic left the bench as part of an illegal line change, Lucic will be suspended 10 games, with Julien also receiving a one-game ban, pending review.

“I’m not blaming them,” Julien said of the referees. “They’re in the middle of a scrum there, but Looch was on the ice already, and it wasn’t an illegal change. He didn’t come off the bench, so there’s no issues there in my mind. It’s clear.”

Julien dismissed the notion of any lineup moves the team might have to make should Lucic or Brad Marchand, who was also tossed, be suspended.

“I don’t have to answer that,” Julien said, “because that’s not the case right now.”

The potential suspension that Lucic faces came as a surprise to teammates.

“I didn’t even know that,” a surprised Chris Kelly said when asked about potentially losing Lucic. “I’ll let that be decided by the proper people. Hopefully we don’t lose Looch. Obviously he’s a great guy, a great teammate, and hopefully he’s back soon.”

Lucic has already been suspended once this season, as he was given a game last month for his hit on Zac Rinaldo in the Bruins’ victory over the Flyers.

Canucks get their revenge, beat Bruins in rematch

01.07.12 at 4:00 pm ET
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The Stanley Cup finals rematch that players swore was “just another game” proved to be far from that, as the Canucks defeated the Bruins, 4-3, in a highly emotional game Saturday at TD Garden.

The Canucks got on the board when Ryan Kesler beat Tim Thomas on the power play 5:41 into the game. Brad Marchand tied it up later in the first period, taking a nice feed from Tyler Seguin in front and deking Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider. After Daniel Paille was stopped on a penalty shot by Schneider, Rich Peverley scored his seventh of the season to give the B’s a 2-1. Bruins nemesis Alexandre Burrows would later tip a Cody Hodgson shot past Thomas to tie it on a Vancouver power play.

Hodgson made it 4-2 1:09 into the third period, but David Krejci brought the Bruins within one 42 seconds later when he picked up a rebound from a Joe Corvo shot and sent it past Schneider.

There was no shortage of heated play on the day, as Burrows speared Shawn Thornton in front of the Canucks’ bench that started a large altercation just 3:54 into the game. Nathan Horton and Dale Weise fought, but the most notable thing to emerge from the ordeal was a game-misconduct for Milan Lucic, who was tossed for leaving the bench to fight. Lucic could face a 10-game suspension if the league rules it was an illegal line change.

Lucic was not the only Bruin tossed, as Brad Marchand was given a five-minute major and game misconduct late in the second period for clipping Vancouver defenseman Sami Salo.

The Bruins will next play Tuesday, when they host the Jets at TD Garden.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– Lucic was given a game misconduct for leaving the bench to join the aforementioned altercation and that could mean huge trouble for both the Bruins’ winger and coach Claude Julien.

The Bruins have been informed that Lucic was tossed for that reason, but that the league will not decide whether it was for a legal change or an illegal change until after the game.

The fines/suspension section of Rule 70.10 reads as follows:

“The first player to leave the players’€™ or penalty bench during an altercation or for the purpose of starting an altercation from either or both teams shall be suspended automatically without pay for the next ten (10) regular League and/or Play-off games of his team.”

It later adds the following:

“The Coach(es) of the team(s) whose player(s) (including goalkeepers) left the players’€™ bench(es) or penalty bench(es)during an altercation shall be suspended, pending a review by the Commissioner. The Coach(es) also will be fined a maximum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000).”

Lucic has already been suspended once this season, as he was given a game last month for his hit on Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo.

– As one could have expected, the Bruins had to deal with some of the Canucks’ shenanigans. Maxim Lapierre got a sprinting start and literally jumped into the scrum in the first period, but that wasn’t the worst of it. Later in the first period, Weise challenged Thornton to fight. Thornton dropped his gloves, but Weise kept them on in an effort to sucker the Bruins forward into a penalty. The joke was on Weise, who was also given two for unsportsmanlike conduct.

– Despite what the players said, everyone knew that this was going to be an extremely passionate game between two teams with a good amount of hatred for one another. With that being said, both teams were guilty with losing control at different points of the game. Benoit Pouliot, who once again played well and made a great play to set up Peverley’s goal, took a bad high-sticking penalty in the offensive zone late in the first period. The passion was good to see from the Bruins, but they are generally a team that knows how to play these physical games without losing focus.

– While there was plenty of media attention placed on the fact that Schneider was starting for the Canucks instead of Roberto Luongo, it took a while for the Bruins to even give the Marblehead native any work. The Bruins didn’t get their first shot on goal until nearly nine minutes into the game. The B’s made up for it, as they needed up with 38 shots on Schneider on the day.

– All four of the Canucks’ goals came on the power play. Their four power-play tallies doubled what they were able to do on the man advantage when they scored only two power play goals in seven games in the Stanley Cup finals. The Bruins did not score a power play goal on the day.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– That’s eight straight games with a point for David Krejci, who scored an important goal to keep the Bruins in it in the third period. There was nobody in front to challenge Krejci after Corvo sent his shot in from the point, so the skilled center didn’t need to work too hard to extend his streak. Still, No. 46 has stood out for the Bruins lately, and for a player who runs hot and cold, it’s good to see Krejci’s strong play continue.

– Quite the marathon bout between Horton and Weise. Both fighters landed solid blows, but the lengthy fight finally ended with a Horton take-down. It wasn’t Aaron Rome, but Horton got to get out any aggression he had left over after a blindside hit ended his playoffs in the first period of Game 3.

– Adam McQuaid was slow to leave the ice halfway through the third period after blocking a shot. He went down the tunnel, but luckily for the Bruins, was back on the ice within minutes.

Bruins-Canucks Live Blog: David Krejci brings Bruins within one

01.07.12 at 12:45 pm ET
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Bruins-Canucks Live Blog

Read More: Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Ryan Kesler,

Not surprised to see Roberto Luongo sitting vs. Bruins

01.06.12 at 3:07 pm ET
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Surprise, surprise.

Canucks goaltender and Marblehead native Cory Schneider told reporters Friday that he, not Roberto Luongo, will be the team’s starting goalie when Vancouver faces the Bruins Saturday in a rematch of the teams in last season Stanley Cup finals.

Luongo is coming off a shutout Wednesday against the Wild, but he had a very difficult time playing in Boston in the postseason. In three starts in Boston in the finals, he allowed 15 goals and was chased from both Games 4 and 6. He allowed five goals in the other four games at Rogers Arena.

This season, Luongo is 17-8-3 with a 2.38 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. Schneider, who played his college hockey at Boston College, is 8-5-0 with a 2.16 GAA and a .931 save percentage.

It ultimately isn’t surprising for Luongo to sit Saturday vs. the B’s. He got off to a rocky start this season, but has turned things around. If anything could shake him right now, it’s the idea of playing in Boston again.

Things went downhill for Luongo following the Canucks’ 1-0 win in Game 5 of the finals. Following the win, Luongo criticized Tim Thomas‘ style of play, saying the game-winning goal he allowed to Maxim Lapierre would have been an easy save for him. Luongo was chased jsut 8:35 into the next game after allowing three early goals and went on to allow three goals in the Bruins’ 4-0 Cup-clinching Game 7.

Thomas told WEEI.com recently that Luongo’s remarks gave him confidence, as he realized that Luongo was distracted.

‘€œAs far as Luongo goes, actually, all that did was give me confidence that his head was in the wrong place, because I was focused on stopping the puck and he was thinking about my style,’€ Thomas said on Dec. 21 as he reflected on the now infamous comment.

‘€œI realized that I had an advantage over him,’€ Thomas added. ‘€œ’€¦ The challenge on my end was to keep that advantage.’€

The Bruins starter is currently unknown, though Tuukka Rask has allowed just one goal over his last four starts and is coming off his third shutout this season. Just this writer’s opinion, but it might be wise for Julien to continue to ride the hot hand and stick with Rask for Saturday’s game. That way the B’s can go back to Thomas, who beat Winnipeg in November, when the Jets come to town Tuesday. Rask was in net for the Bruins’ Dec. 6 loss to the Jets.

Read More: Roberto Luongo,

Chris Kelly on M&M: ‘I’d love to stay here’

01.06.12 at 1:35 pm ET
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With Brad Marchand sick and unable to make his weekly appearance on the Mut & Merloni show, fellow forward Chris Kelly filled in to talk about Thursday’s rout of the Flames and Saturday’s highly anticipated Stanley Cup finals rematch with the Canucks.

The Bruins continued their red-hot ways — nine wins in 10 games — with Thursday’s 9-0 rout of the Flames, and the balanced scoring throughout the lineup has been impressive.

“Every line goes out and plays hard,” Kelly said. “I’ve been on other teams that have been pretty deep and have had success, but not to this extent. Our first line all the way down to our fourth line, all lines play the exact same way and work hard and do their job defensively. Obviously, certain guys have more offensive abilities, but I think for the most part we go out and play the system and work hard.”

Looking back on the team’s first-month struggles and subsequent resurgence, Kelly acknowledged some of it had to do with the team being overconfident following last season’s championship.

“We heard it from everybody about this Stanley Cup hangover,” he said. “I think maybe certain games we came in just feeling a sense of entitlement. Winning a Stanley Cup, we figured we could just show up and we’d get the two points. But every team came at us even harder because of what he accomplished the year before.

“I think it took us a month to realize that. When November came around, I think collectively as a group we realized we had to play better, and we did.”

Next up for the Bruins is a Saturday matinee against the Canucks. Kelly downplayed the importance of the matchup.

“The media has hyped this up more than the players have,” he said. “We just want to go out and have a good game. They’re playing extremely well — I think they’re first in the West — and we’re playing well right now. We don’t have anything to prove other than going out there and playing hard and trying to get the two points.”

Kelly wouldn’t admit to the Bruins having revenge on their minds despite the likes of Canucks pest Alex Burrows returning to Boston.

“It was a good, physical series, battled hard by both sides and went the distance to seven,” he said. “We just want to go out there and play hard and play our style. We’re a big, strong, physical team when we’re playing at our best, and that doesn’t change regardless of who we’re playing.”

Kelly’s contract expires after this season. While he said that no negotiations have been going on, he left no doubt that he hopes to return.

“Obviously, I’d love to stay here,” he said. “Boston’s a great city, a great team. My wife and I have enjoyed this city so much since we’ve been here. It couldn’t have been a more perfect thing for me to come here last year and end up coming to a great team that wins the Stanley Cup. Hopefully, it’s something we can get worked out.”

Read More: Brad Marchand, Chris Kelly,

Andrew Ference on D&C: Bruins ‘ready to respond’ to Canucks

01.06.12 at 12:05 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning and talked about Saturday’s Stanley Cup finals rematch against the Canucks, coach Claude Julien‘s coaching style, and Thursday’s 9-0 beatdown of the Flames.

Thursday’s rout of the Flames was the Bruins’ ninth win in 10 games and their second straight home rout of eight goals or more. For Ference, though, it wasn’t the type of game he likes to play in.

“The tight games are more fun than that,” he said. “The nail-biters when you come out on the right side are a little more enjoyable than that. That was a defeated team out there last night. I don’€™t know if you want to call it sympathy, but we don’€™t have any sympathy for guys you play against. But that sucks to be on the other side of that.”

Ference said he didn’t feel bad for Calgary and that it was important the Bruins didn’t stop playing hard.

“You don’€™t want to gloat about it,” Ference said. “You want to keep playing your game. Obviously, we have bigger things to worry about than feeling bad for Calgary. But you don’€™t want to throw it in their face. We stopped celebrating and coming by the bench when we scored goals. We don’€™t stop playing, you keep playing your game, but we’€™re not celebrating after the goals. You try to be a little bit more muted about stuff like that. But you can’€™t stop playing, you can’€™t let your guard down. That’€™s when guys get hurt, is when you let your guard down, when you let up or start playing a little easier. You can’€™t do it.”

Ference said that the Bruins are much further ahead of where anyone expected them to be at this point in the season, something that he attributes to the a strong core group of players with a winner’s mentality.

“I think after that first month where we kind of just, I don’€™t know, I don’€™t know what we were doing but I think we kind of just picked up back at the hockey that we were playing during the spring,” Ference said. “That playoff kind of hockey is one where its great consistency, every line is playing the same style, not really taking any shifts off, and that’€™s something that a lot of teams build up toward during the spring. And I think as the season goes, the games get closer and closer and closer because teams are tightening up their defense, and I think we kind of just skipped a couple of steps this year. We’€™re kind of just playing that good spring hockey but at a different time of the year, so that’€™s obviously what we’€™re trying to work up and get better and stay sharp and do all those things as well. And that’€™s probably the biggest thing we have to remember, we can’€™t just get comfortable and be satisfied because the teams around us are going to get better.”

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Read More: Andrew Ference, Claude Julien,

Green Men Blog: Checking in before Bruins-Canucks rematch

01.06.12 at 7:00 am ET
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We meet again Boston.

With the Canucks in town for a rematch of the Cup final, we thought we’€™d check in. The fans back here in Vancouver are starting to think we retired after last year’s second place finish. It’s funny to look at message boards and see people asking if Force is actually a different person or if I [Sully] have a different suit. Nothing’€™s changed. We just haven’t had the chance to renew old rivalries yet.

Since September, Force and I have done quite a bit off the ice. We rappelled down a skyscraper in Vancouver and helped raise $10,000 for charity. We’ve travelled abroad to ECHL, BCHL and even NFL games and cheered on other teams as part of our training camp. We’ve paid a visit to a few friends in hospitals and we’ve wished everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. The fun good-willed seasonal spirit ends now though.

In 2011, Force and I picked up nearly a quarter million fans online, tickets to see every game of the cup final, met the Prime Minister, were spoofed by Letterman and were on ESPN almost every other day. Needless to say, it’€™s going to be tough to top what happened last spring. That doesn’t mean that we’re not going to do it, we’re just saying it won’t be easy.

So far, Force and I have been to only one game this season, between the Canucks and the Nashville Predators in early December. The crowd wasn’t quite as into it and you could tell each team in the rink wasn’t quite in playoff mode either. That was a whole year ago though.

Since then, the Canucks have been on a tear. [Roberto] Luongo‘s played his best hockey of the season. [Ryan] Kesler is back to beast mode and our young rook Cody Hodgson can’t be stopped. This team added a few pieces in the offseason, got focused again and hasn’t looked back.

Now, having to watch your Bruins tear it up in the east from over here hasn’t been easy. You guys have a good team this year, I’ll give you that. Since you cleared some space in the locker room by getting rid of Mark Recchi‘s walker and his lifetime supply of Bengay, you’ve looked refurbished. This will be your first test though. Who are we kidding? The East is always a cakewalk.

The better team won last year, we won’t question that. You guys played harder and you earned the Cup. While we still can’t stand your team, we’re happy and proud of our hometown boy Looch [Milan Lucic].

In fact, we took a bit of flack last year because of 17 in black. A lot of people thought he was giving it to us in the box, because of his hand gestures [in Game 5]. The guy was a beauty to us though, and was laughing the whole time. I had a fake witch’s nose on and he kept saying his was bigger. Though on TV, it looked like he was talking about Brad Marchand in the showers.

Everyone back here is congratulatory of your accomplishment last year, except for the few skidmarks of this city that unfortunately all showed up at Game 7 to riot. They don’t represent our city or country. In fact, we’re doing our best in Vancouver to put them where they belong, behind bars.

Our Green Men 2012 debut is inching closer and closer, much like your inevitable choking when it comes to defending your Cup. You have a great city and we really enjoyed our time there. When it comes to baseball, we don’t like the Stanks either, so we’ll leave that alone. When it comes to football, your glory days are behind you. When it comes to basketball, same thing. Hockey’s no different. You’re forgetting that this is our game. Consider what happened last year a gift, it won’t happen again.

See you in the final Boston,

The Green Men

Read More: Green Men, Milan Lucic,
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