|04.12.11 at 2:35 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — All things considered, Michael Ryder stunk it up down the stretch for the Bruins in the regular season. Playing out the third season of a three-year, $12 million deal Ryder scored just one goal over his last 17 games en route to wrapping up a second consecutive 18-goal campaign.
Through his struggles, the hope for the Bruins was that Ryder could pick it up in the playoffs. Given his 13 points in 11 games in the 2009 playoffs, it wouldn’t seem so inconceivable. It’s far from a sure thing, as the signs of life from the forward seemed minimal at times over the final two months of the season (two goals over 25 games). Ryder had only five points in 13 playoff games last year, but he can understand why fans might expect him to elevate his game come the postseason.
“Playoff time is pretty easy to get pumped up for,” Ryder said in his usual reserved demeanor. “This is what we play for. It’s the most exciting time of the year, and if you can’t have fun and can’t get excited to play, the I think there’s something wrong. I enjoy the playoffs, and I want to make sure I get off to a good start and try to help this team go as far as we can.”
Given his laid-back attitude, it’s no surprise that Ryder rarely shows frustration with any individual struggles. Even prior to the season, Ryder never got too low on the fact that he had a tough year in 2009-10. Yet just as he rarely shows frustration, Ryder is not the type of player to get carried away when things are going right. It seems it isn’t so much a lack of emotion as it is keeping a level head.
“Through my career, I’ve been through everything,” Ryder said. “I’ve been a healthy scratch here and there and I’ve been through tough seasons. I’ve learned a lot from everything. For me, when I stay calm, I know what I have to do. I’ve been in the league long enough, and I know what I have to do to be successful to do things.
“When things go bad, I kind of [have to] calm myself down, even though I don’t show it sometimes,” he admitted. “It takes a toll on you when you don’t score and you’re supposed to score. I just try to stay calm and try to find my way. I guess everyone has their own way of getting out of things.”
The Bruins can only hope that Ryder can find his way out of his funk. Coach Claude Julien, who hasn’t been afraid to make Ryder watch games in the press box as a healthy scratch, is simply trying to look ahead rather than in the past.
“Where [his game] it at doesn’t really matter right now,” Julien said after Tuesday’s practice. “Where it’s going to be when the playoffs start is what should matter. That’s what we’re going to wait and see.
“It’s a new season, it’s a new start, and our worry right now is where we’re going to be as a team.”
|04.12.11 at 2:10 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said after Tuesday’s practice that he reached out to injured Canadiens winger Max Pacioretty recently. Chara’s hit along the center boards late in the second period of a game on March 8 caused the rookie Canadiens forward to lose balance and crash face-first into the turnbuckle, landing Pacioretty on the ice with a severe concussion and cracked verterbrae.
“Yes, Yes I did. We talked,” is all Chara would say Tuesday as the Bruins prepare to battle their archrivals again in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs beginning Thursday at TD Garden.
Chara was not penalized by the NHL during the game or after review by the league but Montreal police indicated initially they would investigate the hit and subsequent injury as a criminal matter. But on Monday, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli indicated that the police would not question or arrest Chara when the Bruins return to Montreal for Game 3 on Monday night, the first visit to the Bell Centre since the hit.
The Montreal Gazette reported Tuesday that while hopeful for a return during the playoffs, the Canadiens have ruled Pacioretty out for the first round series against the Bruins.
|04.12.11 at 1:39 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It was too predictable that with the Bruins playing the Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs, Brad Marchand‘s stall in the Bruins dressing room had media members awaiting him Tuesday. The B’s forward has not been afraid to speak his mind in the past, especially when it comes to the Habs.
Yet Tuesday, which marked the B’s first postseason practice, Marchand, who earlier in the season said that the Habs like to “shoot their mouths off” and “dive down easy,” was far more complimentary of the Canadiens and was focused more on his excitement to play them.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Marchand said. “The history between the two teams is going to make it very interesting. I know the fans are very excited for it. It’s going to be a great series. They’re a great team over there, and they’ve played very well against us this year, so have to make sure we’re ready.”
Marchand had 21 goals and 20 assists in his rookie season, becoming a fan favorite for his scrappy play and abundance of interesting quotes. He also is responsible for one of the bigger brawls of the season in Feb. 9’s game when he hit James Wisniewski What’s made him so popular in Boston has predictably made him one of the more disliked Bruins in Montreal, but he doesn’t mind.
“I don’t care what the fans [say]. I just want to go out there and play my game and try to help the team any way I can.
“I’m not there to get the fans to hate on me. I’m here to help the team win, and if they hate me, they hate me. That’s how it goes.”
The playoffs begin Thursday, with the B’s hosting the first two games before heading into Montreal for what’s sure to be a hostile environment.
|04.12.11 at 1:17 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien has led the B’s to the playoffs in four straight seasons since coming aboard in 2007. He has yet to take the team past the second round, as the past two seasons have ended with the Bruins being eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Given that last year’s ending, an elimination at the hands of the Flyers after the B’s led both the series and Game 7 by a 3-0 count, there has been speculation that a longer playoff run could be required for Julien to keep his job. Speaking after Tuesday’s practice, the coach shot down the idea that he could be worried about potentially being let go.
“Not at all,” Julien said when asked whether he felt he was coaching for his job. “It hasn’t changed. I’m coach like like very other year. That part of it doesn’t change at all. You don’t come in here worried about yourself. In the playoffs, you come here worrying about winning the Stanley Cup. Certainly, it’s not even in the back of my mind.”
Julien also noted that not all of the responsibility falls on the coach in the playoffs, and that ultimately the players must execute for the team to get desired results.
“It’s not all about the coach, let me put it this way,” he said. “You have to expect that your players are professional enough that they know what’s at stake and they prepare. As a coach, all you can do is make that preparation as good as you can get it. At the end of the day, when the puck is dropped, they’re going to be the ones performing.”
|04.12.11 at 11:18 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins began their first practice of the postseason Tuesday in preparation of their first-round matchup with the Canadiens. A couple of reinforcements are in town in the form of Anton Khudobin and Matt Bartkowski. Bartkowski is here as a depth guy in place of Steven Kampfer, who is out at least two weeks with a knee injury suffered over the weekend while playing for Providence. Kampfer is with the Bruins at Ristuccia, but will do off-ice work and will work with the medical staff.
The color-coded lines are no different than one would expect. They are as follows:
The B’s also announced their Black Aces. In addition to Bartkowski, Khudobin and the injured Kampfer, they are Michael Hutchinson, Jamie Arniel, Jordan Caron, Zach Hamill, Lane MacDermid, Trent Whitfield and Yury Alexandrov.
|04.11.11 at 3:53 pm ET|
Rookie Tyler Seguin was among the topics discussed in Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli‘s conference call with the media on Monday. Seguin played in 73 games as a rookie, totaling 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points. He was a healthy scratch eight times, but Chiarelli noted that having him spend the year back in Plymouth (OHL) would not have helped anyone.
“I’m relatively satisfied with the development,” Chiarelli said. “You have to put it in the context of his age and put it in the context of he’s an individual who I think has seen that he has to grow in certain areas on and off the ice. He’s a real good kid.”
Daniel Paille‘s four goals over his last games has made it safe to assume Seguin will be a healthy scratch when the playoffs begin Thursday, but Chiarelli didn’t rule out the idea of the 19-year-old finding his way into the lineup before all is said and done.
“My guess is that he won’t start in the lineup for the playoffs. I hope that he finds his way into it. The play is going to ramp up in the playoffs,” Chiarelli said. “Had he gone back to juniors, the areas where he had to get better would have been left dormant and so he had to play this year and face those areas head on. A terrifically talented kid with speed, he has to learn to make these plays that he can do and we’ve seen these plays all the time. So I’m relatively satisfied. Tyler is a good kid and he’s going to get better.”
Chiarelli admitting that Seguin is unlikely to be in the lineup Thursday shouldn’t come as a major surprise, as the combination of Paille’s impressive play to close out the season and Seguin’s inconsistencies made things pretty predictable.
Though Seguin did get to play in 73 games, his leash was clearly shorter than it would have been had he played for a non-playoff team. As a result, the combination of his raw talents, struggles with physical play and limited ice time left him 22nd in scoring amongst rookies this season.
The more interesting point is Chiarelli pointing out that sending Seguin back to juniors would not have benefitted the youngster. It makes sense, as Seguin’s dominant play for Plymouth in his draft year (48+58=106), suggests that he probably wouldn’t have taken it upon himself to become a more physical player, as he could get results without it.
Just how Seguin could end up finding his way into the lineup remains to be seen. At face value, it seems it would take an injury to a forward or detrimental play from Paille.
|04.11.11 at 12:45 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said in Monday’s conference call that rookie defenseman Steven Kampfer will be out for at least two weeks after sustaining a knee injury while playing for Providence on Saturday. Kampfer left the contest vs. Springfield after trying to return to the ice for another shift.
“Steven injured his knee and is going to be evaluated in the next couple of days,” Chiarelli said. “My guess is he’ll be gone for at least two weeks.”
Kampfer played in 38 games for Boston this season, but figured to be a healthy scratch in the playoffs given that he played just once (March 31) following a rough game in Nashville in which a defensive lapse and a penalty in overtime played a major role in the Predators’ come-from-behind win over the B’s. He was sent to Providence on April 6 to get more game action.
With Kampfer out for at least the first round of the playoffs, Shane Hnidy is clearly the first defenseman the B’s would go to in case of injury, though Chiarelli stressed that the B’s have options should they suffer more injuries on the blue line.
“We’ve got depth beyond that in [Matt] Bartkowski, [Andrew] Bodnarchuk and [Colby] Cohen. We’ve got some players that can fill in,” Chiarelli said. “Obviously, it’s a blow to our depth, but from what I’m told, it’s not that bad. I can’t give you an exact time frame, but I now it’s at least two weeks.”
Kampfer, 22, totaled five goals and five assists for 10 points with Boston in the regular season.
On the subject of depth, Chiarelli noted that goaltender Anton Khudobin will be among 10 or so Black Aces the B’s will be able to use for depth purposes. Zach Hamill is also in that group.