|03.22.11 at 9:20 am ET|
CBC hockey commentator Don Cherry joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to discuss the Matt Cooke suspension, what could happen the next time Zdeno Chara travels to Montreal and the recent slide of the Bruins.
After a seven-game winning streak that seemed to announce the Bruins as serious Stanley Cup contenders, the club has struggled, posting a 1-3-3 mark in its last seven games. Cherry was asked if the Bruins were built for a deep postseason run.
“There’s something wrong there,” said Cherry, who coached the Bruins from 1974-79. “Right now, there’s something wrong with that team. When they came into Toronto, and they were absolutely awful. But if you’re going to take a swoon, this is the time to do it. I would like to see [Shawn] Thornton play. He hasn’t played that much since [Chris] Kelly came to Boston. ‘¦ I would play Thornton a regular shift because he’s the Bruins for sure.”
The NHL suspended Penguins forward Cooke for the final 10 games of the regular season plus the entire first round of the playoffs on Monday, the fifth suspension in Cooke’s 12-year career. Cooke, of course, was not suspended for the elbow to the head of Marc Savard last year, which directly caused what might turn out to be a career-ending concussion for the Bruins center. Cherry feels if Cooke had been properly disciplined for the Savard hit it might have prevented the elbow to Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh that led to Cooke’s suspension.
“He should have been tossed for what happened to Savard, but they said they didn’t have a rule,” Cherry said. “The guy never even got four minutes or anything for that. If he had got [suspended for] 20 games then, maybe he would have been straightened out. He should have been suspended for what he did to Savard and he got his comeuppance. ‘¦ They should have given him 20-30 games back then and it might have straightened the little rat out.”
Cherry added that Mario Lemieux, who complained about dirty play following last month’s game against the Islanders, is “one of the biggest phonies I’ve ever seen in my life.”
“He says, ‘we have to get ride of headshots,’ and the [president], Dave Morehouse, says ‘we have to get rid of headshots,’ and [general manager] Ray Shero, who I really like, says the same thing. What happens? They’ve got the [biggest] headshot guy of all time, they’re paying his paychecks. What a bunch of hypocrites, I’ll tell you.”
Chara was not suspended for his March 8 hit of Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty, who suffered a concussion and a non-displaced fracture of cervical vertebrae. This led to outrage throughout Montreal, and Montreal police did open a criminal investigation against Chara. Cherry was asked if the Boston defenseman has reason to be concerned about future trips to Montreal.
“Who’s going to arrest him? That’s not going to happen. And the Canadiens have really have nobody to do anything to him,” Cherry said. “Who would? And if the game is close, nothing is going to happen. He’s too big, too strong. ‘¦ There’s no way he did that to that guy [on purpose], he was just taking that guy out. And I really give it to the owners ‘ the Molsons ‘ they didn’t have enough padding on that turnbuckle. It should have been padded, the kid would have bounced right off.”
To hear the interview, click here.
|03.21.11 at 5:45 pm ET|
He might not play, but at least he’s eligible to do so.
Shane Hnidy will see team doctors Tuesday en route to officially coming off long-term injury reserve, meaning the veteran blueliner will be available to the Bruins for the first time since they signed him in late February. Hnidy had been rehabbing a shoulder injury suffered with the Coyotes in training camp.
“It’s the doctors’ thing,” Hnidy said. “If it was up to me, I was ready a while ago, but it’s probably best to wait. It feels really strong, and I’ve been able to battle the last few practices and have been doing it for a while. I haven’t had a negative effect at all.”
Claude Julien reiterated Sunday that Hnidy was brought in for depth purposes and that he wouldn’t be taking anyone’s job. Hnidy understands that, but he’ll welcome the playing time when it comes.
“The whole reason you want to come is to play, but I knew what the situation was coming in,” he said. “If it works out and I’m needed and have to play, I’m going to go out there and do my best. I’m anxious to get back and get in a game, but if not, I’ll just continue on this path, and try to prepare the best way I can.”
Hnidy previously played for the Bruins from 2007-09, totaling 17 points (4 G, 13 A) in 108 games.
|03.21.11 at 5:26 pm ET|
The NHL announced Monday Penguins forward Matt Cooke has been suspended for the remainder of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs for an elbow on Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh that took place Sunday. It is the fourth suspension of Cooke’s career, and second of this season.
“Mr. Cooke, a repeat offender, directly and unnecessarily targeted the head of an opponent who was in an unsuspecting and vulnerable position,” Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said following the ruling. “This isn’t the first time this season that we have had to address dangerous behavior on the ice by Mr. Cooke, and his conduct requires an appropriately harsh response.”
The Penguins weren’t looking too good when Mario Lemieux, who employs Cooke, complained about dirty play following the team’s game against the Islanders last month. This time around, the Pittsburgh organization wants to make sure everyone knows where they stand.
‘The suspension is warranted because that’s exactly the kind of hit we’re trying to get out of the game,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said in a statement Monday. “Head shots have no place in hockey. We’ve told Matt in no uncertain terms that this kind of action on the ice is unacceptable and cannot happen. Head shots must be dealt with severely, and the Pittsburgh Penguins support the NHL in sending this very strong message.’
Cooke has long been criticized as one of the league’s dirtier players, and was responsible for a blindside hit last March that has left Bruins center Marc Savard with concussion issues. Savard is currently out for the season after a routine hit from Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick caused another concussion from which he is still recovering.
|03.21.11 at 1:16 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — When Claude Julien put Tim Thomas back in to start the third period against the Maple Leafs Saturday night, the logical reason as to why was because of Tuukka Rask‘s latest display of frustration. After Rask, who came in with over 11 minutes remaining in the second period in relief of Thomas, allowed the game’s fifth goal, he was visibly infuriated with defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who screened him on the play.
Julien has maintained that the move was not disciplinary, and that it was because Thomas wanted to go back out. Monday, he shed light on Rask’s behavior on the ice.
“I don’t support that,” Julien said. “I don’t think anybody supports that, including him. Sometimes frustration sets in, you see players breaking their sticks after a goal against or something. You see them putting their heads up in the air after they miss an open net. There’s a frustration point, so I’m certainly not going to stand here and start accusing him of that, but it’s something you don’t want to see from anybody because it has a big impact on your team.
“Having said that, I think Tuukka’s aware of that, and if anything, he’s been playing some of his best hooky lately, so I don’t think there’s any need for that. I think it’s just that sometimes you’ve got to control your emotions. He’s frustrated with the first half of the year, and he wants to help this hockey club. Sometimes his emotions are probably running a little too high and he reacts that way, but having said that, it had no influence on my decision on Saturday.”
For what it’s worth, Rask has been cool as a cucumber off the ice all season despite the uncertainty as to when he’ll play. On the ice, however, he’s never shied away from expressing his emotions, and Julien hopes he can keep them in check.
|03.21.11 at 12:48 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins’ dressing room seemed to be silent Monday when it came to discussing Matt Cooke‘s latest cheap shot. Shawn Thornton didn’t like the idea of commenting on it, while Johnny Boychuk claimed to have not seen the hit. Despite not everybody talking, Brad Marchand and even coach Claude Julien said enough to make it clear that Cooke’s act is not appreciated in these parts.
The Bruins, of course, have a direct tie to Cooke in that they are currently playing without Marc Savard, who has not been the same since Cooke blind-sided him last season.
“I think that it’s about time he gets — he’s got to be taught a lesson,” Marchand said. “He’s doing that stuff left, right, and center. I expect that he’ll probably get a bunch of games, but he’s got to be taught a lesson. You can’t be running around doing that stuff all the time. He’s going to seriously hurt someone again. Look at Savvy, and now McDonagh. He could have easily hurt him.
“It just seems to be part of his game. He likes to throw cheap shots around. I don’t know if he’ll learn. Hopefully he does. Hopefully he doesn’t hurt someone to the point where their career is over. You want to get that stuff out of the game, and hopefully he does learn his lesson.”
Marchand is coming off a two-game suspension of his own for a blindside elbow on Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger last week. As a first-time offender, Marchand and Julien hope that theta young forward’s lesson has been learned, but when asked about Marchand, Julien worked in a jab at Cooke.
“I think you need to trust your players to do the right things,” Julien said. “You have to trust your players that they’ve learned from those things and they don’t let it happen, although there are certain guys in the league that don’t seem to be learning.”
There was a light-hearted reaction to the Cooke reference, though when asked to comment further on the Penguins forward, Julien got serious and politely declined.
“No reaction, no comment,” Julien said. “I think right now I’ve got my hands full with trying to get our team back on track. This is an opportunity for me to let the league do their job.”
|03.21.11 at 10:38 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins are practicing at Ristuccia Arena Monday for the second straight day, hoping to work towards improving their play of late. The lines looked the same Monday as they did Sunday, with the Patrice Bergeron line carrying the extra man.
Milan Lucic ‘ David Krejci ‘ Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand/Michael Ryder ‘ Patrice Bergeron ‘ Mark Recchi
Rich Peverley ‘ Chris Kelly ‘ Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille ‘ Gregory Campbell ‘ Shawn Thornton
|03.20.11 at 1:17 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — By now, Nathan Horton‘s reputation with the media is well-known. Very friendly, asks you how you’re doing before he answers a single question, and thanks you for your time after you’ve spoken with him. Rarely is he caught without a smile on his face, but when it comes to dropping the gloves on the ice, his facial expression turns to borderline maniacal.
Horton had every reason to remain angry after his fight Saturday with Dion Phaneuf. The Toronto captain elected to leave his helmet on in the third-period bout, and took the decision against Horton, who had already removed his helmet.
After the game, Don Cherry blasted Phaneuf on Hockey Night in Canada, and it would be understandable if Horton, who sported stitches on his right eyebrow Sunday, had something to say about it as well. Instead, Horton took the high road.
“I don’t even remember the game,” Horton, who is generally elaborate with his answers, said. “It’s done with.”
Instead of discussing whose helmets were left on during fights, Horton is more concerned with the team getting back on track after dropping six of their last seven games.
“When you’re not winning, it’s not fun to come to the rink like [before],” he said. “When we were winning it was fun. Obviously right now, things aren’t going our way, and it’s been tough.”