|04.29.11 at 12:38 pm ET|
Following their final practice Friday morning at TD Garden, the Bruins packed their bags and headed for Philadelphia and Saturday’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals with the Flyers. But before departing, the Bruins addressed the media and spoke of their thoughts on the even of the playoff rematch with the team that came from 3-0 down in the series and Game 7 to eliminate them last spring.
‘You think if I answer this question right now, I won’t have to answer it the rest of the series? Promise?” Shawn Thornton said with a smile, before adding, “For some of the guys, obviously, here last year, it should be a little bit of motivating tool and a learning lesson. But that being said, last year was last year, this year is this year. Half the team has been turned over. We’ve brought in some great people.
“So, it’s a whole new year. They have new players, we have new players. It doesn’t really have a factor on this year’s series, except for the fact we haven’t forgotten about it because you guys remind us day in and day out, and I’m sure you will for the next two weeks.’
“It’s always a new situation, a new opportunity, and that’s how we’re looking at it,” added coach Claude Julien. “Just a new opportunity for us to get past these guys and hopefully, win this series.”
Game 1 is 3 p.m. on Saturday with Tim Thomas in net for the Bruins and Brian Boucher expected to get the call for the Flyers. Game 2 is Monday night, also at Wells Fargo Center before the series shifts to Boston next Wednesday and Friday for Games 3 and 4.
|04.28.11 at 2:09 pm ET|
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas joined Mut & Merloni Thursday to discuss the B’s Eastern Conference quarterfinals win over the Canadiens. In talking with Mike Mutnansky and Lou Merloni, Thomas said he does not respect the play of Habs defenseman P.K. Subban, who appeared to dive in an attempt to draw a penalty on Gregory Campbell with Montreal already on the power play late in the first period Wednesday.
“I have respect for the Montreal Canadiens team and the way they played that series and the way that they battled, but to be completely honest, I don’t have respect for actions like that,” Thomas said when asked about Subban. “That’s a travesty to the game. That’s not the way the game is supposed to be played. When I saw that happen in the first period, when he threw himself back on Campbell… it can be infuriating.
“If anything, it seems the refs let him get away with more, which I’m very surprised at. He’s making the refs look not good on a regular basis. He’s got enough talent, and he’s a good enough player that there’s no need for stuff like that.”
Thomas is not the first Bruin to publicly criticize Subban’s style of play. Center David Krejci was open about his feelings for the rookie defenseman after Game 1 of the series.
‘I don’t like him,’ Krejci said after Subban appeared to embellish on a play to draw a hooking call in the Habs’ 2-0 win. ‘I’m not going to say what I think about him, but I don’t like him.”
While Thomas is no fan of Subban’s play, he is clearly a supporter of the Canadiens’ netminder in Carey Price. Both Thomas and Price allowed 17 goals over the course of the series, and though they fought back on Feb. 9, there is clearly a mutual respect between the two.
“He battled hard from start to finish in that series,” Thomas said. “I’ve got to give him a lot of credit. As an opposing goalie, it’s team vs. team. You’re not really playing goalie vs. goalie. In this scenario, when the other goalie’s playing that well, he pushes me to be as good as I can be.
“There were moments where you just kept waiting for him to hopefully break. It just never happened. A lot of times, if you put enough pressure for a long enough time on the opposing goalie, they’ll break. That didn’t happen.”
The Bruins will open the Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday in Philadelphia vs. the Flyers.
|04.28.11 at 12:49 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told reporters Thursday that defenseman Andrew Ference will not be suspended for his collision with Canadiens forward Jeff Halpern in the third period of Boston’s 4-3 overtime win over Montreal Wednesday.
Halpern went down hard after hitting the shoulder of Ference in the Bruins’ zone, and it was reported following the game that Ference would have a phone hearing with the league at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
Ference had two hearings with the league during the series. He was fined $2,500 for giving Canadiens fans the middle finger after scoring in Game 4.
|04.28.11 at 1:58 am ET|
Don’t be fooled by Cam Neely.
The Bruins finally get their chance at revenge on the Flyers – and they want it badly.
“This probably gives you guys more to write about I’m sure,” Neely said with a grin following Boston’s 4-3 overtime over the Candiens in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Wednesday. “We don’t have the same team as we did last year, and Philly doesn’t have the exact same team either. That’s certainly going to be mentioned a lot and talked a lot about, but first and foremost we’ve got to concern ourselves [with] how we play in that first game.”
At least Neely would recognize their next round opponent. The same could not be said for Tim Thomas.
“I told you, I have at least until midnight before I have to think about that,” Thomas said when asked repeatedly about the second-round series that opens Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center.
Yes, the teams have tweaked their rosters, but they still have two of the most identifiable logos on the crests of their sweaters. Claude Julien wanted to focus on the fact that his team just beat another franchise with a pretty famous logo on its sweater – and did so in historic fashion.
“I mean, it is what it is and the fact is we got ourselves down two nothing in this series,” Julien said of overcoming the 0-2 hole against Montreal. “I think it was important for ourselves to get back into this series. There was a lot at stake in this series as well. We understand the rivalry between Montreal and Boston and it’s been there many times. And we also know the statistics of the winning percentages of both teams when they play each other.”
Then came Julien’s acknowledgment of the next opponent.
“It was a big deal for us and we really focused on that and there is no doubt that tonight, we knew winning this game would give us another opportunity to play Philly. If anything I think it’s going to make it interesting. I think a lot of people are going to be watching this to see how it develops, and we’re excited to have that opportunity.”
First round hero Nathan Horton wasn’t even on the Bruins team that couldn’t close out last year against the Flyers, but he senses the pain and the desire for redemption.
“Well, this is huge, and definitely with what happened last year, we can put that in the past now,” Horton said. “It’s a new year. We’ve gone through it. Anything can happen in the playoffs. You’re up three-nothing, or down two-nothing, and things can turn. You’ve just got to work through it, and be prepared to always continue to work until you get that fourth win, because like everyone says, it’s the hardest one to get.”
Now, if they can just repeat it three more times.
|04.28.11 at 1:52 am ET|
According to a tweet from TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference will have a hearing with the league at 11 a.m. Thursday regarding his hit on Canadiens forward Jeff Halpern in the third period of the B’s 4-3 overtime win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Halpern remained on the ice after colliding with the B’s defenseman’s shoulder in the Bruins’ zone.
“It was pretty solid [contact], actually,” Ference said of the play. “I kind of braced myself because I saw him off the side, and I definitely felt him hit me.”
Ference maintained that he did not intend to injure Halpern, who seemingly was not significantly injured given his quick return to the game.
“Oh yeah?” Ference responded when a reporter suggested he may have raised his shoulder. “No. It was like [I explained]. “I was holding my ice, and he was out the next shift.”
This will be Ference’s second hearing of the series, as he had one following an obscene gesture to Canadiens fans in Game 4.
|04.28.11 at 12:40 am ET|
Nathan Horton isn’t about to complain about being dragged to the postgame press conference room in full uniform like he was Wednesday night to talk about his series-winning goal. After all, he’s getting to be a real pro at taking the stage to discuss such heroics.
Four nights after winning Game 5 in double-overtime, Horton won the game and the series with a bomb of a shot that Carey Price never saw with 14:17 left in overtime to capture Game 7 for the Bruins and avoid the worst kind of heartbreak for Bruins fans.
It also sent the B’s onto a second-round rematch with the Flyers starting this weekend in Philadelphia.
“Yeah, it was pretty nice,” said a smiling Horton. “I mean, it felt pretty good. I don’t remember too much. I remember Looch [Milan Lucic] coming up with the puck and I just tried to get open, and I tried putting the puck towards the net. Luckily it got deflected off someone and it went straight in. That’s all I remember. It was pretty special, again, it doesn’t get any better.”
The goal also saved the Bruins from the devastating heartbreak of blowing a 3-2 lead with less than two minutes left in regulation, when P.K. Subban scored on the power play to force overtime.
“When you have the lead it feels good, but when you give it up, it’s tough, especially in Game 7, late in the third, and we battled,” Horton said. “We battled all year, when times have been tough, and we’ve come together and it seems like we get stronger and we just start pressing, and that’s the way it’s been all year. On if it’s safe to say he’s enjoying the playoffs’¦ I’m really enjoying it. Every day is exciting. Every day is a new day, but it feels good, definitely, to get used to this, continue winning. That’s what it’s all about.”
Horton was the Bruins player who started off like a house on fire this season, with eight goals in his first 15 games. Then he cooled off before finishing with 26 on the season, just four behind Milan Lucic for the team lead. Safe to say he’s caught fire again at the very best time. Read the rest of this entry »
|04.28.11 at 12:01 am ET|
Had the Bruins lost Wednesday’s Game 7 against the Canadiens, the backlash would’ve been severe. Bruins fans and Boston media would be calling for Claude Julien‘s head and the general feeling would be one of disgust and disbelief at the fact that the B’s fell short in a Game 7 once again.
If the reactions by Montreal players after the game are any indication, there will not be anywhere near that sort of outcry north of the border after it was the Canadiens who fell short in Game 7. The mood in the locker room was one of disappointment, obviously, but also one of optimism about the future of the Habs.
“You see the maturity of the team, and it’s going in the right direction,” said captain Brian Gionta. “We didn’t get the result we wanted this year, but you look at some of the guys who played and they really made great strides for this organization. Hopefully we can continue that and grow off that.”
One point of pride for the Canadiens was how they battled through injuries all season. They rarely had their full team healthy and playing, and that didn’t change in the playoffs. Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges, two of the team’s best defensemen, missed the entire series, as did forward Max Pacioretty. On top of that, forward David Desharnais and defenseman James Wisniewski both battled through injuries during the series and missed varying amounts of time.
“We’ve had young guys have to step in and play big minutes and play big roles and elevate their game,” said defenseman P.K. Subban. “This is how you build a franchise, when you give guys like that the opportunity. We were all given great opportunities here, and it just looks great for the franchise the next couple years. There’s a lot of young talent and a lot to look forward to. … If guys don’t step up, we don’t even have this opportunity to be in a Game 7, or even be in the playoffs.”
That said, there was still plenty of disappointment in the Montreal room. Although overcoming that kind of adversity can certainly be seen as a positive, they didn’t want to use an excuse for losing to the Bruins.
“Maybe the outside public can commend us for those sorts of things, and we definitely appreciate that, but it’s not something we dwell on very much,” Michael Cammalleri said. “Whoever’s next over the boards has to do their job. It really doesn’t do us any good dwelling on those things.”