|03.25.11 at 12:45 pm ET|
Bruins legend Ray Bourque appeared on the Mut & Merloni show Friday to talk about the NHL‘s crackdown on hits to the head, rookie Tyler Seguin and what to expect from the Bruins in the playoffs. To hear the interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Bourque said that not only are hits to the head more noticeable now because of the NHL‘s crackdown, but also because it seems like there are just more of them. ‘I think some of the stuff has changed,’ Bourque said. ‘You might’ve seen certain hits that were similar in our day, but it seems like there were less head shots.
‘Just flagrant elbows to the head, you’re seeing a lot more it seems like, like [Matt] Cooke a few times that he’s done,’ Bourque continued. ‘I don’t think you used to see that as much. I’m not sure why you’re seeing more of that now, if it’s lack of respect for each other out there or what. I’m happy that they’re really trying to cut it down.’
Bourque also discussed Mark Recchi‘s comments about the Canadiens embellishing the severity of Max Pacioretty‘s concussion after Zdeno Chara‘s hit on him. Bourque said that sometimes it’s necessary for a veteran leader to step up and take some pressure of a teammate.
‘That was a nice veteran move and great leadership in terms of taking a little of the pressure off and moving it on him and bringing some things up for question that were being talked about,’ he said.
The guys asked Bourque about Seguin and some of the challenges he’s facing as a rookie, particularly when it comes to the physical play in the NHL. ‘Well, I think that’s a big part of it, the physical part of the game,’ Bourque said. ‘But also, he’s such a young guy. You’ll look at this kid three years from now, in terms of maturity mentally and physically, he’s going to be in a different place. That’s what he has to gain and he has to grow.
‘And he’s in a different situation than Taylor Hall,’ Bourque added. ‘Taylor Hall, [the Oilers] can play him all they want. He can make mistakes and they can keep throwing him out there. That’s not the case with the Bruins. The Bruins are going for something here. Every shift is an important one for them.’
|03.25.11 at 12:41 pm ET|
Boychuk scored 61 seconds into Thursday night’s game vs. the Canadiens, starting off the Bruins on a 7-0 rout.
There was a lot of hype leading up to Thursday’s game, but Boychuk said the team was able to focus on hockey. “We just wanted to put all the distractions away and worry about what we have to do on the ice, and we did that last night,” he said.
Asked if he was surprised a Canadien such as Ryan White didn’t make a run at Zdeno Chara in retaliation for the defenseman’s hit on Max Pacioretty earlier this month, Boychuk said White showed understandable restraint.
“I don’t think for him it would be the smartest decision to go after Zdeno, especially when [the 6-foot White] is 6, 7, 8 inches shorter and Zdeno is just a monster. That wouldn’t have been the best decision if he would have made that one.”
Based on his play of late, Chara hasn’t let the situation be a distraction for him. “After what happened, for him to block everything out and play the way he has been, that’s the way you want our captain to respond,” Boychuk said. “He’s doing a great job on the ice and off the ice as well.”
Boychuk said if the Canadiens did decide to mix it up, the Bruins were ready. “If they wanted to, we’ve got a lot of guys that could stick up for our teammates,” Boychuk said. “We weren’t too worried about that, because we have a great group of guys that can back up anything we say or do.”
|03.25.11 at 10:00 am ET|
NESN analyst Andy Brickley appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about the Bruins’ 7-0 thrashing of the Canadiens on Thursday night. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The hosts suggested that the game was only a Shawn Thornton fight short of perfection.
‘I’m not sure that Shawn would ever have a dancing partner on that team,’ Brickley said. ‘I know that Ryan White did a pretty good job on Johnny Boychuk when we were up in Montreal, but outside of him and maybe Travis Moen, I don’t think there’s really anybody on that roster that’s in Shawn Thornton’s league. So that was not going to happen.’
Of course, there was an expectation of fisticuffs given Zdeno Chara‘s hit on Max Pacioretty in the teams’ last meeting and Mark Recchi‘s suggestion that Montreal embellished the severity of Pacioretty’s concussion.
‘I was just curious to see if Montreal would alter their game plan at all, relative to the way they play, if somebody was going to try and get in Chara’s face early in the game,’ Brickley said. ‘When I didn’t see that happen, I was pleased to see that it was just going to be a hockey game. I loved the way the Bruins responded and played their game.’
Recchi said after the game that he made his controversial comments in an attempt to take some pressure off Chara. Brickley said he thought that showed leadership on Recchi’s part and he thought there was some truth to what he said.
‘That carries a lot of weight when it comes from a guy like Mark Recchi who’s been around a long time and is so well respected in the league,’ he said. ‘But there is an element of truth to what he said, too. I think what he said, because it was inflammatory or whatever you want to describe it as, it takes the attention away from Zdeno Chara and he takes it on his shoulders, Mark Recchi. But I think what he said was true. I think a lot of players in that locker room and across the league feel that way.
‘Because the Bruins have a hands-on experience with Marc Savard, with Patrice Bergeron, they know just from observation what a severe concussion is. And the evidence suggests that this is not severe when you see the reports that Pacioretty was up and around and feeling good. It just leaves questions, and I think that’s what Mark Recchi was saying. And I think he speaks the truth.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|03.25.11 at 8:35 am ET|
It would’ve been completely understandable if Zdeno Chara didn’t look himself Thursday night.
There had been so much said and written about his hit on Max Pacioretty on March 8. There were so many league eyes on the rematch between the two rivals. And the Canadiens had every reason to come out and hit Chara and the Bruins hard.
The Bruins, however, weren’t biting and neither was Chara. And the result was a clinic on how to dismantle your opponent.
“We wanted to have a good, strong performance,” Chara said of the battle against the Canadiens, who came in just three points behind the B’s in the Northeast Division. “Montreal is playing well and obviously they’re a good team. But our focus was obviously on our game.
“We tried to obviously play our game and stay focused in our game plan. And every time you get away from that against a team like that, they’re going to make you pay. So like I said, we really tried to stay focused and tried to establish our game plan and play strong. And obviously we got ahead in the first twenty and from that point I thought we handled and controlled the game pretty well.”
Scoring in the first 61 seconds also did a great deal to take the edge off. So did leading 3-0 after 20 minutes. The Bruins systematically took apart the Canadiens on this night in a 7-0 rout.
“I think that just happens when you score obviously early goals,” Chara said of Johnny Boychuk‘s goal at 1:01, the first of three Chara would assist on during the blowout. “In the first 20 [minutes], we got a good lead but we never sat on it. We never tried to just protect the lead. We were obviously going after it and tried to score more goals and continue to play the game we were playing in the first 20 and second 20 and then, the third 20.
As for being tested mentally, Chara knew the Canadiens would hit him. And they did when Mathieu Darche belted Chara in the first period. But Chara took his time and only hit when it was appropriate. And when he did, it was devastatingly effective. Moments after the Darche hit, Chara dumped Travis Moen on the ice with a solid back check that sent the Bruins on a rush the other way.
“I don’t exactly remember the play, but like I said I’m not going to change,” Chara said. “I’m going to still play a physical game. That’s my game. And it’s part of the game to be hitting each other.”
Now, for the time being, Chara and the Bruins can move past the Canadiens and focus on a key stretch of three games coming up – Saturday against the Rangers, Sunday on the road against the Flyers and Tuesday back home against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.
“That was the first step forward from the previous games,” Chara said. “And obviously now we have two games with a good solid effort. And obviously we know that next opponents we have, Rangers, Flyers, Chicago, is going to be a good challenge for us. So we just got to stay focused and not get too high or too low. We just got to stay nice and humble and get ready for next games.”
|03.25.11 at 4:34 am ET|
Tyler Seguin might not be showing up on the score sheets, but he’s certainly been leaving a positive impression with his play of late. The rookie isn’t shying away from contact the way he had earlier in the season, and took it a step further Thursday.
Seguin, a skill player, has avoided scrums on the ice, as many skill players do. Yet Thursday, with Mark Recchi getting caught up with Paul Mara after the whistle in front of Carey Price‘s net, Seguin came to his teammate’s aid, exchanging a few shoves with Habs blueliner Brent Sopel. There was no shortage of praise from Recchi after the game.
“His growth the last month has been wonderful,” Recchi said after the game. “He’s really learning how to be a good pro. His work ethic is awesome. He’s really stepped up. He’s using his speed, he’s using his skill, and he’s really learning to battle hard, and it’s great to see.”
In eight games from Feb. 18 to March 15, Seguin played more than 12 minutes just once, totaling 12:13 on March 5. Since March 15, he has played at least 12:30 in all four games. Claude Julien has further expressed his faith in the youngster by giving him time on the second power play unit.
The bump in responsibility still hasn’t led to increased production (he has just one point, a goal, in his last 11 games), but Seguin has certainly shown in recent games that he is coming along. With each game, it seem he is making a stronger and stronger case to eliminate any talk of future healthy scratches.
“He’s a great kid, and he’s getting better and better,” Recchi said. “This has been a good process for him.”
|03.24.11 at 11:09 pm ET|
You can count on one hand the number of times in his career Zdeno Chara has needed someone to stand up for him against the opposition.
But a 43-year-old winger who runs about foot shorter than the Bruins 6-foot-9 captain did just that this week and it paid huge dividends in a 7-0 Bruins rout of the Canadiens on Thursday at TD Garden. And he didn’t need to throw a punch, finish a check or swing a stick. Just open his mouth.
Mark Recchi acknowleged he made comments this week critical of Canandiens management and their medical staff to take pressure off Chara. Recchi told a Boston radio station Wednesday that the Canadiens “embellished a little bit” the hit on Max Pacioretty on Mar. 8 that resulted in a concussion for Pacioretty but no suspension for Chara.
“I have to be honest with you guys. I wanted to take the heat off Zee for a day and I’m a big boy,” Recchi said after the game. “I think anyone who knows me, knows that I have great respect for the Montreal organization, I played five years there. I have great respect for Doctor [David] Mulder, the medical staff there. … In 22 years, I’ve respected all my teammates, all the players I play against. My record has shown that.
“I have nothing but great things to say about the Montreal organization, I had five great years there. And it’s still an unfortunate situation it all happened. We all hope Max [Pacioretty] gets a full recovery here soon and we know he’s well on his way. And like I said, this is something that I believe in twenty-two years I’ve been very respectful to players and opponents throughout. So that should be the end of it really.”
Maybe in Boston but not Montreal, where the questions from the media kept coming.
“I’m a big boy and like I said, I’m sorry if it hurt some people, but at the same time, I think everyone knows my reputation for 22 years,” Recchi repeated. “I’m very respectful of teammates, players, organizations and that is not going to change. I felt a need to protect our captain and it’s important. That will be the end of it and you won’t hear anything said by me anymore.
“I took pressure off my captain for one day,” Recchi added. “He deserved it. He earned it.”
Chara certainly appreciated the gesture.
“I obviously don’t know exactly all the comments,” Chara said of Recchi’s radio comments. “But he’s such a great teammate and such a respected guy and leader. It’s a thrill to have him. We all learned so much from him. He’s obviously the next hall-of-famer and such a classy guy. Like I said, I can’t thank him enough to be my teammate and be part of this team, and helping all of us to be better.”
Recchi’s teammates all knew how important Thursday was to Chara.
“It’s been hard for us to sit here and see Zee,” said Gregory Campbell, who got into the only scrape of the night with Paul Mara. “Zee takes things personally, and he’s a good person. He doesn’t like to see anybody get injured. Behind the scenes, it’s a hard thing to handle, and he’s handled it extremely well.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien said he wasn’t surprised since he knows Recchi is a veteran and knows exactly what he’s doing.
“It says a lot because I know what kind of player he is,” Julien said. “I knew exactly what he was doing. You don’t have to speak. He’s 43 years old, he’s a big boy. He can answer for himself. I don’t think I need to coach him on any of that stuff.
“When you see a guy with that kind of experience say something like that, you know what he’s doing. So, there was nothing to be said. Their focus was on the game. He had to say what he had to say for whatever reason. That was something where I didn’t need to ask him that question because I knew exactly what he was doing.”
|03.24.11 at 9:36 pm ET|
The Bruins got on the board early, with Johnny Boychuk scoring his second goal of the season at 1:01 of the first period. The Bruins also got first-period tallies from Gregory Campbell and Nathan Horton, with Horton’s tally coming on the power play off a feed from Lucic. Horton would add his second goal of the game at 15:57 of the third period, with Adam McQuaid making it a clean five for the Bruins moments later and sending Price to the Montreal bench in favor of backup Alex Auld. Tomas Kaberle welcomed Auld by scoring his first goal since being acquired by the Bruins on Feb. 18.
Campbell scored a shorthanded goal with the Habs on the two-man advantage in the third period. It made for his first two-goal game as a member of the Bruins.
David Krejci and Chara tied a career-high with three assists, while Lucic’s three assists set a career-high.
Tim Thomas improved to 31-10-8 with the victory, and picked up his career-high eighth shutout of the season. His last shutout came on Jan. 17. His 18 games without a blanking served as teh longest stretch of the season without a shutout.
The game featured only one fight, as Campbell dropped the gloves with Belmont native Paul Mara late in the second period.
With the victory, the Bruins finished the season series with a 2-3-1 record against their rivals. At third and six place in the Eastern Conference, respectively, the teams would meet in the first round of the playoffs if the season were to end Thursday night. The Bruins have nine games remaining in the season and lead the Habs by five points. The Canadiens have seven games remaining in the season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– As much attention as he’s gotten for the wrong reasons since the March 8 Max Pacioretty hit, Chara hasn’t seen his play take a hit in the slightest. With his three assists, Chara has 10 points (2 G, 8 A) in seven games since the Bruins last faced the Habs.
– Chris Kelly hasn’t exactly been a fan favorite since coming to the B’s prior to the trade deadline, but he had one shift on the penalty kill that probably won a few fans over. Kelly had no problem laying out on the ice to disrupt a P.K. Subban slap shot, and moments later had a shorthanded opportunity that drew a Roman Hamrlik holding call. It wasn’t all roses, as Kelly took a tripping call at 1:35 of the third period, but he might be more valuable to this team than he gets credit for.
– Good to see Tyler Seguin sticking his nose into the more physical areas. The rookie has shied away from contact throughout the season, but he’s clearly more willing to take it on as of late. Seguin even came to the aid of Mark Recchi after the veteran’s tussle with Mara. The rookie exchanged a few shoves with Habs defenseman Brett Sopel after he felt Mike Cammalleri gave him something extra behind the Canadiens net.
– Recchi is now tied for 12th place all-time in points. His assist on Kaberle’s goal put him in a tie with Paul Coffey with 1,531.
– Brad Marchand broke up a seven-game pointless streak in setting up the play that led to Kaberle’s goal and getting an asssist. The rookie had just one point, an assist, in his previous to games. He has still been stuck at 19 goals on the season for over a month. Marchand last scored on Feb. 22 in Calgary.
WHAT BARELY WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– If the Habs weren’t so dead the entire night, they would have had an opportinity to produce the makings of a comeback in the second period while trailing 3-0. After the B’s outshot the Canadiens, 19-8, in the first period, the Habs had some space to work with early in the second. They came out with five shots to the Bruins’ two early in the second, but a Bruins timeout and Montreal penalties doomed their chances of getting anything going.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR CAREY PRICE
– The Bruins don’t match up well with the Habs, but if they meet in the playoffs they have to like their chances against Price at the Garden. The Montreal netminder has allowed 13 goals in his last two Garden appearances, both of which were losses.