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Bruins need speed burners for Game 6

05.11.09 at 6:14 pm ET
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WILMINGTON -With so much focus on the intensity and nastiness that has been cranked up as the result of Game 5 between the Bruins and Hurricanes, one small detail is getting overshadowed.

The Bruins finally found a way on Sunday to contain the speed of Carolina’s attack. Their reward was a plane flight Monday afternoon bound for Raleigh, where they play Game 6 on Tuesday night.

Duplicate Sunday’s effort on Tuesday and the Bruins will bring the series to a Game 7 back in Boston on Thursday night.

“I think our backs are still against the wall,” Milan Lucic said on Monday at the team’s practice facility at Ristuccia Arena. “They’re still up 3-2 going into their barn. There’s pressure in every game of the playoffs, it doesn’t matter what side of the fence you’re on. We’re the ones with our backs against it.” Read the rest of this entry »

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No suspension, $2500 fine for Walker punch on Aaron Ward

05.11.09 at 3:36 pm ET
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No suspension by NHL following a "sucker punch" to Ward's mug

No suspension by NHL following a "sucker punch" to Ward's mug

The National Hockey League today announced that Hurricanes forward Scott Walker has been fined $2,500 for the “sucker punch” of Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward that occurred at the 17:13 mark of the third period of Sunday night’s Game 5 against the Boston Bruins.

There will be no additional punishment assessed. Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien said that doctors thought Ward might have suffered a fractured orbital bone, and he is still a question mark for Game 6 Tuesday night against the Hurricanes in Raleigh.

Walker was originally assessed an instigator penalty in the final five minutes of the third period, which earns an automatic one-game suspension pending a ruling by NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell. Campbell apparently ruled that Walker’s late game actions didn’t merit a suspension despite being the third man in and throwing the “sucker punch” while Ward clearly had his gloves on.

“We are satisfied with the league’s ruling,” said Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford. “After our team received several punches throughout the series leading up to Game 5, it was a matter of time before one was going to be thrown back.”

 “I accept the league’s decision,” said Walker. “Based on what was said on the ice as I was dropping my gloves, it was my understanding that I was engaged in an altercation.”

B’s coach Claude Julien expected a suspension and said at Monday morning’s practice that he would be disappointed if Walker didn’t get hit with a penalty for something he considered to be a dirty play.

“In reviewing what I saw, I just didn’t like what happened. . . . I just don’t think there was any need for that,” said Julien. “He sucker-punched him once coming into the scrum when (Ward) was involved with another player. And then he dropped his gloves and sucker-punched him.

“I don’t care what people say about, ‘Ward should’ve protected himself.’ He had no intention of getting involved,” he added. “We asked our guys to stay composed and not fall into that trap, and he just did that. A guy with Walker’s experience should know better than to sucker-punch a guy.”

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Walker facing suspension after “sucker punch” incident

05.11.09 at 10:19 am ET
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The hibernating Bears woke up on Sunday night, and there shouldn’t be too much worry about any more hockey naps in the remaining two games of the semifinal series against the Carolina Hurricanes. The big question is why the Carolina Hurricanes chose to poke the proverbial Bear in the Cage during a Game 5 blowout, and never was that more evident than Scott Walker’s sucker punch of Aaron with less than five minutes to go in the third period.

Ward and Canes forward Matt Cullen were engaging in the exact kind of pushing and shoving that was evident through the entire game, and Walker came out of nowhere to jump into the fray as the third man in. Walker and Ward both threw quick gloved shots at each other, and then Walker crossed over the line with an overhand right at Ward’s face while the Bruins defenseman still had his gloves on.

It was clear Ward wasn’t going to fight, and Walker took that as open invitation to slam his unprotected face. Walker was tossed from the game with a misconduct, fighting penalty and instigator penalty and — according to section 47.22 of the NHL rule book — the Hurricanes is automatically suspended for a game pending review after drawing an instigator penalty in the final five minutes of regulation. 

Bruins coach Claude Julien indicated after the game that team doctors believe that Ward may have a broken orbital bone as a result of the incident — and that the veteran defenseman could be lost to the Bruins for at least a few games as a result of the injury.

Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, who got a clear view of the incident as it happened right in front of the Boston net, essentially said it was a bush league move during a postgame interview with Versus following the third period incident: “That’s one of the worst sucker punches I’ve ever seen. That is something I haven’t seen since I was in the AHL.”

It will be interesting to see how far NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell takes the punishment with an incident like this, which he’ll already be reviewing given the instigator penalty rule. The NHL has an unwritten rule that they come down much harder on infractions when an injury results, and that appears to be the case with Ward’s injury. If Ward is out, the Black and Gold will be forced to dip into their supply of Black Aces at Providence and perhaps tap Johnny Boychuk for defenseman duty after only a handful of NHL games this season.

Here’s the youtube footage of the Walker “sucker punch” with an assist to www.hockeyfights.com:

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Bruins know ‘how bad they want it’

05.11.09 at 12:45 am ET
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We want it as bad as you. It’s been the slogan of these Boston Bruins all season.

On Sunday night, the Bruins showed their electrified fans how badly they want to become the first team in franchise history to come all the way back from a 3-1 series hole.

Sunday night’s 4-0 shellacking of the Carolina Hurricanes was Step 1 in what they hope is a three-step journey to history.

“You can over systems as much as you want to but it really comes down to, ‘How bad do you want it?’ You’ve got to give Carolina credit,” Bruins hitman Milan Lucic said. “They’ve just shown all series long that they’ve wanted it real bad and, especially Games 2,3 and 4, they really didn’t give us nothing and were on us like crazy. Today we did a better job of keeping our composure and having that will to win.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Bruins storm the Canes by a 4-0 score in Game 5

05.10.09 at 9:29 pm ET
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There doesn’t appear to be a Zdeno Chara sighting on the bench. Not good. Nevermind, Chara just returned to the end of the Boston bench.

19:12: Chara jumps back on the ice to huge cheers.

18:09: Big save by Tim Thomas after a Shane Hnidy turnoever. Scott Walker passed the puck back to Matt Cullen in the slot, but Thomas deflected the bid.

17:03: Shawn Thornton just checked in with a beatdown of Tim Conboy at center ice. Maybe he thought that was Jokinen’s #38 rather than Conboy’s #38.

16:22: Pretty awesome sight. The Bruins are tossing all of their gold towels down into the penalty box with Conboy, Joni Pitkanen and Anton Babchuk all sitting in the visitor’s box. There’s about 20 gold towels in the sin bin now after one of the Canes players looked as if he spit on the towel and then threw it back into the stands.

14:37: Erik Cole in the box for delay of game. More gold towels getting tossed in the box.

8:52: Great kick save by Tim Thomas on Joe Corvo.

7:39: Ballgame. Michael Ryder lifts a shot from the slot that Ward is able to stop, but Lucic loads up the gun on the rebound and blasts away from the right faceoff dot. See you in Carolina.

7:07: Apparently Conboy didn’t have enough. He and Mark Stuart just dropped the gloves, and again Stuart threw him to the ground amid a flurry of right hands.

3:04: Good brawl at the end between the B’s and the Canes. The hate is really starting to flow between the two squads. It included a shot to the face of Aaron Ward when the Boston D-man hadn’t even dropped his gloves.

The Bruins have beaten the Hurricanes by a 4-0 score in Game 5 at the TD Banknorth Garden.

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Bruins romping with a 3-0 lead over Hurricanes after two periods

05.10.09 at 8:38 pm ET
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17:44: Good pressure by the Bruins in the second period. A couple of Grade A shots by Mark Stuart with plenty of traffic in front, but Ward makes the two saves.

15:45: A pair of really good hits by Chuck Kobasew on Tuomo Ruutu and Chara on Staal behind the Boston net leads to offense.

15:20: Goal. Kessel. From the high slot off a feed by Marc Savard from the side of the net. The play was all set up, though, by Chara blasting Staal in the defensive end to jump start the offense.

13:22: The little blonde kid that they play ripping his shirt off during the opening highlight package had something special in store tonight. He whipped out his shirt to show off a big painted Spoked B on his chest and then started throwing punches while “Shipping Up to Boston” was playing during the break. Classic.

11:35: Good save by Cam Ward on a Dennis Wideman big blast that Recchi couldn’t get get a tip on while standing in front of the Carolina cage.

10:46: Good rush up the right side by Lucic. He flew around the back of the net and tried to stuff it in by the right post, but Ward was there.

10:25: Some shoving and face-washing in front of the Canes net by Patrice Bergeron and Chad LaRose turns into a roughing call on LaRose after he started taking shots at Bergie’s head. You can feel the enmity building between these two teams.

8:37: It appears that the Bruins are taking the one-man rush strategy to new heights in this game. Dennis Wideman just burned up the ice with speed and got a good shot off against Ward that he deflected into the netting.

6:13: Great shift by the Kobasew, Recchi, Bergeron line with a near score when Kobasew fired from the half-boards and Recchi popped up the tip in front of the net.

4:35: Lucic showed up ready for business tonight. He blasted Jussi Jokinen early in the shift and then stood up Pat Eaves while attempting to keep the puck in the Boston zone later on. Dennis Wideman was called for a penatly at the end of the shift. Canes about to go on the PP.

4:35: We just had a Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake sighting in the stands on the jumbotron. He’s officially the Bruins mascot now.

00:28.8: Zdeno Chara ended up in a heap on the ice at the end of shift in the offensive zone after carrying the puck. He ended up going to the dressing room. The reason: a slash from behind by Jussi Jokinen on his left ankle that went uncalled by the refs. Things are getting heated between these two teams.

The Bruins lead the Hurricanes by a 3-0 margin after two full periods during Game 5 at the TD Banknorth Garden.

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Recchi and Kessel give Bruins a 2-0 lead in the first

05.10.09 at 7:44 pm ET
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18:34: Two minute minor to Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason for holding the stick. First PP of the night for the Bruins.

Nothing on that first PP for Boston. Not a good start to this one just yet.

13:54: Interference call on Zdeno Chara that took place way behind the play with Boston cycling in the offensive zone. Not a good time for a whistle right there no matter what was going on.

12:40: Good kill by the Bruins leads to an interference penalty on Sergei Samsonov. Here’s a spot where the Black and Gold could start building some momentum.

11:35: David Krejci to Dennis Wideman on the one-timer. Just missed to the left.

The Bruins are outshooting the Canes by an 8-0 count, but haven’t had any real Blue Chip opportunities.

8:56: Now there’s a save. Great glove stop by Tim Thomas on an Eric Staal rocket from the left faceoff circle.

8:13: Savard trying to screen Ward on a Shane Hnidy shot, and then a good job at selling a Dennis Seidenberg cross check afterward. Not good enough for a call though.

6:50: Great dropback pass from Krejci to Wideman again at the right faceoff circle, but Cam Ward was able to deflect the shot. Krejci is playing pretty well tonight.

5:45: Milan Lucic just completely woke this crowd up with a thundering hit in the corner on Dennis Seidenberg. The crowd was oohing and aahing in anticipation and then exulted when Looch pounded Seidenberg into the boards. It sparked his teammates too, and resulted in a Seidenberg penalty with Phil Kessel and Marc Savard cyling behind the net.

If the Bruins score here, that Lucic hit will be the turning point in the game. An early one, but a clear one.

5:12: And it comes to be. Savard wins a faceoff. Wideman to Chara, big blast that Mark Recchi tips through Ward’s pads. That was big for this Bruins team.

4:27: Interference call on Steve Montador. The defenseman hit Tuomo Ruutu after the puck had already traveled into the offensive zone.

2:50: Two unbelievable saves, one right after another, Samsonov and Joni Pitkanen during the penalty kill. The save on Pitkanen’s rebound blast — with Thomas leaping toward the puck on pure recovery reflex — was easily his best of the night.

1:24: There’s been a Kessel sighting. First in a while. Great cross-ice pass from Savard to Kessel with Lucic hanging in front of the net. Kessel bangs it home and makes it a two-goal lead.

The Bruins have taken a 2-0 lead after one full period of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup semifinal series at the TD Banknorth Garden.

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