|05.04.10 at 1:42 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It is easy to forget through the first two rounds of the playoffs that the Bruins are still operating without some significant depth on the blue line. Mark Stuart started skating this week, coming back from surgery for cellulitis, and Dennis Seidenberg has been a regular press box presence at TD Garden, but otherwise the injured players are in the forgotten man ether that comes with the disabled list. The de facto top four defensemen — Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk, Dennis Wideman and Matt Hunwick — have logged big minutes since the last week of the regular season and even though coach Claude Julien has stepped off the throttle with them a little bit as Andrew Ference has contributed and rookie Adam McQuaid has settled down, the top two pairs are still the oxen pulling the cart.
Hence, all four blueliners got the day off on Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena between Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers. Julien dresssed six the three Black Aces the Bruins have up with the team — Andy Wozniewski, Jeff Penner and Andrew Bodnarchuk, along with Stuart, Ference and McQuaid.
“I think it is just a matter of giving a few guys some days off here and doing something different,” Julien said. “We can still get them on the ice before the game tomorrow morning. It is just about managing that stuff.”
The other heavy hitters in the Bruins lineup got to sit Tuesday as well including Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi and Tuukka Rask. A minor reward for carrying the team to a 6-2 record through eight games but nothing major. The rest of the team only skated for a half-hour or so as it has a quite turnaround for a 1:30 p.m. flight to Philadelphia.
In terms of Stuart, the defenseman is not yet ready to make the jump back to the lineup. He has been skating for the last week and only with the full team a couple of times as of yet. He said on Tuesday that he is still on antiobiotics (until May 25) and still wears an IV cast like thing on his right arm. With him around the team people cannot help but ask if he will be ready for Game 3 but the situation is not as simple as a workout or practice. He will not be on the ice Wednesday night and the team still has to wait for medical clearance as well as for Stuart to get back to a level where he can contribute.
“Definitely no … He is not playing tomorrow, he is not ready for that yet,”Julien said. “It is a situation where he has to be medically cleared and what he has got is a bone infection. He can practice now is what we have been told, he can do some things but before we can ever consider him he has to be medically cleared and feel that he is ready to go as well.”
Stuart sees a defensive unit that has been playing well through the playoffs and knows he will have to be ready to contribute when he does finally make his return to the ice.
“It is not like we don’t have six D-men playing their best right now, cause we do,” Stuart said. “It is not going to help to play a guy who hasn’t done anything for two months just to rush him back. So, I feel good out there though and obviously I want to play but it is going to be a coaches decision when they feel like I can contribute and they feel like they need me and I will just be ready whenever that comes.”
Here are the lines from Tuesday’s skate:
Red — Begin, Shawn Thornton, Vladimir Sobotka
Defense — Wozniewski, Penner, Bodnarchuk, Ference, McQuaid, Stuart
Goaltenders — Tim Thomas, Dany Sabourin
Out — Chara, Boychuk, Wideman, Hunwick, Bergeron, Recchi, Rask
|05.04.10 at 1:19 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — When it comes to instigators, the Bruins have upgraded from series to series.
Patrick Kaleta of the Sabres is one type of player — chippy and irritating — but Daniel Carcillo is another entirely. He accused Marc Savard of biting him in a scrum started when he and Kimmo Timonen jumped Savard after the Bruins center took a whack (and a subsequent slashing penalty) at the glove of Brian Boucher after a glove save. Earlier, Carcillo had a dust up with forward Steve Begin in which Carcillo easily could have taken an interference or a charging penalty or maybe even two for diving when Begin pushed him to the ice. The amazing thing through Game 2 was that Carcillo never actually went to the penalty box. Savard and Begin did.
“You saw the play, I got hit and I just wanted to push him and he went down,” Begin said. “I think he could have taken two for diving, but, he didn’t get one. Oh, it wasn’t a hard push,” Begin said. “We play hard too. We go out there, we play hard, we hit, we try to make things happen. You can’t get away from your game for players like that. He wants to draw penalties, so you have to be smart and just keep playing and make sure nothing bad happens.”
Carcillo is a character, to say the least. Self-assured with a chip on his shoulder, he adds only a touch of offense to the usually stacked Flyers lines (12 goals, 10 assists in 76 games this year) but racks up the penalty minutes by the by the fistful — 207 in total through the regular season. He is missing his two front teeth and speaks his mind, whether it is the entire truth or some exaggeration of the truth. Overall, his play and antics can be quite amusing.
The Bruins do not think so. Savard insisted that Carcillo put his hand in his mouth during the scrum and repeated early and often that the forward embellishes on just about everything he does. Coach Claude Julien did not think much of the Begin-Carcillo dustup, chalking it up to playoff hockey and a player known for theatrics.
“Those [penalties] most of the time you end up killing,” Julien said. “I think, you know, he took a pretty good run at him. It was deemed a clean hit and I don’t really disagree with that either but it was borderline charging and it basically just him [Begin] saying listen, that he crossed a line and I sent a message. I don’t think there are any issues with that either way from either team. If our player did that and threw a legal hit and it was borderline and did something about it, I wouldn’t mind that. It is playoff hockey guys, we worry about every little thing that happens but that is part of the game and we live with it.” Read the rest of this entry »
|05.04.10 at 9:04 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to discuss the B’s victory over the Flyers Monday night. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Addressing the second-period incident in which Marc Savard was defending himself against two Flyers and allegedly clamped his teeth on Dan Carcillo’s finger, Brickley said he was not surprised. “Biting somebody’s hand when you can’t throw punches is not an uncommon thing,” said Brickley, who admitted biting an opponent’s finger when he played. “It has happened certainly several times throughout my career in the last 30 years. I don’t see what the big deal is.” Added Brickley: “[Savard] defended himself in a position where he was outnumbered. He has to apologize for nothing.”
Brickley said he could not understand why no penalties were handed out to either Philadelphia player who confronted Savard after the Bruin received a penalty for slashing Flyers goalie Brian Boucher. “I was lost for an explanation as to why there were no penalty minutes at all for the Flyers in that scrum,” Brickley said, adding: “Those are the things you have to play through as players, because the officiating has not been strong across the board in the playoffs this season.”
Brickley said to expect more physical play as the Flyers pull out all the stops for Game 3 in Philadelphia. “They will play with even more of an edge and try to maintain a certain amount of discipline, but ty to intimidate Boston a little bit,” Brickley said. “Philadelphia has a rich tradition of being good at home, intimidating at home, use the crowd and up their desperation. They cannot go down 3-0.”
Brickley was asked when he realized the Bruins had a chance to do something special in the postseason. “To be honest, I had my doubts like any other Bruin fan,” he said. “I don’t think I was as negative, even when they were winless in 10 straight. I thought that if they could just get to the postseason, if they drew the right matchups, they could advance. What convinced me was the final four games of the regular season, how they played with guys going down, and still able to use the system and believe in it and execute a game plan. And then become accountable to one another. I don’t think they had that accountability throughout the year for a variety of reasons. But once they arrived there, they looked at the postseason as a season of redemption, a chance to prove themselves.”
|05.04.10 at 3:02 am ET|
|05.04.10 at 3:02 am ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien speaks to the media following the B’s Game 2 win over the Flyers.
|05.03.10 at 11:02 pm ET|
There are moments that define every series.
On Monday night, the bad boy of the Philadelphia Flyers claimed he was bitten in a scrum after a second period whistle. The Bruins said Dan Carcillo was just looking for attention by trying to pull the teeth out of the mouth of Marc Savard.
After Milan Lucic scored with just 2:57 left in regulation, it was the Bruins who had taken a bite out of the heart of the Flyers with a 3-2 win, taking a 2-0 series lead to Philadelphia for Game 3 Wednesday night.
But afterward, the hottest topic was that moment when Carcillo and Savard became entangled in a scrum with 14:05 left in the second period.
Carcillo was asked point blank if he was bitten on the finger, as was first reported on TV by TSN in Canada during the game.
“I did get [teethmarks],” said Carcillo, who said he was not bleeding after. “Last time I’ve been bit was in grade school. It’s not a good feeling.”
“It’s pretty cowardly.” said Carcillo, who laughed at Savard’s claim he was trying to pull Savard’s teeth out. “Yeah, that’s what I do when I get in a scrum. I try to pull people’s teeth out. Whatever, man, he bit me.”
Was Carcillo surprised that he was allegedly bitten?
“Yeah,” Carcillo said. “Guys don’t bite. Men don’t bite.”
But even Carcillo’s own teammate, Mike Richards, found the accusation a little hard to believe.
“I don’t know,” Richards said thinking out loud. “Maybe he bit himself. I have no idea what happened there.”
Carcillo was the focal point of what was a very physical second period. Earlier in the game, with 6:50 left in the opening period, Carcillo ran at Steve Begin with a high hit near the head in the neutral zone. Begin retaliated with a cross check, and the Flyers were awarded a power play.
|05.03.10 at 9:45 pm ET|
Summary — The Flyers twice came back from a one-goal deficit before the Bruins reasserted their will in the third, paving the way for a 3-2 win and a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Milan Lucic scored the game-winner in the third to wrap up the victory for the Bruins. Tuukka Rask won his third straight playoff game with 24 saves, and once again out-dueled Brian Boucher, who took the loss by allowing three goals on 27 shots.
With the game tied at two heading into the final minutes of the third, David Krejci battled behind Boucher and sent a bouncing puck of a Flyers’ stick into the slot where Lucic settled it down and banged it home for the game-winner at 17:03.
After a strong start to the first period for the Flyers, the Bruins tampered the Philadelphia heat when Patrice Bergeron won a face off to the right of Boucher straight to the stick of defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk slipped a wrist shot with enough vigor on it through traffic to the top of the net and Boston had its second early lead of the series at 5:12.
Philadelphia came back late in the first when it used its aggressive two-man forecheck to break down the defensive pair of Matt Hunwick and Dennis Wideman coming out of the Bruins defensive zone. The trio of Ville Leino, Danny Briere broke down the exit and pushed the puck around the back of the net to Mike Richards who circled in from the circle to put the puck to the far side of Rask to make it 1-1 at 17:06.
Miroslav Satan continued his hot postseason in the second period when he put the Bruins back up at 9:31. The Flyers had been aggressively attacking the point of action on the puck to disrupt the Bruins flow in the offensive zone. Krejci was able to create a seem of space on the half wall and kick the puck to Wideman and then onto Blake Wheeler, who caught Satan on the dot on Boucher’s left and put a wrist shot into the net to make it 2-1.
Boston was guilty of one of hockey’s greatest pet peeves — allowing a goal in the last minute of a period. Leino and Briere rushed down the wing with a little give-and-go game that ended with the puck on Briere’s and a wrister above Rask to tie the game at two with 21.8 seconds left in the second.
Danny Briere — The feisty forward has pushed the Flyers attack through the first two games of the series and was instrumental in their first two goals with an assist in the first and a lamp-lighter in the second.
Miroslav Satan — Scored his fourth goal of the playoffs and extended his point streak to five games. Also had an assist on Lucic’s game-winner. The forward has nine points in the Bruins eight playoff games thus far.
Tuukka Rask — Solid when he needed to be in holding the Flyers to two goals and sending the series back to Philadelphia with the Bruins up two games.
Turning Point — Boston took control of the momentum in the second half of the third period when the Flyers took a couple of penalties to Arron Asham and Briere, as the Bruins turned the play around and held on after a fury of a Philadelphia attack through the late second period and beginning of the third.
Key Play — Lucic’s game-winner. The hulking forward scored his first of the playoffs in a big way when he settled the bouncing puck, turned and fired to beat Boucher low to his stick side.