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Lucic gets match penalty, facing suspension pending review

04.19.09 at 1:52 am ET
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Following an incident in front of the Montreal net in the third period of Saturday night’s Game 2 victory, B’s winger Milan Lucic is facing a “suspension pending review” by the NHL after earning a “match” penalty. Lucic was wrapped in a physical altercation with Mathieu Schneider in front of the Canadiens net, and then raised both his stick and fist at the face of Maxim Lapierre as he approached Lucic. The B’s contend that Lucic hit Lapierre in the face area with his glove rather than the stick, but he was assessed a cross-checking minor, fighting major and game misconduct for his actions.

“(Lucic) might have lost his composure a little bit in that area, but what you have to remember is that he got elbowed in the head and then high-sticking by Schneider. Then Lapierre comes in and Lapierre’s been an instigator through the whole series and even during the regular season,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “What Looch did was react to (Lapierre) coming at him. It wasn’t premeditated, and in reviewing it (Lucic) hit him with his glove. He had the stick in his hands, but the glove hit (Lapierre) in the helmet. Had the stick hit him in the head then Lapierre would have been down, but Lapierre stayed up and kept going at Looch. If there’s one thing, we all know that it wasn’t premeditated.”

Was it a glove or a stick that Lucic used to hit the rushing Lapierre in the face as he approached the B’s forward? Were the Looch’s actions a suspendable, particularly after the NHL’s disciplinarian Grand Poobah Colin Campbell basically condoned Montreal’s actions at the end of  Game 1?

All these questions and more should probably be answered on Sunday. Either way it should be a pretty interesting Game 3 up at the Bell Centre on Monday night.

Read More: Claude Julien, Maxim Lapierre, Milan Lucic,

The Sheriff to the Rescue

04.18.09 at 11:38 pm ET
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The moment that the Boston Bruins found out that Matt Hunwick had his spleen removed on Saturday afternoon, Shane Hnidy knew his time had come to provide the best kind of boost.

And that’s what he did when he fired a shot from the high slot past an unsuspecting Carey Price. The second period goal was arguably the biggest of the game since it came five minutes after Alex Kovalev brought the Canadiens within one goal, 2-1.

“I went in for a screen and was just trying to get the puck off and it went in the net,” Hnidy said following Boston’s 5-1 win at the Garden that but the B’s up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.

“Shane Hnidy has been a good player for us all year,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “Coming into our lineup and doing the job he did is to his credit because he’s worked hard in practice and kept himself sharp. And the minute he’s had the opportunity, he’s come in and played well.

“The fact he was rewarded with a goal,  I was really happy for him, and that’s the kind of team we have right now,” Julien said. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Matt Hunwick, NHL, Shane Hnidy

The rout is on for the Bruins, 5-1, at TD Banknorth Garden

04.18.09 at 9:04 pm ET
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18:52: Tom Kostopoulos just got leveled by Mark Stuart in a mid-ice hit while he was stretching for a puck entering the B’s zone.

11:46: Knockout hit by Mark Stuart delivered on Saku Koivu as Blake Wheeler chased him up the right side of the ice. The B’s were outhit 24-16 through two periods by the Canadiens, but it really doesn’t seem that way out on the ice tonight.

Jaroslav Halak in the game for the Habs at the start of the third period.

9:57: Now this game has had everything. Genltemanly Patrice Bergeron, who is up for the Masterson Trophy this season, dropped the gloves with Josh Gorges and completely pounded the Montreal defenseman with a series of strong left hands. That was his first career fighting major. What a time to pick.

Completely expecting the Canadiens to run somebody here in the final few minutes.

4:32: And just as I say that, Milan Lucic takes on the entire Canadiens on-ice five. Mathieu Schneider hit Lucic with a butt end to the face in front of the Montreal net, and then Lucic hit Maxim Lapierre in the face with a cross-check as he approached to intervene. Then the entire Canadiens quintet converged on Lucic, ripping his helmet off and throwing shots at him in the pile. Lucic is done for the night after taking a five minute high-sticking penalty and a game misconduct.

The Bruins are routing the Canadiens by a 5-1 score with 4:27 left in the third period in Game 2 at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Ryder scores and the Bruins rout is on, 5-1

04.18.09 at 8:10 pm ET
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19:14: Alex Kovalev is in Tim Thomas‘ kitchen making bacon and eggs. Brilliant cross-ice pass from Saku Koivu to Alex Kovalev gives the Russian sniper three or four seconds to set up and pick a spot. Can’t do that with Kovalev. He powers a puck past Thomas to cut the B’s lead in half.

Canadiens defenseman Francis Boullion hurt and will not return to the game

15:15: Krejci flipped a saucer pass to Michael Ryder bombing down the slot after a Montreal turnover, but Ryder missed with his wrist shot.

14:15: Great shot fake and drop pass by P.J. Axelsson to Shane Hnidy, who flipped in a wrist shot from the high slot that beat Price high. Hnidy is playing tonight because of the injury to Matt Hunwick, and he’s making an impact.  Momentum goes right back to the Bruins.

12:43: Glen Metropolit going to the box after his takedown of Dennis Wideman. Milan Lucic threw a puck from the corner straight for Wideman at the net, but Metropolit hooked the B’s defenseman to break up the play.

11:47: Great tic-tac passing on the PP for the B’s. Savard and Michael Ryder were basically playing catch with the puck at each of the faceoff circles while moving Price post to post. Ryder finally faked a shot and then fipped it to Savard, who cashed  in on his second power play score of the game.

8:14: Chuck Kobasew is playing his hockey pants are on fire. A great shift by Mark Recchi, Chuck Kobasew and Patrice Bergeron turns into a great Recchi pass for Kobasew in the slot. Kobasew fired away, but Price was able to kick the shot aside.

5:13: Alex Tanguay hauls down Mark Stuart from behind with his stick. That Montreal strategy to draw Boston into taking penalties is really working out well. B’s PP is 2-for-3 tonight.

1:16: Blatant hook by Alex Kovalev behind the Boston net. That’s about as bad a penalty as you’ll see. B’s are again on the power play.

02.3: There’s the backbreaker. Savard flips an entry pass into the zone right on Ryder’s stick, and the former Habs forward rings a shot up under the right crossbar.  Take a bad penalty and you usually end up paying the price.

The Bruins lead the Canadiens by a 5-1 score at the end of the second at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Savard and Kobasew make it 2-0 B’s after one

04.18.09 at 7:11 pm ET
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Ready to go here at the TD Banknorth Garden. Rene Rancourt belting out the national anthems before a lively crowd that sang along to the Star Spangled Banner. You could even see Marc Savard on the Boston bench singing the words as Rancourt made his way through the tune.

18:20: Good shoving match by Milan Lucic and Francis Boullion in front of the Montreal net.

15:44: Steve Montador couldn’t handle a looping dump-in with his glove and  that allowed a racing Alex Tanguay to get in alone one-on-one against Tim Thomas.  The B’s goaltender quickly jumped on the puck for the whistle after a fumbling forehand bid by Tanguay.

14:07: Big rattling hit by Shawn Thornton on Andrei Kostitsyn that left the Russian forward down and out on the ice.

13:30: Nice curl and drag move followed by a shot from the slot by Phil Kessel. Carey Price kicked it out, but Kessel has looked every bit the fast, crafty scorer he can be in the last two games. Kessel has seven goals in his last four games. Think about that for a second and let it marinate.

11:15: Another Flying Kostitsyn Brother heard from. Sergei Kostitsyn whistled off for hooking Milan Lucic. First PP of the night.

10:01: Take a hit, make a play. Chuck Kobasew gets nailed by Mike Komisarek, but gets the puck to the center of the ice.  Steve Montador picks it up and skates it to the high point, but Marc Savard just basically took the puck off Montador’s stick and blasted a top-shelf wrister past Price to make it 1-0.

6:30: Glove deflection by Price on Stephane Yelle from the left faceoff dot. The Habs goalie is fighting the puck early in this one. Shocking, I know.

5:12: Once again Price fumbling around with a Bergeron wrister from the high slot. He was slightly screened by Roman Hamrlik, but he had to jump on the puck behind him when he couldn’t cleanly snatch it.

4:45: Chuck Kobasew makes it 2-0 when he crashes the cage and backhands a loose puck up high past Price.  He came crashing in hard to the net to make that goal happen. 

4:25: Two minutes high-sticking for Chris Higgins. Second PP for Bruins, none for Canadiens.

2:16: Price just robbed Kobasew of another one. David Krejci was working the puck in the corner and found Kobasew as he was motoring to the crease area, but Price gloved the puck.

1:26: Pushing and shoving by Josh Gorges and Zdeno Chara behind the Boston net turns into a precious moment. Kessel facewashes Tom Kostopoulos and tosses the Habs forward to the ice, and then Kostopoulos chases after before Tim Thomas steps in between them. Both players went back to the dresing room with matching penalties.

1:14: Diving penalty for Bergeron, and tripping for Mathieu Schneider. The Habs defensmean seemed to take umbrage with Bergeron taking a page out of Montreal’s book.

00:8.9: Another Yelle shot that seemed to get lost in Price’s pads and then hang around in front of the net.

The Bruins lead the Canadiens by a 2-0 score after one full period during Game 2 at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Hunwick out indefinitely after removal of spleen

04.18.09 at 6:42 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Matt Hunwick is out indefinitely after Saturday afternoon surgery at Mass General Hospital to remove a ruptured spleen. According to Bruins team doctor Peter Asnis, the injury probably happened on a second period bodycheck into the boards during Game 1 of the playoff series between the Canadiens and the B’s.

Asnis said it was “possible” that Hunwick could return at a later point in the playoffs, but the recuperation time for a normal person after a splenectomy is four to six weeks. It’s unclear how long it might take to heal enough for Hunwick to play hockey again. The rookie blueliner, in all likelihood, won’t be back this season unless the Bruins advance to the Conference or Stanley Cup Finals — and even then it’s doubtful Hunwick would be ready for playoff-intensity hockey after such a long layoff.

“He should be able to play hockey again and have a 100 percent full recovery,” said Asnis, who added that the injury was found on Friday and he had already been ruled out of Saturday’s game prior to the spleen rupture. “Full recovery should be in several months, a month to two, and we’ll see how he does.”

 Shane Hnidy will replace Hunwick in Saturday night’s Bruins lineup.

Bruins coach Claude Julien prefers to have some depth at both the defenseman and forward positions during the playoffs, so expect another shoe to drop at the D-man spot in the coming days. Andrew Ference is on the mend from an undisclosed injury and would be the perfect replacement for Hunwick given his puck-moving skill-set and ability to man the point on the power play.

A call to Providence could also be possible, but it may not be the player that many would assume in Johnny Boychuk. Jeff Penner is more in the mold of the quick-skating, puck-moving D-man needed in Hunwick’s absence, and Penner is also a left-handed shot like the fallen Hunwick. All the Baby B’s could be immaterial, however, if Ference is ready to play in the next few days.

“We have options that we’re considering,” said B’s GM Peter Chiarelli. “Whether we execute them or not, we’ll see as the days unfold.”

Campbell: Let the playoffs be the playoffs

04.18.09 at 3:28 pm ET
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The deafening silence you heard today from the NHL offices is any form of discipline coming down on the Montreal Canadiens following their third period behavior in the Game 1 victory for the Bruins. Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell, who also serves as the league’s head disciplinarian, intimated during a Friday morning interview on the NHL Live radio show that there was nothing in the third period of Game 1 that crossed any lines of the NHL’s hockey conduct policy.

Habs players Mike Komisarek, Tom Kostopoulos and Maxim Lapierre were all involved extracurricular activities in the waning moments of third period’s Game 1, and B’s GM Peter Chiarelli had placed a call to the NHL offices on Thursday to take a close look at the third period activity.

It appeared that Komisarek may have removed his glove and scratched at Matt Hunwick’s right eye following the final horn in the third period, and footage clearly showed Kostopoulos throwing an elbow that just barely missed the rookie defenseman’s chin in the game’s closing seconds. Judging by the lack of suspensions or reprimand, the Canadiens’ actions in a game that had already been decided clearly wasn’t “crossing the line” in the NHL’s eyes.

Flyers forward Mike Cammalleri also apparently didn’t cross the line when he threw a high elbow straight to the chops of Chicago Blackhawks sniper Martin Havlat during a faceoff in Game 1 of their series — a deduction made through the lack of suspensions following the incident. So the B’s skaters should probably brace for more of the same this evening should they be winning handily in the third period.

“People take different things out of different incidents from (Thursday) night and say ‘Same thing. How many games are you going to suspend them?’ You got to let the games unfold,” said Campbell. “You’ve got to let hockey be hockey. Let the playoffs be the playoffs, and let the energy flow.  Then when they cross that line you do what you have to do. I don’t mind people asking the questions, but enough is enough.

“There’s a certain line that you cross in all games and all situations where people in my department then have to do something,” added Campbell. “But you can’t filter out everything. This is the playoffs and it’s the first round. It’s usually the best round of hockey. We want to filter the crazy things out. When teams start to send messages, there are different ways to do it and you can cross over the line.”

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