|10.27.10 at 9:27 pm ET|
Cam Neely was born in British Columbia and didn’t become a dual citizen until a couple of years ago, yet it’s unquestioned that his impact on hockey in America has been far-reaching. As a result, it was no surprise to see him among the recipients of the Lester Patrick Award for his contributions to hockey in the United States.
It took the Bruins’ 1986 deal with Vancouver to get Neely to the states, and the deal was highly beneficial to a number of people for a number of reasons. The trade rescued a 20-year-old Neely from fourth-line minutes, but the man who made the trade, which sent Barry Pederson, to the Canucks for Neely and a first-round pick, notes that Neely may have helped him as much as he helped Neely.
‘If I hadn’t made the trade, I would’ve been probably an advisor to the owner a lot earlier,’ Harry Sinden said with a laugh prior to Wednesday’s award ceremony.
It was in Boston where he established himself as a one-of-a-kind player, as Sinden noted that he has never seen a 50-goal scorer (something Neely was three times in his career, once accomplishing it in 49 games) play with the edge that Neely did, though he pointed to Alexander Ovechkin as the closest thing to it. Neely said Wednesday that the trade to Boston and embracing the style of hockey he knew he could make made all the difference in making the jump from a 14-goal-scorer (his total in his final year in Vancouver) to the player he became.
“Here’s another opportunity to show another organization maybe what I didn’t get the opportunity to show Vancouver,” Neely recalled thinking at the time of the deal. “For me, it was all about playing physical. I knew how I played in junior hockey, and I was playing physical and I knew that I could score goals, but the physical part obviously is a lot easier than scoring goals. I just said to myself, ‘I’m going to go there, and when I have an opportunity to take the body, I’m going to take the body.’ I knew for the most part that I could handle myself if somebody didn’t like that, so I was prepared for what came with me playing physical.”
Jack Parker, another Lester Patrick recipient on Wednesday, spoke highly of the player he saw arrive, noting that Neely’s celebrity in Boston has helped him compile talent in recent years. The three-time NCAA championship-winning Boston University coach felt that having a player like Neely to look up to served in inspiring kids throughout New England to get into hockey. Without Neely, Parker said, the team simply wouldn’t have as many local prospects to choose from.
Now president of the Bruins and someone who inspires the current squad, the impact that Neely has made on an organization, a town, a country, and a sport, continues to be felt. But what if the trade never happened? Aside from Sinden’s quip, Boston sports and hockey in America would be far different.
“I have thought about that, and the only conclusion that I could come up with is that I probably wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I did,” Neely said. “What I would have been able to accomplish, I can’t really say. It’s impossible to say, but maybe if I went to another team, something similar would have happened, but obviously coming here was the best thing at the best time for me.”
|10.27.10 at 4:20 pm ET|
The Bruins announced on Wednesday that they wil hold “Milt Schmidt Night” prior to the team’s game against the Maple Leafs on Thursday at TD Garden. The festivities will begin at 5:15 pm, with the unveiling of Schmidt exhibit at the Sports Museum.
Schmidt is the only person in team history to serve as a player, captain, coach and GM with the Bruins. He won two Stanley Cups as a player in 1939 and 1941 and added two more as a GM in 1970 and 1972. He had 229-346= 575 totals with the Bruins in 776 career games.
|10.27.10 at 3:57 pm ET|
The Bruins are preparing for their first match-up against the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday night, in an always-anticipated clash of original six teams. In the 2009-10 season, the Maple Leafs were nothing special, finishing at the bottom of the Northeast Division with a 30-38-14 record. Now, eight games into 2010-11, it seems the Leafs have turned things around. Toronto won its first four starts, then dropped three games in a row before picking up a 3-1 victory over the Panthers Tuesday night. The Leafs’ 5-2-1 record currently has them sitting atop the division standings.
‘They’re a good team, they’re a young team,’ Patrice Bergeron said after practice on Wednesday. ‘Their players have developed into good players so I think that’s why they’re improved.’
Right wing Nathan Horton said he knows the Leafs have shown plenty of reasons for other teams to fear them thus far.
“Their defensemen are big, strong, physical, and their forwards are quick and fast,’ Horton said, adding the Bruins will need to be prepared to work for 60 minutes on Thursday. Coach Claude Julien seemed to agree, noting that the B’s are ‘facing a team that’s coming in with lots of confidence, lots of speed and lots of energy.’
Speaking of energy, it has seemed to be just that the B’s have lacked early on in each of their losses this season. On Saturday, the Rangers put up a quick 2-0 lead on the Bruins in the first period, and the Bruins, despite getting goals from Zdeno Chara and Horton, were never quite able to make a full comeback.
‘I think it’s just about making sure we have a good first couple shifts and be good on the forecheck right away,’ Bergeron said. ‘If we get scored one goal against, we’ve got to make sure we keep our balance instead of just getting back over our heels for a couple shifts and letting them score another one.’
|10.27.10 at 2:31 pm ET|
NESN hockey analyst Mike Milbury joined the Dale & Holley show Wednesday for his weekly hockey update and discussion of other hot topics regarding the Bruins. Milbury also talked about the latest debate, which has been the goaltender situation thus far in the season.
“It’s how to handle both of them, not just Tuukka [Rask],” Milbury said. “I don’t throw Tuukka in the 2-hole now just because [Tim] Thomas has had a good start. It looks like they’re going to battle for the top spot, and I think one of the things … is the schedule. I mean, they go overseas, they play two games, they get basically a full week off, they played three more and then they get four days off. There’s no rhythm for any of their players, not just the goaltenders.”
Following are highlights from the conversation. To hear the entire interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Can we assume the hype we saw last night in Boston won’t be matched, but will at least be evident as Phil Kessel returns to the Garden with the Maple Leafs tomorrow night?
Yeah, it’ll be fun, and the Maple Leafs are winning their share of games, so it should be competitive. They’re not trading on the back end. I mean, they’re supposed to be strong on the blue line, but they’ll, they cough it up regularly, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities to score. [Jean-Sebastien] Giguere‘s been backstopping the goals against, so it’s been OK, but they’re a vulnerable team, but at least they’re playing with some vinegar, and so it should be a pretty good matchup.
If each goaltender starts roughly 40 games, what’s the best way to handle two goaltenders, and Tuukka, who’s been shaky lately?
That’s a great question. I mean, it’s how to handle both of them, not just Tuukka. I don’t throw Tuukka in the 2-hole now just because Thomas has had a good start. It looks like they’re going to battle for the top spot, and I think one of the things, before I try to answer that question, that has conspired against Rask and Thomas is the schedule. I mean, they go overseas, they play two games, they get basically a full week off, they played three more and then they get four days off. There’s no rhythm for any of their players, not just the goaltenders.
But once they get into the need of their schedule, you know, I think there’s plenty of room to let a guy run two, three or even four games in a row. But if you really want to keep the party going in terms of competition, once you get into five and six games in a row for one guy, you’re asking much from the other guy to just bounce back and be excellent in his first start.
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|10.27.10 at 1:47 pm ET|
In a brief chat with Gregory Campbell following the Bruins’ practice on Wednesday, it came up that it could be seen on twitter that he had called Brandon Prust to apologize for his high-stick that got Prust right around the eye late in the second period of team’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers on Saturday.
“Really?” Campbell asked. “Did he put it on there?”
It was a reporter who had tweeted it, but that, not surprisingly, is Campbell. A quiet guy who isn’t looking for headlines when he does something like check on an opponent after an unfortunate play.
Campbell, who hails from Tillsonburg, Ontario, knows Prust a bit, as Prust is from the nearby city of London. Campbell said the two see each other “out and about” and at golf tournaments during the summer. The B’s fourth-line center said that despite not being “best friends,” he felt it was important for him to offer an apology for the high stick.
“That’s a pretty dangerous thing where you get cut near the eye or on eye, so I just wanted to make sure that he was alright. I’m an honest player,” Campbell said. “I didn’t mean to high-stick him, and I just wanted to make sure he was fine.”
Campbell, who has now picked up two double-minors through six games for high-sticking, said that he is making a conscious effort to avoid seeing a third. He doesn’t want to develop a reputation, and, more importantly, doesn’t want to see anybody get hurt by his doings.
“Of course I don’t want it to happen again. The first two times, I didn’t mean for it to happen. I think the coaches know what kind of player I am, and if you watch the plays, it’s totally unintentional and part of the game.”
Prust went to the hospital after leaving the game on Sunday but was able to play the Rangers’ next game against the Devils.
|10.27.10 at 12:29 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — David Krejci‘s teeth have been popular around Ristuccia Arena recently, as the B’s first-line center missed Monday’s practice after getting his wisdom teeth removed. Here’s the video of him talking about how he feels and how the team is gearing up for Thursday’s game against the Maple Leafs.
|10.27.10 at 10:58 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins took the ice for their Wednesday skate at Ristuccia Arena at 10:30 am. The team is gearing up for a bout Thursday with surprising Northeast division co-leaders in the Maple Leafs, who have gotten off to quite the start. Toronto won its first four games of the season before dropping three straight and picking up a 3-1 victory over the Panthers on Tuesday.
The lines and color-coded jerseys remained the same for the B’s. The team worked on the power play, with Tyler Seguin getting hit in what appeared to be the skate in front of the net by a Michael Ryder shot. Seguin remained on the ice for a moments but was grinning the whole time. He got up and continued the power play work without a problem.