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Kessel: ‘there was pressure’

12.05.09 at 10:30 pm ET
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Here is Phil Kessel in his postgame chat with reporters following his two-shot, -3 performance against the Bruins in Boston’s 7-2 win.

Kessel spoke about the boos, the chants and his inability to solve the Bruins’ defense all night.

Some other notable quotes from No. 81:

“There was pressure but that was probably the worst game I’ve played in a while. I’ve got to be better.” Kessel, with two shots, -3 rating and 16:28 of ice time.

“Yeah, you hear it but it doesn’t get to you. I just didn’t have a good game tonight and I have to be better.” Kessel on the boos and the chants of ‘Kessel, Kessel’ all night.

“You figure you come back and that’s what’s going to happen. It’s part of the game. Obviously, I didn’t play very well.” Kessel on the boos.

But maybe it was Toronto head coach Ron Wilson who put the game in perspective: ‘€œWe stunk and we’€™ll move on. We were horrific defensively in Columbus. Joey [MacDonald] had a great game. And tonight, the same mistakes, the Bruins took advantage. The game was over halfway through the second period, so unfortunately we couldn’€™t do anything right.’€

Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman was injured and is a question mark for the rematch with Toronto on Thursday in Boston.

“Hopefully minor injury. Call it upper body. Hopefully ready for Thursday,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien on Wideman injury.

Julien admitted he was fired up in his pregame speech to the team after a 5-1 debacle in Montreal 24 hours earlier.

“It would have been totally unacceptable for us to come out and not be ready to play.” Julien said. “We had to redeem ourselves and it was fortunate we had back-to-back games to do that.”

‘€œI guess, fired up, we needed that,” added Patrice Bergeron. “We needed that big effort we all knew before this game that we needed to bounce back. Last night was embarrassing and especially in front of our fans today we needed a big effort and we did it.’€

Read More: Bruins, Maple Leafs, NHL, Phil Kessel

Boychuk in Hunwick out

12.05.09 at 7:01 pm ET
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The Bruins recalled defenseman Johnny Boychuk for Providence Saturday afternoon and he will be jumping into the lineup in place of Matt Hunwick when the Bruins host the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight.

Boychuk had been assigned to Providence on Wednesday for conditioning.  He played in two games, scoring a goal in one of the contests for the P-Bruins.

Bruins coach Claude Julien explained the move prior to tonight’s  contest.

“I think Matt hasn’t played as well as he’d like to and as well as we know he can play,” Julien said. “It’s one of those things where we need to continue to work with him.”

NHL: 15 Winter Classics not enough

12.04.09 at 1:55 pm ET
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The NHL sent out a press release Friday afternoon with some interesting information on the Winter Classic set for New Year’s Day at Fenway. According to the league:

· Registrations on for an opportunity to purchase tickets to the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic surpassed 307,000. That eclipsed the number of registrations for last season’€™s game by more than 25 percent.

· If each person who registered was given the right to purchase two tickets, the NHL could host 15 Winter Classic games at Fenway and still not meet the ticket demand.

· General seating and standing room only tickets are already sold out for the Jan. 8 college hockey doubleheader at Fenway.

· The recently announced celebrity/legends charity hockey game on Jan. 2 at Fenway has sold more than 25,000 tickets.

Bruins Dec. 2 Post Game

12.03.09 at 10:36 am ET
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Marc Savard talks about his new contract and 200th goal, Claude Julien says the Bruins are getting into a groove, and Patrice Bergeron discusses the 4-1 win over Tampa Bay.

Read More: Bruins, Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron,

Burke: Kessel is a ‘first violin’

12.03.09 at 7:46 am ET
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With Phil Kessel set to return to Boston for a contest against the Bruins on Saturday night, there is little doubt he has gotten off to a fast start with his new team in Toronto. The ex-Bruin has eight goals and five assists in 14 games.

‘€œWe were looking for a dynamic, explosive offensive player and Phil has delivered on that,’€ Toronto general manager Brian Burke said during a phone call with this week. ‘€œWe paid a very high price. Peter Chiarelli drove a hard bargain. But we were happy to pay it. He has delivered exactly what we hoped to get.’€

As for any purported deficiencies in Kessel’€™s game, Burke, who built a Stanley Cup-winning team in Anaheim, has an interesting analogy as to why a team needs a variety of playing styles and strengths.

‘€œI use the analogy of an orchestra, I think you need a first violin and you need a guy on the drum,’€ said Burke, no apologist for players who lack grit or passion.

‘€œEverybody talks about how I like big teams. My teams are big, but my teams are also highly skilled. I’€™ve had plenty of players who didn’€™t fit this profile that people think I want ‘€” of cave-dwelling, hard-nosed guys. My philosophy is very simple: I build top-six [forwards], bottom-six [forwards]. Top-six forwards is where I love skill and speed, my power-play unit comes from that group. My bottom-six guys are more pick-and-shovel men.

‘€œPhil Kessel is a first violin,’€ Burke said.

Seven More For Savard

12.02.09 at 1:44 pm ET
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Seven years sounded good to Marc Savard and the Bruins.

Formally announcing an agreement that had been in the works for some time, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and Savard took to the podium at TD Garden Wednesday morning to discuss a seven-year contract extension that could keep Savard with the Bruins through the 2016-17 season.

‘€œOver the course of time since Marc has been here he’€™s obviously shown his offensive ability, ‘€œsaid Chiarelli. ‘€œI think we have seen a huge amount of growth on the other side of the puck. He’€™ll be the first to tell you that we have bugged him out about it, but he has responded very well. His stats speak for themselves, but it’€™s the intangibles that really impress me. ‘€œ

Savard, 32,  has led the Bruins in scoring for each of his three seasons with the team and is pleased to be committing to a long tenure with the team.  The reported $28.05 million deal provides an average salary cap hit of just over $ 4million per season.

‘€œI’€™ve stated before in some articles that I want to stay in Boston for the rest of my career and it looks like I’€™m going to have my chance,’€ said Savard. ‘€œI’€™m happy with that.’€

‘€œOver the last three years I’€™ve watched this town grow back into a hockey town, hopefully our goal as a team and staff is to bring a Cup to Boston.’€

In order to lock up Savard for the foreseeable future, Chiarelli needed to get creative, structuring a seven-year deal with large initial payments for the first four years ($7 million -$5 million) and considerably lesser amounts ($525,000) in the final years.

‘€œYou get a little lower cap hit so’€¦ it gives you the ability to build the team better and that’€™s a credit to Marc,’€ said Chiarelli. ‘€œHe takes a lower cap hit and helps keep the team together.’€

For his part, Savard was glad to get the deal done before he would have been a free agent.

‘€œIt’€™s something I’€™ve been interested in getting done as soon as possible, ‘€œ said Savard who has twice finished within the top ten in league scoring. He has 199 goals and 474 assists (673 total point) in 752 NHL games.

‘€œWhat (Chiarelli) has done here in brining in the young guys and core we have, I want to be part of that,’€ he said.

Savard has four goals in six assists in 11 games this season. He missed 15 games with a broken foot between Oct. 15 and Nov. 23.

NHL Power Rankings 12/2

12.02.09 at 11:07 am ET
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Two months into the season, a good week can still make or break a team’s spot in the power rankings.

1. (3) 17-6-1  The Devils go 3-0 this week, thanks in part to Zach Parise‘s slick shootout move against Tuukka Rask in Friday’s win over the B’s. Losing David Clarkson (broken leg) is the only dark spot on the horizon.

2. (4) 17-6-3  Sure, perhaps it’s a bit of a stretch, but the Flames have won four in a row, are 10-1-3 on the road and are playing as well as any team in the league.

3. (2) 17-6-3 Back-to-back losses in Southern California spoil a 4-0 start to a six-game road trip for the Blackhawks. Bounce-back shootout victory over Columbus Tuesday.

4. (1) 19-6-4 The Sharks were 3-1 this week. That’s still not good enough to hold the top spot.

5. (5) 19-9-0  They stood steady this week, but the Penguins should be marching up the rankings soon with Alex Goligoski, Kris Letang and Tyler Kennedy back on board.

6. (6) 16-5-6 The Caps go 3-0, but the direction in which the combustible Alexander Ovechkin is heading is a bit of a concern.

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