|05.05.10 at 2:03 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — Claude Julien said at the onset of the series that everyone should not automatically turn the clocks back to 1975 when looking at this Eastern Conference semifinal series between his Bruins and the Flyers.
Well, Julien may want to revise that a bit, or at least caution his team of the possibility heading into Game 3 tonight. The ‘Broad Street Bullies’ of the 1970s were known to attempt to intimidate for an edge. They played in the old Spectrum, which still stands to the north, across the parking lot from the Wachovia Center.
Julien’s team heads into a hostile building against a team that is cornered and still believes they can win the series, even though the Bruins hold a somewhat commanding 2-0 series lead.
Add to that Marc Savard doesn’t have the TD Garden crowd tonight waving yellow hankies but rather 20,000 rabid Flyer fans wanting blood for his alleged chomp on Dan Carcillo’s right hand in the second period of Game 2.
The Bruins have a chance to put the Philadelphia Flyers in a 3-0 hole tonight in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series. But to do so, Boston must get the job done on the road, a task they were unable to finish the last time they had the chance in Buffalo
Julien put the team through an optional skate Wednesday morning at the Wachovia Center before addressing the media and the importance of understanding what’s at stake in Game 3.
“I think both teams have their approach,” Julien added. “Obviously, the Flyers want to get back in the series and there’s no doubt they’re going to be ready. We don’t want to let them back in the series so we need to be ready. It’s not a very complicated thing. I think it’s a matter of understanding the urgency of both sides and be ready to counter what the other team is going to throw at you.”
Savard did not take part in the optional pregame skate, choosing to get his rest for tonight. He is more than prepared to hear some not-so-nice things from the fans tonight.
“It’s part of the game and whatever comes, it just makes you play better,” Savard said Wednesday morning.
Savard is not alone in wanting to be disciplined tonight as the Flyers figure to at least attempt to draw the Bruins into some penalties the way they did in the second period Monday.
“I wouldn’t say distracting,” Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman said. “We’ve played in loud buildings before and this is one of the louder ones. And it’s a little tougher when they’re not cheering for you but we have to find a way.”
|05.05.10 at 12:58 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — Centermen think they are so clever.
Faceoffs. Simple science or mischievous underworld of cheats and chicanery? A sub-theme to the Bruins and Flyers series that developed during Game 2 and is carrying into Game 3 in Philadelphia on Wednesday has been the Boston’s dominance on the dot. Flyers captain Mike Richards did not fare well on Monday against Patrice Bergeron in the circle and he is hoping that being home in the Wachovia Center will help take away the Bruins advantage.
“They are good faceoff guys and they used the home ice to their advantage,” Richards said. “He [Bergeron], is strong, I think he has a enough respect where he is allowed to cheat a little bit more. I am not sure what else but faceoffs are all about who can cheat the most and in the long run it is a lot easier taking face offs at home than it is on the road.”
Boston centerman David Krejci said after Game 2 that “every center has his tricks” and then refused to elaborate on exactly what tricks he has up his sleeve. It is like every center in the NHL is part of a little fraternity and each unit has their own secret handshake when it comes to gaining the advantage on the dot.
“Every one cheats on faceoffs, it is just about who does it the best,” Richards said. “Home ice I think it is a lot easier to take faceoffs than it is on the road and obviously is better to play with the puck so we will use that to our advantage tonight.”
What Bergeron does so well in the circle is get his shoulder down, quick stick and box out. Some guys do not come to a full stop when skating in for the drop, giving them more momentum in getting that shoulder down and the other center off the puck.
“I do it too. I do it all the time, everybody does,” Richards said. “Just look for the edge to win the faceoffs and I think the refs have been doing a great job of letting us pause a little bit.”
Richards mentioned multiple times that “it is easier to win faceoffs on home ice.” What he is basically saying is that is when teams have the last change they can craft their matchups to their benefit. For instance, Richards never touched the ice in the first two games without Bergeron and Zdeno Chara on his back. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette would double shift Richards and Chara would double shift as well. Laviolette has been scrounging around for trios and pairs that can break down the Bruins.
“I don’t think there was as much line juggling as you guys would call it,” Laviolette said. “It is more of trying to get somebody away from somebody cause we can get different matchups. It will be easier at home where we can start where we want and play from there. We are double shifting some guys in the lineup so that is a cause (of the line juggling) as well. Just with opportunities when we have been behind, we need to get guys out on the ice so we have some guys who we will shift them a little bit more with the guys out of the lineup.”
Laviolette is, of course, referring to Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne as the guys out of the lineup. Richards was Laviolette’s primary center during the regular season and took 1373 faceoffs at 50.7 percent success rate. Carter was the next guy on the list with 1314 at 52. 4 percent and both were about 500 ahead of the next guy on the team, Blair Betts at 855.
“We have to do a better job of doing being ready on the face offs,” Laviolette said. “I thought there were some faceoffs that we won and they picked it up and therefore it looked like their win. We have to be ready as a group. The centermen have to do a good job but our wingers have to do a good job as well.”
Can the Flyers change their fortunes around in this series with the simple advantages that come with being on home ice? Creating matchups for the purpose of forechecking and winning face offs is definitely an important part of the game but, as Laviolette points out, the Flyers still have to execute.
|05.05.10 at 12:21 pm ET|
Daniel Carcillo has become enemy No. 1 to Bruins fans, and Mike Emrick, of NBC Sports and Versus, said the Flyers tough guy will have extra attention from the officials as the series continues Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
“Carcillo with the various fake moves and all of that is starting to draw attention of the entire staff,” Emrick said to Dale & Holley on Wednesday. “I don’t think it’s going to play to well as the series goes on and you can probably see that he is not going to get a fair shake on some of these things if he had been probably the model player. I have a feeling that there is going to be some rank among the staff and they’ll keep a eye closer on him than they will someone else.”
Emrick said Game 3 probably will be the most “aggressive” of the series, and that the physical players like Carcillo or a Milan Lucic have always been fan favorites, especially in Boston and Philly.
“The Jesse James guys are really good, and we really don’t have too many guys who are difficult to deal with in the sport, but they are the best guys,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s just because they have a fairly humble roll to take on and they’ve agreed to do it. … But the one thing is they are the most likeable creatures that there are.”
The voice of the NHL on NBC said he he didn’t know why Bruins made such a turnaround in these playoffs, but he said they can be contenders going forward.
“Whatever it was they ought to bottle it up and Claude Julien can open a stand and sell it,” he said. “Whatever it is it’s worked. There are all kinds of radical turns that occur at playoff time.”
Emrick said it all started with winning at home.
“They started playing better at home at that point,” Emrick said, referring to a late-season win against the Rangers. “They’d only won one game at home since Fenway. That made it two and they built on it from there and got much better. I’m not sure what it was. I’m not sure if someone said something in the room or if it was one of those spontaneous things where they got confidence. … Whatever it is, they’ve done it really well and it’s a thrilling thing for their fans to see.”
|05.05.10 at 10:48 am ET|
Bruins forward Mark Recchi joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to discuss his team’s playoff series against the Flyers.
With the Bruins up 2-0 in the series on the day of Game 3, Recchi expects the Flyers to come out with plenty of intensity as they face a must-win situation. “We know it was two good games, two hard-fought games, and it is going to be no different tonight,” he said. “We are going to have to weather the storm of their home crowd for the first 5-7 minutes and then push back. And if we can do that, it will play into our favor as well.”
Asked how he thinks his younger teammates will handle the hostile crowd, Recchi said he doesn’t think it will be much of an issue. “They won’t get unnerved about stuff like that at all,” he said. “Our guys are ready for everything. We’ve been in it, and Buffalo was a pretty crazy building as well. We’ve seen it first-hand, and Philly fans probably take it up a notch, but at the same time that won’t bother our guys.”
The Bruins’ struggles during the regular season were well documented. Despite that, the team has persevered and made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals. Recchi was asked if he ever had doubts that the Bruins would right the ship during moments like the team’s 10-game losing streak. “When you believe in the guys sitting beside you, in the dressing room, that never crosses your mind,” he said. “My biggest thing was I knew we had it in us, because we could control games and dominate games, but then we just couldn’t find that consistency. And I knew it was there. We did it the year before. a lot of these young guys had done it the year before. So in the end I wasn’t too unhappy that we went through that rough patch because I believe it makes you grow.”
The 42-year-old also talked about his transitions as a player over the last 20 years. “At 22 I was just a young offensive player who was very gifted offensively,” he said. “I was still learning to be a leader, but I had some great guys in the dressing room like Bryan Trottier and Joe Mullen. Thirty-two, I had become kind of a leader and was better at it. I was still an offensive player but I was getting better at two-way. And 42 is not as good offensively, but responsible defensively and I think I am a good leader in the dressing room.”
To listen to the interview, click here. A transcript is below.
Even though you guys are up 2-0, is the fact that you could have lost either of those games a good or bad thing in the team’s mind?
Well, as long as we understand that it could have went both ways I think that is the important thing ‘ that you learn from it. We know it was two good games, two hard fought games and it is going to be no different tonight. We are going to have to weather the storm of their home crowd for the first five to seven minutes and then push back. And if we can do that it will play into our favor as well.
You almost have to expect this will be their best effort tonight. Is that safe to say?
Absolutely. They will throw everything at us but the kitchen sink. We’ll have to be ready for it and like I said we’ll have to push back. And if we can and we can weather it then it is going to be a tight game again.
If it doesn’t work for the Bruins, and it does for the Flyers, when do you expect it to get ugly?
Well, you never know with this rivalry. Both are big teams and physical teams, so you just never know.
Does the hostile crowd affect you?
Once you get out there playing, it doesn’t really matter. It is loud and when team’s come to our building it’s loud and energetic. It is a fun atmosphere to be in regardless of what building you are in. That’s what it is all about and the playoffs are fun, so you’ve got to enjoy it. Enjoy that 18,000 people hate you. Read the rest of this entry »
|05.05.10 at 8:42 am ET|
Asked about advice the 42-year-old veteran gave to the team’s younger players, Recchi said: “This is a great time of year right now. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Don’t let the pressure grab you. If you do that, you’re going to really have a good time with this and we’re going to be a better team for it.”
The Flyers have been trying to get under the Bruins’ skin in the first two games, but Recchi said all they’ve done is “wake the sleeping giant.” Said Recchi: “When we get involved in these games, we seem to really get the emotion and are able to play a better hockey game.”
Recchi said the key reason for the Bruins’ late-season turnaround was the team sticking together. “We believed in ourselves in the dressing room, and what we were trying to do,” he said. “We knew we weren’t consistent, so we really didn’t give [the fans] a lot of reasons to believe in us. But at the same time, we knew that if we found that consistency and that competitive edge every night, then we would be a team that’s very tough to play against. We found it at the right time. With all the injuries and everything we’ve been through, we really stuck together as a group. Through all the doubters and the naysayers, we hung in there together. We didn’t push apart. We actually grew together as a team more than anything.”
Recchi said he never lost faith in his team. “When you believe in the guys sitting beside you, in the dressing room, that never crosses your mind. My biggest thing was I knew we had it in us, because we could control games and dominate games, but then we just couldn’t find that consistency. And I knew it was there. We did it the year before.”
Recchi was asked which players are the best and funniest trash-talkers. “Shawn Thornton, he’s really protective of his players, his teammates,” Recchi said. “Our coach behind the bench is probably one of them, too. It’s pretty funny.” Asked about Flyers instigator Daniel Carcillo, Recchi said: “He’s actually not funny at all. There’s nothing funny to his repertoire at all.”
|05.04.10 at 2:57 pm ET|
Bruins forward Milan Lucic joined the Dale & Holley show Tuesday afternoon to discuss the B’s 3-2 win over the Flyers on Monday night. Lucic scored the game-winner with 2:57 left in the third period, sending the Bruins to Philadelphia with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal showdown. Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, click on the Dale and Holley audio on demand page.
So you picked that corner, took the shot, and knew exactly where it was going, right?
Exactly, and it’s easy to pick them when the puck is bouncing like that, too.
I said the same thing about Savard’s goal in Game 1, it was bouncing around and he tucked it in then top corner.
Yeah, it’s weird, both game-winning goals so far, the puck was in the air, landed, and we caught it on the first bounce. Those are real hard shots for goalies to read because they don’t really know where it’s going to go, and for us, as players, those are the ones we just have to get on net, and sometimes they find a way and find a hole.
So was that the plan ‘ just get it on net and maybe something will happen?
Yeah, to be honest, I didn’t really have a play, because [Miroslav Satan] and [David Krecji] were kind of covered by the defensemen there, and both our D-men were kind of covered, so I thought if I could just shoot it and get it past the first man, then I had a chance. Read the rest of this entry »
|05.04.10 at 2:40 pm ET|
Not everyone in black and gold had bad things to say about the physical play of the Flyers on Monday night in Boston’s 3-2 win.
Defenseman Johnny Boychuk – who put the Bruins on top with a first-period goal – was drilled on a clean, hard hit by Philly’s Scott Hartnell midway through the ‘eventful’ second period, just seconds after Boston captain Zdeno Chara took a run at Hartnell behind the Flyers net.
The result was Boychuk going airborne and landing hard on the ice. Boychuk wasn’t hurt except for his ego momentarily and acknowledged that he expects to see more of that kind of play when the series shifts to Philadelphia Wednesday night for Game 3.
“It wasn’t too wide-open There were some timely goals each team scored and some good hits, like the one on me. It was a great hit.”
Boychuk also believes the Bruins can learn something from Game 5 in Buffalo when they were playing a desperate Sabres team looking to stay alive. They were blown out, 4-1, and had to come back to Boston to seal the deal.
“We were in Buffalo and they took it to us,” Boychuk said. “We’re going to have to learn from that. Hopefully, we can overcome their intensity when we go to Philly.”
There will be some 20,000 fans not cheering on the Bruins on Wednesday and Boychuk and the Bruins are more than bracing themselves for what to expect.
“It’s a good barn play in and it’s tough barn to play in,” Boychuk said. “They’re going to come out hard and we have to match their intensity.”
Chara agreed with Boychuk’s assessment and won’t be shocked when the black and orange sweaters are out in force at the Wachovia Center.
“The further you go, it’s going to get tougher and tougher and the games are going to be harder and harder,” Chara said. “It’s just normal. That’s just the playoffs. It’s Philly and they like to play that kind of style and obviously, we like to play physical. It’s just two teams meeting each other with similar physical styles of play.”