Archive for May, 2009

The Bruins have fallen to the Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

19:28: A bad bounce almost ended Boston’s season. A bounding puck bounced off a Bruins stick and came bouncing toward Thomas. Eric Staal picked up the puck out of mid-air and connected on a baseball swing, but Thomas was able to block the shot.

15:12: Aaron Ward just completely leveled Tuomo Ruutu at the blue line while he was watching the play behind him. Big hit that left the crumpled by the boards.

14:35: Great shift by the Krejci, Bitz, Ryder line. Krejci had a point blank chance in the slot, but he caught too much of Ward’s pads waiting for the goalie to make a move.

9:54: Scott Walker had a great scoring opportunity for the Hurricanesl. He wheeled in from the sideboards and fired a puck from the left faceoff circle that Thomas was able to block  and then fall on as he fumbled for control.

8:35: Chuck Kobasew fired a shot that Ward blocked but couldn’t control as he came into the zone with speed. Bergeron had the rebound at the right post and fired across the crease, but it bounced of Kaberle’s and away from the goal area. Close call for the Bruins. 

6:35: A close call for the Canes. Ray Whitney blasted a shot with heavy traffic in front and Cole crashing into Thomas. Somehow Thomas made the save, but it looked as if Staal was about to pounce on the puck in the crease area. Both Lucic and Kessel dove at Staal and managed to shoo the puck away from the Canes sniper and over into the corner.

During every quiet moment, the crowd is erupting into spontaneous chants of “We Want it, we want it, we want it”. You could cut the tension with a knife.

3:04: The more I watch of this OT, the more I’m convinced that Tank isn’t going to let a goal through. He somehow got a toe on a Ruutu blast and then kicked away a Walker shot attempt on the follow in front. Thomas has been sensational tonight.

1:14: It’s all over. Wow. Scott Walker gets the game-winner on a follow-up rebound attempt in front. No kidding. The irony of that is off the charts.

The Hurricanes have taken the game in OT by a 3-2 score with 1:14 still remaining during the decisive Game 7 of the Stanley Cup semifinals. The season is over the B’s and a great ride has come ot a conclusion.

Lucic rebound goal ties the game up at 2-2 in third period

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

19:15: That was almost disaster for the Bruins. Joe Corvo rifled a shot from the right point that Brind’Amour got a stick on, and the puck trickled past Thomas and hit the left post and bounced out. It was swept away from the crease, but that was close.

17:22: Bad giveaway by Steve Montador in his own end. Put it right on the stick of Brind’Amour.

15:02: Bruins are getting a lot of Steve Montador and Shane Hnidy shots from the far points. The forward need to do a better job of getting in toward the net, or this game is going to go bye-bye.

13:41: Just like that the Bruins jump in front of the net and score. Marc Savard worked with puck all alone behind the net, and fired a low percentage shot from the side of the net. Lucic had come crashing on from the slot area and was waiting in front for the rebound. He lifted it up high past Ward for the tying score. Brand new hockey game.

The crowd just went absolutely berserk in a perfect storm of entertainment. The masses were singing to Shipping up to Boston while there was a split screen of Brutus Beefcake and the little kid with the Spoked B painted on his chest. It was the loudest this building has been during the playoffs, and it got the crowd fully back into the game. Wow.

A couple of frenzied offensive possessions after that for Boston, but nothing into the net.

10:54: Good save by Thomas off a Corvo blast from just inside the blueline. The Bruins are getting a little scrambly again in their own zone.

5:32: The Bruins keep pounding on the door, but haven’t put anything home. Mark Recchi had a great bid coming from behind the net and attempting to stuff it in front, but the puck popped up in midair and Ward was able to knock it away from danger.

The crowd also erupted into a spontaneous “We Want It” chant for a good minute of play during the game.

3:29: Two great saves by Thomas. One on a Whitney blast from the left faceoff circle with Erik Cole bearing down on him, and the second on a Staal wraparound. The puck dropped right by a stretched-out Thomas nad he was able to cover it up.

18.4: Good bid right at the end of regulation by Patrice Bergeron after taking the puck behind the net. Recchi got a whack at the follow attempt with Ward covering up.

07.8: Bergeron came back with another knuckler from the right faceoff circle, but Ward managed to corral it.

The Canes and Bruins are tied at 2-2 score after three full periods of play during Game 7 at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Samsonov gives the Hurricanes a 2-1 edge in the second

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

19:28: Great spread-out butterfly save by Tim Thomas on Ray Whitney as he rushed to collect a loose puck right in front of the Boston cage.

17:41: Bad giveway by Shane Hnidy led to a Ryan Bayda bid from the right side. Hnidy has been fighing it a little bit tonight on his breakouts. 

Scoring change: Carolina’s first goal has been changed back to Rod Brind’Amour.

16:06: Hooking call for Matt Cullen. The penalty calls have been pretty weak tonight for a Game 7. Something to look at going forward.

15:48: Good bid for Krejci on the doorstep as he waited for Cam Ward to make a move and then fired at the net, but Ward stayed calm and made the save without flinching.

12:15: Steve Montador got his doors blown off by Sergei Samsonov on that one, plain and simple. Samsonov beat a stumbling, tumbling Montador to the net and slammed home a Joni Pitkanen pass from the side boards as he worked it toward the cage.

9:05: Good cycling job by the fourth line of cycling the puck and drawing a penalty. Frantisek Kaberle with a minor penalty for hooking.

7:44: Not many shots on the PP, but a big blast from Zdeno Chara after some nice puck movement from Chuck Kobasew and Marc Savard. Ward gloved it cleanly when Chara let loose.

6:06: Sergei Samsonov holding penalty for hauling down Mark Stuart in the offensive end. Bad penalty for Carolina.

2:48: Have the Bruins taken a between-the-legs class in passing? Milan Lucic just executed a sweet between his legs drop-back pass to Michael Ryder for a blast from the right dot. Ward managed to track the shot and stop it, but that’s the kind of creativity it’s going to take to get it done tonight. The Boston power play is really looking sickly each time they go out there.

1:14: Michael Ryder holding penalty on Chad LaRose. Ryder pushed him to the ground in front of the net, but once again I wonder if that’s a Game 7 kind of call. The B’s may have some issues with the way this game is being called when it’s all over with.

The Hurricanes are beating the Bruins by a 2-1 with 2:48 to go in the second period of the decisive Game 7 at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Seidenberg ties it up at 1-1 in the first period

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

19:40: Quick shot from Joni Pitkanen at the left point on Tim Thomas. Glove save with some pushing and shoving afterward. The crowd is appropriately crazy tonight.

18:15: Couple of quick shots by Dennis Wideman from the right point, and a nifty little curl-and-drag move by David Krejci after he shook of a check behind the net. Krejci looks sharp tonight.

17:05: Solid defense by Aaron Ward during a potential one-on-one between him and Eric Staal coming down the left side. Ward didn’t back off and Staal’s shot bounced off his right skate and away from danger.

14:57: Tuomo Ruutu with another tester from well beyond the left faceoff dot with Ryan Bayda bearing down on Tim Thomas. Tank made the save cleanly before Bayda could get to the cage. The Canes are pushing a constant flow of bodies at the Boston net in the early going. The early flow of this game has a Carolina advantage to it.

12:18: This place just went nut. Byron Bitz with his first career playoff goal. A Dennis Wideman blast from the high slot missed wide left of the net and then caromed back out in front. Krejci missed the puck as he went for it at the left post, but Bitz picked the puck clean out of the traffic and fired the shot into the open net. Bitz followed the goal with a Stanley Cup primal roar that any Bruin would be proud of.

9:25: Scott Walker yacking at Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi or anybody else that will listen following a Tim Thomas cover-up for a whistle. He’s determined to play the bad guy in the series, but the Bruins aren’t listening – or more importantly, responding – at this point.

BTW, there was definitely a Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake sighting in the TD Banknorth Garden press box tonight. He’s wearing his trademark white Underarmor T-Shirt and his arms are roughly the size of Kansas from end-to-end.

7:58: Hooking penalty on P.J. Axelsson for going after Eric Staal as he crashed into Tim Thomas. No call on Staal as he came crashing toward threand a hook for P.J.

6:01: The Canes tie it up with score in front of the net from the Ultimate Warrior, Rod Brind’Amour. With one second left on the Carolina PP, Dennis Seidenberg wound up from the high slot and blasted away with Brind’Amour redirecting the puck in front of the net. Edit: Check that, Seidenberg got credit for the goal for his shot up top, but a good screen job from Brind’Amour in front.

3:59: Milan Lucic just missed on the tip of a Dennis Wideman blast from the right point. The puck trickled just to the left of the net after Big Looch camped out in front.

3:08: Two minutes in the sin bin for Tuomo Ruutu for slashing. First PP for Boston.

1:45: Best bid of a disjointed PP came when Phil Kessel worked the puck in from the point to the right faceoff circle and fired a shot at Cam Ward. Ward made the initial stop, and Chuck Kobasew had two good whacks at it in front of the net. The second shot hit Ward’s pads and then bounced right out past the left post. Nobody there to blast it home, though.

00:00: A hit on Marc Savard there at the end that looked as if it hobbled the center a little bit. He bent over and then limped a bit as he skated off the ice.

The Bruins and Hurricanes are tied at a a 1-1 score after one full period in the decisive Game 7 at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Marc Savard set to play in Game 7, no Bruins lineup changes

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Bruins center Marc Savard isn’t going to let a knee injury stop him from skating in Game 7 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night, and B’s head coach Claude Julien said that his crafty pivot will be in the lineup. Savard suffered a knee-on-knee hit from Carolina winger Chad LaRose in the third period of Game 6, and exited the game early after Julien sent him to the dressing room.

Julien indicated on Thursday morning following the pre-game skate that the Bruins will skate the same lineup that took the ice in an impressive 4-2 victory over the Candy Canes on Tuesday night. That means Byron Bitz, who impressed with his blue collar work along the back wall with puck possession, will again skate with David Krejci and Michael Ryder.

“We’ll have the same lineup tonight (as Game 6),” said Julien. “There shouldn’t be any changes.”

–Julien and his veteran players said that the most important key to success in the Game 7 setting is staying composed and keeping panic and chaos out of a game that can very easily spiral out of control.

The weight and pressure of season elimination can be a divisive influence that can pry a player out of their comfort zone and get a team out of their game plan — and Julien stressed it was important for his team to stick with the style of play that’s resulted in two straight wins leading up to Thursday night.

“It’s being composed. Being composed. You saw it in the game last night in Pittsburgh that they were able to come out and play their game and they were successful,” said Julien. “You’ve got to be composed. I thought even last year in Montreal in Game 7 during the first period in Montreal, we were the better team.

“But sometimes you need the breaks and then (the Canadiens) got another goal in the second to make it 2-0. Had we stayed probably a little more composed, we could have battled back and got ourselves back into the game. But we were a young team last year. You hope what the young guys learned last year was to handle the pressure situation of Game 7 much better.”

–B’s center Stephane Yelle is playing in his 12th career Game 7 tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes, which is tops among all active NHL players and ranks him second in NHL history with Glenn Anderson and Ken Daneyko. The key to success from a guy that’s been there nearly a dozen times:

“There’ll be chatter before the game like there always is, and if the young guys have questions then they’ll usually come and ask them,” said Yelle. “Sticking with the game plan and not panicking (is key). When you start panicking you tend to get away from what you should be doing, and usually you feel like there’s a ripple effect along the team and things turn to chaos. That’s when you lose sight of what you’re supposed to do.

“Different personalities will handle differently. I try to learn from my previous ones and go from there. My first year was Patty…Patty Roy and he had played in tons of them already. He was just a great leader and I followed him when I was younger being from Ottawa. I knew what he was all about. I just tried to watch him and see what he was doing (before Game 7).”

–Carolina winger Scott Walker has taken on the role of ultimate villian after sucker-punching Aaron Ward in the third period of Game 5 — and then subsequently skirting by with a simple $2500 slap of a fine — but said he’s not going to get rattled by the “Ulf Treatment” at the Garden on Thursday night.

“I played in the minors a lot and it gets rowdy in some of those barns, and obviously in Vancouver it was a lot similar to this. A little bit in the New Jersey it rowdy behind the bench, but you don’t really notice it that much. It’s such an important game in Game 7 that I don’t think the fans will affect the way they play or we play … or myself. It’s great for them that they’ve got something to yell and scream about, but I don’t think we’ll lose our focus or anything like that.”

–There seemed to be some indications out there that a potential Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins would be scheduled at the TD Banknorth Garden on Sunday — likely Sunday afternoon. Stay tuned for that one because it could be another doubleheader if the Boston Celtics series goes to seven games.

Aaron Ward on D&C: ‘It is a complete joke’

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Aaron Ward went on the Dennis & Callahan Show this morning to discuss the advantage of home ice in Game 7 of the second-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Capitals’ failure to show up in Game 7 against the Pittsburgh Penguins and, of course, to discuss the punch by Scott Walker that left him with a black eye and potential for a broken bone in his face.

“It is a complete joke,” Ward said of the failure to suspend Walker. “If this happened to Sidney Crosby or someone of high value (there would have been a suspension), I’€™m a plumber in this whole situation, it’€™s easier to sweep it under the rug.”

Here are some excerpts from the interview, which can be heard by clicking here:

Q: What do you know for sure about Game 7 tonight?

A: I make it a practice to never notify the media that I listen to them so I was listening to you guys on the way in and you guys had some interesting theories.

It’€™s imperative that you get home ice and you keep home ice throughout the playoffs because you always need that added ingredient to your confidence and psyche. You’€™re more composed, you feel as if you have the masses behind you and for some reason, it adds to your confidence on the ice. I can’€™t explain why but it’€™s just a fact of life, as an athlete, when you have a rowdy crowd, it can be uplifting for your team.

Q: Can the ‘€œus against the world’€ idea work for a team?

A: I honestly think at this stage in the playoffs, the game is played out there and the crowd has an effect on the game. That’€™s pretty good in the first round but come the second round, I’€™m not so sure that works anymore.

Q: How’€™s the shiner looking this morning?

A: I’€™ve got one. It’€™s not looking too bad. He got the outside of my eye. Seems like it’€™s fine right now. If I start putting makeup on the ice, we’€™ve got bigger issues.

Q: Is there any fracture there?

A: In the playoffs, we aren’€™t allowed to reveal what is going on so I’€™ll tell you what I have is a lower body injury.

Q: Did you consider wearing a visor?

A: Back in 1993 I took it off when I was in college and I vowed I would never wear it again. I wore it for two months but I can’€™t stand it. It’€™s just the way you’€™ve been and you’€™re not willing to change.

Q: To what extent will injuries affect you guys?

A: I think it goes with the game; it’€™s a badge of honor. You expect to get injured. If you’€™re not getting injured in a distorted way it means you’€™re not getting into the corners and getting dirty. That’€™s more or less the mantra of this team. Zdeno, just by nature. He’€™s not a guy who shies away from contact. He’€™s naturally going to have it happen. It’€™s a war of attrition out there with us and that’€™s where your medical staff comes into play.

Q: Was going up 2-0 in Game 6 both a blessing and a curse?

A: For us, getting up 2-0, it quelled the crowd. They’€™re now sitting down. But on the other hand, it’€™s tough as a road team to go into an opponent’€™s building and not sit back and protect. Something about it is human nature to try and sit back and protect and I don’€™t know why it is. You have to fight it. Shift by shift on the bench, players talking to each other insuring that something’€™s got to change. If someone told me I was going to have a 2-0 lead in Carolina, I would’€™ve taken the drink out of his hand.

Q: Any reasonable explanation as to why Walker did not get suspended?

A: Have I gotten reasonable explanation? No. My inkling is that sometimes it’€™s out of convenience, fellas. If you don’€™t want to do anything about it, then you can find a reasonable explanation and just accept it. I try not to be sour grapes. My biggest retribution of this whole situation is to shake someone’€™s hand and tell them, ‘€œHave a good summer.’€ I would love to shake hands and know that I’€™m going to go on and play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the near future. We were able to exercise the way we wanted to play in that game and it was frustrating for them.

Q: He implied in his statement that there was some exchange between you two.

A: It was kind of an intimidating experience to stand there in front of 70 media members and tell them that it’€™s a joke. I called the media sheep because if you can look at that video and see anything that I said, the only thing I did with Walker was to brush off his punch with my left arm. How I became the instigator or the symbolic idiot in this situation baffles me. I represent everything that has gone wrong in this series for the ‘€˜Canes. We’€™re a pretty gritty team. It is a complete joke.

I said nothing, he knows I said nothing, management knows I said nothing. If this happened to Sidney Crosby or someone of high value, I’€™m a plumber in this whole situation, it’€™s easier to sweep it under the rug.

Q: Blowout or close game tonight?

A: My Game 7 experiences usually get out of hand. I think someone forgot to tell Washington yesterday that the game was going on. Ovechkin was baffled and that guy can only carry the team so far.

Q: What went wrong in the second and third game for you guys?

A: It’€™s the playoffs. Nothing went wrong. It’€™s the playoffs. That’€™s why they make it a seven-game series. It is truly a war of wits amongst the coaches, players playing the system properly, we couldn’€™t find our momentum and now we’€™ve found it.

Marc Savard still on track to play in Game 7

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Bruins coach Claude Julien reiterated this morning that Marc Savard is expected to suit up and play in Game 7 on Thursday night after suffering a knee-on-knee hit from Chad LaRose during the third period of Game 6. The center was helped off the ice following the hit and took a quick shift before retiring to the dressing room for the remainder of the game.

In the Cloak and Dagger world of Stanley Cup playoff injuries, I’ll remain skeptical that there still may be some uncertainty whether the B’s All-Star can play at 100 percent effectiveness on Thursday night – but the B’s coaching staff is sending the same message that there’s no question about Savard’s availability.

”Same as last night,” said Julien. ”I don’t anticipate any reason he couldn’t play.

”I know it’s Chad LaRose, and everyone would like to think it was dirty, but it wasn’t. It was a collision, and there is nothing more to say than it was two guys colliding.”

–The team worked out off the ice, but rehabbing forward Marco Sturm was the only skater going through on-ice workouts.