Archive for December, 2010

Mike Milbury on D&H: Bruins ‘need some passion’

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show to give his opinions about the Bruins and the NHL. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Asked if the Bruins might consider a change behind the bench, Milbury said it’s too early for Claude Julien‘s job to be in jeopardy. “I don’t think so, no,” he said. “This team has shown remarkable resiliency. When they get down, you think that the wheels are falling of the wagon, they pull it together. And I think they’ll pull it together for Claude again.”

Added Milbury: “They need to loosen the screws a little bit offensively. Go after it, make some mistakes, try some things, do some things differently. Do I think they’re ready to knock on Claude Julien’s door? Absolutely not. I don’t think that’s a consideration right now. Tell me 10 games from now when they’ve won one, and it’s a different story.”

Milbury said there are plenty of other people who need to answer the critics before the coach. “[Marc] Savard hasn’t quite hit the plateau that he wants to be at,” he said. “[Patrice] Bergeron has not had a great year offensively. [Milan] Lucic is not doing what he’s supposed to do in terms of being an explosive chemistry set ‘€” just get in there and create some mayhem. That’s important to that team, and it’s been lacking. I’m on [Blake] Wheeler and [Michael] Ryder all the time for that. These are pretty smart players and gifted players. But the games needs passion. And the Bruins more than anything right now need some passion.”

Milbury said there are individuals showing that passion, but the team’s marquee players need to step it up. “The guy that leads the most for me in terms of effort is Shawn Thornton,” he said. “And he does it on a regular basis. He’s a really important part of this team. [Zdeno] Chara needs to pick it up physically. Just because he’s playing 30 minutes [a game], it doesn’t mean he can’t whack and bang and play with some sort of Kevin Garnett-like attitude once in a while ‘€” more in-your-face. All these guys. Savard, when he’s playing well, he’s a bouncy, in-your-face guy. Bergeron in his own quiet way will get there and be in the way and get in the way.

“I don’t know what’s ailing them, but I’m not going to pin it on young guys/old guys, I’m going to pin it on the team and the coach, that somehow have got to refocus their priorities ‘€” not to forget about defense, but to make sure they know that the way they’re going to score goals is causing turnovers. And doing that means ‘€” dammit, there’s not a better word than hustle.”

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Brad Marchand ‘questionable’ vs. Thrashers

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

WILMINGTON — Brad Marchand was once again missing from the Bruins’ practice at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday. Following the skate, coach Claude Julien said the forward is “questionable” for Thursday night’s tilt against the Thrashers at TD Garden.

Marchand has been out since leaving Saturday’s game against the Capitals late in the second period. The team has not disclosed what the injury is, but Julien has said that it stemmed from a hit he took in that game. Daniel Paille has skated with the energy line in his absence.

In 31 games this season, Marchand has 12 points (4 G, 8 A) and a plus-5 rating. Three of his four goals have come on the penalty kill.

Peter Chiarelli says Claude Julien’s job is safe

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

WILMINGTON — On Wednesday, Bruins coach Claude Julien addressed the swirling speculation over whether his job in Boston is safe. Fans have called for the team to fire him, while media outlets have also raised the question of whether a coaching change could be in the works.

“I don’t let that get to me. I come in, I’m going to coach the same way, and I’m going to do what I do the best I can,” Julien said after the team’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. “It’s as simple as that.

“It is what it is. Honestly, I just went out there today and yesterday very positive with the players and doing my job just like I would any other day. I hear what’s going out there, but certainly not listening or reading, because that’s certainly not helpful for me.”

Julien was given a vote of confidence by general manager Peter Chiarelli on Wednesday. Despite the team’s recent struggles, Chiarelli said “yes” when asked on CBS Radio Boston if he would say “unequivocally that Claude Julien’s job is not in danger.”

Chiarelli said such a decision ultimately would have to be made by a group of front office members, but that he feels the team is better off with Julien than without him.

“That’s my preference and that’s my recommendation,” Chiarelli said. “This is a collective thing that we do on these matters. But I have full confidence in Claude and the staff to figure it out.”

While he’s glad the organization has his back, Julien said that he isn’t going to let anything he sees or hears change the way he goes about his business.

“You always appreciate support. That’s important, but right now my job is coaching this hockey club. Whatever is being said out there and however it goes is out of my control,” Julien said. “I come in here every day with the same intentions and that’s to coach this hockey club and make them as successful as I can.”

Julien is in his fourth season as head coach of the Bruins. He has led the team to three straight playoff appearances, including two trips to the second round. This season, the B’s are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 38 points, though they trail the Canadiens by two points for the Northeast division lead.

Brad Marchand remains missing from Bruins practice

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

WILMINGTON — After a high-energy practice on Tuesday, the Bruins rolled out the same revamped lines at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday. Brad Marchand (undisclosed injury) remains out for the B’s. The injury stems from a hit he took Saturday against Washington. Here are the forward lines:

Lucic ‘€“ Savard ‘€“ Horton

Recchi – Bergeron ‘€“ Seguin

Wheeler ‘€“ Krejci ‘€“ Ryder

Paille ‘€“ Campbell ‘€“ Thornton

Fans who hopped glass banned from Garden

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

The two fans who jumped on the ice during Saturday’s Bruins game against the Capitals have been ordered to stay away from TD Garden, according to the Associated Press.

New Hampshire residents John Parker, 20, and his brother Matt, 17, were believed to be drunk when they hopped over the glass and ran on the ice during a stoppage in play during the 3-2 Bruins win. After a very brief delay, they were escorted from the ice. The two Bow natives pled not guilty disturbing a public assembly.

Claude Julien: Bruins need to contribute to Boston’s winning reputation

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

WILMINGTON — In addressing the Bruins’ recent woes, coach Claude Julien brought up the fans’ disappointment in the team, noting that given the recent championships of the area’s other sports teams, it’s up to the Bruins to add to Boston’s reputation.

“There’s expectations here from outside, the fans and the people,” Julien said. “There’s a lot of winning going around in this city, and if you want to be part of it, you have to show up and play hard every night.

“I think what the players realize is that people here expect their teams to win. They’re used to it, and you try to give them what they want. At the end of the day, that’s what you want to be. Not just for the fans, but you want to be that yourself.”

The Bruins have lost four of their last five. They will take on the Thrashers Thursday at TD Garden.

Milan Lucic: With fans ‘calling for blood,’ players must execute

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

WILMINGTON — The Bruins, losers of four of their last five games, find themselves searching for answers as they try to find a balance of both consistency and emotion. After Monday’s 3-0 loss to the Ducks showcased a glaringly lethargic team, the B’s find themselves in an unflattering light around town. Fans are questioning coach Claude Julien, while the lack of a full team effort has resulted in expected media scrutiny. Amidst all the negativity, forward Milan Lucic said the guys on the ice are the ones who ultimately have to produce if they want to right the ship.

“Everyone’s calling for blood, the media’s writing negative stuff about us, but we’ve got to have each other’s back and stick up for one another, and it’s all going to start from in here,” Lucic told WEEI.com Tuesday. “It’s got to be a team effort where all 20 guys are committed to putting in the work.”

Lucic said the team is aware of their struggles and that the effort is there to get the team in the right frame of mind come game time, but that there comes a point at which trying isn’t good enough.

“We try to do things to rally one another and pump each other up before the game. We’re saying the right things, it’s just a matter of going out there and doing them. That’s the main thing right now. Talk is cheap. You’ve got to go out there and do it.”

The 22-year-old leads the Bruins with 16 goals this season, but with the team struggling as badly as it has been, each of the top three lines saw major shakeups. Lucic, who had played with Nathan Horton and either David Krejci or Patrice Bergeron all season, will now skate with Horton and Marc Savard.

“I’ve played with Savvy before, and Savvy’s obviously excited to play with Horton for the first time here,” Lucic said, while adding that “we’ll see what happens next game.”

“Hopefully we can create some chances and get some results.”

The Bruins need the latter more than anything right now.