Archive for February, 2011

Shawn Thornton on D&H: Tomas Kaberle ‘one of the best defensemen in the league’

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, while on his way to the airport for the Bruins’ road trip that starts with a game Tuesday in Calgary, checked in with the Dale & Holley show Monday and talked about the team’s recent roster changes. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Asked if there was any tension around the team last week, Thornton acknowledged that there was. “There always is this time of year,” he said. “The media obviously reports it. I think it gets worse these days, with ‘€”I’m not bad-mouthing anybody, but ‘€” countless blogs and stuff that nobody really has to [be accountable]. You can just throw stuff against the wall and hope it sticks. There’s a lot of names being thrown around nowadays. I think everybody’s hoping that they get one right. So, yeah, there’s a little bit of tension. I think the best thing to do is not try to pay too much attention to it.”

Thornton had high praise for new Bruins Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. “I’ve known Tomas for a long time,” he said. “We were in the minors together for a little bit, actually. The way he moves the puck and the way he sees the ice when he has the puck ‘€” even without it ‘€” he’s such a smart player. He’s one of the best defensemen in the league, and I think we’re very, very fortunate to have him.”

Of Kelly, Thornton said: “He can skate, he can shoot, he competes really hard. I think he’s a good pickup for us.”

Thornton said the adjustment period for the new Bruins shouldn’t be long, especially considering their age and the fact that Peverley comes from Atlanta, where first-year Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay is using a style similar to the one used when Ramsay was an assistant in Boston the past three seasons. “I think it should be pretty seamless, being that they’re older guys,” Thornton said. “Kelly, Peverly, Kaberle ‘€” they’ve all been around the league a bunch. ‘€¦ The fact that Kelly’s been in the league for six, seven years makes it a little easier than being maybe 20 or 21.”

Bruins goalie Tim Thomas challenged Canadiens netminder Carey Price to a fight when the teams met in Boston earlier this month. While it didn’t go so well for Thomas, Thornton was impressed with the effort and strategy. “His game plan was pretty good for a guy fighting somebody a lot bigger,” Thornton said. “I’ve actually used his game plan before. But when you miss your grab on the way in, sometimes it goes all out the window. And it did for him. But you know what? He did a good job. He protected himself well.

“He’ll be the first to tell you it wasn’t much of a fight. But that was the loudest I’ve heard the Garden I think in a long time, when those two squared off. It was pretty fun.”

The cult-hero appeal of Rich Peverley

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

WILMINGTON — Many are excited to see what newly acquired Bruins forward Rich Peverley brings to the Bruins on the ice, but what they may not know is that the once undrafted free agent was a bit of a cult hero in Atlanta.

Fans in Atlanta dressed in overalls (and the one in this video even furthered his game of dress-up) to support the 28-year-old, referring to themselves as the “Peverley Hillbillies.” Check out the video below (courtesy of the Thrashers’ official website) for a better look.

As for whether the guy featured in this video could potentially follow Peverley to Boston, the forward laughed.

“No,” he said. “I don’t think so.”

Looks like Bruins die-hards may have a new task.

How is Adam McQuaid going to keep track of his nicknames?

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

WILMINGTON — Remember the days when Adam McQuaid was “Adam McQuaid?” The defenseman has done some big things this season, proving himself a reliable enough blueliner to make Mark Stuart a healthy scratch for eight straight games and eventually expendable in a trade.

Yet for “‘Quaider,” as he’s more commonly known around the dressing room, he’s picked up more than experience and fighting majors this season. Matt Kalman of the Bruins Blog recently slapped him with the nickname “Lone Wolf” based on the Chuck Norris film “Lone Wolf McQuade,” but fellow defenseman Andrew Ference really upped the ante on Sunday. Here’s a picture that Bruins.com jack-of-all-trades John Bishop snapped Sunday of Ference’s new t-shirt.

Ference, who walked through the Bruins’ dressing room donning the tee, said that this was more than a light-hearted iron-on effort. He went online to customize the shirt.

“It’s high quality, huh?” Ference said with a laugh when asked about the effort put into making the shirt a reality.

McQuaid found the t-shirt amusing as well. He admitted he doesn’t quite know how he’ll keep up with all the nicknames, let alone suddenly becoming a brand name.

Rich Peverley: ‘I want to get better’

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Newly acquired Bruins forward Rich Peverley put on a Bruins sweater for the first time Sunday as he practiced with his teammates at Ristuccia Arena. After the skate, he reflected on the trade.

“It was a bit of a surprise, but [Thrashers coach] Craig Ramsey told me this was a team that has a chance to win,” Peverley said. “It’s a big thrill to be a part of a really historic organization and come into a team that has a chance to go pretty far in the playoffs.”

Coach Claude Julien said after practice that he will try the 28-year-old at wing on a line centered by Chris Kelly with Michael Ryder on the other wing. Peverley said he is more comfortable at center, but that he has no problem playing anywhere.

“That’s for the coach to decide. I could play either or,” Peverley said. “I’ve been playing center most of my career. I can play the wing, it’s not a problem. I played it in Nashville and Atlanta. Wherever he wants me to fit in, I’ll try to do that. There’s a lot of good offensive players here with tremendous talent, so I’m just going to try to work and create some chemistry with somebody.”

Peverley had 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points with Atlanta prior to the trade. With the way he spoke of his season to this point, he figures to hold higher hopes for his days in Boston.

“I was OK,” he said. “To be honest, it was kind of an up and down year. I wasn’t too pleased with my overall production on both ends of the rink. I was kind of hoping that the team would do a little bit better, but I’ve moved on and I’m glad to be here now.

“You always want to get better. You never want to cap yourself or put a ceiling [on your production]. I want to get better, and I’m looking at this as an opportunity to get better. Hopefully I can build on past years.”

Peverley wore No. 47 in Atlanta, but will wear No. 49 with the Bruins. He said he did not approach Steven Kampfer about the rookie potentially giving him his number.

“I’m not going to try to steal any numbers from anybody,” Peverley said. “I’m the new guy coming in. I just want to fit in.”

Sunday scrimmage for Bruins

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

WILMINGTON — Tomas Kaberle isn’t in town, but those packing the stands at Ristuccia in Wilmington get to see Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley for the first time. While that’s all fine and dandy, the real question of how these lines will shake out remains unanswered. Rather than wearing their traditional color-coded practice sweaters to indicate lines, the B’s wore black and white uniforms for a skate that included a scrimmage.

Unfortunately the scrimmage was of 4-on-4 variety, so the lines for the B’s with Peverley in the mix remain unknown. Check back for more following practice.

Brian Burke clears up ‘misinformation’ in post-trade presser

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Great stuff from Brian Burke‘s presser on Friday. The Maple Leafs general manager went out of his way to clear up what he called “misinformation” this week surrounding the dealings between he and Tomas Kaberle‘s camp. Here’s what he had to say (video below):

“The player did not want to leave. I want to be clear on that. He asked for an extension several times, and I didn’t feel we were in a position to meet what I thought his demands would be. I said to him, ‘You’ve got to work with us to get something if you want to, and if not we’ll go from there.’

“He came back and he said that he would like us to start with the Boston Bruins. I said, ‘OK, that makes sense. We’ll try to get [Kaberle] there, but we’re not accepting a one team list from any agent or any player. We set our price, which was a first-round pick and a prospect off our list, not their list. I said, ‘If Boston meets that, we’ll make the deal, and if they don’t, we want two more teams. And if we [can't make it work with those teams], we want two more teams after that.’”

Here’s Burke talking about his team’s chances of still making the playoffs, and why he didn’t feel it was worth keeping Kaberle if it meant they’d be a No. 8 seed and get their rears kicked in the first round. It’s clearly not something he wants to talk about at length, as the second video shows.

Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask lead Bruins past Senators

Friday, February 18th, 2011

The new-look Bruins didn’t get off to the prettiest of starts, but they finished strong to earn a 4-2 victory over the Senators at Scotiabank Place on Friday night.

Brad Marchand had a pair of goals, while Andrew Ference, Nathan Horton and David Krejci also multi-point performances. Krejci now has 11 points over his last 10 contests. Dennis Seidenberg also scored for the B’s.

Marlborough native and former University of New Hampshire Wildcat Bobby Butler provided the Senators with their first tally, beating Tuukka Rask at 2:50 of the second period for his third goal in three games. Butler’s strike opened the game’s scoring, but Marchand’s goal from Tyler Seguin and Ference pulled the B’s even. After Horton gave them the lead at 9:47 of the third, the B’s never looked back. Alexei Kovalev scored for the Senators with 1:30 remaining in the game.

Rask made 32 saves in the game, improving to 7-11-1 on the season.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Almost unbelievably, Rask has won back-to-back games for the first time all season. The 23-year-old netminder hasn’t really gotten many opportunities to string together much success, but with Claude Julien clearly willing to give him more starts down the stretch, Rask’s performances Thursday and Friday are good for both the confidence of the Finland native and the B’s.

- Friday was about a couple of veterans making their Bruins debuts, but it was the rookies who once again came up big for the B’s. Seguin took a pass from Ference to set up Marchand’s 17th goal of the year, and considering how he’s played the last two nights, it will be hard for the Bruins to scratch the second overall pick when the team returns to action Tuesday in Calgary. With Marchand’s two tallies, he now has 18 on the season.

- On a night in which it appeared Horton may be regressing back to the point where he was back to slumping, the 25-year-old came up big. He entered the night with just one point over his last four games, but he fired a beautiful wrester past Robin Lehner off a nice pass from Krejci at 9:47 of the third. He also drew a holding penalty on holding penalty on Erik Karlsson in the second period, though he went off for holding Milan Michalek at 11:38 of the third.

- The team showed how their power play will be able to operate with Tomas Kaberle, as the newcomer helped orchestrate Seidenberg’s goal. On the night, the B’s power play went 1-for-5.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins came out in the first period like a team that had spent the day selling off assets, and not gaining them. They played with very little energy in the first, getting outshot 12-5. Rask came up big throughout the period, which is the silver lining in a surprisingly flat start by the Bruins.

The Bruins did pick it up after their sluggish period, grabbing a 13-8 advantage in shots in the second period and sustaining that increased energy through the third.

- Johnny Boychuk was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. With Kaberle now in the fold, Boychuk could be the guy that is a regular healthy scratch, with Adam McQuaid and Steven Kampfer also candidates.