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Andy Brickley on D&C: Thursday’s game more helpful to Bruins than damaging to Canadiens

03.25.11 at 10:00 am ET
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Andy Brickley

NESN analyst Andy Brickley appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about the Bruins’ 7-0 thrashing of the Canadiens on Thursday night. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The hosts suggested that the game was only a Shawn Thornton fight short of perfection.

“I’m not sure that Shawn would ever have a dancing partner on that team,” Brickley said. “I know that Ryan White did a pretty good job on Johnny Boychuk when we were up in Montreal, but outside of him and maybe Travis Moen, I don’t think there’s really anybody on that roster that’s in Shawn Thornton’s league. So that was not going to happen.”

Of course, there was an expectation of fisticuffs given Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty in the teams’ last meeting and Mark Recchi’s suggestion that Montreal embellished the severity of Pacioretty’s concussion.

“I was just curious to see if Montreal would alter their game plan at all, relative to the way they play, if somebody was going to try and get in Chara’s face early in the game,” Brickley said. “When I didn’t see that happen, I was pleased to see that it was just going to be a hockey game. I loved the way the Bruins responded and played their game.”

Recchi said after the game that he made his controversial comments in an attempt to take some pressure off Chara. Brickley said he thought that showed leadership on Recchi’s part and he thought there was some truth to what he said.

“That carries a lot of weight when it comes from a guy like Mark Recchi who’s been around a long time and is so well respected in the league,” he said. “But there is an element of truth to what he said, too. I think what he said, because it was inflammatory or whatever you want to describe it as, it takes the attention away from Zdeno Chara and he takes it on his shoulders, Mark Recchi. But I think what he said was true. I think a lot of players in that locker room and across the league feel that way.

“Because the Bruins have a hands-on experience with Marc Savard, with Patrice Bergeron, they know just from observation what a severe concussion is. And the evidence suggests that this is not severe when you see the reports that Pacioretty was up and around and feeling good. It just leaves questions, and I think that’s what Mark Recchi was saying. And I think he speaks the truth.”Brickley clarified that Recchi wasn’t suggesting Pacioretty wasn’t injured. A fractured vertebra is still a fractured vertebra.

“And I don’t think he was putting it on Pacioretty,” Brickley added. “I think he was putting it on the organization and their tendency to embellish. Pacioretty got hurt earlier this year and the report immediately was broken and/or cracked ribs, out for a month. And he played the next game. So this is not unchartered water for the Montreal media and organization.”

Brickley said he was surprised the Canadiens played so poorly, but he also offered up a possible explanation for it.

“That was sad to see if you’re a Montreal Canadiens fan,” he said. “I think going into that game, the Montreal media and maybe the Montreal organization really were on an island when it came to how you viewed the whole Chara-Pacioretty situation. I don’t think the players in the locker room, talking about the Canadiens now, and I’m just basing this on an educated guess, thought the league got it totally wrong. I think because they have that frame of mind, you got what you got last night.”

The guys asked Brickley if Thursday’s game was more helpful for the Bruins or more damaging for the Canadiens. “More helpful to the Boston Bruins,” Brickley said. “The Bruins have been the top team in the division for some time now. Montreal’s done a terrific job of hanging in there given their injury situation, particularly on the blue line. They just wouldn’t go away. If this game went Montreal’s way, that would’ve been a 1-5 record for Boston in the season series and then losing grip on first place in the division.

“If those teams would’ve flip-flopped, I think it would’ve been really damaging to the Bruins’ psyche going into the final games of the regular season, knowing that they might see each other in the playoffs. Boston needed to win this game, I felt, more than Montreal, even though Montreal is trying to overtake Boston. This meant more to Boston, not only win the win, but how they won and how dominant they were. It was huge for the Bruins. Montreal can just say, ‘Hey, it wasn’t our night.’ ”

Read More: Andy Brickley, Mark Recchi, Max Pacioretty, Zdeno Chara
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