Bruins legend Ray Bourque  appeared on the Mut & Merloni show Friday to talk about the NHL ‘s crackdown on hits to the head, rookie Tyler Seguin  and what to expect from the Bruins in the playoffs. To hear the interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page .
Bourque said that not only are hits to the head more noticeable now because of the NHL ‘s crackdown, but also because it seems like there are just more of them. ‘I think some of the stuff has changed,’ Bourque said. ‘You might’ve seen certain hits that were similar in our day, but it seems like there were less head shots.
‘Just flagrant elbows to the head, you’re seeing a lot more it seems like, like [Matt] Cooke a few times that he’s done,’ Bourque continued. ‘I don’t think you used to see that as much. I’m not sure why you’re seeing more of that now, if it’s lack of respect for each other out there or what. I’m happy that they’re really trying to cut it down.’
Bourque also discussed Mark Recchi ‘s comments about the Canadiens embellishing the severity of Max Pacioretty ‘s concussion after Zdeno Chara ‘s hit on him. Bourque said that sometimes it’s necessary for a veteran leader to step up and take some pressure of a teammate.
‘That was a nice veteran move and great leadership in terms of taking a little of the pressure off and moving it on him and bringing some things up for question that were being talked about,’ he said.
The guys asked Bourque about Seguin and some of the challenges he’s facing as a rookie, particularly when it comes to the physical play in the NHL. ‘Well, I think that’s a big part of it, the physical part of the game,’ Bourque said. ‘But also, he’s such a young guy. You’ll look at this kid three years from now, in terms of maturity mentally and physically, he’s going to be in a different place. That’s what he has to gain and he has to grow.
‘And he’s in a different situation than Taylor Hall ,’ Bourque added. ‘Taylor Hall, [the Oilers] can play him all they want. He can make mistakes and they can keep throwing him out there. That’s not the case with the Bruins. The Bruins are going for something here. Every shift is an important one for them.’
Bourque said the key for the Bruins in the playoffs will be consistently playing like they did in Thursday night’s 7-0 win over Montreal. ‘I think just start playing the way they did last night,’ he said. ‘This team, when they have their skating legs underneath them and they go out and skate the way they did last night, they’re a very good team.
‘Some nights, it’s not there. I think it’s consistency going down the stretch and playing that type of game game-in, game-out. The playoffs is totally a new season in terms of the excitement and the expectations.’
Some of the pressure to finally advance past the second round will undoubtedly fall on Chara, the team’s captain. Said Bourque: ‘I think he expects that from himself. I don’t think anybody’s tougher on themselves than Zdeno is. He leads by example big-time.
‘But you don’t do it by yourself. You’ve got to rally the troops, and that leadership and that will has been maturing every year. I think it’s statement time for this team. Within that room, I think that’s what you’ve got to talk about. ‘We’ve got to find a way to get things done here and get to that next round.’ ‘
Bourque said he definitely sees the Bruins as a viable candidate to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup  finals.
‘I think you’re talking Philly, Washington, Bruins and Pittsburgh if [Sidney] Crosby comes back,’ Bourque said. ‘Those are the teams you’ll probably see battling in the end, and the Bruins are really part of that mix. I think they’ve shown that this year in a lot of different areas and at different times of the season, that they can play with anybody. It should be interesting to watch. It’ll be fun.’
The Bruins and Canadiens would meet in the first round if the season ended today. The guys asked Bourque if, as a player, you would want to avoid Montreal in the first round because of everything that’s happened this season.
‘In some ways, I think you may be right that way, but in other ways, the Bruins are a better team than Montreal,’ Bourque said. ‘If they play their game, they shouldn’t lose to that team. It looks like it’s going to shape up that way unless something changes. When you talk about hype and everything that’s happened this year, there will certainly be a lot of things to talk about going into that series.’