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Andy Brickley on D&C: Playoffs ‘time to make strong statements’ about hits to head

06.07.11 at 9:25 am ET

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley called in to the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to talk about the Bruins big 8-1 win over the Canucks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals the night before. The former Boston forward said he enjoyed what he saw Monday night.

“Thoroughly,” he said. “Absolutely loved just about everything about it except for the [Nathan Horton] hit and the result and maybe a little bit of stooping to the Canucks’ level when they started getting into the taunting with the fingers. Other than those two issues, I really enjoyed the game.”

The biggest reason why Brickley thought that the Bruins were able to take Game 3 was that that they were able to control their emotions and turn that energy into putting pucks in the back of the net, especially following the late losses earlier in the series as well as the early loss of Horton on a hit by Aaron Rome in Game 3.

“I liked the Bruins emotional level coming into the game because that was actually my biggest concern coming off the two dramatic losses in the fashion that they lost in Vancouver. Not a lot of turn-around time to recover emotionally from that overtime loss in Game 2. When you couple that with the late loss in regulation of Game 1, I had some concerns in that area. I think the coaching staff did a real good job, the players themselves, the leadership in the room, got themselves ready to play. Not a great first period but they were ready to play. They were going to bring their skating game and then when one of their top players and a guy that really lean on to make big plays and score big goals goes down early enough in the game, it just took the emotional zeale to another level. But they were able to keep enough disicipline until that game got out of hand.”

Part of the emotional pickup came from Shawn Thornton‘s insertion into the lineup, according to Brickley. Although the fourth-line forward was eventually given a game misconduct, the NESN analyst thought that just seeing Thornton getting into uniform helped out the B’s.

“I loved the fact that Shawn Thornton was in the lineup. Again, just the fact that [we asked] ‘Where’s the emotion of this team?’ I think [Claude Julien] had a difficult decision, certainly with public relations on what do I want to do with [Tyler Seguin] if I want to get Thornton into the lineup. That was not an easy decision. I truly believed that he thought his team needed that leadership. Players when they see a guy like Thornton start to get dressed and know that he’s going to play in the game whether he found out prior to or after warmups, it just gives an added lift to your team.”

As far as that hit on Horton, Brickley said he believed the NHL shouldn’t water down any possible punishment on Rome just because he would potentially miss time on the game’s biggest stage.

“This is the type of hit they’re trying to get out of the game,” Brickley said. “These are the times to make strong statements. You can’t just condense a suspension because it’s the postseason. If you truly believe this is a problem – and head injuries and concussions are a major, major problem – then this is when you make your statements.”

Even as Rome prepares to miss some time, it is inevitable that the Bruins will also be without one of their best goal-scorers in Horton, probably for the rest of the series. Still, Brickley thinks that the Bruins were prepared for such a scenario and will be able to weather the storm just fine.

“You go into the postseason, expecting to lose some guys. That’s just the nature of the beast of the postseason. The fact that you play everyday and it’s so physical. You’re going to have some injuries, and some guys are going to go down for an extended period of time. You try to build your team and the way your team plays knowing that, and I think the Bruins will be able to handle the absence of Horton going forward.”

Read More: Aaron Rome, Andy Brickley, Claude Julien, Nathan Horton
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