Archive for October, 2011

Brad Marchand on M&M: ‘We’ve got to get on a roll’

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Brad Marchand

Bruins forward Brad Marchand checked in for his weekly chat with Mut & Merloni Wednesday afternoon. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

The Bruins are 3-5-0 and next host the 1-5-2 Canadiens Thursday night in the first game of a home-and-home series. Despite the team’s losing records, Marchand said he expects the rivalry to resume in style.

“These [games] are a lot of fun and the crowd loves them,” he said. “They’re fun games to be in. We’re excited for them. … We struggled against them last year a bit, so we do have to be better against them this year.”

Marchand said the Bruins are focused on making immediate improvement, with the goal of being among the top eight in the East a month from now.

“We talked about this last year: Usually by Thanksgiving, the teams that are in playoff position usually make the playoffs,” he said. “So, when it comes to that point, we want to make sure we’re in a playoff position. We’ve got to get on a roll if we’re going to do that. Tomorrow night’s a great way to start that.”

The Canadiens have a habit of embellishing to draw penalties, but Marchand wouldn’t take the bait when asked about that behavior. “That happens sometimes,” he said. “Not much you can really do but, I guess, worry about it after the fact.”

Bruins make one more tweak to lines

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
WILMINGTON — The Bruins returned to practice Wednesday as they continue to make preparations for a home-and-home with the Canadiens Thursday and Saturday.

Claude Julien has made one more tweak to the lines, flip-flopping wings Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley. The move reunites Peverley with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, and teams Horton back with David Krejci. The lines are now as follows:

Milan Lucic – Chris Kelly – Tyler Seguin
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Rich Peverley
Benoit Pouliot – David Krejci – Nathan Horton
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara – Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg – Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference – Adam McQuaid/Steven Kampfer

- Meanwhile, over in Montreal, Max Pacioretty (wrist) took the ice for the Canadiens’ morning skate (hope you’re up on your French) Wednesday. Pacioretty is expected to miss some time with the injury, so it remains to be seen whether he could potentially play against the B’s Saturday in Montreal.

Should Tuukka Rask be playing more?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

An interesting point was raised regarding Bruins goaltending during Peter Chiarelli‘s conference call with the media Tuesday. Remember when the Bruins said their intention was to play Tuukka Rask more than last season, especially early on?

Rask has started just two games this season, allowing one goal to Avalanche in the B’s 1-0 loss in the third game of the season, and allowing four goals last Tuesday against the Hurricanes. As was the case last season, Tim Thomas has been the No. 1 guy by a large margin as far as starts goes.

“In fairness to Tuukka, he probably should have gotten another start here or there, but you see Tim, how he’s playing, and you want him to recapture some of the stuff that he had last year,” Chiarelli said. “… What I see and observe is we’ve had had discussions on the goaltender situation. I think in the end you’ll see it go into line with what he originally put out there.”

The upcoming home-and-home with the Canadiens should be interesting when it comes to splitting up goaltending duties, should they go in that direction. If Rask starts Thursday and Thomas starts Saturday, Thomas will have gone a week without playing. Rask has gone a week since his last start as it is, and his last game in Montreal wasn’t pretty for anyone, perhaps with the exception of Lars Eller.

Rask started 27 games last season, posting an 11-14-2 record, 2.67 goals against average, and .918 save percentage. Thomas started the rest of the games, going 35-11-9 in his second Vezina-winning season. He had a 2.00 GAA set the NHL single-season record with a .938 save percentage.

Peter Chiarelli: Bruins are seeing some form of Stanley Cup hangover

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

It’s the oldest cliche in the book, but one that it seems is worth believing.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a conference call Tuesday that he believes the Bruins’ 3-5-0 start is, on some level, the team suffering from a Stanley Cup hangover. The defending champs have failed to capitalize on scoring chances, and have scored as many goals as they’ve allowed (19).

“I’ve talked to GMs and coaches and players that have been through this,” Chiarelli said. “They have different stories, but they all say there’s something that happens that you can’t avoid. Malaise is too strong of a word, but it’s just a bit of a cloud right now. I know one team said it took them 20 games before they were back to normal. There’s no easy answer, and I’m not using it as a crutch. It’s something that we expected, and talking to the guys to start the year, we’ve just got to deal with it.”

The Bruins have not played since Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Sharks and will not play again until they host the Canadiens Thursday at TD Garden.

“I’m obviously not happy with where we are in the standings, but this is new to us,” Chiarelli said. “I don’t want to overreact, and unfortunately we have to do it game-by-game.”

Where did Zdeno Chara get the world’s biggest bunny costume?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Stick-tap to NESN’s Naoko Funayama for snapping this picture of the Bruins visiting Children’s Hospital on their off-day Tuesday, and kudos to Zdeno Chara for dressing up as an enormous bunny. If there’s a theme to these costumes, I don’t get it.

Bruins still searching for consistency

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

With the Bruins having another day off Tuesday, they figure to be well-rested and refreshed when they face the Canadiens at TD Garden on Thursday. The contest, the first game of a home-and-home, will be their first game in five days, with ideal result being wins in Boston and Montreal to mark their first two-game winning streak of the season.

Consistency has been a major issue for the Bruins through eight games (3-5-0). Each win has been followed with a loss or two, and the team will need to win both games against Montreal to even be .500 in the month’s first season.

It’s for that reason that, while the time off is good for the Bruins, they’re hungry to return to game action. While this week can provide rest and an opportunity to correct mistakes, Tim Thomas and the B’s are eager to face the Habs and pick up some points.

“I don’t think a break can help you with [consistency],” Thomas said Monday. “That’s got to come when you’re playing. It can help prepare you to get to that level of consistency when you start to play, but you can’t build consistency when you’re not playing a game.”

Three of the Bruins’ five losses have come against teams that currently do not have winning records, while the B’s have allowed as many goals as they’ve scored (19).

“We’re not too far out,” Thomas said. “We’re not getting completely dominated. We’re just making mistakes and not scoring enough. We’re right there, but with this league, every game is a battle. Every game is a very tight game. We had a whole year of tight games last year and a whole playoffs of tight games, for the most part. It’s the same thing this year.”

Bruins-Habs promises to be matchup of teams hoping to change luck

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

The Bruins’ 3-5-0 start to the season has certainly been underwhelming, but their next opponent and biggest rival is in even deeper trouble.

As the B’s await the Canadiens on Thursday, the Habs are still looking for their second win of the season. Montreal has gotten off to a 1-5-2 start to the season, with their latest loss being suffered to the Panthers Monday night at the Bell Centre. Jacob Markstrom made 40 saves for the Panthers, so a solid start from backup goaltender Peter Budaj was wasted by the Habs.

The loss dropped the Habs to 0-3-2 at home. They will host the Flyers on Wednesday as they look to get their first home win of the season.

Though neither team has started the season as well as they’d hoped, the Bruins certainly hope their home-and-home with the Habs on Thursday and Saturday can amp them up enough to start winning again.

“They’re obviously a big rival, and a good team,” Rich Peverley said Monday. “It’s going to be fun to play back-to-back games against them. Playing them in the playoffs, there’s some hostility, but those will be fun games to play in.”