Archive for January, 2013

John Scott on his fight with Shawn Thornton: ‘Last year’s not going to happen this year’

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

After he got the better of Shawn Thornton Thursday night, it’s almost as if Sabres enforcer John Scott, who stands 6-foot-8 and weighs 270 pounds, felt for his fellow ice combatant.

Scott admitted that he and Thornton talked about dropping the gloves pre-game before the fateful bout 2:53 into game.

“I’€™m not going into what we talked about,” Scott said. “We talked and I’€™ll leave that between me and Shawn.”

Scott knew what his job was: take on the toughest guy on the Bruins and send a message that the Sabres were not going to be the punching bag they were last season.

“Well, obviously going into this game there was a lot of hype around what happened last game,” Scott said. “So, I kind of just wanted to set the tone and say, ‘€˜Okay we’€™re here to play’€™. And it happened out that I came out on the fight. And regardless of the outcome I just want to be there for my teammates and let them know I’€™m here to fight, I’€™ve got your back. And last year’€™s not going to happen like [that] this year.”

To send that message, Scott knew what he had to do.

“Yeah, he’€™s obviously one of the tougher guys in the league, and it just happened,” Scott said. “I kind of got the right grip, and kind of had him on the run, and it just happened that way. He will bounce back, he’€™s a tough guy and he’€™ll probably fight me again, and probably do a lot better next time.”

Thornton was handled unlike he’s ever been handled in a fight while wearing a Bruins uniform. He never got a solid shot in. It was Scott doing all the punching, right after right after right to the face and head of Thornton.

“I think it was the one over the top, it might have hit him in the back of the ear and dropped him,” Scott said. “And then yeah, the uppercut didn’€™t help.”

Scott watched Thornton leave the penalty box and head straight for the Bruins dressing room. Thornton never returned.

“I was asking our trainers how he’€™s doing,” he said. “You never want to hurt somebody, I was kind of concerned after the first period we never saw him again. So, I still don’€™t know how he’€™s doing, hopefully he’€™s doing well. You hate to see someone leave the game like that.”

Brad Marchand: ‘Big shot’ Lindy Ruff ‘pretty disrespectful’ for calling late timeout

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Brad Marchand wasn’t amused when Sabres coach Lindy Ruff called a timeout with 14 seconds remaining in a 7-4 Sabres win over the Bruins. Ruff told reporters after the game that the timeout was called because Bruins’ enforcer Lane MacDermid was on the ice against Buffalo’s skill players, but Marchand said he got the sense that Ruff may have been called it to pour salt on the wound of Boston’s loss.

“He wants to be a big shot, and not the best play to do,” Marchand said after the game. “Pretty disrespectful. If he wants to be like that, that’s fine. We just have to move on.”

Claude Julien was more diplomatic in addressing the timeout, though he insisted that the Bruins didn’t give Ruff any reason to call it.

“I don’t know why he took it,” Julien said. “I really don’t know, but he’s entitled to it, so I just played along with it. He might have though that something was going to happen, which it wasn’t, but that’s probably for him to answer. I don’t know.”

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Sabres hand Bruins first regulation loss of season

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

The Bruins suffered their first regulation loss of the season Thursday, dropping a 7-4 contest to the Sabres at TD Garden in a game that stopped a four-game skid for Buffalo.

The teams skated to a scoreless first period thats most only notable action came when John Scott pulverized Shawn Thornton in a short-lived fight that knocked Thornton out of the game, but a combined six goals in the second period opened things up quite a bit.

Though the Sabres jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Thomas Vanek‘s first goal of a hat trick performance, the B’s answered back with Rich Peverley‘s first of the year and a pair of goals from Brad Marchand. Vanek and Tyler Ennis then scored to make it 3-3 heading into the third, and though David Krejci gave the B’s the lead 1:45 in, three unanswered goals from Alexander Sulzer, Cody Hodgson and Vanek put the game out of reach in Buffalo’s favor. Jason Pominville added an empty-netter with 13.6 seconds remaining.

The B’s, now 5-1-1 on the season, will return to action Saturday night in Toronto.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- It did not look good for Thornton, who was dropped in such quick fashion that enforcers throughout the league will have to think three or four times before fighting the 6-foot-8, 270-pound Scott.

- Overall it was a defensively sloppy performance for the Bruins once the Sabres mounted their comeback in the second period. Zdeno Chara was on the ice for three of opponent’s goals, which is something you don’t see every day.

- For the third time in seven games, the Bruins’ penalty kill had to deal with a 5-on-3, but Thursday’s was for a full-two minutes, as Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara went off for boarding and holding, respectively, as 15:45 of the second period. The Sabres cashed in, with Vanek scoring his second goal of the game. The goal made it the second straight game in which the Bruins have allowed a power play goal.

- The Bruins negated half of a Tyler Myers double-minor for high sticking with the Bruins trailing by a goal in the third when Dennis Seidenberg took a tripping penalty about a minute into the power play. The B’s failed to capitalize on the two total minutes they did get on the man advantage and went 0-for-4 on the power play for the night.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR BRUINS

- Because of everything else he brings to the table between his two-way play and his mouth, Marchand’s actual skill level can go unnoticed. The Sabres noticed it a bit too late on the 24-year-old’s first goal, as he took a pass from Patrice Bergeron at the blue line, went around Tyler Myers and executed a toe drag across the front of the net that took both Jordan Leopold and Ryan Miller across in unison before flipping it into the net. Marchand now has a team-high five goals on the season.

- Though he still has yet to score a real goal this season (he does have an empty-netter to his name), Tyler Seguin had his strongest performance of the early campaign. He had scoring chances on which he failed to capitalize (missing the net in the first period on a feed from Marchand and getting stopped in the second period after batting down a Gregory Campbell shot), but Seguin did more of the little things that have often been missing from his game. Most notably, Seguin battled in front of the net with two bigger defenders in order to create enough havoc for Marchand to fire his second goal of the game past Miller.

- Speaking of skill, David Krejci’s success this season continued, as he showed fantastic patience in delaying to take a sliding Leopold out of the picture to allow him to beat Miller stick-side from the right circle. It was Krejci’s second goal of the season, but he has been a very easy candidate for the team’s best offensive player through seven games. Both Krejci and Nathan Horton now have five-game point streaks.

- Peverley’s goal was long overdue not only for him, but for Chris Kelly‘s line as a whole. The goal, which came as a result of some hard work in front from Daniel Paille before Peverley controlled the puck in the high slot and fired a quick shot past Miller.

Wild and wooly: Sabres hand Bruins first regulation defeat

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Thomas Vanek scored a hat trick and Ryan Miller stopped 38 of 42 shots on the night as the Sabres handed the Bruins their first regulation loss of the season, 7-4, Thursday night at TD Garden. The Bruins were denied matching their best seven-game start in franchise history and fell to 5-1-1 on the season. Vanek now has 54 points in 46 career games against Boston.

The only significant action of the first period was a fight 2:53 into the game that had John Scott taking down Shawn Thornton in stunningly fast fashion with several rights to the face and head of the Bruins enforcer. Both men served their fighting majors and then Thornton headed immediately down the Boston tunnel to the dressing room and did not return. The Bruins did not reveal the nature of the injury before announcing early in the second period that he would not return.

After a scoreless first period, the two teams combined for six goals in the second, with the division rivals splitting the difference for a 3-3 score after 40 minutes. The Sabres took the first lead of the game when Vanek one-timed a shot past Tuukka Rask 1:38 into the second.

The Bruins then answered with a dominating 10-minute stretch. Rich Peverley scored his first on a Daniel Paille rebound from the edge of the right circle at 5:12 to tie the game. Brad Marchand then scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season just 3:11 apart, putting Boston up, 3-1 and capping a three-goal flurry in five minutes, 42 seconds.

But the game turned on two Bruins penalties called simultaneously as Milan Lucic was whistled for boarding and Zdeno Chara was called for holding, giving Buffalo a 5-on-3 power play for a full two minutes. The Bruins controlled the kill early but Vanek scored his second of the night and fifth of the season 60 seconds into the power play, making it 3-2. The Bruins killed off the final 60 seconds with Lucic still in the box. But the Sabres used the power play for valuable momentum, earning the equalizer when Tyler Ennis was left all alone on the right post in front of Rask. Vanek fed a perfect pass across the slot and Ennis didn’t miss. (more…)

Shawn Thornton knocked out of game after losing fight to John Scott

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Shawn Thornton will not return to Thursday’s game after suffering a beating at the hands of Sabres enforcer John Scott.

The 6-foot-8 Scott and 6-foot-2 Thornton squared off at the Sabres blue line just three minutes in the game. Before Thornton could get himself free to throw punches, Scott delivered no fewer than five rights to the head and neck area of the Bruins enforcer. Thornton and Scott went to the penalty box to serve their fighting majors.

The fight did not come as a surprise as the game was billed as a physical contest coming in, with several physical tussles expected between the Bruins and the Sabres, who were trying to make a point in the Northeast Division. Anticipating the fisticuffs, the Bruins scratched healthy players Aaron Johnson and Chris Bourque, activating Lane MacDermid.

Once the penalties expired, Thornton went immediately down the Bruins tunnel and into the dressing room and did not return. The Bruins announced at the start of the second period that he would not be returning but did not specify the nature of his injury.

The fight had no impact on the scoreboard as the two teams skated to a scoreless first period. The Bruins actually fell behind 1-0 early in the second before awakening with three goals in a span of 5:42, including back-to-back goals from Brad Marchand in a span 3:11.

For more, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.

Under the Boston microscope, Chris Bourque still seeking results

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

There haven’t been many changes to the Bruins’ lineup, so Chris Bourque hasn’t exactly been able to slide in under the radar.

Yes, he joined the Bruins this offseason with everyone knowing that he was the son of Bruins legend Ray Bourque, but he also came in with people knowing he wasn’t able to stick on other NHL rosters, so he had something to prove. With that comes pressure. With a slow start to his Boston career came more pressure, and it’s been easy for fans to be down on the 27-year-old.

With Jordan Caron working his way back from a shoulder injury and a mediocre performance in the AHL, Bourque was handed the left wing spot on Chris Kelly‘s line, as well as a job on the Bruins’ second power-play configuration. He’s also been given a shot in each of the Bruins’ shootouts this season, but through six games he has gone pointless with a minus-4 rating and an 0-for-2 showing in shootouts.

Though the team has yet to lose a game in regulation, Bourque has felt the burden of a slow start, and it led to the team making him a healthy scratch in favor of Lane MacDermid for Thursday night’s game against the Sabres.

“I obviously put a lot of pressure on myself, especially to produce,” Bourque said after Thursday’s morning skate. “When you don’t produce, you feel like you’re not helping the team win, but we’ve been winning. We haven’t lost a game yet, so I can’t complain too much. Like I said, obviously I want to contribute and help the team win, so if that’s by getting points or just doing little things, that’s what I’m trying to focus on.”

Kelly himself didn’t score in his first 20 games for the Bruins after being acquired prior to the 2011 trade deadline, totaling just two assists in the process. He gets the sense that a lot of the pressure that Bourque is feeling will go away when he finally buries one.

“I’ve been in his shoes before, where you want to come in, you want to play the perfect game defensively, yet you’ve got to add some offense to kind of get noticed,” Kelly said. “I think Chris has done a great job and helped our line. He’s just a little unlucky here or there, but those bounces will eventually go in.”

In 39 career NHL games, Bourque has one goal and three assists for 13 points. He’s bounced around since playing at Boston University for a season, as he’s played in the Washington and Pittsburgh organizations while also spending time in the KHL and Swiss League. His skill set is apparent, as it wasn’t just his name that made him the 33rd overall pick in the 2004 draft, but the production hasn’t been yet.

“I think he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself right now, and it’s certainly not the Chris we know,” Claude Julien said Thursday. “I’ve seen him enough to know he’s a really skater, he’s a really good playmaker, but I think right now he’s putting way too much pressure on himself. Hopefully we can help him through that. Once he takes that extra weight off his shoulders, you’re going to see a player that can certainly be a much more efficient player than he’s shown so far.”

Time will tell whether Bourque’s stay in the press box is prolonged. The Sabres have more fighters in their lineup than previous seasons thanks to the additions of John Scott and Steve Ott, so perhaps the Bruins simply wanted to add another fighter (MacDermid had seven fights in Providence this season) for Thursday. Either way, the value of Bourque hasn’t been lost on Kelly, who said Bourque has been a good addition to a line that just hasn’t been able to score yet this season.

“He gets in on the forecheck, he makes good plays in the breakout,” Kelly said of Bourque. “He’s in the right spot offensively and defensively. You get one of those bounces and you guys aren’t talking to us, we’re blending in.”

Chris Bourque a healthy scratch vs. Sabres

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

After a challenging start to his Bruins career, Chris Bourque will be made a healthy scratch Thursday night against the Sabres, Claude Julien confirmed after the team’s morning skate.

Bourque, who has no points and a minus-4 rating through six games, stayed out later than his teammates in the skate, which is often a sign that a player won’t be in that night’s lineup. Tough guy Lane MacDermid will be inserted into the lineup on the fourth line, while Daniel Paille will move up to take Bourque’s spot on Chris Kelly‘s line.

“Chris spent a little extra time on the ice, and he’s a player that we’re going to sit out tonight,” Julien said Thursday. “I had a good talk with Chris this morning. I think he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself right now, and it’s certainly not the Chris we know. I’ve seen him enough to know he’s a really skater, he’s a really good playmaker, but I think right now he’s putting way too much pressure on himself. Hopefully we can help him through that. Once he takes that extra weight off his shoulders, you’re going to see a player that can certainly be a much more efficient player than he’s shown so far.”

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.