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Pierre McGuire on M&M: Zdeno Chara’s presence ‘mammoth in a series like this’

NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Monday to preview the Stanley Cup [1] finals between the Bruins and Blackhawks.

The B’s and Blackhawks have a number of similarities, but McGuire said no other team has someone who can compare to Zdeno Chara [2].

“They’re similar in a lot of different respects,” McGuire said. “They’re similar in terms of their star power through the middle. They’re similar in terms of their size and their speed on the wings. They’re similar in terms of veteran experience in goal — or lack thereof. They’re similar in terms of their depth on defense. Chicago’s left defense [Duncan Keith, Johnny Oduya and Nick Leddy] is much faster than Boston’s left defense. That’s a key part of the Chicago team. But nobody outside of Boston has Chara. That is mammoth in a series like this.”

Added McGuire: “Chara’s made a huge impact on these playoffs, as he usually does, and he’s made a huge impact especially in the last series.”

Another similarity is the fact that both teams have an agitator who has some talent: Brad Marchand [3] and Andrew Shaw. Of Shaw, McGuire joked that Bruins fans “are going to learn to love him quick.”

“Like Marchand, Shaw has tremendous offensive skill. ‘€¦ He’s not a guy that’s just a super pest. He’s a player. He’s a real player,” McGuire said. “He’s very similar to Marchand. I don’t know if his top-end skill is as good as Marchand; in fact, I would say it’s not. But his pest factor is as high if not higher. He’s fearless, absolutely fearless. Tremendous player. There’s not a team in the league that wouldn’t want this player.”

Chicago forward Patrick Kane has picked up his game since he was moved to a line with Jonathan Toews, and McGuire said that’s more evidence how good Toews is.

“Kane’s at another level because he’s playing with Toews,” McGuire said. “Kane is really good, don’t get me wrong. Kane is one of the pure finishers in the game today, lethal scorer. But he needs someone to get him the puck. He’s not going to go get the puck very often, he needs somebody to get it for him. And the guy that gets it for him is Jonathan Toews.

“Here’s the one deal. If I were being the advance scout for the Bruins. I would say, what we did to Sidney Crosby [4], a five-man gang on him, you’ve got to do that to Toews. It’s what Detroit did, it’s a big reason why it was a seven-game series. Jonathan Toews snapped in a game in Detroit, in Game 4 actually, he took three minor penalties in a row. He went cuckoo. Because Henrik Zetterberg [5], Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson drove him nuts. They drove him crazy. So, you’ve got to basically give him the same treatment if you want to beat Chicago, because this guy is really good.”

Added McGuire: “The biggest thing is, yes, [Patrice] Bergeron and Marchand and [Jaromir] Jagr have to be out there as much as possible against Toews.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page [6]. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins [7].