Pierre McGuire on D&C: Bruins ‘unbelievably resilient’
|06.24.13 at 12:29 pm ET|
NBC sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Monday morning to give his thoughts on the Patrice Bergeron injury, Zdeno Chara’s play and the first impression of Carl Soderberg.
Bergeron, who left Game 5 with a “body injury,” did not participate in the morning skate prior to Game 6 Monday night. However, if Bergeron is unable to play, McGuire said he thinks that the Bruins can have success without their assistant captain.
“They can come back from it,” McGuire said. “It’s a big loss, but they can come back from it. This is one of the most resilient teams I have seen in the last seven years in the NHL. They are unbelievably resilient. So they can overcome it. It won’t be easy. I think everybody knows that. But I could see them overcoming it. This is where your core leadership steps in. This is where Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic take it to another level and everybody else follows.”
While Bergeron did not participate in the morning skate, McGuire said that it is a good sign for the Bruins that the 28-year-old center took the flight back from Chicago to Boston between games, because that may eliminate the idea that he suffered an internal injury.
“If you have a punctured lung, if you have a lacerated spleen, if you have any kind of internal — and this is from talking to doctors; I’m not a doctor but I’ve talked to doctors about it — if you have any type of internal injury like that or the potential for a punctured lung, they can’t put you on an aircraft,” McGuire said. “It’s just too dangerous. The fact that he was able to get on an aircraft and fly back home, I think that is positive more than negative.”
Without Bergeron and his defensive skill in the lineup, it puts more work on the shoulders of Chara, who has struggled in recent games. Chara is minus-5 in the last two games despite recording a goal and two assists in the process. McGuire said that Chara’s struggles are a result of good strategy from Chicago.
“You want to make the bigger person go back and get the puck,” McGuire said. “You want to put some physical pressure on him. You want to get him out of his comfort zone. If Zdeno Chara is allowed to get into a comfort zone, he can dominate a game. So Chicago has done the right thing by attacking him.
“The guy that has made probably the biggest difference on that has been Brian Bickell. Again, in-series adjustments by Chicago and Joel Quenneville by putting [Patrick] Kane and [Jonathan] Toews together, but also putting Bickell on that line and creating a snow plow effect so that that big body can go around and start bouncing some Bruins players.”
On possibly playing Matt Bartkowski as a seventh defenseman: “Shawn Thornton hasn’t been getting a lot of ice time, so if you are going to go seven D, you better have a defenseman that can play both forward and defense. Now we are into the position of this series where it has not become a serious battle of attrition for both teams. And we are seeing it. We are seeing star players who can’t finish games off because they have just been so ravaged by hits. I would be really cautious about playing seven D. I would probably stick with the regular setup with six and 12 and go from there.”
On Soderberg’s first impression in the playoffs: “Solid for a first time ever playing in a playoff game in that building, I thought he was solid. You did see his stick positioning is good, he wants the puck on his stick, he is not intimidated by hitting. I think he will just keep getting better and better. This morning, not to scare anybody, but this morning he played with [Jaromir] Jagr and [Brad] Marchand on that line. He was playing the role of Bergeron. We will see if that translates to the game tonight, but this morning at the morning skate he was playing the role of Bergeron.”
On Marchand struggling in this series: “I am not seeing him get the puck. I’m not seeing him going and getting the puck the way he usually does. He is usually really effective when he is puck hungry. I don’t see that from him right now and again, I have to stress, this has been an arduous, physical series. I don’t know if he is hurt, maybe we will find out he is, maybe he is not, but he is clearly not the guy that has been dominant in terms of chasing pucks down and really going hard to the net.”
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