Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘I have no problem with tinkering with lines right now’
|04.02.14 at 12:32 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ final stretch of games in April before the playoffs begin. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
With the season winding down, Claude Julien may change some of the lineups to see how different players play together and give rest to others.
“I have no problem with tinkering with lines right now,” Brickley said. “If I expect a few guys, like [Patrice] Bergeron or even a David Krejci, get a night off between now and the final game against Jersey, the regular season, then you’re going to be forced to have different combinations. And if you choose to break up some lines in order to see what something look likes, now is the time to do it.”
The Bruins went 15-0-2 in the month of March, playing in multiple back-to-backs on their way to securing a division title. According to Brickley, the third and fourth lines were a big reason they were able to do that.
“That third line along with the fourth line and their ability to play and handle significant minutes during that month when you’re playing 17 games really sets this Bruins team apart from the rank and file,” Brickley said.
Brickley sees two distinct views when it comes to projecting the first opponent of a team during the playoffs.
“Do you want to start out with a team that you know you can pretty much handle, and then you want to gradually increase that emotion and adrenaline to keep you getting in the postseason?” Brickley said. “Or do you want someone really meaningful right off the bat, get that emotion where it needs to be in the postseason? I’m of the school of thought that it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to beat three really good teams to get to the final. You’ve got to beat four unbelievable teams to win a Stanley Cup.”
The Red Wings, in town to face the Bruins face Wednesday night, might end up being a playoff opponent. Brickley sees the Bruins as the superior team, mostly due to their maturity.
“The Bruins are a better team,” Brickley said. “They’re deeper, they’ve been together longer than Detroit. They know how to win in the postseason. It seems to be a much, much stronger, maturity with this core group now, certainly over the last 30 games, that they understand what they are, they know how the have to play.
“And they play that way and they thrive when they play that way and that’s what I like about this Bruins team. I may have been concerned in years past with the Bruins when they were the front-runner or the favorite going into a series. Not so much anymore.”
While some have speculated on how much rest key players will get, Brickley sees the team together for the majority, citing the team’s mentality.
“I do expect the Bruins to have their A-line up together, probably one if not both of the games where they finish back to back,” Brickley said. “That’s what the players want. They still want to be in that rhythm, they want to be in that routine of playing games, preparing and totally being ready, in sync when they go into the playoffs.”