NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Bruins’ mindset heading into the postseason. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page .
Since the Bruins clinched a playoff spot on March 21 , they have gone 4-3 with two consecutive losses to the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs this week.
“They understand it,” McGuire said of the team’s focus heading into the postseason. “They’ve been to the finals in 2011 and had to win three Game 7s — they had to beat Montreal in Game 7, they had to beat Tampa in Game 7 and they had to beat Vancouver on the road in a Game 7. That takes a lot of focus and determination and good portions of that team are back, so they understand that commitment.
“They also lost a heartbreaking Game 6 last year — everybody in Boston, with about three minutes to go, everybody thought there was going to be a Game 7. Obviously there wasn’t because of the offensive explosion of the Blackhawks. I think Boston learned from that.”
The Bruins spent the majority of March on a 12-game winning streak.
“I don’t think there are a lot of hockey lessons that these guys have to learn,” McGuire said. “I’m not that concerned about them, and, again, I throw this out because of the experience I had — I went through this twice in Pittsburgh where we had real good teams and we clinched early — we never had a problem keeping our guys focused and taking them in and out of the lineup. I see Claude [Julien] doing that, and I think he’s doing some really good things with that group.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more on the Bruins, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins .
On Patrice Bergeron : “I know I talked about it a couple of weeks ago, and I’m going to keep saying it. Bergeron’s got to be in the MVP discussion. I think he’s a slam dunk to win the Selke Trophy — the best defensive forward — but Bergeron needs to be in the Hart Trophy discussion. If he’s not, shame on the voters.
“I’m not saying it because I’m biased toward the kid. … It would be so wrong and send such a bad message if he’s not at least one of the nominees because of the way he’s played the entire season and what he does for this team.”
On the team’s seventh defenseman: “Might be Matt Bartkowski. You saw him out the other night in Detroit — he was a healthy scratch, he had no injury to him. [Andrej] Meszaros is playing pretty darn well right now — he’s being physical, he’s helped their power play, he’s making pretty good decisions, he’s got the relationship with [Zdeno] Chara. You don’t know. I think a lot of it also depends on the type of team you’re playing in the first round. If you’re playing a more physical team from Columbus, maybe you want Bartkowski and maybe [Torey] Krug comes out. If you’re playing more of a skilled, slick team like Detroit, maybe you want Krug in or maybe you want Meszaros or Bartkowski out.
“And what’s going to happen if they get [Dennis] Seidenberg back? That’s the other thing because I think at some point — I’m hearing a lot about it — that Seidenberg’s way ahead in terms of his rehab and there’s a chance he could be back.”