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Pierre McGuire on M&M: Red Wings’ Mike Babcock ‘the most creative coach in the NHL’

04.18.14 at 2:33 pm ET
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NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

For McGuire, Friday night’s matchup against the Red Wings is the toughest scenario the Bruins could have faced.

“The only reason I say that is the creativity of Mike Babcock, [Detroit's] coach,” McGuire said. “I think most people know on paper the rosters don’t compare. Boston’s roster is better on paper than Detroit’s just because of the veteran experience and the fact that most of the players on the Bruins roster have been part of a Stanley Cup run to the final and/or won a Stanley Cup.

“A lot of these Detroit players really haven’t been a part of that. It’s really been a huge turnover in their roster — some because of injury, some because of retirement and some just because they had no other choice. The one thing I will say about this Detroit roster is a lot of the younger players you’€™ll see won an American [Hockey] League championship last year in Grand Rapids.”

One of the main concerns for the Bruins is the Red Wings’ speed.

“œThat’s going to be the No. 1 thing to watch early on,” McGuire said. “Watch what they do when they’re attacking Zdeno Chara. Watch what they do when they’re attacking Johnny Boychuk — two of the bigger, more important defensemen for the Bruins just because of the shutdown capabilities. Let’s see if they play chip-and-chase hockey or if they really try to stretch them out and create huge seams.

“You won’€™t know until the game starts, but this is going back to my point about Mike Babcock — to me he is the most creative coach in the NHL. Doesn’t mean he’€™s the best — although he’s getting one of my votes for Coach of the Year. I think he’€™s the most creative coach in the National Hockey League and we’€™ll see how he breaks down the Bruins defense because the Bruins defense, as we know, is extremely good.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

On Tuukka Rask: “I wish I had a vote for the Vezina. I don’t — the only award I can vote on is Coach of the year — but if I did, Tuukka Rask would be my Vezina Trophy winner. He would get my No. 1 vote. He is, in my opinion anyways, and I say this with all respect to Semyon Varlamov and Henrik Lundqvist and all the other goaltenders out there because there have been a lot of them this year in a lot of different cities, I think Tuuka Rask has been the best goalie. He’s a big reason why the Fins won a bronze medal. He’s a major reason why the Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy, and I think he’s also grown unbelievably in terms of his composure — his ability to relate to his teammates and also dealing with big situations. He’s unflappable. He really is. I have tremendous respect for what he’s done this year.”

On Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille: “That’s a big concern. You’ve definitely got to look at that, and Chris Kelly‘s such an effective player not just five-on-five and insulating Carl Soderberg in particular and Loui Eriksson, but also because he’s such an important part of the penalty kill. And so Chris Kelly‘s going to be a huge loss and Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell are one of the best tandems when it comes to killing penalties in the entire league, so that’s a big loss, too. I mean, again, you look at it, and it doesn’t make it any easier for Boston, but … on paper, Boston’s a better team. Now they’ve got to prove it. It’s that simple.”

Read More: Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, Mike Babcock, Tuukka Rask
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