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Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins say they ‘have another gear’ to their game 03.19.14 at 1:41 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ 10-game win streak, Brad Marchand, Carl Soderberg and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

The Bruins have been on a tear recently, winning 10 straight games and outscoring opponents 41-15 in that span. Despite all their success, the team still is looking to improve.

“They’ve been able to do a lot of things really during this streak,”€ Brickley said. “But it’s amazing when you talk to the coaching staff and even to the players to a man, they say, ‘We’€™re not peaking, we haven’t hit our stride. Yes, we’€™re winning games because we’€™re playing team hockey, and we’€™re getting some good results, but we definitely have another gear.’ ”

Marchand has been quiet during the streak, only recording two goals and three assists. Brickley admits that while the 25-year-old winger has struggled at times, he has had a successful season.

“€œHe’€™s having a terrific season really, on the whole, when you take a look at it,” Brickley said. “Certainly there were times, maybe, at different points in the season where it wasn’t going his way and he was kind of fighting it or searching for that balance.”

The B’s third line compares favorably to many of the third lines across the NHL. One guy in that line that has improved, according to Brickley, is Soderberg.

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand, Carl Soderberg, Dougie Hamilton
Andy Brickley on M&M: Andrej Meszaros ‘gives you options’ 03.12.14 at 2:57 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about Andrej Meszaros, the B’s defense and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

While Brickley still has doubts about the Bruins depth at wing, he sees the Meszaros trade as one that will help the Bruins figure out their best defensive combination.

“I’m not sure I’€™m convinced that if there are injuries to the four lines, as currently constituted, that they have enough in the wings waiting to step in,” Brickley said. “The organization, obviously, believes they probably do, but ”the emphasis was to definitely go get a defenseman, and now bringing in Meszaros, that gives you options.”

Added Brickley: “And it gives you — ’cause he can play left or right — and it gives you competition for ice time and actually be in uniform. You see Dougie Hamilton, the first casualty. They’re trying to figure out guys. Who’s going to play with [Zdeno] Chara in the playoffs? They want that shutdown pair and they’€™re not sure where it’€™s at right now and that was the whole reason to go get a guy like Meszaros.”

While the Bruins like what they see from Meszaros so far, the real test starts Wednesday night against Montreal, according to Brickley.

“I think the competition has started,” Brickley said. “It started the other night in Florida with Meszaros going to the lineup. They really like what he brought on that power play, being a left shot, being able to work the overload on the one side with other left shots on the half wall, whether it’s [Carl] Soderberg or [Loui] Eriksson, whoever it might be. They like that look.”

Added Brickley: “Now keep in mind that’s the Florida Panthers. That’s a pretty easy matchup for your first game as a player. Tonight you’€™ll probably get some different results and I’ll be curious to see how the defensemen in the lineup tonight handle a team like Montreal and the intensity and the speed.”

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Read More: Andrej Meszaros, Boston Bruins, Dougie Hamilton, Jordan Caron
Andy Brickley on M&M: Adding a defenseman ‘a definite must for the Bruins’ 03.05.14 at 2:40 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about which defensemen the Bruins could add before Wednesday’s trade deadline, the possibility of adding a veteran forward and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

With rumors swirling that the Blue Jackets and Bruins could be trade partners, Brickley provided information on Columbus defensemen Jack Johnson and Niktia Nikitin.

“Jack Johnson more of an offensive guy,” Brickley said. “€œLikes to have the puck, likes to jump into the play, wants to be in on every power-play opportunity. Has some wrist to his game, he is highly skilled. But when the U.S. was putting its team together for the Olympics, he’€™s not inside the top eight, which tells you maybe his game has gone in the wrong direction.”

Added Brickley: “Nikitin may be more of the type of player the Bruins were looking at. Big body, allows the system to be your friend, do your job, be a hard, physical, punishing guy in your own zone, make the simple play. Maybe he’€™s more of a fit based on the fact that you don’€™t want to subtract much from your roster in order to go get what you think you need. And I think Nikitin is really probably higher on the want list even though Jack Johnson is the more of a talent player.”

Brickley said the Bruins should add depth to their defense, knowing that injuries have clouded the depth chart.

“€œIf you look at their D, you know [Zdeno] Chara, [Dougie] Hamilton, [Matt] Bartkowski, [Johnny] Boychuck, [Torey] Krug, [Kevan] Miller, and now you don’€™t know what [Adam] McQuaid‘€™s situation is. You obviously don’€™t have [Dennis] Seidenberg.”

Added Brickley: “€œDoes that give you enough? The Bruins went through nine defensemen last year, the Chicago Blackhawks really only played six, I think their seventh defensemen played one, so they stayed healthier, but the Bruins went through nine D. And the guy that played the least was Wade Redden, and I think he played somewhere around five games, so you need as many defensemen, healthy defensemen, experienced defensemen, versatile defensemen and the right attitude defensemen if you think you’€™re going to have a long playoff run. So I think that is a definite must for the Bruins.”

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Read More: Columbus Blue Jackets, Jack Johnson, Niktia Nikitin,
Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘We like the group we have’ 03.05.14 at 11:01 am ET
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Bruins forward Shawn Thornton talked with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday about the NHL trade deadline, his 100th fight and more. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

With the NHL trade deadline looming, Thornton said that there hasn’t been as much discussion in the locker room because of the Olympic break.

“€œWe haven’t really talked about it much this year,”€ Thornton said. “I think €”because there hasn’t been a lot of chatter with the Olympics, it took a lot of focus away from the deadline. Usually there’€™s a two-week buildup to it, to be completely honest. This year you came out of the Olympics six days later. So there hasn’t been a lot of talk.”

Thornton likes the team and is fine with the way it is, but he knows there could be players traded by Wednesday’s 3 p.m. deadline.

“We’€™re a pretty good team, but I know that Peter [Chiarelli] is always looking to improve,” Thornton said. “And you can always get better, so we’€™ll see what happens by 3 today.”

Added Thornton: “We all really like each other, we like the group we have. We’€™re a pretty tight-knit group. We’€™re still winning some hockey games this year, so I’€™m OK with it.”

During Tuesday night’s 4-1 victory over the Panthers, Thornton got into his 100th career fight. The fight with Krys Barch was initiated to spark the team and stick up for Milan Lucic, who fought Barch in the first period.

“€œWe were kind of flat in the second period,” Thornton said. “Looch can handle himself, obviously, but I didn’t like that he went after Looch in the first shift. Krys Barch is a, he’€™s a really good guy. I played with him. … I actually kind of taught him how to fight 11 years ago in the minors.”

The Bruins’ top line of David Krejci, Jarome Iginla and Lucic performed very well on Tuesday with Krejci recording a hat trick and Iginla scoring the fourth goal. Thornton noted that the trio is unlike any other in the NHL.

“€œWe rely heavily on those guys and they consistently perform,”€ Thornton said. “And it’€™s funny because if there’s one game where they don’t get a point it’s like the sky’s falling. Everyone’€™s chirping. They’ve been unbelievable for us all year. … They bring things to the table that other teams don’€™t have. You don’t have two power forwards that are that tough and score.”

Read More: Krys Barch, Milan Lucic, Peter Chiarelli, Shawn Thornton
Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins should ‘add something significant along the blue line’ 02.26.14 at 1:29 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the possibility of the Bruins adding a defenseman prior to the deadline, Peter Chiarelli‘s scouting and Loui Eriksson. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

With the NHL trade deadline next Wednesday at 3 p.m., Brickley said how the Bruins view the blue line will determine whether they add a defenseman.

“I think it all starts with how you evaluate what’€™s going on along the blue line,” Brickley said. “€œThis is a team that prides itself on goaltending, team defense, some strong penalty-killing, and then that balanced offense is somewhere further down in terms of priority. And if you have that type of analysis, then I think you have to look real closely at the group of six or seven that they have on the blue line right now and say, ‘€˜Is this group good enough, deep enough to carry us to an Eastern Conference final and get us to a Stanley Cup final and an opportunity to win this thing.’ And I think that’€™s what has to be addressed, because in my evaluation I would like to see them add something significant along the blue line.”

Brickley was complimentary of Chiarelli’€™s ability to identify defensemen who work well with the team.

“The thing about what Peter is able to do along with his management team and the scouting crew, identify a guy like Torey Krug and go out and pay maybe a couple extra dollars to make sure he comes to Boston,” Brickley said. “You make a deal for [Matt] Bartkowski, when nobody really makes notice of it or takes notice of it. You draft a kid like Dougie Hamilton in the first round. You identify a player like Kevan Miller and allow him to play in the American Hockey League and learn how to be a good depth defenseman. And those guys are all significant pieces to what the Bruins have been able to put together and accomplish and pile up points to this point in the regular season.”

Brickley is concerned with the lack of experience the young defensemen have, however, and would rather move Johnny Boychuk out of the top two.

“But as we know the playoffs are a different animal and you’€™re talking about very little experience there in that foursome,” Brickley said. “Now you have Johnny Boychuk, because of the added absence of Adam McQuaid as well due to a lot of injuries over the last year plus, almost two years. And of course Dennis Seidenberg being out of the lineup. Now you have [Zdeno] Chara, Boychuk, that’€™s your one-two combination. And I think you’€™re a really strong defense if Boychuk is somewhere in your top four, but maybe not your top two. And that’€™s certainly not an indictment on his play, because I love his game and I love how, how game he is, as a matter of fact, to speak to his character.”

Added Brickley: “€œBut if you can go out and acquire, or certainly add to the players that you have on the blue line, as well as they’ve played, now I think you have a much better chance when you get in the postseason. You know there’€™s going to be injuries, you know there are certain matchups that you’€™re looking for, based on the opponents that you’€™re going to draw, and if you can have seven, eight NHL caliber, and maybe even a top two, three that might not be there right now, I think your chances certainly improve as far as going where you want to go and reaching the goals that you set.”

Eriksson, who has not produced big numbers in Boston, played well for Sweden in the just-completed Olympics. Brickley said that the extra playing time, along with playing on the third line, could help the 28-year-old.

“Eriksson needed to play hockey, he needed to play hockey over in Sochi, and he seemed to be — €”he seemed to be finding his game more and more a little bit before the break,” Brickley said. “€œHe seemed to have some chemistry with [Carl] Soderberg in particular, the two Swedes. Seemed to slide into that third line, instead of the pressure of being in that top six, that seems to be paying dividends. And his awareness, when you watched him play, although it was the bigger ice surface, his awareness of all the moving parts going on around him seemed a lot cleaner, a lot sharper. When you come back from injuries, that’€™s the one thing you have to be concerned about when you’€™re coming back from a concussion, is that awareness. Seemed a lot better in the Olympics, so that’€™s what I’€™m looking for. And he needs to continue to play. So maybe the break was good for him in terms of playing hockey.”

Read More: Andy Brickley, Boston Bruins, Johnny Boychuk, Loui Eriksson
Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins ‘are OK with subtracting something to go get what they feel they need’ 02.12.14 at 1:41 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Winter Olympics in Sochi and Bruins news. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Brickley said he likes what the NHL has done by involving its best players in the Olympics, bringing greater recognition around the world, but he said it might be time to try a different approach.

“€œI was in favor of the NHL players going to the Olympics when they were trying to globalize their game and sell their game and let everybody know what a great sport this can be, especially when you have the best players in the world representing their countries and what it means to them to play for their countries,” he said. “You get great hockey and it’€™s high competition and the love for the game and the love for the homeland is all on that giant stage, and that’€™s awesome.

“But I would rather see that in the World Cup. They’ve been to the Olympics, I think that they’ve done what they set out to do when they first went to the Olympics. I’m not excited about some of the stories I’ve heard coming from Russia and the situation that Sochi is. …

“That being said, when you do get the kind of competition that is expected in this Olympics and you have the greatest players playing, there’€™s nothing better. I love the Stanley cup finals, but this is about your country, and it’€™s once every four years.”

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Tukka Rask, Winter Olympics,
Shawn Thornton on D&C: Bruins want to ‘ride into this two-week break on a high’ 02.05.14 at 1:44 pm ET
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Bruins forward Shawn Thornton talked with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday about Tuesday night’€™s game against the Canucks, coaching in the NHL and more. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Thornton was pleased with winning on Tuesday, but he said that the usual intensity for the rivalry wasn’t there.

“€œIt’€™s been a couple of years,” Thornton said, referring to the Bruins’ win in the Stanley Cup finals in 2011. “€œThey’€™re coming off back-to-back games, too. [The Canucks] just played in Detroit, so maybe not as much of an energy level for them, and I think they had lost three or four in a row, too. Think they have their own stuff going on internally.”

Despite the Canucks’ off night, Thornton said the Bruins did what they do best.

“We’€™re more focused on what we do, but it might have taken from it a little bit,”€ Thornton said. “€œWhen you’€™re up by a couple goals to start, I guess really running around and creating the emotion, you could be playing with fire. … You’€™re in control of the game, you just want to keep control of the game the way it is.”

With the win against the Canucks, the Bruins have gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. Thornton credits focus as a big reason for their success.

“Yeah, things are going well,”€ Thornton said. “We kind of broke it down about 10 games before the Olympic break that we wanted to ride into this two-week break on a high, and I think we’ve done a good job of that for the last seven, eight games. That’€™s still our goal, we’€™re pretty good at not looking at the long-term board, just taking it game to game and sometimes segment to segment.”

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Johnny Boychuk, Shawn Thornton, Tukka Rask
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