|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Brad Marchand ‘running out of race track pretty fast’||11.21.13 at 2:22 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to discuss the Bruins’ upcoming game against the Blues, the recent struggles of Brad Marchand, as well as other news from across the NHL.
Boston have been rolling as of late, winning six out of its last seven games. Despite the dominant run in November, some members of the Bruins have been slumping, namely Marchand. The 25-year-old winger has yet to really find his bearings so far this year, as he has seen a dip in his production (eight points in 21 games) while increasing his turnovers and penalties. Bruins coach Claude Julien‘s frustration with Marchand has become apparent over the last few days, as Marchand was demoted to the fourth line during Monday night’s 4-1 win over Carolina.
“[Marchand's] just going through tough times right now as a player on the ice and he’s not helping himself at all,” McGuire said. “He is running out of race track pretty fast in terms of some of his decision-making.”
The Bruins will have a tough task in their next game, as they will face off against the Blues, who hold the third seed in the Western Conference with a 14-3-3 record. St. Louis, off to its best 20-game start in franchise history, has gotten a big boost from Alexander Steen, who leads the NHL with 17 goals.
“[St. Louis] learned a lot from their first-round loss to Los Angeles last year, where it was just a battle of attrition,” McGuire said. It was just unbelievably savage the entire series and obviously Steen is off to a great start. It’s the depth of their team. … they remind me so much of the Boston Bruins. They really do.The teams are so similar. … This is a great game you guys are going to have tonight. Unbelievable game.”
Elsewhere in the NHL, a former Bruin’s play is starting to attract attention, as Panthers goaltender Tim Thomas has been viewed as a possible candidate to the U.S. Olympic team. Thomas has bounced back from a poor start to post solid numbers over the last month (2.49 goals-against average, .915 save percentage in November).
“He’s definitely worked his way back into the discussion, I can tell you that right now,” McGuire said. “He’s back into the discussion, that doesn’t mean that he’s going to make the team. One of the reasons why he’s back in the discussion, the injury to Jonathan Quick, who won’t be back until December, maybe even not until the middle of December. The other thing is Craig Anderson and Jimmy Howard have both been lukewarm … and Cory Schneider is sitting on the bench in New Jersey behind Martin Brodeur.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘I’d be all in’ for overtime rule changes||11.14.13 at 4:47 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to discuss potential format changes to NHL overtime rules, the Bruins’ three-game winning streak, and the potential for some members of the Black and Gold to make it on Olympic rosters come February.
One of the chief topics at the NHL GM meetings this week has been the discussion about changing the rules for overtime play. A proposed format would have an overtime period last 10 minutes instead of five, with four-on-four hockey for the first five minutes and three-on-three play for the remaining five minutes. The game would then switch to a shootout format if no team can score over those 10 minutes.
“I’d be all in,” McGuire said. “Five minutes of four-on-four, five minutes of three-on-three. I was talking with one of the premier players in the league last night after the Pittsburgh-Philadelphia game and he said the one thing that it would do is create a lot of water-cooler conversation around the fan base, because the fans are so passionate.
“Coaches would be challenged: Do you go with two defensemen and one forward? Do you go with two forward and one D? Do you go with three forwards if you’re trying to put an extra point in the bag. It would create all kinds of different fodder and conversation. … I’m all for anything that would get the game decided by players on the ice rather than just a shootout situation.”
After two disappointing losses to the Islanders and Stars last week, the Bruins seem to have righted the ship, as they are on a three-game winning streak with victories over Florida, Toronto and Tampa Bay.
“I was blown away by their effort on Saturday night vs. Toronto,” McGuire said. “I mean, that was a smash-mouth kind of, ‘Here you go Toronto, do you like it? Take it,’ and they took it hard. That was a physical beatdown that I’m used to watching the Bruins perform, and then to see them carry it over to Monday afternoon against Tampa. … I was really impressed with, again, the Bruins’ defensive ability, their ability to move the puck.
“Milan Lucic is a completely different player because of his speed. Last year, he had a tough time getting up and down the rink, this year he’s not having that problem and it’s really impressive to watch. David Krejci, same kind of thing. These guys are in much better shape, you can see it as the season has gone along.”
While players such as Zdeno Chara and Tukka Rask seem to be locks to make their respective Olympic teams, other Bruins are on the outside looking in for a possible roster spot. One such player is Lucic, who has received some consideration from Team Canada. Lucic is the top goal-scorer for Boston this year (seven) and is second on the team in points (14).
“Yes, very good shot [Lucic makes Team Canada],” McGuire said.”In 2007, Canada played against Russia, the best under-20 players in a eight-game super series. It was a celebration of the 1972 Summit Series, and Lucic was basically the star for Team Canada. Hockey Canada remembers those things. He basically carried that team on his shoulders through 18 days in Russia, and he was off-the-charts good. … He was very capable playing on big ice, he was an intimidating factor, and they’re watching him right now. … There have been a lot of guys working for Team Canada that are watching a lot of Bruins games. … He’s played well enough to merit major consideration to be on that team.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘Pretty rough’ reception expected for Tyler Seguin in Boston||11.05.13 at 2:47 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday afternoon to discuss Tyler Seguin‘s return to Boston on Tuesday night with the Stars and the the Bruins’ start to the season.
The Bruins’ tilt with Dallas will be the first time that Seguin will have the opportunity to play against his former team after being traded on July 4 in a deal that sent Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow to Boston and Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button to Texas.
After a three-season tenure with the Bruins in which Seguin, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft, excited fans with his potential but also disappointed with issues regarding his maturity, many are wondering what kind of reception the 21-year-old center will receive from the TD Garden crowd.
“[The fans will be] probably pretty rough on [Seguin],” McGuire said. “I don’t think as rough on Rich Peverley, obviously. But the Bruins fans need to know that was a pretty good acquisition for both teams. At the end of the day, I know Loui Eriksson is an injured player right now, but he’s going to be a very important part of the Bruins’ future, and Reilly Smith has been tremendous for the Bruins since coming over, so I think it will be a rough ride for Tyler tonight.
“But I hope Bruins fans remember that magical run in 2011, because it was something special and he was a big part of it.”
Seguin has adjusted well to his new team in Dallas, as he has recorded six goals and nine assists in just 14 games. The Ontario native is on pace to have an 88-point season, 21 points more than his career high (67 in 2011-12).
“[Seguin's reception in Dallas has been] very strong, very good, very positive. I think sometimes young players … need to be scared straight, and one of the ways of scaring them straight is by trading them earlier in their careers,” McGuire said. “Chris Pronger is exhibit A. He went from being a decent player who should’ve been a superstar to being the MVP of the league after he got traded out of Hartford/Carolina to St. Louis, and he needed that. He needed to get his attention that it wasn’t going to be easy.
“I think the same thing is going to happen with Tyler Seguin. There’s a guy running the Boston Bruins right now, Cam Neely, he didn’t do much when he was a member of the Vancouver Canucks, but when he got traded to the Boston Bruins, he became a cult icon. So sometimes young players just need a little wakeup call, and I think maybe this was a wakeup call that Tyler Seguin needed.”
|Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins ‘not where they want to be yet’||10.22.13 at 2:47 pm ET|
NESN’s Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday afternoon to talk about the Bruins’ victories over the Panthers and Lightning last week, as well as the team’s upcoming matchup against the lowly Sabres on Wednesday.
After dropping a 3-2 contest to the Red Wings on Oct. 14, the Bruins rebounded by defeating the Panthers, and old teammate Tim Thomas, on Thursday before following that up with a dominant 5-0 win over Tampa on Saturday in which all four Bruins lines had at least one goal in the contest.
“If you go back to what they were able to accomplish in Florida, not the prettiest game, not an instant classic, in that win in the final minute against Florida, but an important two points. But the way they played Tampa is a lot closer to the way this team wants to play, not only because it was 5-0, but that balanced scoring, all four lines scoring goals, how they scored,” Brickley said. “It was the way they played, the style that they played. They’re not where they want to be yet, certainly, and that’s to be expected seven games in, but that’s how they want to play.”
So far this season, the Bruins have utilized an unconventional rotation of seven defensemen on the roster, as Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Adam McQuaid have all been healthy scratches at various points.
“Sometimes matchups will dictate who plays and who doesn’t when all seven are healthy,” Brickley. “The ability of the left-hand shots to play the right side gives them the options and the luxury of really being able to put different pairs together, depending on who’s playing well, who’s playing in what situation, who’s getting a majority of the power play or the penalty-killing time.”
|Andy Brickley on M&M: Tim Thomas ‘looks healthy and ready to go’||10.17.13 at 3:51 pm ET|
NESN commentator Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to discuss the Bruins’ Thursday night game against the Panthers and former Boston goaltender Tim Thomas, as well as Jarome Iginla‘s scoring drought and Brad Marchand‘s demotion to the third line.
Thursday’s game will be the first time that the Bruins will face off against Thomas, who played in Boston for eight seasons and won two Vezina Trophies (2009, 2011) as the league’s best goaltender during his tenure with the team. Thomas is best remembered for his incredible play in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy after posting a .967 save percentage in the Stanley Cup finals against the Canucks.
After the Bruins were eliminated in the first round of the 2012 playoffs by the Capitals, Thomas announced that he was going to sit out the 2012-13 season. Still under contract with the Bruins during his hiatus, Thomas was traded to the Islanders on Feb. 7, 2013. The 39-year-old goalie then signed a contract with the Panthers on Sept. 26.
Brickey said that Thursday’s game certainly will be interesting, adding that the Bruins are motivated to hand their old teammate another loss on the young season.
“If anything you can [see] from the morning skate, [Thomas] looked good, he looked healthy, he looked pretty focused,” Brickley said. “He looks healthy and ready to go. Those numbers are a little inflated obviously with a little rust from taking the year off and then having to deal with an injury, but you know him and his competitiveness, he’ll be ready to go tonight.
“I don’t know if I would term [the Bruins' mood towards Thomas] as animosity. The general sense that I get from being around the guys and certainly this morning is that this is a game that they want to win, but whatever personal reasons or whatever feelings they have for Tim Thomas, this is not a love-in. … This is a guy and a team that we want to beat, and want to beat real bad.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: B’s-Stars trade ‘weighted a little bit towards Boston’||10.10.13 at 3:43 pm ET|
With the 2013-14 NHL season in its second week, NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to discuss the Bruins’ new additions, as well as other news from around the NHL.
McGuire praised the Bruins’ two biggest offseason additions, wingers Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson, and indicated he thought the Bruins won the July 4 trade with the Stars that sent shipped budding star Tyler Seguin to Dallas.
“[Jarome will fit] fantastically well,” McGuire said. “Jarome is awesome, he will fit in perfectly in Boston, I’m really happy for him. Didn’t work out for him the way he wanted to last year [in Pittsburgh], but I’m glad that Boston, especially Cam [Neely] and Peter [Chiarelli], were wise enough to give him a chance, because he definitely fills the void that Nathan Horton created by departing to go to Columbus.
“Courageous trade by Peter Chiarelli and the Boston Bruins, because Tyler will be a superstar in the league, especially if he can just clean up a little bit of his behavior. … That being said, the trade is excellent for Boston. … [Eriksson] is the legitimate deal. He’s a very solid two-way player, he’s capable of playing with big-time superstars, he can play deep in your lineup, he’ll never pout, he’ll never complain, and all he’ll do is produce. The other guy that came in that trade, Reilly Smith, way underrated player. … I really like the trade for both teams, but in particular, I think it’s weighted a little bit towards Boston, just because of the consistency the two players they got in Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith.”
McGuire also touched on the new NHL rule that specifies players will be penalized for an additional two minutes, for a total of seven minutes total, if they take off their helmets before a fight.
“I hate to say this, because I’m all for player safety, I really am. I’ve seen too many horrific incidents going to even this year in the regular season with George Parros. … I’ve got to tell you, I don’t want to see anyone take their hat off, I don’t see the hats come off. I just don’t think that it’s appropriate,” he said. “There’s got to be a balance, there’s got to be a way. I don’t know what the way is, but I know one thing, there are a lot of people in the hockey community talking about it. I know it’s a big, big, point of emphasis for a lot of people that make big decisions in this league.”
McGuire gave a brief preview of the Bruins’ opponent Thursday night in the 3-0 Avalanche, who are mostly comprised of young and talented players.
“The fact of the matter is you’re going to see Nathan MacKinnon tonight, you’re going to see [Matt] Duchene tonight, you’re going to see what could be arguably one of the top third lines in the league right with Jamie McGinn, who’s played so well with Nathan MacKinnon and P.A. Parenteau. That line’s a ton of fun to watch.”
|Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins have ‘feeling of unfinished business from a year ago’||10.03.13 at 1:18 pm ET|
NESN commentator Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to discuss the Bruins’ new players and the team’s chances at another long playoff run this season.
Brickley said the team looks ready for another great season, despite only getting a 13-week offseason.
“I think they’ve looked good. … With the turnover that they did have during those 13 weeks, there was a healthy sense of competition, but there was also that feeling of unfinished business from a year ago, given the way that Game 6 ended,” Brickley said. “They feel like they’re built for the playoffs. I think there’s some normalcy getting back to an 82-game regular season, and I think that preparation has been where it should be for training camp.”
Brickley added that the Bruins have the chance to be even better than they were during the 2012-13 season, but he will hold off picking the better team until he sees how the third line pans out.
“I think they have the potential to be [better],” Brickley said. “I certainly would not say that, day one, that they’re better than a year ago, although I didn’t like their malaise or their ‘When we had a chance to win the division and didn’t get it done’ attitude towards the final stages of last season, as unique as it was with the 48 games compressed. But I like the team going into the postseason. That’s why I said at the beginning of this conversation, they feel they are built for the postseason. That I agree with.
“That’s why I like this team. To say that they’re better than they were a year go, that might be a stretch right now, it all depends on … what’s that third line going to look like? Go back to 2011, the third and fourth lines of the Boston Bruins were such a mismatch for other teams across the league that your top six were great players, as far as forwards, but it was forwards seven through 12 that were real difference-makers during the regular season and the postseason. Without that, you don’t win the Stanley Cup, and until I see that from the third line this year, I’m not ready to dub them a better team yet.”
On whether he is surprised that Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug are all on the roster: “I think Torey Krug is the leader in the clubhouse because of the need for a more meaningful power play. … They’re looking for a more offensive hockey sense, hockey opportunity, that will carry the puck if you give him the ice, and Krug is at the top of the list as far as those three players are concerned, so he’s going to be in the top six automatically, just based on his skill set and what he showed you at training camp. … If it just went on merit alone, I would think it would be Krug and Bartkowski in the top six, with Hamilton being the extra guy to start the season, but all three bring what the Bruins are looking for the change on what they’re trying to get done on the back end.”
On what he has seen from the team’s new players so far: “[Jarome] Iginla, as advertised. This guy, I think he got a lesson firsthand on what it’s like to play against the Boston Bruins. I don’t think he had a real concept of what the Bruins were all about, being in Calgary all of those years. He got that in the postseason last year playing for Pittsburgh. But he’s a Bruin, prototypical player. Plays hard, does everything hard, goes to the net hard. … So, he is as advertised. I think he’ll be a terrific addition. … Loui Eriksson, haven’t seen as much of him. … I had to rely on conversations with coaches and just an education on what this player is all about. He’ll be a terrific player.”
On whether he likes the way the Bruins are situated in the new-look Atlantic Division: “I love it, just on competition alone. I’m excited for this Bruins season and even though I’m not saying they’re a better team than a year ago, I am saying this is a really good team built for the postseason. I expect Pittsburgh and Boston to be the two division winners when all is said and done at the end of the year. But I like this division in the sense of competition. Four of the Original Six, Detroit, you get them four times. … I like the idea that you have to win the division. … What I don’t like is the fact that you have 16 teams in the East and 14 teams in the West. I don’t like that. Just on numbers alone, it’s more difficult to make the postseason if you’re in the East.”