|Guy Boucher: ‘I highly doubt’ Patrice Bergeron will miss Game 2||05.16.11 at 3:58 pm ET|
It’s hard to know what to expect for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals given the uncertainty that surrounds Patrice Bergeron. The Bruins center has skated the last three days and participated in Monday’s practice, but coach Claude Julien still isn’t saying when the center will be back for the B’s. Amidst the fog that clouds Bergeron’s status, the Lightning have an easy strategy: assume the Bruins’ points leader this postseason will play.
This isn’t the first time the Lightning have been through this, after all. Tampa Bay faced the Sidney Crosby-less Penguins in the first round, but kept the mindset going into each game that Crosby would return to the lineup. They’re taking the same approach with the Bruins and Bergeron.
“We prepared for him playing for the first game, so we’re preparing for him just like we did with Pittsburgh,” Lightning coach Guy Boucher said Monday. “We told the players Sidney was going to play every game, and that’s the way we approach it.”
Bergeron has been out for the B’s since leaving Game 4 of the conference finals in the third period following a hit from Claude Giroux. He leads Boston with 12 points in the playoffs, and has arguably been the team’s best player this postseason. As a result, when the Lightning prepare as though he’ll play, they have a lot to prepare for.
“We know how important he is to the team,” Boucher said of the 25-year-old. “He’s a great player. He’s a great individual. And that usually has a tendency to uplift your team in terms of confidence, and we know the impact he’s got on the faceoff. So obviously his team’s going to start with the puck a lot more often.
“It changes a lot of things in terms of the way the game is going to develop. So we’re expecting him to be there for the opening faceoff, and if he’s not, which I highly doubt, I think he’s going to be there. It just makes it way harder.”
Julien clearly isn’t willing to venture to guess as to when the B’s will have Bergeron back, but if Boucher’s guess is correct, the Bruins coach will be happiest of all.
|Tyler Seguin gets his power play work, Claude Julien still cautious with the rookie||05.16.11 at 1:54 pm ET|
When a lineup spot opened for Tyler Seguin to make his long-awaited playoff debut, one didn’t have to be a Seguin apologist to feel the rookie would be on one of the Bruins’ power play units. Yet in a 5-2 Game 1 loss the Lightning Saturday in the Eastern Conference finals, Seguin stayed on the bench as the B’s went 0-for-4 on the man advantage.
On Monday, coach Claude Julien had Seguin skate with the No. 2 power play unit in practice.
“I guess it’s exciting,” Seguin said in his classic understated style. “I’m pretty sure I’m not starting on the power play but it’s just in case if we have a couple and we want to try something new, getting me out there so I’m ready and prepared for that. I think I move the puck around pretty well, I have good speed so I’m going to bring that to my game and a lot of times, that helps on the power play.
“I think it’s just about being ready and I think that’s why they threw me out there this morning. It’s the first time I’ve skated with the power play in over a month and a half. It’s definitely nice being out there, and moving the puck around and getting my feet wet.”
Julien explained Sunday that he gave thought to using Seguin out there after a couple of ugly man advantages in the second period, but that he liked what he saw from the power play going forward. He showed Monday that he’s still at least entertaining the idea, as Seguin saw time working with the second unit prior to Monday’s practice.
“We want to make the power play work,” Julien said after practice. “And it’s never a bad thing to have those guys go through it and if at one point you need him, you need him. And what I said yesterday was exactly what we wanted to do with Tyler.”
Julien also has pointed to Seguin’s development as a reason why he hasn’t given the rookie major minutes or opportunities. He noted that it’s not uncommon for big-name players to be held back here and there as youngsters, choosing against the obvious Steven Stamkos comparison and instead likening Seguin’s development to that of a player who shined against the B’s in the second round.
“He’s a young player that we care about and want to make sure that we develop him properly,” Julien said. “That’s part of the decision we’ve made as an organization is not to rush him through anything. The example is probably [James] van Riemsdyk from Philly, how good he’s been this year, yet he was a healthy scratch a lot of time last year and he’s turned out to be a pretty good player.
“Everybody has an opportunity to develop their players the way they want, and we’re doing that. And we understand the quality of player we’ve got and what he’s going to, what he can bring and what he’s going to bring in the future. And those are part of the things we keep doing with him and we’ve done with him all year is make him participate in all those areas where he’s going to be hopefully a big factor for us in the future.”
In addition to working the power play, Seguin was working with a new center on Monday at practice – Chris Kelly, who was dropped to the third line so Rich Peverley could be moved up to the No. 2 line with Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi.
The main reason – as Seguin acknowledged – was the fact that Seguin’s line was on the ice for the first two goals in a 19-second span Saturday night.
“He’s definitely a great all-around forward, especially his D-zone so I think he’s with us because we had two goals scored on our line there in the first period so I think he’s going to help bring a good D-zone to our line,” Seguin said of Kelly.
|Claude Julien not sure what Bruins’ second line will look like Tuesday||05.16.11 at 1:32 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien made the decision to mix up the second and third lines in Monday’s practice, but speaking after the skate, he hardly sounded like a man who had his Game 2 lineup set in stone.
Rich Peverley made the jump to the second line in the practice after playing Game 1 between Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder. Peverley skated Monday with Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi, while Chris Kelly took his spot on the third line with. Center Patrice Bergeron rotated in with the second line during line drills, centering Marchand and Recchi (his usual trio), as well as Marchand and Peverley.
Julien said he doesn’t know whether he will have Bergeron for Game 2, and that Monday’s lines were put in place to give him more options should he feel a change is in order.
“Just moving guys around a little bit,” Julien said following the practice. “I think it’s important that if we’re going to [mix up lines], that they get used to playing with each other. Kelly has an opportunity to play with that line and has gotten used to them a little bit. Now Peverley [has skated with Recchi and Marchand] and I’ve got some options. Just giving some thought to maybe different combinations if need be, and tomorrow we’ll decide which one we want to go with.”
Mixing up the second and third lines would be nothing new for Julien this series. He moved Seguin up to the second line with Kelly and Marchand in the third period of the team’s Game 1 loss, with Recchi moving down to the third line with Peverley and Ryder.
“I think me and Kells [Chris Kelly] might do some switching off,” Peverley said. “I think it’s just to give an option down the middle there. I’m just going to try and play my game. I’m not going to try and be Bergy. He’s a tremendous player. I’ll just try and use my speed.
“Usually, you try and prepare to play with anybody. And you want to be able to play with anybody. I don’t think it’s going to be any different at all.”
As for what needs to change, Peverley broke out a time-tested but very appropriate hockey cliche.
“We played well but we didn’t play a full 60 minutes,” Peverley said. “Obviously, you make mistakes at this time of year, they end up in the back of your net. Some costly mistakes, a little bit of a lull there and within a minute-25 seconds, we’re down 3-0. We can’t let that happen and we have to be fully prepared.”
|Claude Julien: ‘I don’t know’ if Patrice Bergeron will be back for Game 2||05.16.11 at 1:16 pm ET|
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron took a significant step in his return from the concussion he suffered in Game 4 of the conference semifinals, skating with the team for Monday’s practice. It was his third straight day of on-ice work, and the first with his teammates since suffering the concussion.
Bergeron did not don his usual yellow (second line) jersey, though he did participate in line drills, rotating in on his regular line that now consists of Brad Marchand, Mark Recchi and Rich Peverley. He also took part in special teams drills prior, though he left the ice early without taking contact. Though it seems the center is making quick progress, coach Claude Julien didn’t offer too much on where the 25-year-old stands.
“He’s going through the protocol of what he has to go through,” Julien said. “There’s not much more to update you guys on except [to say] when he is ready to go, you guys will know it. You can’t predict how quickly or how soon it’s going to be. It’s just one of those situations where right now, you see him going through today’s skate. That’s protocol. Right now we’re not ready to make any comments, because he’s just going through those stages.”
Asked specifically about Bergeron’s chances of playing in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals vs. the Lightning on Tuesday, Julien was not ready to lean either way.
“No comments,” the coach said. “I don’t know.”
|Claude Julien: ‘No doubt’ Tomas Kaberle is pressing||05.15.11 at 2:10 pm ET|
Tomas Kaberle has taken a beating from the media — this space included — since he’s come to Boston. He hasn’t been as advertised, he’s made costly turnovers and as positive and upbeat a guy as he is, that can come off as a lack of accountability when things are going wrong.
Unfortunately for Kaberle and the Bruins, Game 1 of the conference finals vs. the Lightning didn’t feature the step in the right direction many are still waiting for him to take. Kaberle gave the puck away behind his own net to give Teddy Purcell an easy unassisted goal in the first period, and he looked like a combination of Fulton Reed and Uncle Rico with some of his shots on the power play. It hasn’t been easy for Kaberle since coming over in Feb. 18, and it may be weighing on the veteran defenseman.
“There is no doubt he is pressing a little bit,” Claude Julien said Sunday at TD Garden. “I would say that because he knows what is expected of him and he knows what is being said about him. He knows all that stuff, at one point you hope that he is capable of focusing on just doing the job. We have confidence in him and we are going to work with him for him to get better, because we are going to need him to play at his best if we plan on moving on here and winning some hockey games.”
Kaberle has generally contented throughout his struggles that he needs to leave any negative moments in the past, but as they continue to pile up, it seems they could be sticking with him when he’s out on the ice. A player of Kaberle’s caliber isn’t used to being a weak link, and there’s still time for him to be a strength on the Bruins. It will need to come sooner rather than later, and once the defenseman can clear his head, the B’s could be in the clear with what’s looking like an uglier trade with each passing day.
|Brad Marchand is no dummy, admits he needs to cut back on ‘selfish’ displays||05.15.11 at 1:54 pm ET|
The Bruins had plenty of reason to be frustrated with their effort in a 5-2 loss in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night, but rookie Brad Marchand showed his emotions in a much louder way than anyone else.
Marchand, who had a very forgettable night that included a minus-2 rating and zero shots on goal, made more noise when he shattered his stick in a rage in the second period than when he was out on the ice. It took a couple of whacks, but the sound of the rookie breaking his stick could be heard throughout the building.
“It wasn’t good enough the first time,” Marchand said of how he felt as he was taking his anger out on his stick. “I had to do it again. I just had a lot of frustration built up. I wanted to be a factor out there, and it wasn’t happening. It just got to me.”
The rookie is used to having to explain his actions, but when he crosses the line, it’s generally due to his chirping, and not a result of anger. Though it was far different from him calling the Canadiens divers or making a golf-swing gesture to the Maple Leafs bench, the result was the same: a talk from coach Claude Julien and a subsequent apology.
“I was a little frustrated there, and I reacted in a way that I shouldn’t have,” Marchand said Sunday at TD Garden. “It was selfish and it brought a lot of negative energy to the team at the wrong point. He recognized that. He’s upset about that because he knows I’m better than that. He knows that I can control my emotions better than that. I can’t be getting off my game. I need to be getting teams off their game.”
Julien has had to keep the fiery young winger in check throughout the season. Emotion is a big part of what makes Marchand the player he is, but controlling that emotion is an area in which the coach still needs to aid the 23-year-old.
“That’s something we don’t like to see and we don’t want to see but he is a first year player, he is a rookie and he is certainly learning,” Julien said. “He is going to be the first one to tell you that he is learning as he goes along here. You can’t allow yourself to get frustrated — you have to battle through things. We just showed a little bit of frustration, and I’m sure you are not going to see that again.”
Marchand has been one of the Bruins’ top performers in his rookie year, scoring 21 goals in the regular season and working his way from the fourth line up to the second line. Yet as strong as his game has been, he knows that his secret weapon — his emotions — can often backfire.
Such was the case back on March 8 in Montreal when he had no problem slapping the Habs with the “divers” tag in talking to the media. The result that night? A 4-1 Bruins loss. The team didn’t fare any better on March 31 when he made his infamous golf gesture in a Game the Leafs would win.
“I started shooting my mouth off,” Marchand said of the Canadiens incident. “It always comes back to bite you in the butt. The golf swing incident — we lost that [game] too,” he added before seemingly coming to a realization.
“I’ve just got to stop doing dumb stuff.”
|Claude Julien says Bergeron won’t return until he’s 100 percent||05.15.11 at 1:23 pm ET|
Patrice Bergeron skated for the second straight day on Sunday, an encouraging sign as the Bruins await the concussed center’s return to the lineup. Coach Claude Julien made clear Sunday at TD Garden that while Bergeron is progressing, the team has zero intention of rushing the 25-year-old back into the lineup.
“If he’s not 100 percent, he will never play,” Julien said. “Whether it’s regular season or playoffs, our organization, even before they tightened up the rules on that, there is no way we would ever do that to a player. That is too important to his personal lifestyle and the life he is going to lead after hockey that, that will always come before the game. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it should be.
“We believe in that and we are going to continue to enforce it, so the day you see Bergy back in our line-up, he will be 100 percent. If he’s not, you’re not going to see him.”
The concussion , which Bergeron suffered in the third period of Game 4 of the conference semifinals, is the third of the young center’s career. Bergeron leads the Bruins with 12 points this postseason.
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