|As Bruins power play struggles, Tomas Kaberle still trying to ‘prove why I’m here’||04.24.11 at 1:20 pm ET|
Tomas Kaberle was supposed to be the answer for Boston’s power play. So far, there’s just been more questions in what has been an ugly tryout for a new contract.
Seemingly destined to don the black and gold eventually, the Bruins finally acquired the heavily sought-after free agent-to-be 10 days prior to the trade deadline. Since then, the Bruins’ power play has been almost unfathomably unproductive. With just seven goals in 80 opportunities, the unit has been clicking just eight percent of the time. Even general manager Peter Chiarelli said recently that the team expected more out of the defenseman when they sent a first-round pick and highly touted prospect Joe Colborne to Toronto in exchange for the veteran defenseman. Chiarelli isn’t the only one hoping Kaberle can pick it up.
“I always put a lot of pressure on myself,” Kaberle said Sunday at TD Garden. “Hopefully I can prove why I’m here. I would like to help with every little thing I can do on the ice. Obviously, I am one of the guys on the PP, and it would be nice to be something going there.”
Kaberle had nine points for the Bruins in his 24 regular season contests since being acquired, but as the spotlight grew brighter with the arrival of the playoffs, the 33-year-old had an ugly showing. He reversed a puck too hard in the Bruins’ zone, making for an easy Scott Gomez pass to Brian Gionta to set up what would be the game-winning goal.
From there, things didn’t improve as much as they needed to. Kaberle had major struggles in Game 2, displaying an inability to keep the puck in the zone on routine plays, a suggestion that perhaps he may have been pressing. If a turnaround is to be made, perhaps the defenseman can build on the fact that things have at least been looking up statistically. He’s had an assist in each of the last two games, and with how bad things were in Games 1 and 2, it’s a starting point.
“I felt like the first couple of games I could have been better,” Kaberle admitted Sunday. “The last few games, I’ve felt a lot better, and I’m feeling better confidence-wise. I’ll take it from there.”
Right now, any signs of confidence from Kaberle should be a good thing, as his play — despite making the as-advertised passes — has not been a major game-changer for the B’s in the postseason. He still isn’t producing on the man advantage, and his now-infamous fakes on the power play aren’t fooling anybody. Fairly or unfairly, Chiarelli’s move to get Kaberle will be seen as a major steal by the Leafs unless the power play starts getting the results that have eluded them for too long. There’s no better way to do that than to get the power play going, but teammates won’t let all the responsibility fall on Kaberle.
“I’m sure he feels pressure just like all of us,” Dennis Seidenberg said Sunday. “It’s not just him that wants to do better. I think it’s everybody that wants to create and wants to get that advantage you’re supposed to get. Right now it’s just not working, and I’m sure he thinks as much as everybody else about it — what he can do, and what we should do improve it. I guess it’s a work in progress.”
A first-round pick and a former first-round center with as high a ceiling as Colborne’s is not something a team wants to give up for a player that can help the power play be a “work in progress.” That type of package is reserved for a star player, and that’s clearly what the Bruins thought they were getting. There’s still time for Kaberle to justify the move and prove that the trade for a puck-moving defenseman was more than an asset-moving blunder, but for now the waiting game continues.
|Claude Julien: Game 6 vs. Canadiens will be ‘toughest one’||04.24.11 at 1:00 pm ET|
The Bruins did not practice Sunday after their 2-1 victory in double-overtime over the Canadiens on Saturday night, though select members of the team and coach Claude Julien were at TD Garden to discuss the state of affairs with the team leading the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, 3-2.
The B’s, who found themselves in a hole after dropping the first two games of the season, have won three straight games, including the last two in overtime. Now one win away from going to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the third time in as many years, Julien said he does not anticipate an easy time as the B’s try to clinch the series in Montreal on Tuesday.
“I think we just have to turn the page here and understand there is another full game to be played,” Julien said Sunday. “When you win three in a row you should feel confident. But again, there is a lot of work to be done. We know this next game is going to be the toughest one. You have a team playing for their lives and they are plying in their home building. So it represents a pretty big challenge for us so we are going to have to be at our best.”
|Brad Marchand not focusing on Max Pacioretty’s tweet, or going anywhere near twitter||04.24.11 at 12:43 am ET|
Bruins forward Brad Marchand would have been a popular guy either way on Saturday night, as he scored the Bruins’ lone goal of regulation in a game the B’s went on to win in double overtime. Yet before he even put his first career playoff goal past Carey Price more than four minutes into the third period, there was a buzz surrounding the 22-year-old thanks to injured Habs forward Max Pacioretty.
Out since taking a hit into the stanchion on March 8 from Zdeno Chara, Pacioretty tweeted after the second period that “this game is longer than marchands [sic] nose.”
At times a very interesting quote during the regular season, Marchand did not take the bait Saturday, downplaying the significance of the tweet, which Pacioretty later deleted and apologized for.
“I don’t know what kind of reaction I should [have],” Marchand said. “It happens.”
Minutes after the tweet surfaced, Marchand scored to give the B’s a 1-0 lead.
“I didn’t know [about the tweet at the time].” he said. “I scored quickly after, but it’s always nice to just kind of rub it in a little.”
The rookie winger did note that he will not get on twitter, saying “twitter is not for me” and adding that he would probably get himself in trouble if he began using it.
Asked whether he feels he’s a bit more creative with his trash talk, Marchand laughed and said “yeah, on the ice, but that’s going to stay on the ice.”
Marchand’s fellow rookies, Tyler Seguin and Steven Kampfer, are the only Bruins using twitter.
|Chirping tweeter: Max Pacioretty calls game ‘longer than [Brad] Marchand’s nose’||04.23.11 at 9:27 pm ET|
Max Pacioretty may not be able to play, but he can still chirp. Check out what the injured Habs winger tweeted after the second period Saturady (stick-tap to Michael Berger for finding the screen-grab after it was deleted):
|Five things the Bruins must do to win Game 5 vs. Canadiens||04.22.11 at 10:55 pm ET|
The Bruins are coming off one of the more exciting victories they have had in recent memory, as they came back three times to beat the Habs in overtime on a Michael Ryder goal less than two minutes into overtime in Game 4. With the B’s having tied the series at two games apiece, they can prove that there is such thing as a home ice advantage by beating the Habs in Game 5 Saturday night. Here’s what they’ll need to do in order to grab the series lead Saturday at TD Garden.
1. Believe in momentum
Claude Julien thinks that momentum is overrated, but if the B’s can keep Game 4 fresh in their minds, they should be able to go with a full head of steam. Coming from behind the way the Bruins did at the Bell Centre is no easy task, and it was a rather embarrassing game for the Habs to lose given that they blew three leads in their own building. The B’s confidence combined with whatever the slipping Canadiens are feeling is probably a good thing for Boston.
2. Find Milan Lucic
The Bruins are still waiting for their leading goal-scorer from the regular season to pick up his first postseason point. So far, he’s been kept off the scoring sheet and has compiled a minus-2 rating. An indication that he probably isn’t working his way out of it is that he has had one or zero shots on goal in three of the four games thus far in the series. He is definitely off for some reason, but if he can get more involved in the play and show signs of life, the Boston’s top line may actually resemble a top line.
3. Pepper Carey Price early
The Bruins have had nine shots on goal or less in the first period of three of the series’ first four games. That’s no way of finding out whether they can get to Price, and it has shown. Aside from the two pucks they were able to get past Price on nine shots in the first period of Game 3, the Bruins haven’t scored on Price until the second period. Here’s a breakdown of the B’s shots on goal and goals per period in this series:
Patrice Bergeron leads the Bruins with 16 shots on goal this series.
4. Remember March 24
This series has been all about the road team thus far. The got the two goals in both Games 1 and 2 and sat back with the lead en route to big road victories. The Bruins scored a pair of first-period goals Monday and mounted a terrific comeback victory on Thursday. For whatever reason, the home team just can’t seem to win.
If the Bruins can think back to their March 24 win, they can change that trend. Johnny Boychuk scored 1:01 into the game, and the Canadiens seemed to give up at TD Garden from there, with the B’s grabbing a lopsided 7-0 win. The game was also Tim Thomas‘ lone shutout vs. the Habs, and though he’s looked fantastic at stretches during games this postseason, he has yet to dominate for 60 minutes.
5. Limit the turnovers
When the Canadiens have scored this series, it has often been because of uncharacteristic turnovers by the Bruins. It started when Tomas Kaberle put too much zip on a reverse in Game 1, and it has continued throughout the series. The B’s still have yet to play the type of game they need to, though the last half of Thursday night’s contest displayed guts like no other.
|Brad Marchand recalls how Mark Recchi helped him early on as a rookie||04.22.11 at 9:04 pm ET|
MONTREAL — The fact that Mark Recchi is highly respected in the Bruins locker room should come as no surprise to anyone. The 42-year-old has seen everything in his time in the NHL, so when he talks, people listen.
The future Hall-of-Famer did just that after the team’s loss in Game 2 to the Canadiens, telling ESPN recently that he told teammates that they could come back from the 2-0 lead the Habs held after two games. After all, Recchi and the Hurricanes won four in a row to sink the Habs back in 2006 after dropping the first two games of the quarterfinals. The rest, as they say, is history, as the Hurricanes went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Recchi’s words were heard loud and clear by teammates, and they are now halfway to their goal of taking the series after winning Games 3 and 4.
“He said something the other day in the room and everyone kind of perked up a little like, ‘Wow. If Recchi said it, than it’s true,’” linemate Brad Marchand recalled Thursday morning. “It’s great having him here. He’s such a leader. Every time he steps up, he always says the right thing at the right time. It’s great.”
For Marchand, the inspiration from Recchi hasn’t been limited to speeches given to the team. Recchi told the rookie earlier in the season to expect criticism from him.
“One day he was like, ‘I’ll get upset with you. It’s not going to be about you missing a pass, or that you should have given it to me at this [point], but playing your position, little things like that.’ He’s just so good at critiquing you and helping you grow into your game and being in certain positions, stuff like that,” Marchand said. “He was always helping me, telling me to be a certain way or in a certain place. He was really good with that with me throughout the year.”
Marchand’s rookie season was a successful one, as he totaled 21 goals and 20 assists for 41 points. Many of those points came playing on the same line as Recchi and Patrice Bergeron after beginning the season with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton. Though Marchand didn’t always play with Recchi, the help he got from the 42-year-old seemed to come all year after No. 28 expressed an interest in tutoring the youngster.
“He was just like, ‘Listen. I want to help you, and help you out in areas where I think you could maybe do things differently,’ but he never once got upset with me about a pass or anything like that,” Marchand said. “He never got upset with me in general. He would help me out, and any little teaching point that he could help me out with, he really helped me a ton.
“Little things, how he carries himself in the room and off the ice, when to talk to the guys, when to not chirp guys, stuff like that. It’s unbelievable the amount of stuff he knows and he sees throughout the game. He’s like another coach on the ice.”
So, what is a young player thinking when one of the best to play the game begins listing how he could do better? A sensitive player might be disappointed in some, way, shape or form or take feel like they’re doing something wrong. When it comes to Recchi helping Marchand, that isn’t the case.
“You’re very grateful right away, because some guys — a lot of guys — will just sit there and let you make your mistakes,” Marchand said. “He’s that guy that will step up. He likes bringing young guys along, you can tell. The way he talks to everybody, and all the young guys, he helps them out. I was very grateful to have a guy like him teach me things that maybe other guys wouldn’t have. I learned a lot from him this year.”
Recchi’s tutelage of Marchand isn’t the first case in which he’s helped a younger player. Among the youngsters Recchi has helped along the way is Jordan Staal, whom he let live in his guest house back when Staal was a rookie in the 2006-07 season.
|Reports: Ference fined $2,500 for gesture||04.22.11 at 11:04 am ET|
According to multiple reports, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference has been fined $2,500 by the NHL for making an obscene gesture following his second-period goal in Thursday night’s OT win over the Canadiens.
No penalty was assessed at the time, and Ference denied making the gesture when asked by reporters after the game.
“Coach just showed me it, and it looks awful,” Ference said . “I just saw it and I can assure you that’s not part of my repertoire. I don’t know if my glove got caught up. I can assure you, that’s not part of who I am or what I ever have been. So it looks awful, I admit it, I completely apologize to how it looks. You guys have covered me long enough to know that that’s not part of my repertoire.
“I was putting my fist in the air,” Ference added. “I’m sorry, it does look awful. I just saw it.”
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