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Johnny Boychuk no longer ‘foggy,’ ready to go for Game 6 05.24.11 at 5:10 pm ET
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TAMPA — On Tuesday Bruins coach Claude Julien used the same word as he did Monday — “fine” — to describe defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who left Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals a little over halfway through the third period after hit from Tampa Bay forward Steve Downie.

“Nothing has changed,” Julien said. “He’s fine.”

Boychuk himself said that he will play in Wednesday’s Game 6 and that despite feeling a bit woozy following the hit that earned Downie a boarding penalty, he knew that he was OK.

“I was a little foggy, but then after I got off the ice, I felt totally fine,” Boychuk said Tuesday. “Even when I was on the ice, they just wanted to make sure I was OK before I even tried to skate. I didn’t really want to fall.”

Boychuk said that the hit caught him by surprise, and though he noted players in his position have “got to be aware of their surroundings,” not knowing Downie was coming didn’t help matters.

“I didn’t see him’€¦ obviously,” Boychuk said. “I didn’t see him coming. You can’t really brace yourself if you can’t see him.”

Downie was not disciplined by the league for the hit, and Boychuk took a respectable approach when asked his feelings on it.

“I saw the hit,” he said. “If it’s suspendable, then the league will do it, but I’m feeling fine and that’s the main thing.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Claude Julien, Johnny Boychuk, Steve Downie
Claude Julien says Johnny Boychuk is ‘fine’ 05.24.11 at 3:53 am ET
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The Bruins got a bit of a scare in the third period of their 3-1 vicctory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals when Lightning forward Steve Downie took a run at B’s defenseman Johnny Boychuk and sent Boychuk down the tunnel and out of the game. Downie went off for boarding, and though Boychuk didn’t take another shift, the encouraging news was that he made his way back to the bench for the end of the contest. Coach Claude Julien said he did not see the hit, but that the defenseman is OK.

“Johnny is fine,” Julien said. “I haven’€™t had an opportunity to look at it. I haven’€™t watched the video yet. I know some people have, but from what I hear it’€™s not a great hit. I’€™ll maybe save my comments more for after I see it.”

Boychuk logged 16:09 of ice time before leaving after the play, which occured at 10:54 of the third.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Johnny Boychuk, Steve Downie,
Mike Smith leads Lightning out for Game 5 05.23.11 at 7:38 pm ET
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After the Lightning kept tight-lipped on who would start Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, Mike Smith — not Dwayne Roloson — was first onto the ice Monday night as Tampa players went out for warmups.

Roloson entered the series leading all postseason goaltenders in goals against average and save percentage but was pulled in both Games 2 and 4 after the Bruins mounted large leads. Smith has stopped all 29 shots he has seen vs. the Bruins in relief. Smith went 1-2-0 against the B’s in the regular season, including allowing five goals in the Bruins’ 8-1 pounding of the Bolts on Dec. 2.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Dwayne Roloson, Guy Boucher, Mike Smith
Claude Julien sticking with Tomas Kaberle 05.23.11 at 12:44 pm ET
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This space has long been a meeting place for the “Play Steven Kampfer” movement, but Bruins coach Claude Julien emphatically stated Monday that Tomas Kaberle is staying in the lineup.

“If you know the game well enough, you would understand that there’s some experience back there,” Julien said when a reporter asked about benching Kaberle. “You’ve got to also think, is that guy coming in a better player than Kaberle?”

In my humble opinion, I would answer “yes” to Julien’s question. Between Kampfer’s skill set/previous success vs. Tampa making him a good fit for this series and Kaberle’s ugly turnovers on which he’s looked indifferent, Kampfer could probably do more with 11:35 of ice time than Kaberle did in Game 4.

Yet Julien is correct in reminding doubters that sticking with a struggling player has worked for the Bruins. Many wanted Michael Ryder out of the lineup in the first round, and now Ryder has been the team’s best winger for the last five games.

“Some people wanted certain people out of the lineup earlier on, and our patience has paid off,” Julien said. “I don’t know why we decide that we should be taking [Kaberle] out of the lineup when there’s other players too that have struggled. I don’t know why we haven’t talked about that. That’s because we had patience. We believed in those guys, and Kaberle last game, that second goal, maybe [lost] the puck, but our system calls for support on that. Our support wasn’t there. According to our system, he’s not the only one to blame.”

Kaberle was certainly to blame for Sean Bergenheim’s game-tying goal in the second period Saturday, as the Lightning forward took the puck from Kaberle behind the Bruins’ net without a fight from No. 12. Kaberle was not to blame for Simon Gagne’s game-winner in the third, but Julien only addressed the fourth goal.

“On the winning goal, he blocks a shot, makes a great play. He’s trying to get off the ice, and we turn the puck over, so we keep playing Kaberle? I think people are a little hard on this guy,” Julien said. “I’m one of those guys that’s going to support him, and one of those guys who’s going to keep him in the lineup, in case you want to know. He’s going to be a good part of our hockey team. We got him because we believe in him, and until last game he played two really good games, so that’s how we see Kaberle.”

There you have it. Kaberle is only worth 11:35 of ice time, but he’s worth believing in. The company line just sounds a bit off.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Steven Kampfer, Tomas Kaberle,
Guy Boucher still not revealing whether it’s Dwayne Roloson or Mike Smith for Game 5 05.23.11 at 12:29 pm ET
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Lightning coach Guy Boucher once again danced around the subject when asked who is starting goaltender would be in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals vs. the Bruins. The coach said starter Dwayne Roloson, who was pulled in Games 2 and 4, is “prepared,” but offered little else as to whether it would be Roloson or Mike Smith between the pipes for Monday night.

“We’re preparing like usual,” Boucher said. “[Roloson] is preparing like he’s prepared for other games. We’re prepared.”

Boucher did note that he knows his starter, but wouldn’t say who it was.

“We had a good talk,” Boucher said of Roloson. “He knows what’s coming.”

Recchi’s dozen for morning skate 05.23.11 at 10:46 am ET
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It’s a Recchi’s dozen out there for the morning skate, as all Bruins with the exception of Mark Recchi took the ice Monday morning in anticipation of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

No lineup changes are expected for the Bruins tonight. To see which lineup change we think they should make, and for a complete preview of Game 5, click here.

Read More: 2011 NHL Playoffs, Mark Recchi,
Bruins-Lightning Game 5 preview: Five things, stats and players 05.23.11 at 1:12 am ET
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The Bruins learned the hard way Saturday that they need more than a strong start and a big day from Patrice Bergeron to get their third victory of the Eastern Conference finals. After blowing a 3-0 lead in Saturday’€™s Game 4, the Bruins will be back at home Monday to take on the Lightning in Game 5.

FIVE THINGS THE BRUINS NEED TO DO

- Take advantage of playing at home/score the first goal. The Bruins don’t want to find themselves a loss away from elimination when the teams head back to Tampa for Game 6, so taking care of business in their own building will be key.

The B’€™s weren’€™t able to score the first goal in Games 1 and 2, though they were able to head to Tampa with the series tied at a game apiece. The first goal hasn’€™t been everything this series, as the team to strike first has gone 2-2 thus far.

- The B’€™s must get the type of production from David Krejci‘€™s line that made the second round such a walk in the park. Krejci was a minus-3 with zero shots on goal in Game 4, while Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic each had just one shot on goal in the loss.

- The Bruins’€™ second line probably would be a stinker as well if it weren’€™t for the redeeming qualities of Bergeron. If it weren’€™t for a Brad Marchand interference penalty in the second period, there would be minimal proof that the feisty rookie even played in Game 4. Marchand had no shots on goal for the second time this series. The B’€™s have lost both games in which the 23-year-old has failed to put a shot on net. Mark Recchi is a minus-4 this series and has just five shots on goal.

- Selective memory would probably serve the B’€™s best after their Game 4 collapse. Remember that it happened, but don’€™t think about just how much momentum the come-from-behind win could have given Tampa Bay.

- Not that they will, but the B’€™s should at least give consideration to playing Steven Kampfer. We said it last week, and Saturday’€™s soft showing behind the net on a costly turnover to Sean Bergenheim only confirms it: it’s worth seeing what Kampfer can do in place of Tomas Kaberle. Kaberle looked better in Games 2 and 3, but if you’€™re going to give him between 11 and 12 minutes a game and he still finds a way to make them costly minutes as he did Saturday, you’€™re better off easing Kampfer back in with an 11-or-12-minute night. Kampfer has as many goals this season against the Lightning (two) as Kaberle has had turnovers that resulted in Tampa goals this series.

FIVE CRAZY STATS

- Kaberle’€™s 11:35 of ice time in Game 4 isn’€™t just ridiculously low for someone the team invested so much in, but it’€™s the lowest total that Kaberle ‘€“ two injury games aside — has played in his entire career. While with the Maple Leafs, he left the team’€™s March 2, 2007 game vs. the Devils after being blindsided in the second period by Cam Janssen, and he left a Jan. 6, 2004 game with a shoulder injury in the first period. Back then, injuries were all that could keep Kaberle from playing less than 12 minutes. Now, it’€™s just poor play.

- That stuff about Michael Ryder turning it on in the playoffs is true. Ryder has seven points (3 G, 4 A) in his last five games. He never amassed more than five points in any five-game stretch during the regular season, and this five-game stretch ties for Ryder’s second-best as a member of the Bruins. He had nine points over the Bruins’ first five games of the 2009 playoffs.

- Tim Thomas has allowed four goals four times this postseason, and the Bruins are 3-0 thus far in games that directly followed said performances. Thomas allowed one goal in 89 minutes in Game 5 of the first round after allowing four goals two nights earlier. He followed the team’€™s 5-2 loss in the conference finals opener by allowing five in Game 2, but the B’€™s came away with the win. It was after that contest that Thomas really bounced back, blanking the Lightning in Game 3.

- Neither the Bruins nor the Lightning have scored a power play goal since Game 2 of the series. This marks the first time this postseason that the Bruins and their opponent have put up a goose-egg on the man advantage in consecutive games.

- Steven Stamkos is a minus-2 this series, and has only had a positive rating in one game this postseason. The lone positive rating came in Game 5 of the quarterfinals when he had two goals, an assist and was a plus-1.

FIVE KEY PLAYERS

- Whichever Lightning goalie starts. Dwayne Roloson has been chased from two of the series’€™ first four games, and Guy Boucher has yet to reveal whether Roloson will be a go for Game 5. If Boucher makes a change, it will be Mike Smith, who has stopped all 20 shots he’€™s seen from the B’€™s in 60:51 this series.

- Simon Gagne: The veteran winger simply slays the Bruins, and he did it to the tune of three points and a plus-4 rating in Game 4.

- Ryder and Tyler Seguin: In the event that Lucic and Horton fail to step it up and Bergeron’€™s wingers continue to struggle, the B’€™s will need the magical Ryder/Seguin duo to light it up the way they did in Game 2. Seguin was on the ice for three of the Lightning’€™s five goals Saturday, but he’€™s been second to only Ryder this series as far as who the B’€™s best winger has been.

- Dennis Seidenberg: One last opportunity to point out that the B’€™s minute-eating defenseman had seven blocked shots in Game 4. He and Kaberle were out there for Gagne’s game-winner.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Dennis Seidenberg
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