|Claude Julien stresses importance of special teams||04.13.11 at 12:40 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien spoke Wednesday about what his team must do to find success against the Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. Among the things touched on was the play of special teams, an area in which the Habs have excelled and the B’s have struggled of late.
“This is a team that we’re playing that played good on the power play,” Julien said. “They’ve had success, and we’ve got to stay out of the box as best we can.”
While the Bruins’ penalty kill unit (which allowed three goals in the last six games) will be key, there is no area more lacking for the Bruins than the power play. Since acquiring puck-moving defenseman Tomas Kaberle, the success on the man advantage has trended in the opposite direction. The B’s have just seven power play goals in 67 opportunities since Kaberle joined the team.
The Bruins finished 20th in the league with a 16.2 power play percentage, while their 82.6 penalty kill percentage was 16th. Boston was 3-for-24 on the power play in six regular season games vs. the Habs this season. The Canadiens finished seventh in both power play percentage (19.7) and penalty kill percentage (84.4).
The Bruins got some work in on the power play Wednesday, and they can only hope their success with the man advantage is better in the playoffs than it has been for the last two months.
|All present for final practice before playoffs||04.13.11 at 11:06 am ET|
WILMINGTON — All the expected Bruins were accounted for Wednesday as the B’s held their last practice before they square off with the Habs in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
No surprises in the color-coded lines:
Milan Lucic – David Krecji – Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Mark Recchi
Rich Peverley – Chris Kelly – Michael Ryder/Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton
|Bruins will pick ninth overall in NHL Draft||04.12.11 at 8:35 pm ET|
The Devils won the NHL Draft lottery Tuesday night, meaning they got to move up the maximum four spots from No. 8 to the fourth overall pick. Given that the team that won the lottery was already picking ahead of the Bruins, the B’s, who have Toronto’s first-round pick from the Phil Kessel deal, will remain at ninth overall.
For the second consecutive year, the Oilers will pick first overall. Edmonton selected Windsor (OHL) left wing Taylor Hall with the top pick last season. Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini had tried to swing a deal with Boston to get the second overall pick as well in order to secure both Hall and Plymouth (OHL) center Tyler Seguin, but the B’s kept the pick and selected Seguin.
The rest of the top five sees Colorado picking second, followed by the Panthers, Devils and New York Islanders.
|Bruins answer northern practices question: Lake Placid it is||04.12.11 at 6:25 pm ET|
Given the odd setup of the Bruins and Canadiens’ first-round schedule (thank you, Rush and Lady Gaga), one of the oddities of the B’s trip to Montreal next week is that they will have both Tuesday and Wednesday to practice in between Games 3 and 4.
The question hasn’t been how, but where the B’s will spend next Tuesday and Wednesday. One logical option seemed to be somewhere in Vermont, but the team announced Tuesday that they will head to Lake Placid, N.Y. to practice at the Whiteface Lake Placid Olympic Center.
|Michael Ryder: ‘I know what I have to do’||04.12.11 at 2:35 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — All things considered, Michael Ryder stunk it up down the stretch for the Bruins in the regular season. Playing out the third season of a three-year, $12 million deal Ryder scored just one goal over his last 17 games en route to wrapping up a second consecutive 18-goal campaign.
Through his struggles, the hope for the Bruins was that Ryder could pick it up in the playoffs. Given his 13 points in 11 games in the 2009 playoffs, it wouldn’t seem so inconceivable. It’s far from a sure thing, as the signs of life from the forward seemed minimal at times over the final two months of the season (two goals over 25 games). Ryder had only five points in 13 playoff games last year, but he can understand why fans might expect him to elevate his game come the postseason.
“Playoff time is pretty easy to get pumped up for,” Ryder said in his usual reserved demeanor. “This is what we play for. It’s the most exciting time of the year, and if you can’t have fun and can’t get excited to play, the I think there’s something wrong. I enjoy the playoffs, and I want to make sure I get off to a good start and try to help this team go as far as we can.”
Given his laid-back attitude, it’s no surprise that Ryder rarely shows frustration with any individual struggles. Even prior to the season, Ryder never got too low on the fact that he had a tough year in 2009-10. Yet just as he rarely shows frustration, Ryder is not the type of player to get carried away when things are going right. It seems it isn’t so much a lack of emotion as it is keeping a level head.
“Through my career, I’ve been through everything,” Ryder said. “I’ve been a healthy scratch here and there and I’ve been through tough seasons. I’ve learned a lot from everything. For me, when I stay calm, I know what I have to do. I’ve been in the league long enough, and I know what I have to do to be successful to do things.
“When things go bad, I kind of [have to] calm myself down, even though I don’t show it sometimes,” he admitted. “It takes a toll on you when you don’t score and you’re supposed to score. I just try to stay calm and try to find my way. I guess everyone has their own way of getting out of things.”
The Bruins can only hope that Ryder can find his way out of his funk. Coach Claude Julien, who hasn’t been afraid to make Ryder watch games in the press box as a healthy scratch, is simply trying to look ahead rather than in the past.
“Where [his game] it at doesn’t really matter right now,” Julien said after Tuesday’s practice. “Where it’s going to be when the playoffs start is what should matter. That’s what we’re going to wait and see.
“It’s a new season, it’s a new start, and our worry right now is where we’re going to be as a team.”
|Brad Marchand tones it down: ‘If they hate me, they hate me’||04.12.11 at 1:39 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It was too predictable that with the Bruins playing the Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs, Brad Marchand‘s stall in the Bruins dressing room had media members awaiting him Tuesday. The B’s forward has not been afraid to speak his mind in the past, especially when it comes to the Habs.
Yet Tuesday, which marked the B’s first postseason practice, Marchand, who earlier in the season said that the Habs like to “shoot their mouths off” and “dive down easy,” was far more complimentary of the Canadiens and was focused more on his excitement to play them.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Marchand said. “The history between the two teams is going to make it very interesting. I know the fans are very excited for it. It’s going to be a great series. They’re a great team over there, and they’ve played very well against us this year, so have to make sure we’re ready.”
Marchand had 21 goals and 20 assists in his rookie season, becoming a fan favorite for his scrappy play and abundance of interesting quotes. He also is responsible for one of the bigger brawls of the season in Feb. 9′s game when he hit James Wisniewski What’s made him so popular in Boston has predictably made him one of the more disliked Bruins in Montreal, but he doesn’t mind.
“I don’t care what the fans [say]. I just want to go out there and play my game and try to help the team any way I can.
“I’m not there to get the fans to hate on me. I’m here to help the team win, and if they hate me, they hate me. That’s how it goes.”
The playoffs begin Thursday, with the B’s hosting the first two games before heading into Montreal for what’s sure to be a hostile environment.
|Claude Julien not worried about job security as playoffs begin||04.12.11 at 1:17 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien has led the B’s to the playoffs in four straight seasons since coming aboard in 2007. He has yet to take the team past the second round, as the past two seasons have ended with the Bruins being eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Given that last year’s ending, an elimination at the hands of the Flyers after the B’s led both the series and Game 7 by a 3-0 count, there has been speculation that a longer playoff run could be required for Julien to keep his job. Speaking after Tuesday’s practice, the coach shot down the idea that he could be worried about potentially being let go.
“Not at all,” Julien said when asked whether he felt he was coaching for his job. “It hasn’t changed. I’m coach like like very other year. That part of it doesn’t change at all. You don’t come in here worried about yourself. In the playoffs, you come here worrying about winning the Stanley Cup. Certainly, it’s not even in the back of my mind.”
Julien also noted that not all of the responsibility falls on the coach in the playoffs, and that ultimately the players must execute for the team to get desired results.
“It’s not all about the coach, let me put it this way,” he said. “You have to expect that your players are professional enough that they know what’s at stake and they prepare. As a coach, all you can do is make that preparation as good as you can get it. At the end of the day, when the puck is dropped, they’re going to be the ones performing.”
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