|Manny Malhotra on the ice again, still day-to-day||06.03.11 at 4:08 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — Canucks center Manny Malhotra skated Friday at the University of British Columbia after missing recent skates in his attempt to return from an eye injury suffered in March. Both he and coach Alain Vigneault were tight-lipped about where Malhotra stands on a possible return to Vancouver’s lineup during the Stanley Cup finals.
“As I said on Saturday, it’s a day-to-day situation,” Malhotra said Friday. “From one day to the next, things have changed. I didn’t feel proper to go on the ice, so I took a couple days off.”
Vigneault would only offer that “Manny is day-to-day.” Malhotra had 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points in the regular season.
|Canucks are blue over Tim Thomas’ positioning, but Bruins aren’t concerned||06.02.11 at 8:02 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — Biting aside, one hot-button issue to emerge from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals was where Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas set up shop. The Vezina favorite drew a questionable tripping call on Alexandre Burrows in the second period of Wednesday’s game, which caused Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault to question Thomas’ positioning outside of the crease.
Following the game, Vigneault said one big difference between Thomas and Roberto Luongo, both of whom entered the series with nearly identical postseason numbers, is that his guy stays put.
“Our goaltender always plays in the blue, stays in his ice. Their goaltender is always out of the blue and comes into other people’s ice,” Vigneault said after Game 1. “We’re going to need a little bit of clarification there, especially when he’s initiating contact with our team. I’m sure we’ll be able to figure it out.”
If Vigneault needs clarification, he can simply go to Rule 69.4, which applies to contact outside the crease. Here is the part of that rule that would pertain to Wednesday’s play:
“A goalkeeper is not ‘fair game’ just because he is outside the goal crease. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an attacking player makes unnecessary contact with the goalkeeper. However, incidental contact will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such unnecessary contact.”
Thomas defended his ground Thursday when the subject was brought up during the Bruins’ media availability.
“Basically I have the right to go anywhere there’s open ice,” Thomas said. “If I’m set, I have a right to that ice. If I’m out of the paint and I’m set, I also have the right to get right-of-way to get back to the crease. That’s the way I understand it.”
That’s just what Thomas felt he was doing on the penalty taken by Burrows. As for the notion that the Canucks could need clarification on what he can and can’t do, Thomas pointed to how rare it is that he has drawn such a penalty. If the Canucks are worried about it happening often, they may be reading too far into things.
“I don’t think I’ve drawn that many penalties this playoffs,” Thomas said Thursday at the University of British Columbia. “Yesterday on the one on [Burrows], I went to make the first stop, then the puck was going off to the side. I was retreating back to the center of my net, felt resistance behind my leg, and I was actually just going with it. I was going to basically flip around, flip my body around, to be able to at least have a chance to stop that rebound that went to the side of the net.
“I didn’t know if it was my guy or their guy or who [tripped me]. I was backing up and there was something behind my leg. It sort of put me off balance.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien didn’t see reason for concern either and figured Luongo could do the same thing if he wanted.
“If he gets a chance to challenge, he challenges,” Julien said of Thomas. “The rule is pretty clear. You’re entitled to your ice. If he steps out and he’s got that ice, he’s entitled to it. That’s what he’s done through the whole process.
“Now, we all know that goaltenders are to be protected. If you’re going to say he’s out of his crease, he’s fair game, that should be the same thing behind the net. ‘¦ If he’s entitled to his ice, and he’s got it, then afterwards I don’t think people are entitled to run over those guys. If Luongo comes out of his net, he’s got his ice, it’s his, it belongs to him. The rule to me is pretty clear so I don’t see any issues there.”
Maybe Vigneault and the Bruins will have to agree to disagree, and though Thomas may have gone down a little easily on the play, the ruling seems clear enough.
|Chris Kelly a common spectator for hockey bites||06.02.11 at 6:38 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — Bruins center Chris Kelly said Thursday that there isn’t a place for actions like Alexandre Burrows’ bite on Patrice Bergeron in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, saying “I don’t’ think biting’s part of the game.” Yet in Kelly’s case, he has seen multiple times now that it can be part of the game.
Kelly, who was acquired in February from the Senators for a second-round draft pick, was playing for Ottawa when teammate Jarkko Ruutuu got tried dining on the thumb of Sabres’ winger Andrew Peters. For a relatively quiet guy, Kelly has a sense of humor, so his perspective on how his team dealt with having a teammate bite a player was sharp.
“I didn’t think Ruutes bit him. I don’t know,” Kelly said with a laugh. “I’m always going to stick up for teammates. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Maybe Kelly didn’t know, but the league did. They suspended Ruutu for two games for the incident, which occurred on January 6, 2009. Unlike Ruutu, Burrows was not suspended for his bite.
It’s far from an epidemic, but Kelly has seen two bites in the last three seasons. Still, he’s not about to start worrying the next time he face-washes an opponent.
“I don’t think too many guys go and bite people,” Kelly said. “I don’t think you need to worry about it.”
|Patrice Bergeron shows cut finger, Bruins trying to move on from Alexandre Burrows bite||06.02.11 at 6:20 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — Speaking Thursday at the University of British Columbia, Bruins center Patrice Bergeron and coach Claude Julien offered no disagreement with the league’s decision to not suspend Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows for biting Bergeron in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday.
“As far as I’m concerned, the league has made a decision on it, and we move on,” Julien said. “I think what’s more important for us is to prepare for the next game more than put all our attention on something that’s already been ruled on. We’re not the type of team that whines and cries about things like that. We just move on, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Bergeron expressed the same line of thinking.
“Like I said last night, it’s the league’s decision,” Bergeron said. “I let them make the call and make the decision. It’s there’s, so I have nothing else to say about it, I guess.”
After speaking with the press, Bergeron showed some media members his right index finger, which was bruised and had two cuts on the front, and one on the back.
Burrows told Bergeron at the time of the incident, which occurred at the end of the first period, that he had no choice but to bite him because Bergeron’s fingers were in his mouth, something the B’s center laughed off Thursday.
“We were both face-washing each other, and I didn’t mean to put my finger in his mouth,” he said. “Why would I do that?”
|Dan Hamhuis day-to-day||06.02.11 at 4:32 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — One day after Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis left Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals in the second period due to injury, Vancouver coach said Thursday at the University of British Columbia that the defenseman is “day-to-day.”
Hamhuis hip-checked Bruins left wing Milan Lucic and was cross-checked immediately following the play by B’s center David Krejci. He headed down the tunnel and did not return to the game. The former 12th overall pick has averaged 24:50 of ice time this postseason, which is third on the Canucks.
|Patrice Bergeron not happy with Alexandre Burrows’ bite||06.02.11 at 12:05 am ET|
VANCOUVER — Wearing an adhesive bandage on his left index finger, Bruins center Patrice Bergeron confirmed following the team’s Game 1 loss to the Canucks in the Stanley Cup finals that Vancouver winger Alexandre Burrows bit him at the end of the first period.
“Oh yeah, he did,” said Bergeron. “He cut me a little bit on my finger, but I’m not going to complain about it. I’ll let the league do their job, but he sure did [bite me].”
Bergeron and Burrows were each given roughing penalties for their tussle at the end of the period, though Bergeron’s was a minor and Burrows’ was a double-minor. Bergeron wanted further action to be taken against Burrows, though the refs did not see the play. Bergeron was uncharacteristically irate following the play.
“They didn’t see it, but we were speaking French and I [asked Burrows] why did he do that,” Bergeron said. “That lineseman speaks French, and he said that [Burrows’] explanation was that he put my finger in his mouth and he had to do it.”
[Note: To clarify, Bergeron said that it was Burrows, not the linesman, who said Burrows had no choice but to bite him. He later corrected his phrasing.]
The 25-year-old Bergeron noted that he did not want to start a “war of words,” but did note that he would never stoop to Burrows’ level.
Said Bergeron: “I don’t mind the rough play and the little scrums at the end, as long as it’s just pushing and shoving and all of that, but biting? I mean, come on.”
It is likely the league will review the incident, and, like Jarkko Ruutu in 2009, Burrows could be suspended. If he is, it would be a big loss, given that Burrows plays on Vancouver’s first line with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin.
“Before we’ve seen some suspensions from guys,” Bergeron said. “Ruutu did that and he got suspended, so we’ll see.”
Burrows denied the bite.
‘He had his finger in my mouth but I don’t think I bit him,” he said. “You saw it, he put his hand up and he put his hand in my face and his finger got in my mouth, so that’s what happened.’
|Canucks steal Game 1 late||06.01.11 at 10:57 pm ET|
Prior to the goal, Thomas had not allowed a goal since a Martin St. Louis tally in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. Roberto Luongo had a shutout for the Canucks.
Game 2 will be played Saturday at Rogers Arena before the teams travel to Boston for Games 3 and 4.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins were given a big opportunity when Daniel Sedin cut Chara with a high stick behind the net and was handed a double-minor. The B’s looked very good on the power play throughout the four minutes, getting eight shots on goal, but couldn’t put one in. When Sedin got out of the box, the Canucks had a 3-on-2. Aside from the 5-on-3, the power play was generally atrocious. Chara had an opportunity on a rebound in front of Luongo, though Dan Hamhuis lifted his stick before he could touch it.
– Too many penalties in the game, and a special teams-dominated game is a game the Bruins usually lose. Twelve penalties were called through the first two periods, though it seems the refs let them play. Not all the penalties seemed justified, as Thomas really took a dive to get a tripping call on Burrows in the second.
– As good as Thomas was, Luongo was just as good. Luongo had a heavier workload, seeing more shots than Thomas saw from the Canucks on the night.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Some discipline from the league could end up working in the Bruins’ favor. At the end of the first period, a scrum ensued following a save from Thomas. With Chara tangled up with Hamhuis, Patrice Bergeron found himself going back and forth with Burrows. Suddenly, Bergeron became enraged in a way rarely displayed by the level-headed center. Minutes later, word emerged that Burrows had bitten Bergeron’s finger. Both players were given roughing penalties, though Burrows’ was a double-minor. Bergeron skated the refs afterward to show him his finger.
– As bad as Boston’s power play looked at times, the penalty kill was terrific. The B’s were able to neutralize six Vancouver power plays through the first two periods, and held the Canucks without a shot on goal for the two minutes that followed a David Krejci cross-check on Hamhuis.
– Thomas turned in a great showing for the B’s, most notably stopping Jannik Hansen on a breakaway five minutes into the third period and coming up big on a Canucks’ 2-on-1 with about eight and a half minutes left. Thomas really lucked out when Alexander Edler fired off a wrist shot that beat Thomas but went off the cross-bar. It looked like it had gone in to the naked eye at full-speed, but replays showed that it didn’t.
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