|Bruins year in review: Goal of the year||06.20.11 at 12:52 am ET|
Each day this week, WEEI.com will be taking a look back at the Bruins’ historic 2010-11 Stanley Cup Championship season. We start it off by looking at the goal of the year.
GOAL OF THE YEAR
Dennis Seidenberg, Dec. 2 vs. Tampa Bay
“I know he tried to do it more than once this year. That time it just worked. With Smith in there, I know he likes to play the puck, so he kind of faked him out.”
Dennis Seidenberg might be best known for making up one half of the Bruins’ impenetrable top defensive pairing in the playoffs, but teaming with Zdeno Chara was not the only way in which he left his mark on the Bruins’ championship season.
With the Bruins holding a 1-0 lead over the Lightning in the first period back in early December, Michael Ryder gave the puck to Seidenberg in the neutral zone. With just over 20 seconds left in the period, Seidenberg gained the red line and lowered his shoulder as he released the puck, seemingly into the corner. Given that he was going through all the motions of a dump-in (even David Krejci appeared ready to chase the puck toward the corner), Lightning goalie Mike Smith left his net to retrieve it.
The only problem was that Seidenberg was pulling hockey’s version of the hidden-ball trick. Despite throwing his shoulder as though he was dumping it in, Seidenberg fired a wrist shot on net. The puck reached Smith’s net just as he was leaving it, producing just about the most entertaining play that could come from such a routine scenario. The goal was Seidenberg’s first of the season. The B’s would go on to win the game, 8-1, and Smith would be yanked early in the third period.
For Smith, it was a lapse that only a goalie keen on handling the puck could make, and it’s one of the more embarrassing snafus a netminder could encounter. Seidenberg simply took advantage of the situation, and the game eventually got out of hand.
Did this goal have the pizazz of Tyler Seguin‘s first career goal in Prague or mean anywhere near what either of Nathan Horton‘s Game 7 gems? Not even close. Yet Seidenberg’s goal in that December blowout of the Lightning flashed a great combination of hockey smarts, guts and good ol’ fashioned trickery.
HONORABLE MENTION: Tyler Seguin Oct. 10 vs. Phoenix, Nathan Horton Game 7 vs. Montreal, Tyler Seguin Game 1 vs. Tampa Bay
|Tyler Seguin’s shot broke Milan Lucic’s toe in practice||06.20.11 at 12:00 am ET|
Bruins left winger Milan Lucic admitted Sunday at the team’s breakup day that Tyler Seguin broke his right big toe with a slap shot at a practice during the team’s championship run. Lucic, who said he had played the end of the regular season and into the playoffs with a sinus infection, said it was painful for him to play through it, but that he wanted to remain in the lineup.
“Against Tampa, just before Game 2 at practice, Seguin hit me in the toe with a slap shot, so I had a broken toe for the last 13 games, which sucked big time — which really, really sucked,” Lucic said.
“You don’t realize how much you actually push off it until you break it,” he added. “I don’t know if you guys had seen me limp a little bit, but I was limping a little bit. I definitely had to deal with that, especially in that Tampa series. That was kind of tough to deal with.”
Lucic said the injury “heals on its own” and will not require surgery. The 23-year-old did not miss any time in the postseason and totaled five goals and seven assists for 12 points in the playoffs. He led the B’s with 30 goals in the regular season.
|Tomas Kaberle wants to return to Bruins||06.19.11 at 11:59 pm ET|
Kaberle was acquired on Feb. 18 from the Maple Leafs in exchange for the Bruins’ first-round pick, center Joe Colborne and a 2012 second-round pick. The defenseman struggled with the B’s through the end of the season and into the playoffs but turned in a fine performance in the Stanley Cup finals vs. Vancouver and led all B’s defensemen in playoff points.
“Obviously we’re going to talk the next few days,” Kaberle said. “Everything was hectic the last couple of days. Hopefully we can sit down or we can talk to my agent and it will be nice to be back here.”
Asked for clarification on whether Boston is his first choice, Kaberle responded, “yes.”
Kaberle had a $4 million salary cap hit last season.
|Andrew Ference happy to share Cup with Boston, surprised by Kevin Bieksa’s comments||06.18.11 at 5:39 pm ET|
The city of Boston has waited 39 years. The fans win.
To be able to bring the Cup to Boston has been special for Ference and his teammates, who feel they can identify with fans now more than ever. It’s what they have in common, Ference feels, that makes the city’s celebration of the Cup even more special.
“I just feel like everybody feels like we do,” Ference said Saturday. “We’ve waited our whole lives to win it, and put in a lot of work and dedication and we finally get to raise the Cup, but all the hockey fans here have put in their hard work, too, supporting the teams and waiting so long. It’s amazing how many people come up and introduce themselves as season ticket-holders for x-number of years. That’s hard work. That’s support and that’s incredible dedication to the sport and to the team. Of course they’re as excited as we are, so it’s amazing.”
Ference, who took the Cup through Boston in a stroller, earlier in the week, said it was total blur when he raised the trophy for the first time.
“It really happened so quick, and even the whole time on the ice is just kind of a blur and busy. You’re in disbelief. It was great on the ice, but it was more fun almost in the locker room after to real savor it. On the ice, you’re really just hoping for a good picture so you can put it on the wall.”
LAY OFF THE JACKET
Ference said Saturday that his team drew no motivation from the lack of respect it received during the Stanley Cup finals, but did not that he was surprised that players such as Kevin Bieksa bad-mouthed them to the media.
Bieksa, of course, made fun of the 1980’s jacket that Ference bought on eBay for $35 — a hideous sight to any eyes — that one player wears after each game to denote the team’s most valuable player. Bieksa called the tradition childish, asking, “Don’t Pee Wee teams have that?”
“It just surprised me that he would say that publicly,” Ference said Saturday. “How does that benefit them? I don’t know. Even if you think it, you can chirp us all you want in your own locker room. Publicly, it’s just more surprising. I didn’t care, it doesn’t hurt our feelings. We love it and what it represents. Yeah, just to say some things publicly were surprising because it does absolutely no good for your own team.”
The Bruins got the last laugh, of course, as the Stanley Cup ended up wearing the jacket as the team celebrated in the visitors room at Rogers Arena Wednesday.
NOT ALL VANCOUVER FANS ARE BAD
Aside from a chorus of boos for commissioner Gary Bettman, the Canucks fans were respectful of the Bruins when they won the Cup, cheering as Zdeno Chara lifted the historic trophy, and getting louder for the likes of Tim Thomas and Vancouver native Milan Lucic. The Green Men, who famously harass opponents, even held a “Congrats Milan” sign. Ference said he and the Bruins appreciated how they were treated by the fans, and that the riots that ensued don’t typify all those who root for the Canucks.
“As much as bad stuff happened from some people there, there’s still some great, great hockey fans that respect the game,” Ference said. “You don’t want to taint everybody from what a few people messed up after the game.”
|With playing days over, Mark Recchi hopes to find a way to manage||06.18.11 at 4:18 pm ET|
Recchi did offer a peek into where is mind is as he wraps his playing days, however.
“I’d like to stay in the game,” Recchi said. “We’ll see where that takes me. I’ll take a little time off. I’d like to stay in the game somewhat. I like more the management side. I like the building process, building a team. We’ll see where it takes [me].”
Recchi, who said he likes to “figure out the pieces of the puzzle,” said that Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has done a fine job of that since coming to Boston in 2006.
“The pieces are all set there again,” Recchi said of the team’s future. “The way Peter set this organization up is incredible. They’ve got the No. 9 pick this year. They just keep stockpiling. It’s set up — the franchise — to be real successful for a long time. He did an incredible job.”
For Recchi to go from the ice to a front office would be nothing out of the ordinary, as many current NHL general managers are former players. While Chiarelli never reached the NHL as a player, president Cam Neely used his role as a means of winning his first Stanley Cup after a Hall-of-Fame playing career with the Canucks and Bruins.
Speaking of the Hall, it’s safe to say that is also in Recchi’s future. The 43-year-old finished his career with 577 goals and 956 assists for 1533 points. His 1652 regular season games place him fourth all time, behind only Gordie Howe (1,767), Mark Messier (1,756) and Ron Francis (1,731). He is 25th all-time with 61 playoff goals.
|Marc Savard says short-term memory issues are ‘terrible’||06.18.11 at 2:44 pm ET|
Bruins center Marc Savard was able to make it to Boston from his Peterborough, Ontario home to celebrate the team’s Stanley Cup victory with his teammates at Saturday’s rolling rally. That’s the good news for Savard, who is still suffering from post-concussion syndrome after being concussed twice over the past two seasons.
Savard, who has six more years on his contract, did not indicate whether he plans to retire or try to make a return next season, saying he did not want to take to become the story on a day in which the city was celebrating the city’s first Cup in 39 years.
“It’s really the furthest thing from my mind right now to be honest with you,” the two-time All-Star said Saturday of potentially returning in the fall. “I just want to enjoy it here and let the boys take the spotlight here because they earned it.”
As for his current status, he said he has seen some improvements since his most recent concussion, suffered in January in a game against the Avalanche, but did note that his short-term memory problems have been “terrible.”
“I’m feeling better. I mean I still have my days here and there,” Savard said. “But it’s been tough, that’s for sure, especially watching and stuff like that.”
Savard did not make the trip to Vancouver to watch Game 7 of the finals. Plane rides can be bad for people with concussions, and though Nathan Horton, who also had a concussion, travelled, one would imagine Savard’s symptoms were worse.
“It was a long flight and stuff like that. So I just stayed at home,” Savard said. “It was a weird feeling, I was kind of around for a couple of games at home, I didn’t really want to just stick my nose in it, I know the boys earned it. So I didn’t want to take any of the spotlight or anything away from anybody that worked so hard.”
General manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday that he will petition to have both Savard and Steven Kampfer’s names on the Stanley Cup. Savard played only 25 games of the required 41 games (or one Stanley Cup finals game), while Kampfer played in 38.
“That’s special,” Savard said of potentially being on the Cup. “Like I said, Peter has been fantastic with me ever since I came here in day one. And he was one of the reasons I did come. So I mean, words can’t explain it right now. It’s been a long road that’s for sure.”
|Peter Chiarelli happy he didn’t trade Tim Thomas||06.17.11 at 1:19 pm ET|
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was a popular guy last offseason, as he was brought up in trade rumors, some of which were falsely reported. Though the goalie was never going to Philadelphia in exchange for Simon Gagne, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday at TD Garden that he did have talks with other teams about Thomas, who was coming off hip surgery, had lost his starting job to Tuukka Rask and at the time had three years of a $5 million annual cap hit left on his deal.
“At the time there was kind of a mutually agreement between myself and Tim and Bill Zito, Tim’s agent, just to explore it and on the premise that Tim does not want to leave Boston,” Chiarelli said of trading Thomas. “And that’s really where it ended. It’s really where it ended. And there was some calls in that and they kept him in the loop at all times and he kept stressing he didn’t want to leave. I said ‘I know, let’s just look at this very briefly.’ And I know there are a lot of stories that flowed from it, but I can’t stress enough the fact that Tim never wanted to leave.
“I wouldn’t be doing my job if I at least didn’t look at some things, and I did. You go through those things, on a number of fronts on a number of fronts, on a number of players. You just field stuff, you look at them, you talk to other teams. And at the end of the day you make the decision yay or nay. And here it was nay. And it was an easy nay.”
Thomas ended up reclaiming the starting job, turning in a shutout in his first start of the season Oct. 10 in Prague against the Coyotes. He ended up allowing just three goals in six starts in October, and even after leveling out was still dominant throughout a season that will undoubtedly earn him his second Vezina trophy in Vegas next week. His .938 save percentage is the best for a goalie in a single season since the stat has been recorded.
Thomas was also named the Conn Smythe trophy winner after the Stanley Cup finals concluded. The award is given to the player most valuable to his team during the playoffs, and Thomas clearly proved that by allowing just eight goals in the seven-game series vs. the Canucks.
Thomas, 37, has two years with a $5 million cap hit left on his contract.