|Bruins hopeful Nathan Horton will attend Game 6||06.13.11 at 1:28 pm ET|
The Canucks have the Stanley Cup at the Garden for motivation Monday night, and it seems the Bruins will have some less famous inspiration in the house.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said he expects Nathan Horton, who is out for the series due to a severe concussion suffered in Game 3, to be in attendance as the B’s look to prevent elimination in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals. Horton came into the Boston dressing room after the team’s 4-0 victory in Game 4, and has seen teammates here and there since.
“He’s been around,” Claude Julien said, also noting that under no circumstances would Horton be able to make a return to the ice this week. “‘¦If people are looking for miracles, if he’s [in attendance Monday], it will be pretty special. But right now, he’s still dealing with those concussion issues as we speak.
“He popped in quickly this morning just to say ‘hi.’ I have the impression that he’s going to be coming to the game tonight as long as he feels good, and that can vary as the day goes on. I think right now his plan is to hopefully be here tonight.”
Horton had eight goals and nine assists for 17 points in 21 games this postseason, his first playoffs experience. He scored series-clinching goals in Game 7 of both the Eastern Conference quarterfinals and finals.
|Bruins want to play Game 7, not talk about it||06.13.11 at 12:59 pm ET|
Milan Lucic has faint memories of the 1994 Stanley Cup finals, when his hometown Canucks fell to the Rangers in seven games. Though it was just a week after his sixth birthday, he knows what a Game 7 in Vancouver looks like.
Yet when asked Monday about a Game 7 in Vancouver potentially being played Wednesday, the 23-year-old Bruins winger was in no mood to answer.
“To be honest, I don’t even want to talk about Game 7,” Lucic said, “because Game 6 hasn’t even been played yet.”
Such was the mindset throughout the Bruins’ room Monday. The ultimate goal, at least as it pertains to Monday, is to force a seventh game, but it’s the last thing they want to think about. They know there is danger in overlooking the fact that the Stanley Cup is in Boston waiting to be awarded to the Canucks tonight, so preventing that from happening is far more important than thinking about winning it themselves.
“No. Game 6. It’s Game 6,” Shawn Thornton said when asked about Game 7. “That’s it. Let’s see what happens tonight and then we’ll worry about that after.”
The Bruins have dominated the Canucks at TD Garden in what have been the only two lopsided games of the series. The Bruins’ margin of victory in Games 3 and 4 was 12-1, while all three Canucks’ wins at Rogers Arena have been decided by one goal.
While the Bruins are being motivated by elimination, the Canucks are being motivated by the most coveted trophy in all of sports. For either team to count the other out would be a mistake, and it’s one the Bruins don’t want to make.
“I think it’s clear to our players that all the focus should be about tonight,” Claude Julien said. “If you want to create a Game 7, you have to focus on tonight’s game, not on Game 7.”
|Micheal Ryder hopes Bruins ‘rain on that parade’||06.13.11 at 12:00 pm ET|
Word emerged Sunday that the Canucks had reportedly attempted to sell the television rights to their parade in celebration of a Stanley Cup victory. Given that Vancouver is still one win away from claiming the Cup, the premature attempt at selling the right (which they could not) would seem like perfect motivation for the Bruins as they look to take Game 6 at the Garden Monday night and force a seventh game.
“I don’t know what to say to that,” winger Michael Ryder said with a laugh after Monday’s morning skate when asked about the Canucks’ preparations. “That’s what they did, and that’s what they want to do, and we want to rain on that parade and make sure that it doesn’t happen, maybe use it to our advantage a little bit and make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Players throughout the B’s room agreed that the ultimate goal is to keep the Stanley Cup in its case Monday, as it will be at the Garden. They’d much rather it head to Vancouver without having been awarded to anyone.
“We know what he have to do tonight: just win this game tonight, and then you never know. We’d go to Vancouver and play there Wednesday.”
|Bruins-Canucks Game 6 preview: 6 keys, stats and players||06.13.11 at 4:03 am ET|
The Bruins are playing in either their last game or second to last game Monday. Either way, it will be the finale at the Garden as the B’s look to fend off elimination and force a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, which would be played back in British Columbia. Here’s the preview of Monday’s contest.
SIX THINGS THE BRUINS NEED TO DO
– Make it about quality, not quantity: Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo has faced 30 or more shots in each of his shutouts in the finals, and both of those blankings have been cakewalks. The Bruins need to establish a physical presence, create traffic and get in front to beat the Vezina finalist.
– Don’t let the Cup make an appearance: Everyone knows the Stanley Cup will be in the house Monday night, but the Bruins’ worst nightmare has to be watching Alexandre Burrows, Luongo and the rest of the perceived bad guys skate around with it on their ice.
– Remember their Game 6 experience: It’s as cliche as it gets to say that the last win is the hardest in a series, but the Bruins should know. Both the Canadiens and Lightning didn’t let the Bruins storm into their home and eliminate them, so the B’s will need the same desperation that beat them in those games.
– Remind everyone of Games 3 and 4: The Bruins were able to make things very difficult for the Vancouver defense and Luongo in the two games here, but Vancouver tightened back up defensively back at Rogers Arena, while the B’s stiffened up offensively.
– Give Tyler Seguin time on the power play: It’s the one place he won’t be afraid of getting hit and can focus just on using his talent. The B’s went 0-for-4 on the man advantage Friday in Vancouver, with Seguin getting only 12 seconds on the power play.
– Use Zdeno Chara in front on the power play: It may not have yielded results the last time around, but it’s worth using from time to time. If the Bruins can’t even get set up as it is, can it get much worse?
– The Bruins have won nine of their last 10 home games dating back to Game 5 of the quarterfinals.
– Dennis Seidenberg‘s only goal this postseason came in Game 6 of the quarterfinals, and it was Boston’s only goal in the 2-1 Canadiens win.
– Though David Krejci leads the NHL with 22 postseason points, he’s only registered points in a loss twice. His hat trick in Game 6 of the conference finals made for three of the four points in games the Bruins have dropped this postseason.
– Despite missing two games due to a concussion, Patrice Bergeron leads all Bruins with 62 shots on goal this postseason.
– Henrik Sedin has gone five straight games without a point for the first time since the 2007 postseason. He had two such stretches in 12 games in those playoffs. The last time he went six games without a point was from Nov. 29-Dec. 20, 2003.
– Daniel Sedin has gone three straight games without a point three times this season, including once in the playoffs. He has not going four games without a point since Feb. 4-11 of the 2009-10 season.
SIX PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Milan Lucic: After not showing up in Game 5, Lucic has to have the best game of his life Monday. If something is ailing him, then it’s commendable that he’s played through it, but the B’s need their best players to be the best players on the ice. Not having Nathan Horton is bad enough, and the B’s not be able to survive with another zero-shot performance like Friday’s.
Brad Marchand: The rookie needs to be the royal pain he’s been all season, and he also needs to come out flying the way he did when he dominated Game 4. It had seemed he was on a roll with goals in two straight games, but apparently Rogers Arena is where any positive Bruins trend goes to die. Marchand has three shots on goal over his last three games, though two have gone in.
Tim Thomas: It’s hard to ask any more of Thomas, who it seems will be getting the Conn Smythe Trophy. He’s allowed six goals in the finals and could conceivably lose the series having allowed just seven goals in seven games.
Alexandre Burrows: The refs shouldn’t look at any plays involving this guy based on his diving. It seems the refs looked the other way with Burrows got cross-checked by the net.
Raffi Torres: The third-liner has three shots on goal this series, but one of them went in to seal Game 1 for the Canucks. He has two assists in the last three games.
Roberto Luongo: The mechanic himself did not have success the last time he was at the Garden, and he might need to show up big after letting up 12 goals in Games 3 and 4. If Luongo were to clinch the Cup for the Canucks with a shutout Monday, that would be quite remarkable given that it would be his third this postseason.
|Aaron Rome speaks (to some), ‘definitely’ disagrees with suspension||06.12.11 at 9:51 pm ET|
The Boston media didn’t hear it, but Aaron Rome spoke Sunday at TD Garden, meeting with the media for the first time since being suspended four games for the hit that ended Nathan Horton’s season.
As Vancouver press conferences wrapped up and writers took to their computers, Rome made his way to the Canucks’ locker room, where plenty of non-Bruins media were waiting to talk to the defenseman. For one reason or another, Boston writers weren’t made aware of it, but oh well.
‘It’s tough,’ Rome said. ‘You start the finals and you’re excited about having the chance of a lifetime. It’s just an unfortunate incident where it’s just an unfortunate decision where it’s a split-second decision. However you view the hit, whether you think it was dirty or not, there’s no intent to hurt anybody.
“I’ve been on the tough end of hits like that. If I could go back I’d wish he didn’t get hurt but I don’t think that it would change my decision on the play.”
Added Rome: ‘It’s emotional. You can’t put it into words. You work hard all season and all playoffs and for a guy like myself who’s in and out of the lineup, getting a chance to play every day and working your bag off to be out there. It’s disappointing.’
Rome reached out to Horton, who he said has yet to text him back.
‘It’s an emotional time and he’s not going to be able to play in the series, too,” Rome said. “I understand, being on that side of hits, where you’re pissed off about it. He wants to be out there, like anybody.’
The defenseman expressed frustration with the fact that the league didn’t take his clean track record into consideration when making its decision, and while the league was generous with not saying it had anything to do with Rule 48, Rome felt it wasn’t dirty in any way.
‘That’s the type of hit where a guy is vulnerable,’ said Rome. ‘I saw him coming but there’s nothing you can do. My hit, they say, was late. It’s arbitrary. What is late? That’s a decision they made and I’ll have to respect it, but I definitely don’t agree with it.
‘If it’s a half second earlier or a quarter second earlier maybe I’m not in this situation. But the game happens fast. I’ve got to play on the edge and I guess that time it was a little bit over the edge.’
By the looks of what Rome said, it sounds more like he’s making himself out to be a victim, while it sounds like the fluff questions he faced came with whatever kind of ice cream he wanted. Maybe that’s reading too far into it, but it’s hard to tell when you aren’t there.
|Alexandre Burrows has little to say about diving||06.12.11 at 2:22 pm ET|
Alexandre Burrows has been viewed as a villain in the Stanley Cup finals ever since he bit the finger of Patrice Bergeron in Game 1, and since then, he’s added to it by reinforcing his reputation as a “diver” — one who embellishes plays in an effort to draw penalties.
Burrows was penalized for diving as he tried to sell a slew foot from Milan Lucic late in the first period of Friday’s Game 5. In the third period, he took a cross-check that went uncalled, a potential sign that refs may be done participating in the game of did-he-or-didn’t-he when it comes to him diving.
Asked about his embellishing Sunday, Burrows had little to say.
“I don’t read you guys, so I could care less,” he said.
Asked whether he thinks he’s alone in trying to sell penalties or whether the Bruins do it as well (as they have at points), Burrows was just as quiet.
“I have nothing to say about that,” said Burrows.
Burrows chose not to comment directly on whether he feels referees are now ignoring him.
“The refs have a tough job to do already. It’s the Stanley Cup final,” Burrows said. “It’s not easy to make calls, and obviously my focus is if they call it, great. If they don’t call it, that’s their decision. I am supporting their decision. I’m going to forget about it and get ready for my next shift.”
|Gregory Campbell can’t imagine former teammate Roberto Luongo being malicious||06.12.11 at 1:32 pm ET|
With all that’s been made of the way Roberto Luongo has spoken about Tim Thomas, the biggest question is why Luongo’s doing it. Is he playfully joking around (as he was — no matter what you hear anywhere else — when he made his pre-series comments about Thomas playing the way he did when he was five years old), or is he intentionally taking jabs at the man who seems a shoo-in to win the Vezina and a safe bet to win the Conn Smythe?
Luongo’s recent comments came as a surprise here to this scribe, as he spent the day before media gushing with praise for Thomas. The talk of him pumping Thomas’ tires is correct, but why then, would he make the punk move of saying he would have saved Maxim Lapierre’s game-winner?
He can’t plead ignorance or claim it as a misunderstanding, as he’s as well-spoken and well-intentioned a guy a media member will deal with. What he says, he means, and it’s hard to imagine Luongo “accidentally” dissing another player when it seems that clear — and especially amongst all the talk of Thomas’ positioning.
One man in the Bruins’ locker room has some perspective when it comes to Luongo’s intentions, and though he claims to have not heard Luongo’s comments, Gregory Campbell said Sunday he can’t imagine his former teammate in Florida talking a mess with any malicious intent.
“I don’t know him as that type of person. I played with him for a year. I’m sure he has a lot of pressure on him as well, and he’s had to face a lot of critics in these playoffs, especially the last couple of games of late. Knowing him, I don’t think that’s his personality, but to be honest, I don’t really care. I don’t think Timmy cares either. It’s not going to affect our hockey club one way or the other.”
Campbell and Luongo played together in the 2005-06 season with the Panthers and briefly the year before, when Campbell played two games.