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Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘Nobody likes to see embellishment’ 03.04.13 at 2:35 pm ET
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NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Monday, a day after the Bruins dropped a 4-3 decision to the Canadiens.

Following the game, B’s coach Claude Julien was critical of the Canadiens for what he deemed to be “embellishment” to draw penalties. McGuire empathized with Julien.

“I think it’s always been a problem in the league,” McGuire said. “Nobody likes to see embellishment. We’re not soccer. No disrespect to soccer players, either; I think that’s more in the culture in their game than it is in ours. And I don’t think there’s any coaches or general managers or even officials that want to see embellishment. It’s a hard enough game for the officials to referee now. With the embellishment that does take place from time to time, it’s really a tough game to officiate, even tougher.

“I can tell you, I’ve talked to a ton of coaches and a ton of players around the league and a ton of managers. Every one, to a man, they don’t want embellishment.”

McGuire said Zdeno Chara deserves credit for going after Alexei Emelin after the Canadiens defenseman sent Tyler Seguin to the ice with a cross check to Seguin’s side that broke Emelin’s stick.

“At the end of the day, Chara did what he was supposed to do. Chara showed leadership on Emelin,” McGuire said. “I thought that was a great job by him. You’ve got to think the referees missed the cross check that Emelin dished out to Seguin. You don’t like that. I didn’t like that.”

McGuire said Chara’s message got through, and not just to the Canadiens.

“I think what Z was doing more than anything else is he’s sending a message not only to the Montreal Canadiens but to the rest of the league. And believe me, that message has resonated. I just got done watching Tampa and Pittsburgh skate, and all the players know what happened last night. And they’re like, they don’t want to mess with Chara.

“So, it gives some more room to Seguin, it gives some more room to [Brad] Marchand, it gives some more room to [David] Krejci. People are aware in the league. While it’s a small sample size of, are you mad because Boston lost if you’re a Bruins fan, you look at it long term, it will probably pay itself off in the long term.”

Looking at the NHL this season, McGuire puts the Bruins in lofty company — alongside the record-setting Blackhawks.

“The Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins right now are the two best teams in the league, in my humble opinion,” he said. “And I’ve watched every single team in this league so far since the season started. The fact that they lost a tight game to Montreal, I don’t think it was all about embellishment. I just think there were some things Boston needed to do better in that game, and they didn’t get it done.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Pierre McGuire, Zdeno Chara,
Bruins enjoy ‘special’ visit to Newtown, Conn. 02.19.13 at 8:14 am ET
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Seven Bruins players and coach Claude Julien were among the team’s representatives during a Monday visit to Newtown, Conn., where they spent some time with locals who still are mourning the loss of 20 children and six school staff killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December.

“That was pretty special,” Bruins Foundation director Bob Sweeney said during a Tuesday morning conversation with Dennis & Callahan.

Added Sweeney: “It was a full day, and something that I know every one of us enjoyed. And more importantly, the thing that really amazed me is how many people thanked us for being there, which was pretty amazing.”

About 600 locals showed up to a fieldhouse in town to meet Bruins Chris Bourque, Andrew Ference, Dougie Hamilton, Daniel Paille, Adam McQuaid, Rich Peverly and Tyler Seguin. Earlier in the day, Sweeney and fellow former Bruin Tom Songin brought the Stanley Cup and skated with the town’s high school hockey team.

“The community is not just sitting around grieving,” Sweeney said. “I’m sure there are some individual families [for] which it’s something that you might never get over, losing a young child at such a young age. It’s just unthinkable. It’s something that none of us ever want to go through. But I think everybody there, from the volunteers, they couldn’t have been more appreciative of us coming down and realizing the situation, what had taken place a few months ago.”

Read More: Bob Sweeney, Newtown,
Brad Marchand to miss Canadiens game 02.06.13 at 1:06 pm ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien announced that forward Brad Marchand will miss Wednesday night’s game against the Canadiens. The team has not disclosed Marchand’s injury, but he appeared to hurt his shoulder after crashing into the end boards during Saturday’s win over the Maple Leafs.

In Marchand’s absence, forward Ryan Spooner will make his NHL debut. Spooner, a 2010 second-round draft pick, was recalled from AHL Providence on Monday on an emergency basis. The 21-year-old has nine goals and 21 assists with a plus-12 rating in 35 games for Providence this season.

Shawn Thornton (concussion) and Daniel Paille (upper-body injury) did not make the trip to Montreal.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Ryan Spooner,
Capitals’ Joel Ward won’t let racist tweets ruin his moment in spotlight 04.26.12 at 12:50 pm ET
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Capitals forward Joel Ward had a career highlight Wednesday night when he scored in overtime to give the Capitals a 2-1 victory over the Bruins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

However, much of the talk Thursday morning centered around a series of racist tweets from fans that went public shortly after Ward, one of the few black players in the NHL, scored his memorable goal. The tweets were vulgar and shockingly offensive, and the authors have been widely criticized around the web.

Ward, for his part, doesn’t seem interested in letting some poorly thought-out tweets ruin his moment.

“He’€™s put it in his back pocket so to speak,” Ward’s Boston-based agent, Peter Cooney, told Toronto’s Globe and Mail. “He knows he’€™s going to have interviews and people talking about it. He’€™s heard about it, but he said ‘€˜Peter, don’€™t worry — that stuff never bothered me.’ ”

Ward, 31, signed a four-year contract with the Capitals last offseason after shining in the postseason with the Predators. It capped his rise from going undrafted to playing college hockey at the University of Prince Edward Island to making it to the NHL at the age of 26.

Now, the son of Barbados emigrants who settled in Ontario — Ward’s father died of a stroke watching a 14-year-old Joel play hockey — Ward is a hero in Washington and in the middle of a controversy he did nothing to create.

“It’€™s appalling,” Cooney said. “Where we are in North America now, it’€™s hard to believe we still have that prejudice. It’€™s disturbing. It’€™s really disgraceful.”

Cooney said he doesn’t think the tweets are representative of Bruins fans.

“I think it’€™s a very small amount of people,” he said. “I’€™d like to think that, anyway. With [social media] these people get to have a platform that they can put this out there, and it’€™s too bad. I think if they knew Joel, they would not have this attitude.

“It’€™s very disappointing, but it doesn’€™t take any of the success that Joel’€™s had away.”

Read More: Joel Ward,
Barry Pederson on M&M: Capitals play into Bruins’ hands by focusing on physicality 04.13.12 at 1:29 pm ET
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NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Mut & Merloni Friday to discuss Thursday night’s 1-0 overtime victory over the Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

Pederson credits defenseman Dennis Seidenberg for coming up big with his physical play against Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.

“If we had any doubt that Seidenberg was going to take his game to the same level it was at last year in the playoffs, man, did he ever show that,” Pederson said. “He and [Zdeno] Chara I thought did a tremendous job on the Ovechkin line. Of course, they had the advantage of having [Patrice] Bergeron‘s line out there as well. And then [David] Krejci‘s line did a great job against [Nicklas] Backstrom and [Alexander] Semin.

“The Bruins were very solid physically. Defensively I thought they were tremendous. The game I didn’t think should have been as close as it was. I thought in the second period in particular, the Bruins on the power play, they had 4 1/2 minutes to start the second period, the power play, and then they had that 4-on-3 a full two minutes. To me, that’s where the game should have been put out of reach for Washington. They only had seven shots against after two periods. The Bruins let them hang around, then they needed Tim Thomas to kind of hold the fort for them in that third period.”

Added Pederson: “The Bruins’ strength, as we all know, is their defensive game led by Thomas and Chara and Seidenberg and the physicality that they bring. If Washington wants to play that way, that to me is playing right into the Bruins’ hands. When you see a player like Ovechkin trying to take a run at Seidenberg and Chara, you could just see that pairing just licking their chops, saying, ‘Come on, bring it on. If we can get you off that offensive game and get you thinking about playing physical, that’s an advantage to us.’ ”

The Bruins struggled Thursday on the power play, a reminder of the team’s problems in last year’s playoffs.

“They were just way too stationary,” Pederson said. “When you watch the replays of it, you can just see they’re all standing — if you envision a box, they’re at each corner of the box, with the three Washington defenders allowed to collapse, and nobody was in a scoring position. So, Washington is just saying, ‘Hey, keep the puck on the outside, that’s fine, our goaltender can see it, there’s no traffic in front, there’s nobody who’s a direct threat to us.’ I just thought they got way too stationary.

“When the Bruins power play looked a little bit better that latter part of the season into the final month, they were moving around. I especially remember [Rich] Peverly on the point on the power play was very active. They were dropping down. Seidenberg would be dropping down and getting involved and not just staying stationary, moving the puck to the point. Because one of the things I was very impressed with with Washington, especially in the first two periods, they were blocking a lot of shots. So, for the Bruins to be successful, they’re going to have to get those shots through. They’re going to have to get their defense involved a little bit more by pinching and by being active in the offensive zone.”

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Read More: Alex Ovechkin, Barry Pederson, David Krejci, Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference on D&C: Alex Ovechkin ‘a superstar that’s willing to get his nose dirty’ 04.13.12 at 10:37 am ET
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Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning, following Thursday night’s 1-0 overtime victory over the Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

“I was happy the way we came out at the start of the game,” Ference said. “The demeanor in the room was really good. The last few days of practices kind of led into that. ‘€¦ Overall it was a good first game. It was a lot better than last year’s first game.”

Alex Ovechkin was kept in check Thursday night, but Ference knows how explosive the Caps forward can be if left unchecked.

“With him, it’s always just about how dangerous he can be,” Ference said. “In a heartbeat he can lay you out with one of the harder hits in the league, or he can [beat] you for a pretty goal. He’s got a great shot. It’s not like he doesn’t have all the tools to be an extremely dangerous player. He just gets so much more attention from everybody’s best defensive forward, best D-man. Nobody really gives him an inch out there.”

Ovechkin took a huge hit from Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg but bounced right up after the collision.

“He’s not one to shy away from anything physical,” Ference said. “But a hit’s a hit. Those hard hits add up. But he’s not going to be one to shy away, that’s for sure. I think he enjoys playing real hockey. Having that physical side of the game is great. That’s what makes the sport really nice.

“Guys respect that. He’s a superstar that’s willing to get his nose dirty. And I think that’s why guys appreciate his game so much.”

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby shined in his playoff debut, making 29 saves before surrendering the game-winner to Chris Kelly in OT.

“He looked solid,” Ference said. “For a first playoff game, good for him.”

B’s legend Phil Esposito ‘in shock’ about daughter’s sudden death 02.01.12 at 2:07 pm ET
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Bruins legend Phil Esposito said Tuesday he is in shock after learning of the death of his 43-year-old daughter.

Esposito, who founded the Lightning franchise, said his daughter Carrie died Monday, apparently from a sudden illness. She was married to former Lightning star Alex Selivanov and living in Germany, where Selivanov played from 2003-08.

“I’m having major difficulties with this,” Esposito told the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m just in shock. I cannot believe it even as I sit and talk to you. I expect her to call me and start saying, ‘April fool.’ ”

Esposito said he plans to fly to Germany later in the week to get more details about his daughter’s death. He said she coughed up some blood 10 days ago, “but she refused to go to the doctor. She refused to go to the hospital. ‘I’m fine. I’m taking the kids to practice.’ That’s all I know.”

Read More: Alex Selivanov, Phil Esposito,
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