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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,
Andy Brickley on D&C: Coach Claude Julien correct to question Bruins’ effort 01.18.12 at 10:04 am ET
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NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to dissect the team’s recent struggles. The Bruins lost to the Lightning Tuesday night, their second loss in three games.

Coach Claude Julien questioned the team’s work ethic, and Brickley backed him up.

“Everybody knows it’s a fine line between winning and losing if you don’t bring the kind of effort, and then you add to that you’re missing a couple of key skill guys and how it changes your lineup,” Brickley said. “But it does, it boils down to battles, one-on-ones, who wants it more.”

With Brad Marchand serving the final game of his five-game suspension and fellow forward Rich Peverly dealing with a personal matter, the Bruins appeared to be missing a spark Tuesday in Tampa.

“They’re tremendously talented kids, they’re hockey players, they’re smart, they play the game the right way. But it’s their speed that changes the dynamic of the Bruins,” Brickley said. “When you’re watching last night’s game, the Bruins on the breakout, you see them caught by a lot of the backcheckers of Tampa. You don’t see that explosive forecheck. You don’t see them getting 3-on-2s and 2-on-1s because they have speed through center ice. ‘€¦ The whole dynamic of your offense changes, but it’s the speed element that you miss the most.”

After visiting the Devils Thursday night, the Bruins host the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers Saturday afternoon.

“I’m pretty curious to see how these two teams match up,” Brickley said of Saturday’s game. “I like the way both teams are built, I like the way they’re both coached. Meaning, what’s it going to look like in April and May, because I like the way their built as far as playoff hockey. Yeah, they’ll be real good regular-season teams, too. But because of the way they play — the physical style, the physical nature, the toughness the one-on-one battles, all that kind of stuff — that’s the way both those teams are built, with a lot of talent sprinkled in. I think they’re two of the best teams in the East and I’m very curious to see where they both match up against each other and the styles that they play.”

Read More: Andy Brickley, Brad Marchand, Claude Julien, Rich Peverly

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