|Eddie Olczyk on M&M: ‘I’ve already got my travel [to Vancouver] booked’||06.13.11 at 1:13 pm ET|
The home team has won all five games in this series, and Olczyk indicated he expects that trend to continue Monday night in Game 6.
“I’ve already got my travel [to Vancouver] booked,” he said “So, for what that’s worth, I believe that the Bruins will have a large game tonight. I think the crowd will have a major impact on this game. I think the first goal is very crucial, but I think the Bruins will find a way and I think home ice will stay the course and there will be a Game 7 for all the marbles on Wednesday night back in Vancouver.”
There has been a lot of talk about which team will be more physical. Olczyk said another key is the play in the neutral zone.
“I think the team that has had the greatest success in this series and has really dictated is when they’ve controlled the neutral zone, the area between the two blue lines,” he said. “And I think that’s when the teams are really, really stifled, not only physically, but I think scheme-wise of not allowing either one of these teams to create anything.”
Canucks players have drawn attention for their habit of trying to draw penalties with some acting antics. Olczyk has suggested that referees waive off the initial penalty if a player dives, only assigning a penalty to the player who embellishes.
“I think that’s the way that you’re going to remove the embellishment in the game, if that’s what you want to do,” he said, adding: “When I made that suggestion, the rebuttal was, ‘We can’t get inside the mind of the embellisher.’ ”
“Regardless of how the question posed, you’re better off to be seen and not heard and just say, ‘Look, I’ve got my own issues in goal. I’m worried about how I’m playing. The other guy’s done a great job,’ and move from there,” Olczyk said. “So, I was a little bit surprised. I don’t know if he got caught up in the moment. Because I think Roberto Luongo has matured a lot. I think he’s grown up a lot over the last season-and-a-half, and expectations and what have you.”
|Game 6 countdown, noon: Tim Thomas in line for Conn Smythe?||06.13.11 at 11:59 am ET|
Even if the Bruins lose Game 6 Monday night, there is speculation that Tim Thomas will win the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP. At Canada’s Sportsnet website, Ian Mendes writes that he’s hearing from fellow media members Thomas is the favorite, but he makes a case for Thomas’ counterpart, Roberto Luongo. The premise of his argument is that Luongo had bad games in Boston when the Canucks were going to lose anyhow, so ignore those games and focus instead on how well he’s played in the rest of the playoffs.
‘¦ The Toronto Star has five questions for Game 6, including the question: Which Bruin will step up and replace the clutch scoring of Nathan Horton? The last question, which will not sit well with Bruins fans, is: If the Canucks win, who will be the first players to handle the Stanley Cup?
‘¦ Following a relatively tame series against the Lightning, the Bruins have had no shortage of villains step forward for the Canucks. In the National Post, Sean Fitz-Gerald recaps and analyzes the controversy from the finals.
|Barry Pederson on D&C: Bruins ‘let Vancouver off the hook’||06.13.11 at 9:34 am ET|
Pederson said he was surprised at the Bruins’ inability to match the Canucks’ intensity in Game 5 Friday night.
“Momentum has been funny this series,” Pederson said. “The Bruins had momentum going out to Vancouver and I thought let Vancouver off the hook. They didn’t make [Roberto] Luongo‘s life very difficult. They had four power plays, and all they needed was just even one to get some momentum. Vancouver, to me, was the far more desperate hockey club, outhitting and taking the play to the Bruins.”
Asked about Luongo’s comments regarding Tim Thomas, Pederson said Luongo may have been affected by all the pressure he faced going back to Vancouver and felt a little smug after posting a shutout following two routs in Boston.
“Tim Thomas has played spectacular this entire series, every game,” Pederson said. “Win, lose or draw, I think Tim Thomas is going to be your Conn Smythe winner anyway. To me, it was more of [Luongo] was just relieved they had won the game.”
Pederson talked about the Bruins’ matchups ‘ specifically how they try to get defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg on the ice against the Canucks’ first line ‘ and how it’s affected the attack.
“I think they work so hard at trying to get that, I think sometimes it takes away from your offense,” Pederson said. “If they’re able to win tonight, which I expect, then I would think maybe they may try to change things up a little bit [for Game 7] and maybe split Chara and Seidenberg so that one of two of those are on the ice every time.”
Pederson picked Milan Lucic as the key to the Bruins’ offensive success.
“I think that’s going to be the key for the Bruins, is attacking, five-man attack, get the forechecking game going and get the Garden crowd into this thing early on,” he said. “We said it all season long, obviously Thomas is the key in goal, but to me, the key person up front is Milan Lucic. He’s the key that sets the pace for this hockey club. He’s the guy that gets that puck dumped softly into the corner, making the defenseman turn around, and that’s defenseman knows ‘ he can hear him coming ‘ he knows it’s going to be a big hit. And as soon as that big hit happens, the Garden crowd goes crazy, momentum happens and the Bruins can get a team on the run.”
|Force on D&C: Canucks fans ‘in for a hostile situation’||06.13.11 at 7:52 am ET|
The man who goes by the name of Force, half of the Green Men duo, joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning as he prepared to head to the airport in Vancouver for his flight to Boston for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Force, who dresses up in a green spandex bodysuit to cheer on his team and taunt the opposition, said 90 percent of Bostonians treated the Green Men well during their previous visit (watch the video here), but the other 10 percent “made up for it” by antagonizing him and his partner, Sully. He expects a similar reaction Monday night.
Said Force: “I think win or lose, Bruins fans are going to intensify their hatred toward us. I fully expect it. ‘¦ They definitely made it known we are not welcome for Games 3 and 4, so I can only imagine it’s going to be worse tonight.”
Force and Sully are on a direct flight to Boston with about 50 other fans. Cautioned Force of his fellow Canucks backers: “I hope they are well aware that if they weren’t there for 3 and 4, they’re in for a hostile situation.”
Asked for a prediction on Game 6, Force did not voice any confidence.
“The Canucks are so hit-and-miss on the road and the Bruins have been so dominant in TD Garden,” he said. “To be honest, I think the Canucks will have a hard time winning tonight. ‘¦ I’m hoping the Canucks pull it out, but it’s going to be tough.”
|Kevin Weekes on M&M: Canucks ‘looking to have a goalie snap on you’||06.10.11 at 1:37 pm ET|
Hockey Night in Canada and NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday morning to discuss the Stanley Cup finals. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Weekes, a former NHL goalie, spent much of the interview talking about Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas. Regarding the question of whether Luongo should be starting Game 5, Weekes said he supported the decision to go back to Luongo.
“Roberto’s your No. 1 goalie. I believe you have to give him the chance,” he said. “There’s no question. I believe you’ve got to give Roberto the chance to play. But I will say this: I think it’s going to be a very short leash.”
The Canucks have criticized Thomas for coming out of his crease so far and so frequently. Weekes suggested that Luongo should learn from what Thomas is doing.
“There’s times when you need to be out of the blue paint, you need to face shooters down and be aggressive and take away that angle from them,” he said. “And Timmy Thomas has done an excellent job of that. That’s a real good element of his game.
“Roberto, I think, needs to come out and challenge a little bit more, use his size to his advantage. It’s one thing to say you’re 6-3, but when you’re just a foot above the goal line at 6-3, that’s an awful lot of net for a shooter to see. And if not, your reflexes need to be razor sharp that game and so precise that you leave yourself with no margin for error.”
|Darren Pang on D&C: Roberto Luongo ‘able to handle adversity’||06.08.11 at 11:13 am ET|
“I’ve really watched him a lot and seen the way he’s reacted. Every time he’s tested, he seems to bounce back. He’s a much more resilient probably person and athlete than he was a couple of years ago. I think he’s able to handle adversity. All that being said ‘¦ it’s tough after the game, because first of all, you’re competitive so you’re not ‘ embarrassed is not the right word ‘ but you’re a little humiliated, you’re humbled, and you’ve got to find a way to go forward.”
Pang said the Bruins would do well to make sure not to have any let-up in their aggressive approach so that Luongo has to prove himself immediately.
“I’m really interested to see the first 5-10 minutes,” he said. “No. 1, to see how much pressure Boston puts on him. No. 2, how confident he is in the net. Where his balance is at. Where his positioning is at. I’ve always found that if Roberto Luongo is falling down on his stomach, then that’s the time to pounce on him. Because it’s all about balance for me when I watch Roberto Luongo.
“Boston deserves a lot of credit. I thought they did an excellent job of finally getting inside. They finally put a little pressure on him. They screened him, they fired pucks high, they made it difficult for him. The first two games he was excellent, but I don’t think Boston put enough traffic or pressure in front of Roberto Luongo.”
|Green Men’s Sully on D&C: ‘We took a couple of threats’ during Game 3||06.08.11 at 10:02 am ET|
The Green Man who goes by the moniker Sully checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to discuss his experiences with Bruins fans at TD Garden in Game 3 Monday night. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Sully and his compatriot Force were up all night after going to Yankee Stadium to cheer on the Red Sox Tuesday night. The duo did not don their Green Men bodysuits in New York, taking a day off after the intensity of Monday night.
Despite having a few run-ins, Sully said he’s been pleased with Boston fans. “It was kind of a mixed bag [Monday],” he said. “I’d say about 90 percent of the people were just awesome and really took to us. The other 10 percent were kind of the guys that had a couple too many beverages and were not too cool with it.
“Probably the most unfortunate part was, right after the Aaron Rome hit, we took a couple of threats from a couple of rows down. And there was a family right in front of us. The dad was covering the kids’ ears. I felt really bad about that.”
Sully admitted that it probably was better for the Green Men’s well-being that the Bruins won the game after the violent hit that knocked out Nathan Horton. “That just turned up the loyalty even more with these fans,” he said. “And obviously turned them against us even more, it seems. So, I don’t think the Green Men could have won at all [Monday] night, whether the Canucks won or the Bruins won.”