|Aaron Ward on M&M: ‘It’s not a quick fix’ to put Tyler Seguin on power play||05.16.11 at 1:51 pm ET|
NHL analyst and former Bruin Aaron Ward joined the Mut & Merloni show Monday afternoon to talk about the Eastern Conference finals, which the Bruins trail 1-0 after Saturday night’s 5-2 loss to the Lightning. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Ward cautioned Bruins fans not to panic despite the rough start.
“It’s a feeling-out process,” he said. “It’s funny to listen to Tampa talk about all the time they had off, and [Martin] St. Louis was utterly concerned about the rust level. They obviously didn’t show a whole lot of rust in Game 1. And I think Boston did. That’s why it’s seven games. The sky’s not falling yet. There’s no Chicken Little yet.”
The Bruins power play continues to be a disaster, with an 0-for-4 performance in Game 1 making the B’s 2-for-41 in the postseason. However, Ward said he doesn’t think rookie Tyler Seguin is the answer.
“If they were going to shake it up they would have done it a while ago,” he said. “Right now, if the stat’s right, they’ve got the third-worst power-play percentage in the last 25 years in the playoffs. And that’s just one of those things where maybe it’s a personnel thing. And it’s not that someone’s not getting it done. But maybe you shake it up and you integrate some of the first power play with the second power play, get some new life, new blood in it.
“And I know everybody’s screaming for Seguin, but I think you have enough veteran guys in that locker room that can figure it out amongst themselves. You don’t need to put a young guy on and put the pressure on him to direct the power play.”
Ward said Claude Julien was proven correct to avoid making major moves when the Bruins fell behind the Canadiens 2-0 in the opening round, and that’s the way he’ll continue to manage his team.
“It’s how Claude coaches,” Ward said. “And Claude has my utmost respect. He’s a guy that sticks with what got him there. He’s not a knee-jerk-reaction kind of coach. He knows what he wants out of his team. He knows the philosophies to take into a game. Everybody was screaming for Seguin during the Montreal series and they get out of it. Then they cruise through Philadelphia. It’s part of the playoffs.
“Everybody looks for that, ‘Well, it’s a quick fix.’ It’s not a quick fix. One player doesn’t change the direction of an entire team. Twenty guys on the ice can have that effect. One guy doesn’t have it. One guy can hurt a team. But one guy can’t drastically improve the percentage of winning a team. A guy getting in there, a guy like Seguin can do a lot of things ‘ like, nice, young, fresh legs, very healthy, fresh outlook on the game ‘ and be a catalyst in that manner. But he’s got to be given an opportunity to get himself accustomed to the playoffs.”
|Brad Marchand on M&M: Tyler Seguin ‘not nervous at all’||05.13.11 at 1:09 pm ET|
Bruins winger Brad Marchand joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday afternoon, as the B’s prepare for Saturday night’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals vs. the Lightning. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Both the Bruins and Lightning swept their previous series and have been waiting for more than a week to start this series. Marchand acknowledged the important of coming out strong.
“We just have to make sure that we have a big start to the game,” he said. We’re starting at home and we want to use our fans to our advantage, kind of get them into the game early. Both teams are going to be rusty, we’ve had a while off. But we have to make sure we come out hard.”
Marchand is known for his aggressive, scrappy style. He said he’s always played that way. “I don’t know why. It just seemed to get me more in the game,” he said. “It was something that just kind of came out as I was playing. It was always a fun role to play. I know if I was ever going to break into the league I needed to do something different, and that was it.”
Marchand indicated he’s encouraged by the progress shown by center Patrice Bergeron in his recovery from a concussion. “He’s looking good. He’s feeling better,” Marchand said. “I know he’s got some tests. I don’t know a ton about what’s going on. But I know he’s looking better every day. So, hopefully he’s back here soon.”
Rookie Tyler Seguin is slated to play in Game 1 in place of Bergeron. While it would be Seguin’s first appearance of the postseason, Marchand is confident the youngster will do well.
“He surprises me, the way he just carries himself like nothing bothers him. He’s not nervous at all,” Marchand said. “He looks unbelievable in practice right now. He looks like one of the best players out there in practice. He’s just so fired up and anxious to play that he’s going to come out hard. I’m expecting him to play pretty well in this series. He has so much skill.
“When you watch from up above, you can learn a lot. He’s been taking it in and learning a lot. He’s ready to go. I didn’t have to say anything to him. He knows what he has to do and he’s going to play hard out there.”
|Don Cherry on D&C: ‘This is going to be a battle of goaltenders’||05.13.11 at 9:00 am ET|
Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about the Stanley Cup playoffs. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Bruins picked things up offensively in the series sweep of the Flyers, but Cherry said goals will be at a premium against Lightning backstopper Dwayne Roloson. He predicts both team’s goalies will take center stage in this series.
“I tell you one thing, they won’t get those goals off of Roloson,” Cherry said. “I phoned [Capitals coach] Bruce Boudreau in January and left him a message. I usually don’t do that, but I said, ‘You’ve got to get a hold of that Roloson. This guy will win you the Stanley Cup. He’s hungry, he’s 41 years old, this is his last shot.’ And he didn’t do it. A week later, [Lightning general manager] Stevie Yzerman picked him up. I think he got two shutouts in a row, shut out Washington. He is dynamite.
“And I’ll tell you one thing: Philadelphia, I have never understood them that they have gone 20 years and they seem as if they don’t want to get a good goaltender. It’s beyond me.
“You watch this guy [Saturday night], Roloson. He is dynamite. But Timmy Thomas, right on the money, too. This is going to be a battle of goaltenders.”
Added Cherry of Thomas: “Timmy Thomas is on a roll right now. He’s got something to prove.”
Cherry, who coached the Bruins from 1974-75 through 1978-79, predicts the Bruins will advance to the Stanley Cup finals vs. the Canucks. “I like Boston,” he said. “I picked Boston to be in the finals. But this will be a tough one, because these guys are on a roll ‘ [Martin] St. Louis and [Vincent] Lecavalier. And [Steven] Stamkos hasn’t really picked it up yet. I’ll tell you one thing: This is going to be a great series.”
|Brian Leetch on M&M: ‘Back to the drawing board’ for B’s power play||05.06.11 at 2:17 pm ET|
NHL Hall of Fame defenseman Brian Leetch joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday afternoon to talk about the Bruins, who will attempt to close out the Flyers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Friday night. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“I would say there’ll be no comeback this year, but I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight,” Leetch said.
Tim Thomas is the clear-cut MVP of this series, and Leetch said his ability to be far superior to whomever is in the Flyers net makes a comeback highly unlikely. “He’s the biggest difference-maker in this series,” Leetch said of Thomas. “I think the teams are pretty well-matched, pretty even others. If he continue to play this way, I can’t see Philly getting back and winning this in seven.
“Whether they win or not, I don’t know. All the games have a tendency to be close when both goaltenders are playing well. But the chance that Philly’s goaltenders are able to win in four straight, I don’t see it happening.”
The Bruins scored a 5-on-3 power-play goal in Wednesday’s 5-1 victory and now are 1-for-32 in the postseason, but Leetch said it’s still an obvious concern. “Now they’re 1-for-whatever, after being 0-for-whatever,” he said. “Because the goal wasn’t a game-winner and wasn’t 5-on-4, I think it’s just back to the drawing board for the next game.
“But just them winning and playing better 5-on-5, the feeling going through the team, the power play has taken a back seat to how well the other aspects of the game are going. It would be nice, certainly, for that to be a plus for the Bruins, because they’re doing so many other things well that if they can get that power play going it’s a plus.
“It starts over from the beginning of good breakout, good entering the zone, getting those opportunities to get that shot, and then the biggest deal is getting that puck in the net. They’ll go back to the drawing board tonight.
Brad Marchand has given the Bruins a spark with his aggressive play. “It’s been enormous for the Bruins,” Leetch said of the rookie winger. “In the playoffs, he’s a guy that just seems to be energized by being in these pressure situations and having the spotlight on them and everybody watching these playoff games. His feet just don’t stop moving. You watch from shift to shift, he’s not gliding once out there.He’s going to the net, and when the whistle blows, he’s right in the middle of the action. You notice him every shift on that ice.”
|Matthew Barnaby on D&C: Bruins over Lightning in Eastern Conference finals||05.05.11 at 10:32 am ET|
ESPN NHL analyst Matthew Barnaby joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the Bruins’ success in the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Boston took a 3-0 series lead on the Flyers with Wednesday night’s 5-1 victory and can close out the series Friday night at TD Garden.
“They’re playing at full tilt and they really aren’t making that many mistakes,” Barnaby said of the B’s. “When you look at the Philadelphia side, they just can’t seem to get anything going. ‘¦ It’s a different team than we saw all year long, very suspect goaltending and Chris Pronger not being in that lineup really changes the dynamic of that team.”
Tim Thomas has been stellar in the Boston goal and drawn comparisons to one of Barnaby’s former teammates. “Tim Thomas is to me right now what I played with in Dominik Hasek when I was with Buffalo,” Barnaby said. “He gets into guys’ heads. He makes you pass when you think you should shoot and shoot when you think you should pass. That plays into guys’ minds.
“Sometimes he has you beat [mentally]. He has shooters passing when they should be shooting, and it’s a tough thing to not think you can score. Because I saw it time in and time out, frustrating other teams, night after night, shift after shift. And that’s what Tim Thomas is doing. You expect him to make that big save, and it plays mind games with you.”
The Lightning swept the top-seeded Capitals in the other Eastern Conference semifinal, and that has Barnaby anticipating an exciting Bruins-Lightning series.
“I love this series,” Barnaby said. “You look at goaltending. Dwayne Roloson and Tim Thomas have been the two best goalies in the postseason so far and would be candidates for the Conn Smythe, early running. You look at power plays. Well, you have to give it to Tampa Bay. They’ve been incredible. I think they have 11 or 12 power-play goals already [12 for a 26.7 percent success rate]. Both with some dynamic forwards. The defensive side, I’d give it to Boston. I think Zdeno Chara, he’s logged so many minutes, he’s such a big man.
“I really think it will be an incredible series and could go seven games.”
Asked who he’d predict to win the series, Barnaby said: “I would take Boston.”
|Mark Recchi on D&C: ‘The pressure’s all on them’||05.04.11 at 10:06 am ET|
Bruins forward Mark Recchi checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning, hours before the B’s host the Flyers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Bruins have a 2-0 lead as the series moves to Boston. A year ago, the B’s led the Flyers 3-0 in the series before losing in seven games. Recchi said the Bruins have not avoided discussing last year. “We know that. We’ll talk about it. There’s no question we’ll address it,” Recchi said. “We’ll get ready. Our thing is: Hey, focus on what we do. Don’t focus on the big picture, focus on tonight. Focus on what we do as a team. Don’t focus so much on them and what’s going on on the outside, what people are saying, what people are talking about. Get in our bubble and let’s get ready for tonight.”
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said after Game 2 that the pressure is on the Bruins now because they are expected to win. Recchi isn’t buying it. “The pressure’s on them,” Recchi countered. “They have to come in here and win. We went and did our job. They had home ice. The pressure’s all on them. If they don’t win, they’re down 3-0. They can talk all they want about last year and all that, [but] the pressure completely is on them right now.”
Tim Thomas has stood out in goal for Boston and has drawn comparisons to Dominik Hasek for his unconventional yet successful style of flopping all over the crease. “They found a way to stop pucks,” Recchi said of Hasek and Thomas. “It doesn’t matter how, they found a way. There’s a method to their madness, too. Timmy might look like he’s all over the place, but he really knows what he’s doing in there. He’s really controlled, and actually probably controlled in his mind in how he wants to play.”
At 43 years old, Recchi is in his 22nd NHL season. Asked about his ability to continue to produce as the oldest player in the league, Recchi said: “It’s all how you rest and prepare. I’ve got lots left in the tank. ‘¦ Once playoffs start, I just basically play right now. I don’t do a whole lot of practicing. I just try and keep myself sharp as much as possible.”
Recchi said he does his best to play through pain. “Regardless of my age, I want to be counted on,” he said. “And I want the coach to know that I’m going to be there. And I want my teammates to know I’m going to be there for them all the time.”
|Countdown to Game 7, 10 a.m.: Predictions of Bruins victory||04.27.11 at 10:22 am ET|
(Spoiler: In the 11 a.m. update, Dennis & Callahan producer and voice of the Bruins fan Steve Ciaccio will be having a live chat to help get his fellow diehards to face off.)
Predictions are starting to come for Wednesday night’s Game 7 between the Bruins and Canadiens.
At ESPN.com, senior writer E.J. Hradek predicts a Bruins victory. He notes that the B’s were 9-4-1 playing on back-to-back nights during the regular season, while the Canadiens were 6-7-3 (and 0-3-1 in their last four).
NESN Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy, during his interview on the Dennis & Callahan show, said the Bruins will win 5-2. WEEI’s morning show hosts predict redemption for Milan Lucic. Gerry Callahan has the Bruins winning 3-1, with the B’s scoring a power-play goal and empty-net tally ‘ “both by Lucic.” John Dennis predicts a 5-2 “beatdown” for the B’s, with the David Krejci–Nathan Horton-Lucic line recording two goals. Midday co-host Lou Merloni is going with a 4-1 Boston win.
Make your prediction known by voting in our Game 7 poll.