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Mike Milbury on D&H: Bruins ‘need some passion’ 12.22.10 at 1:02 pm ET
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NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show to give his opinions about the Bruins and the NHL. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Asked if the Bruins might consider a change behind the bench, Milbury said it’s too early for Claude Julien‘s job to be in jeopardy. “I don’t think so, no,” he said. “This team has shown remarkable resiliency. When they get down, you think that the wheels are falling of the wagon, they pull it together. And I think they’ll pull it together for Claude again.”

Added Milbury: “They need to loosen the screws a little bit offensively. Go after it, make some mistakes, try some things, do some things differently. Do I think they’re ready to knock on Claude Julien’s door? Absolutely not. I don’t think that’s a consideration right now. Tell me 10 games from now when they’ve won one, and it’s a different story.”

Milbury said there are plenty of other people who need to answer the critics before the coach. “[Marc] Savard hasn’t quite hit the plateau that he wants to be at,” he said. “[Patrice] Bergeron has not had a great year offensively. [Milan] Lucic is not doing what he’s supposed to do in terms of being an explosive chemistry set ‘€” just get in there and create some mayhem. That’s important to that team, and it’s been lacking. I’m on [Blake] Wheeler and [Michael] Ryder all the time for that. These are pretty smart players and gifted players. But the games needs passion. And the Bruins more than anything right now need some passion.”

Milbury said there are individuals showing that passion, but the team’s marquee players need to step it up. “The guy that leads the most for me in terms of effort is Shawn Thornton,” he said. “And he does it on a regular basis. He’s a really important part of this team. [Zdeno] Chara needs to pick it up physically. Just because he’s playing 30 minutes [a game], it doesn’t mean he can’t whack and bang and play with some sort of Kevin Garnett-like attitude once in a while ‘€” more in-your-face. All these guys. Savard, when he’s playing well, he’s a bouncy, in-your-face guy. Bergeron in his own quiet way will get there and be in the way and get in the way.

“I don’t know what’s ailing them, but I’m not going to pin it on young guys/old guys, I’m going to pin it on the team and the coach, that somehow have got to refocus their priorities ‘€” not to forget about defense, but to make sure they know that the way they’re going to score goals is causing turnovers. And doing that means ‘€” dammit, there’s not a better word than hustle.”

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Read More: Claude Julien, Mike Milbury, Shawn Thornton, Zdeno Chara
Mike Milbury on D&H: NHL salary cap ‘un-American’ 12.15.10 at 1:01 pm ET
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NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins and the NHL. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Milbury said it was tough to see Marco Sturm go, as the Bruins completed the trade with the Kings to clear up cap space. Said Milbury: “I wish there were another way to go, because on this team he would have been a great fit on the third line and allowed a bunch of other guys to try a hand at a top-six forward position. And that’s where I think Sturm fits best. He can play up to the second line. He’s a real good third-line player on a terrific team, and the Bruins are working their way toward that.”

Milbury said he’s not a fan of the hard cap. “I don’t like it. I mean, what is it doing? It’s sort of leveling the playing field for everybody. Is that what we’re trying to do? It’s sort of un-American, isn’t it? You’re supposed to be out there, spend as much as you want, do whatever you want, and you reap the consequences or the benefits. After all is said and done, I miss the Evil Empire in New York and I miss the Detroit Red Wings spending all sorts of money.”

Commenting on Flyers forward Jody Shelley‘s hit on Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid in Saturday’s game, Milbury said: “It was a dumb hit. He’s paying the price for it. I think that was one that every player in the league can go, ‘Geez, you’ve got to be smarter than that.’ ” Milbury added that he supports automatic icing so as to avoid such situations.

Linus Omark made his NHL debut with the Oilers on Friday night, and the youngster turned some heads in the shootout when he did a 360-degree spin upon touching the puck, then faked a slap shot and fired the pick past Lightning goalie Dan Ellis for the winner.

The flashy moves did not bother Milbury. “We go to this shootout after an overtime, and it’s a gimmick,” he said. “It’s not hockey, it’s a test of skill. You know what? Let it rip. Let it fly. Do handsprings or backflips or whatever you think of to A) entertain the fans, and B) maybe distract the goaltender. ‘€¦ He can do whatever he wants. He can go naked at center ice, a la ‘Slap Shot.’ I’d like to see that. That would really sell some tickets.”

Read More: Jody Shelley, Linus Omark, Marco Sturm, Mike Milbury
Mike Milbury on D&H: B’s should consider trading Tim Thomas 12.08.10 at 12:56 pm ET
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NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins and the NHL. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Asked about the aborted Marco Sturm trade, Milbury speculated that the Kings must not have been aware of Sturm’s injury situation when they apparently agreed to the deal. “Why would you trade for a guy that’s still six weeks from being ready and pay him for that long a time when he’s making, what, $3 1/2 [million], $4 million, whatever he’s making?” Milbury said. “It didn’t make any sense to me at the time that they were picking him up them, unless the compensation was impacted by Los Angeles’ pickup of the money.

“I just think the ball got dropped on Sturm’s ability to come back and play, and that’s going to hold it up. I still think it’s a possibility, but all bets are off for now, anyway.”

Milbury noted that he has a positive opinion of Sturm. “I think he’s a solid player,” he said. “He’s sort of a ‘tweener, second and third line, for me. On a great team, he’s a wonderful third-line player. But he can certainly play up to the second line. I don’t think he’s a top-three forward on any really good team, but a very useful guy who can play in all sorts of situations. Nice to have his versatility. A little bit prone to injury, but it’s a tough sport.”

Touching on the Bruins’ goalie situation, Milbury continued to push for Tuukka Rask to get more of a chance, while acknowledging how well Tim Thomas has played. “[Thomas has] been spectacular,” Milbury said. “The numbers are what they are. The save percentage, astounding. The goals-against, astounding. The win-loss record, everything’s wonderful. He’s still, what is he, 37 [actually 36]? The future is now for Thomas, and I mean right now.

“I think Tuukka Rask is going to be a wonderful goaltender. I’m worried for the first time that he may be impacted psychologically over this thing, as down to earth as he is. There are a lot of people out there that wonder what they could get if they traded Tim Thomas. Now, wouldn’t that be gutsy? But it’s a thought. But it would be really hard to do right now.

“Tim Thomas is not going to be this good three years from now. That’s just the biological clock speaking. Yeah, he’s the No.1 guy now, you can’t deny it. It’s a wonderful story for Tim Thomas. And I think the Bruins count their blessings that they have a guy of the caliber of Tuukka Rask sitting on the bench. I worry for him that he gets discouraged at some point. That would really be a crime. Because 10 years from now, when he’s in his early 30s and his prime ‘€” he’s not even close to his prime right now, and he had a spectacular season last year.

“It is what it is, and I can understand it. But there’s a part of me that says, particularly in the salary cap world, can you afford to do that? Can you afford to have two primo assets in that position, and should they think about trading one? And the only one that they could possibly trade, for me, is Thomas. I know right now that’s sacrilegious speaking.”

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Read More: Bill Guerin, Mike Milbury, Tim Thomas, Tuuka Rask
Mike Milbury on D&H: Milan Lucic ‘can’t lose that edge’ 12.01.10 at 1:05 pm ET
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NESN, NBC and Hockey Night in Canada NHL analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday. To hear the interview, including Milbury talking about whether he would consider a return to coaching, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

With the Bruins struggling, Milbury was asked what the team needs to do to turn things around.

“I haven’t seen the intense forecheck, except when they get desperate,” he said. “That’s not a good thing. You want to get on the forecheck. You want to get in and create some havoc. And when you’re doing that, that means physical play. And if you’ve been watching the Bruins for the last five or six games, you’re not seeing a ton of that. And I’m not talking about fighting. I’m talking about in-fast, pressure forechecking, intimidating not only with your bodychecking, but with your speed and intensity to cut down the time the defenseman has to move the puck. They’re sort of blah. ‘€¦ The Bruins have to play at a far higher pace to be successful.”

Asked if Zdeno Chara needs to set the tone for the team, Milbury said he’d first like to see players such as Milan Lucic provide more of a physical presence.

“I think Lucic has to be more involved physically,” he said. “And I’m not talking about fighting from him. The 10 goals are well and good. But harken back to a couple of years ago when this kid made a mark on this city and this franchise. It was with his purposeful forechecking. It was like nonstop, Terry O’Reilly-type forechecking. I haven’t seen that. I know he’s going to mature and settle in and use his energy more efficiently and conservatively. But you can’t lose that edge. And right now, I don’t think he’s got it.

“Chara can take care of it in his own zone, and I think he needs to do a little bit better job of being on the edge and nasty in order to make sure people on his team see that, feel it, feel the intensity,” Milbury added. “That’s what’s missing. Those are two key players in the scheme of things. But you need it from [Brad] Marchand. You need it from [Gregory] Campbell. You need it from guys that can get there and pressure defensemen, and that’s their role. They’re not expected to be huge offensive contributors, but they set the tone. They set the passion level for this team.”

Milbury noted the Bruins’ lack of speed is an issue as well.

“I think they need quickness. I think they need some speed,” he said. “I don’t want to go back to the [Phil] Kessel deal in a big way, but they miss his speed, they miss his penetrating speed off the wing. ‘€¦ It’s the kind of speed that gets defensemen second-guessing themselves, thinking about, ‘Jeez, where is this guy? Where’s he going to go?’ ”

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Read More: Matt Hunwick, Mike Milbury, Milan Lucic, Pat Burns
Mike Milbury on D&H: ‘It’s a wide-open league right now’ 11.24.10 at 1:07 pm ET
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NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday. The Bruins are coming off a loss to the Lightning on Monday in which they got off to a slow start and fell 3-1. “It’s a tough league, and if you’re not ready to play, you’re going to get beat,” he said. “And the Bruins clearly weren’t ready to play against Tampa. They looked as bad as they’ve looked all year.”

Added Milbury: “Maybe they’re looking ahead. It’s Florida, that’s one thing. Maybe they went golfing, maybe it was a nice day, maybe too many good-looking chicks on the street in Tampa. I don’t know. But it’s a constant challenge. It’s the art form of coaching, for me, to make sure that your team is read to go. And I think Claude Julien does by and large a real good job of that. But this time, for whatever combinations of reasons, it slipped.”

Milbury was asked if the Bruins are capable of winning the Stanley Cup this season. “It’s a wide-open league right now,” he said. “I think Chicago’s dismantling was an invitation to everybody that was close to pick it up a little, because it’s there. ‘€¦ I think it’s a pretty wide-open horse race. I think they do have the pieces.

“I’d like to see them add a defenseman,” Milbury continued. “I’d like to see them add a defenseman who can generate offense from the point, because they don’t have that right now, or the guys that they have aren’t giving that right now. And I’d also like to see them with a full roster for a little while before I make that assessment. But I think everybody would agree that when [Marco] Sturm comes back and [Marc] Savard comes back, they’re a better team for it. It’s going to cause some shuffling of lines and some disruption and that may take a little while to settle down. But when it’s all said and done, they’re two pretty good players. And any time you can put good players in the lineup, you’re going to get better. The goaltending has been outstanding.

“Yeah, I have to agree with Dale that they have the stuff to get there. I’m not calling them the odds-on favorite, but if it all comes together at the right time, they have a a chance. No question.”

Milbury reminisced about one-time Bruins coach Pat Burns, who died last week at the age of 58 after a lengthy battle with cancer, and said Burns should have been elected to the Hall of Fame this year.

“It was a shame that there wasn’t common sense going around in plenty at the meeting of the Hall of Fame selection committee,” he said. “Everybody knew Pat was not well and time was running short. ‘€¦ Wouldn’t somebody just stand up and say, ‘Come on, guys. He’s going in the Hall of Fame. He’s dying. Let’s get him in before he goes. Let’s have him has his day in the sun so he can really relish it.’ They missed the boat on that. And I don’t get it. I just don’t get why somebody who is that qualified to be in the Hall of Fame ‘€” and I think he is, and almost everybody I talk to feels the same way ‘€” and I just don’t get why they wouldn’t have honored him under these circumstances.”

Read More: Marc Savard, Marco Sturm, Mike Milbury, Pat Burns
Mike Milbury on D&H: Colin Campbell needs to apologize to Marc Savard immediately 11.17.10 at 1:12 pm ET
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NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

The main topic of conversation was the controversy involving NHL discipline boss Colin Campbell, whose inflammatory e-mail about Marc Savard caused a firestorm this week.

“When you’re in a position to impact a guy’s life in some way by disciplinary action or heavy fines, which they now have in the NHL, you can’t form those opinions at least in terms of expressing it in a way that goes public,” Milbury said. “The e-mail thing was just simple, logistical ‘€” you can’t be that stupid in order to do it. The actual content of it was worse. I think he made a mistake. I don’t think it impacted any judgments that I know of.

“Colie is a terrific guy, he tries to be fair, but he stepped in it. Whether there will be any repercussions or not, I don’t know. The league certainly has a lot of confidence in him, and they should. He does work hard at it.”

Milbury said people should listen to Campbell’s explanation, as he is a trustworthy person. “I think if he felt he was really over-the-top wrong, that he was doing something that was terrible, he would admit it,” Milbury said. “Because I think he’s man enough to do that.”

Added Milbury: “I like him because he’s a down-to-earth, honest guy. I think he screwed up. Did he screw up so badly that he needs to be let go? I can understand the case for it. I can. But when a guy makes a mistake after that length of time doing what I think is a pretty good job in a really difficult situation, I don’t think you have to get rid of him.”

Milbury said Campbell needs to get in touch with Savard, if he hasn’t already.

“If I’m Marc Savard, I’m waiting for a phone call from Colin Campbell apologizing,” Milbury said. “If that hasn’t happened, that’s mistake No. 3. And that, to me, is enough to say, ‘OK, he doesn’t get it or he thinks he’s above it.’ Absolutely, in my mind, that phone call should have been made already. And if it hasn’t been made, it should be made right after he listens to this show [chuckle]. Because it’s needed, it’s necessary and it’s appropriate.”

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Mike Milbury on D&H: Forget about Matt Cooke, B’s have ‘other things to worry about’ 11.10.10 at 12:39 pm ET
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NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance with the Dale & Holley show Wednesday and talked about the Bruins’ game on Wednesday night vs. the Penguins and instigator Matt Cooke. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Milbury said the Bruins aren’t likely to spend much time focusing on Cooke. “No, they’ve got other things to worry about right now,” Milbury said, although he added that the Bruins will be “much more willing to answer the bell if he rings it.”

Added Milbury: “I’m not big on the staged thing or the planned vengeance. I mean, it’s a hockey game, after all. They got their pound of flesh, or at least some of it, maybe a half-pound with [Shawn] Thornton last year. Get over it, play the game. They’ve got a couple of injuries, they’ve got other things to worry about right now. They’re playing two tough teams back to back. They’ve got to get some points on the board while they’re waiting for people to get back in the lineup.”

Asked his opinion of Cooke as a player, Milbury said: “He’s not a bad player. He’ll get his share of goals. He clearly is a guy that will mix it up, will look for a good hit. And I have no trouble with that. It’s when he crosses the line that you start to get agitated. The Bruins probably were slow to react to some of the things he did, but I don’t think he’s Darth Vader or anything. I just think he’s one of those guys that likes to toe the line, and sometimes he crosses it.”

Andrew Ference stood up for teammate Mark Recchi on Saturady night, jumping in to fight St. Louis’ David Backes after Backes had drilled Recchi with a clean hit. “Somebody’s got to do it for grandpa. You’ve got to step in,” Milbury said, although he noted: “Recchi’s no angel either on the ice. Even at his age he can be frisky.”

With the injured David Krejci joining Marc Savard on the sideline, Milbury said the Bruins can only do so much to fill the holes vacated by their top two centers. “When you take two of your better players out of the lineup, you’re not going to replace them,” Milbury said. “Not in the salary cap era. You just can’t do it.”

Read More: David Krejci, Mark Recchi, Matt Cooke, Mike Milbury
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