|Mike Milbury on D&H: B’s should consider trading Tim Thomas||12.08.10 at 12:56 pm ET|
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.”
|Mike Milbury on D&H: Milan Lucic ‘can’t lose that edge’||12.01.10 at 1:05 pm ET|
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.”
“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?’ ”
|Mike Milbury on D&H: ‘It’s a wide-open league right now’||11.24.10 at 1:07 pm ET|
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.”
|Mike Milbury on D&H: Colin Campbell needs to apologize to Marc Savard immediately||11.17.10 at 1:12 pm ET|
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.
“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.”
|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|
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.”
|Mike Milbury on D&H: ‘What goes on in the mind of Tuukka Rask?’||11.03.10 at 1:03 pm ET|
NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins and league news. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Said Milbury: “It’s a happy problem, but you wonder what goes on in the mind of Tuukka Rask under these circumstances. I was talking to Kelly Hrudey last week, the Hockey Night in Canada analyst with me, and he said, ‘He may not know it, but this could be the best thing to happen to Rask. He’s got to earn that right to be called the No. 1. It’s not always easy and it’s not always a given.’ And he’s right. I’m sure Tuukka Rask doesn’t really look at it that way, but in some ways, it’s not a bad thought. Rask has to continue to compete. It keeps him sharp. The question is, When does he get the chance to go again?”
Added Milbury: “I think we mentioned last week, the schedule’s been so uneven. They’ve got to get into a rhythm at some point. And at that point, I think because of the way Thomas plays, although he’s been fairly compact and economical through the first part of the season, he still has a tendency to want to explode out and dive here and there. It will take its toll, and they’ll need Rask. And Rask will have his chance then. But who saw this coming?”
Milbury said he’s not aware that Thomas was close to being dealt last season. “I never heard anything that anything was imminent,” Milbury said. “I think there were a lot of people kicking tires, but they weren’t kicking them as hard as they would be if they were shopping him right now, I would think. He had an uneven season, and he had a bunch of years left on his contract, and he’s always been looked on as, ‘I can’t believe he’s doing this.’ There seems to be some degree of incredulity that he can make this thing happen. But he does. He does through his competitiveness and his athleticism, and his mindset.”
Milbury said the Bruins might have to consider moving Thomas, but only if an enticing trade offer is made.
“It would be interesting to see if they shopped him around, and he’d be willing to be traded, if that would bring A) cap relief and B) fill a hole someplace else, i.e., the blue line, where they’re thinner than I’d like them to be,” Milbury said, adding: “I don’t think there’s going to be any talk of that. I think things are so good right now for the Bruins, that if Peter Chiarelli is looking for cap relief, he’s probably going to look in a different direction. And I certainly don’t blame him. It would be a really gutsy move to make that deal, and if somebody came with a sweetheart of a deal, you’d have to take a look at it, knowing that Rask played as well.”
|Nathan Horton on D&H: ‘It’s like a family already’||10.22.10 at 1:33 pm ET|
Bruins forward Nathan Horton checked in with the Dale & Holley show Friday to talk about the B’s fast start to the season. Horton has four goals and three assists in five games as the Bruins have gone 4-1-0.
Horton is enjoying his new team after spending his first six seasons with the Florida Panthers in the Miami area, where hockey obviously does not have the same importance. “This is what every player dreams about playing, just this type of atmosphere, and this city,” he said of Boston. “It’s not like you can imagine. Once you’re there, it’s pretty amazing.”
Horton said no matter where he is, his style remains the same. “You have to perform,” he said. “Even if you’re not putting up points or anything, you have to work hard and be a team guy and just play hard for your teammates. I think that’s what everyone’s trying to do. We like each other as a team. It’s like a family already. Everyone gets along. It’s an unbelievable feeling when you want to come to the rink every day, you’re going to win games, and I think everyone’s having fun.”
Regarding the B’s goaltending situation, Horton said Tuukka Rask has not shown any signs of disappointment despite serving as Tim Thomas‘ backup the last four games. “He’s been great,” Horton said. “He knows he’s a great goaltender. He’s going to get his shot. ‘¦ He’s still having fun. Nobody can score on him in practice, too.”