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Andy Brickley on M&M: NHL will ‘make an example’ of Shawn Thornton with lengthy suspension, but Brooks Orpik should have answered call to fight earlier 12.12.13 at 12:17 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni via phone from Edmonton, where the B’s play Thursday night, for his weekly discussion about the team.

Shawn Thornton is awaiting word from the league how long he will suspended following his confrontation with Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik in Saturday’s game.

“No question he crossed the line, he’s aware of that, and the league will obviously discipline him, use him as an example,” Brickley said. “This is the type of stuff that’s a hot-button issue in the National Hockey League — injuries, concussions, bad decisions, bad hits in the game. That’s what they’re trying to clean up, and it’s an opportunity for the league to really make an example of him, which they probably will do.

“Certainly in the moment, when we were doing the broadcast, when the initial hit [by Orpik on Loui Eriksson] was made and then Eriksson was concussed, obviously, no penalty on the play, I thought it was a borderline hit, could have been a penalty, could not have been a penalty. I have a hard time even with my experience knowing what’s a penalty and what’s not a penalty anymore. …

“When the first hit by Orpik was made on Eriksson, then he was challenged initially, if you remember, by Dougie Hamilton — no response. Then Shawn Thornton had the opportunity to challenge Orpik — no response. That’s when you know, because you’ve been there, that this is going to get ugly. Because if you’re not going to handle it the way the Bruins feel it should be handled, then people were going to start crossing lines and the game was going to get ugly. You knew it was going to happen, and I think that’s where it started to break down.”

Brickley said Orpik, who is known as a hard hitter but someone who does not fight, could have handled the situation better.

“This kid, he’s a good player, he’s a good hitter, he likes to hit in open ice,” Brickley said. “But he’s also got a reputation for a guy that hits the Loui Erikssons, the Jeff Skinners. He broke Erik Cole‘s neck from hitting him from behind. … When you have a reputation like that, you have to answer for those types of hits if you’re going to play that way. It’s plain and simple. That’s code. If you want to talk code, that’s code.”

Added Brickley: “Just flip it around if you want to have this kind of conversation. If Johnny Boychuck stands up and knocks Chris Kunitz on a borderline hit, interference, on-the-puck play, if you want to call it that, and Deryk Engelland comes over and challenges Boychuck, what does Boychuck do? … That’s how those plays get defused and you don’t get into the nasty anymore.”

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Read More: Andy Brickley, Brooks Orpik, James Neal, Jarome Iginla
Penguins’ James Neal suspended 5 games for knee to Brad Marchand’s head 12.09.13 at 1:18 pm ET
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Penguins forward James Neal was suspended five games by the league on Monday for delivering a knee to the head of Bruins forward Brad Marchand during Saturday’s game at TD Garden.

Marchand was getting up after being knocked to the ice when Neal delivered his cheap shot. Neal claimed after the game that the hit was not intentional despite video evidence that made it apparent he went out of his way to contact Marchand.

“While Neal does not kick or violently thrust his leg toward Marchand, it is our belief after reviewing this incident that this is more serious than simply not avoiding contact with a fallen player,” NHL directory of player safety director Brendan Shanahan explained in a video review of the incident. “While looking down directly at Marchand, Neal turns his skates and extends his left leg, ensuring that contact is made with Marchand’s head.”

The suspension will cost Neal $128,205.15 in lost salary, which will be donated to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Read More: Brad Marchand, James Neal,
Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘No maliciousness’ from Max Pacioretty on Johnny Boychuk hit 12.06.13 at 11:56 am ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Friday, following Thursday’s 2-1 loss to the Canadiens in Montreal.

The Bruins had a 1-0 lead after a period but struggled in the second as the Canadiens took control.

“There’s nothing there in way of explaining why they played the way they did in the second period,” Brickley said. “In fact, the four days off should have worked to their benefit in the second period. You knew you were going to get a better push from Montreal than what they were able to give you in the first 20 given the fact that this was game three in four nights for them, plus travel.

“But this Montreal Canadiens team is a little different in the sense that they don’t just try to beat you with their speed and their skill, they do have a little sandpaper to their game. They compete a lot harder for pucks, they know that they had to add that element to their game if they wanted to win the Atlantic Division with a team like the Bruins in there, and the Bruins being — I don’t know if it’s the gold standard, but certainly the measuring stick that you need to play similar to in over to win the division.

“That being said, you expected Montreal to have a much better second period, and for some inexplicable reason, the Bruins played maybe one of the their worst periods of the year — Claude Julien used the word ‘atrocious’ following the game, and you can’t argue with that. When they’ve played poorly in second periods this year it’s been for a variety of reasons, but the common thread is just that lack of — I don’t know if you want to call it a sense of urgency — for me it’s more paying attention to detail.

“I’m lost, really, for an explanation as to why they are so inconsistent in the second periods when they have opportunities to put teams away after 40 minutes.”

During the first period, Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk was checked into the boards by Max Pacioretty and had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher.

“It was a borderline hit. I thought the call was accurate that it was worthy of a two-minute boarding call,” Brickley said. “He tried to get him on the side and not from the back, but it’s in that dangerous area, distance away from the boards and a player almost with his back to you. What they’re trying to do is educate players, even though you’ve played the game a certain way for so long, it has to change because too many guys are getting hurt. They have to continue to work on that and further educate these guys and maybe tweak the rules a little bit to allow you to make different types of hits in those situations.

“But there was no maliciousness there, I didn’t think, from Pacioretty. It was just one of those reactionary hits, two guys battling in an area where always there’s a puck battle. And it was just the awkwardness that Boychuck went into the boards.”

Brickley said he was impressed with how the Bruins kept their composure after the incident.

“As far as the players are concerned, they did a terrific job, I thought, of maintaining some focus. Because your focus and your attention and your emotional feelings change when you see that happen,” Brickley said. “Your focus is totally on a first-place game against your arch rival, a game that you really want, a game that you should out-energize them, and you had some decent things happening in the first period. And now your focus changes dramatically.

“And the Bruins did a pretty good job of doing what they needed to do the rest of that period to take a lead into the intermission. But then to just give it away in the second period was so disappointing.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Andy Brickley, Claude Julien, Johnny Boychuck, Max Pacioretty
Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘I think everybody wants [fighting] in the game’ 12.04.13 at 9:49 am ET
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Shawn Thornton

Shawn Thornton

Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday for his weekly discussion, as the B’s prepare for a Thursday night game in Montreal against the Canadiens.

Thornton said players who join the Bruins should know how heated this rivalry can be before stepping onto the ice.

“You are expected to, but it probably took a game or three for me to actually really understand it,” he said. “Now I fully embrace it.”

Added Thornton: “You just get an appreciation for the deep-rooted history of hatred for each other. Being in that building and then coming into our building, there’s an energy level that you don’t really know about until you’re involved in it. I’m excited for our new guys to actually get a taste of it here.”

Despite the nastiness that sometimes has surrounded the rivalry, Thornton said he feels comfortable mingling with the locals while in the city.

“They’re very knowledgeable fans up there. They’re very passionate, obviously,” he said. “For the most part, they’re hockey fans. Even if they don’t like us, there might be some chirping and stuff, but no [more than that].”

There has been a movement to curtail fighting in hockey, but Thornton said he does not believe it will be banned from the game while he is playing.

“I think they want it in the game. I think everybody wants it in the game,” Thornton said. “But they’re kind of at a stage now with all the [concussion] stuff going on that the league’s been put in a position that they have to cover their own [butts] about it. I think that’s the biggest reason that you feel this sort of push towards I guess it being phased out a little. But I think it’s more about covering their own [butts] than anything else.”

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Read More: Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Shawn Thornton,
Daniel Paille on D&C: ‘We have a team that’s hungry’ 10.02.13 at 8:15 am ET
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Daniel Paille

Daniel Paille

Bruins forward Daniel Paille joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning, the day before the B’s begin defense of their Eastern Conference championship by opening the season against the Lightning at Boston Garden, and talked about returning to the ice after last season’s exciting finish.

Although the Bruins lost the Stanley Cup finals to the Blackhawks with a heartbreaking Game 6 loss, Paille said he can look back now and feel proud of what the team was able to do.

“You had to appreciate what we did throughout the season with everything that happened to the city,” he said. “I think overall everyone was happy for our team and the way we played throughout the whole playoffs.”

The Bruins made some major adjustments to their lineup — most notably losing Nathan Horton, Tyler Seguin and Andrew Ference, while bringing in Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson — and Paille said he expects the team to continue to be among the league’s elite.

“We count ourselves lucky that we feel like we have that capability to go to the finals every year,” Paille said. “Not every year is going to happen, but I think what makes us contend most every year — over the last few years, anyways — is that we have a team that’s hungry and wants to play and competes for each other. I think that goes a long way to making a championship team. We want to continue that trend, and hopefully we can keep that up. I’ve played eight years now in the NHL, and it’s tough to get there. I think the last two years that we’ve been there, I count myself fortunate for that.”

Added Paille: “With the guys that we lost and the guys that we brought in, I think it’s more the defensive style that I think our management was looking for in Jarome and Loui and especially having [Torey Krug], too. But at the same time, they bring that offensive capability that I think the other guys brought. So I think it will be a huge key for us going into the season, especially with two of them being hungry for the Cup.”

Paille was on the ice when Gregory Campbell broke his leg blocking a shot in Game 3 against the Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals.

“Soupy, it takes a lot for him to stay down,” Paille said. “So for him to just limp around like that and barely able to skate, it says a lot about his character and the way he plays for us every day.”

Paiile is hosting a charity event to raise money for the Jimmy Fund on Monday at Tresca restaurant in the North End. For more information, go to jimmyfund.org. Listen to the complete interview below.

For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Daniel Paille,
Shawn Thornton on M&M: Loss to Blackhawks ‘will sting for the rest of my life’ 08.27.13 at 2:12 pm ET
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Shawn Thornton

Shawn Thornton

Bruins winger Shawn Thornton joined Mut & Merloni on Monday afternoon as part of the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon.

Thornton and his teammates soon will return to the ice and look to start another run to the Stanley Cup finals after losing to the Blackhawks in six games. This is the second short offseason for the Bruins in three years, following their Stanley Cup title in 2011.

“It’s different because we won last time. You get a little leeway when you win,” Thornton said. “I think back then we had 12 or 13 weeks. But we won, so let’s get ready. But when you lose, that taste is in your mouth and it’s like you’re rattled all summer and you want to prove a point. Everybody wants to be ready for Day 1.

“I think it’s tough, personally, mentally, to tell yourself that you played just as many games, just as long as the team that beat you, because it leaves such a sour taste in your mouth.”

Asked if would every be able to watch a replay of the heartbreaking, last-minute loss in Game 6, Thornton said, “No. Never. That one will sting for the rest of my life. I hope I win another one. And if I do, then I’ll be like, ‘Wow, I’ve got three rings; I should have had four.’ That’s how I look at it. I hate losing. That one stung.”

The Bruins had some turnover this offseason — including sending Tyler Seguin to the Stars for Louis Eriksson — but kept the core of their squad intact.

“The last four or five years we’ve had teams that can compete every year. I think management has done a really good job of keeping the nucleus together and bringing in pieces here and there to try and fit in the needs,” Thornton said. “Louis Eriksson supposedly — I haven’t played against him a ton because he’s on the West — but supposedly they say he’s one of the more underrated guys in the NHL, being in Dallas, not getting a lot of big-market notoriety. I’m excited to see this guy play.”

Thornton makes regular visits to patients at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute throughout the year to offer an emotional boost.

“It’s a feel-good moment,” he said. “We go over there for an hour, it’s an hour or two of our time. To see these kids and what they’re fighting through, their attitudes and how happy they are and they’re talking about how lucky they are and things are going well and all this stuff. Sometimes we complain because our [steak] strip on the private flight is medium-well. It puts a lot of things into perspective.

“Speaking for myself, I really enjoy it. But I know a lot of my teammates try and get over there as much as possible, too, because we really like it.”

For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Louis Eriksson, Shawn Thornton,
Claude Julien named assistant coach for Team Canada at 2014 Olympics 07.22.13 at 10:45 am ET
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Claude Julien

Bruins coach Claude Julien was named an assistant coach for Team Canada at February’s Sochi Olympics.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock will be the head coach — as he was in 2010 when Canada beat Team USA to win the gold in Vancouver — with Ken Hitchcock (Blues) and Lindy Ruff (Stars) also serving as assistants.

The NHL announced Friday that its players will be made available to play in the Olympics.

Julien, who has coached the Bruins since 2007, was an assistant to Marc Habscheid at the 2006 World Championships, where Canada finished fourth. Julien was the head coach of Canada’s national junior team that won the bronze medal at the U-20 World Championship in 2000.

Read More: Claude Julien,
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