|Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘Who can handle’ a determined Milan Lucic?||05.14.13 at 1:06 pm ET|
NESN Bruins commentator Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to talk about the Bruins’ historic comeback in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs.
Brickley admitted he started questioning his faith in the Bruins when they fell behind by three goals in the third period before rallying for a 5-4 overtime victory.
“My believability was challenged that they could come back once we got close to that 10-minute mark,” Brickley said. “But I will go back to the beginning of the third period. When we were trying to set the stage, we talked about — I think Jack [Edwards] used the phrase ‘final 20 minutes of someone’s season.’ I wasn’t convinced of that. I thought that game would go to overtime. But when it did get 4-1, yeah, I certainly had my doubts. It was creeping in.
“No surprise, though, when you look back at that third period, that a guy like Milan Lucic would spearhead that charge. It’s in his DNA, it’s in his makeup. When he’s that determined, that committed and refuses to lose that attitude, who can handle him?”
When the Bruins started to exert their will late in the third period, the Maple Leafs showed their inexperience.
“Absolutely unchartered water for these guys, and that certainly worked in the Bruins’ favor,” Brickley said. “The minute you start to put a little pressure on a team that’s trying to protect a three-goal lead, and really, because they haven’t been in that closeout situation in the NHL playoffs – you can be in those positions during the regular season, with a three-goal lead or a two-goal lead in the third period, it’s a heck of a lot easier than it is in the postseason. Especially when you’re playing a team that supposedly, and in all probability, is a superior team to you.
“The minute [Nathan] Horton scores on that great rush up the ice by Lucic, the power move around the net and the nice pass out front, now that doubt seems to creep in. You start sneaking peeks at the clock, you start to watch the clock a little bit. You have the believability in your goaltender, even though he played really well in Game 5 and Game 6, can he handle the onslaught that you know is coming here in the final surge by Boston. And because they don’t have that experience on their resume, you knew that there was a lot of doubt, or at least some level of doubt for the Leafs.”
|Barry Pederson on D&C: Milan Lucic ‘took that team on his back’||05.14.13 at 11:36 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning, hours after the B’s completed an incredible comeback with a 5-4 overtime victory over the Maple Leafs in Game 7 at TD Garden.
Pederson passed around the praise, beginning with Milan Lucic.
“Lucic took that team on his back going down the stretch with his physical presence, intimidation and going to the front of the net,” Pederson said. “I thought he really turned things around.
“But it got scary there that first shift of the hockey game when [Dennis] Seidenberg goes down 37 seconds into the game. All of a sudden no Seidenberg, no [Andrew] Ference and no [Wade] Redden. And boy, [Matt] Bartkowski stepped it up, then the other young guys on the right side, [Johnny] Boychuk, [Adam] McQuaid and [Dougie] Hamilton, brought their game up. And it’s not easy with Toronto’s speed.
“Then you’ve got to talk about the captain [Zdeno Chara], with 35 minutes of ice time that he had to log. He’ll be one tired guy. Then you’ve got to give [Tuukka] Rask a lot of credit, too. Here’s a kid that [when] it was 4-1, he didn’t quit. He made some big saves down the stretch — that breakaway on [Matt] Frattin and then on [Joffrey] Lupul in overtime. It was a total team effort.”
While the Bruins came up big in the third period and overtime, the Maple Leafs are looking back at a stunning collapse.
“The other part of the story, of course, is as they’re coming on, a young Toronto team, who had never been through this war before and never experienced it, totally collapsed in the sense that they quit making plays, they’re back on their heels. they’re getting the puck and instead of going tape to tape and trying to create some offense, they’re just banging it off the boards,” Pederson said. “For [James] Reimer, who played so well for them in Game 5 and 6 to get them there, he just had no chance with so many bodies around him. He wasn’t controlling his rebounds and then the Bruins were just pouncing.”
While the Bruins have faced criticism for their inconsistency, Pederson said it’s been a league-wide problem during the lockout-shortened season. That said, Pederson noted that the B’s turnover problems need to be remedied in a hurry if they’re going to advance any further.
“One of the hallmarks of Claude Julien‘s teams and one of the things that I’ve enjoyed watching was the defensive responsibility and the way they protect the puck and the way they don’t beat themselves with turnovers,” Pederson said. “But boy, down the stretch of the regular season and at various times throughout these playoffs, that was not what we saw from this team. This was a team that was self-destructing by turnovers, not getting the puck deep, not protecting the puck. So for the Bruins to get to that next level and get away from that Jekyll and Hyde, as Claude calls it, they’re going to have to protect the puck better and be mentally tougher. Because again, the competition gets that much more difficult against the New York Rangers.”
|Tony Amonte on M&M: For offensively challenged Bruins, ‘It’s in their heads’||05.13.13 at 1:23 pm ET|
Tony Amonte, who provides Bruins analysis for CSNNE, checked in with Mut & Merloni on Monday to talk about the B’s first-round series against the Maple Leafs.
Following their 2-1 loss in Game 6 Sunday night in Toronto, the inconsistent B’s face a Game 7 Monday night at TD Garden. Amonte said the Bruins’ failure to rise to the occasion the last two games is a very bad sign.
“You can’t survive that way. You can’t win a Stanley Cup. And that’s the way it’s been the last couple of months for this team,” Amonte said. “You just don’t know what you’re going to get on a nighty basis. If you’re going to play that way, especially in the playoffs, you’re not going to go very far.
“Could it be that they’re going to be out tonight? Yeah. If their B club shows up, the minor league team shows up, they’re in trouble, they’re going to lose this game tonight.”
The Bruins had an impressive overtime win in Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead, but they haven’t been able to close it out after starting slow in the last two games.
“I was surprised,” Amonte said. “Coming off of Game 4, that was probably one of the best games of the playoffs as far as this year out of both teams. The Bruins showed a high-powered offense in that game, pretty strong defensively, Tuukka [Rask] was on his game. So, it seemed like, yeah, they put a dagger in the hearts of the Toronto Maple Leafs. But then to come out in Game 5 in the first period, and Toronto dominated. They turned the switch off and they didn’t play the way they needed to. By the time they got into the game, it was too late again, just like it was last night.
“It’s all about getting out there early, establishing some confidence. For these guys, now it’s in their heads. They’ve got to go out and score goals.”
“You’ve got a guy out there basically quarterbacking the power play in Tyler Seguin who has no points and no assists,” Amonte said. “You’ve got a guy that’s got 10 points at that point in time, 10 points in the playoffs, leading the playoffs in scoring, sitting on the bench. From a fan’s perspective, it’s crazy. You have to play the odds. And the odds say Krejci’s going to score a point way before Seguin is ever going to do it.”
|B’s recall Matt Bartkowski from Providence||05.09.13 at 9:05 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Thursday that they have recalled defenseman Matt Bartkowski from AHL Providence.
Bartkowski, 24, played in 11 regular-season games for the Bruins this season, recording two assists and averaging 13:29 of ice time.
He played 56 games for the P-Bruins, recording three goals and 21 assists with 56 penalty minutes. He had five assists in Providence’s five-game opening-round Calder Cup playoff series against the Hershey Bears. Providence advanced and will open a second-round series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Boston hosts the Maple Leafs in Game 5 on Friday night, looking to close out the first-round series.
For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Adam McQuaid on M&M: ‘It’s pretty easy to dislike who you’re playing against’||05.09.13 at 2:18 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid checked in with Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to talk about Wednesday’s night’s overtime victory over the Maple Leafs that gave the B’s a 3-1 series lead.
The intensity in this series hit a new high in Game 4, a back-and-forth game that featured plenty of hard hitting. Although Toronto doesn’t have the obvious villains like some of the Bruins’ more fierce rivals, McQuaid said it’s not difficult to develop some animosity toward the skaters in blue and white.
“We’re playing for the Stanley Cup, and the guy across from you is the one that’s trying to prevent you from getting that, so it’s pretty easy to dislike who you’re playing against. They’re trying to take something away from you,” McQuaid said. “You kind of know who you’re playing against. At the same time, we’re kind of trying to focus on ourselves and make sure that we’re playing hard.”
Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel has been surprisingly successful in this series after struggling in regular-season action against his former team.
“He’s got a lot of speed. He’s a great offensive talent,” McQuaid said. “He’s got a quick shot, so he doesn’t need much time to get a good opportunity. So, you have to do your best to try and limit his opportunities and be aware when he’s on the ice.”
Tuukka Rask had a big game Wednesday, the same day the league announced the finalists for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender. Despite posting stats that put him at the top of the list, Rask is not one of the three finalists.
“We know how valuable he is to our team and what he brings to our team,” McQuaid said. “We let him know in our eyes that he deserved to be there. Some guys are joking around that he’s just going to have to be better next year. '¦ We know how important he is to our team and how good he is. There was a little bit of surprise that he wasn’t nominated. But like I said, his value within our team, we know how important he is.”
McQuaid has been paired in this series with Wade Redden, the veteran who spent two years in the minors before returning to the NHL this season and being acquired by the Bruins from the Blues at the trade deadline in April.
“He’s a guy that has a ton of experience,” McQuaid said. “Him going through what he went through the last couple of years I think speaks volumes to the type of person he is. To persevere through that. I was just happy to see him have the success that he’s had. I feel pretty fortunate to have a D partner like that.
|Don Cherry on M&M: ‘You’re going to see a different Toronto Maple Leafs’ in Game 4||05.07.13 at 12:21 pm ET|
Legendary Hockey Night in Canada commentator and former Bruins coach Don Cherry joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday morning to talk about the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Bruins took a 2-1 lead on the Maple Leafs in their first-round series with a 5-2 victory in Toronto on Monday night, but Cherry said now that the Leafs have gotten past the first home game, they should be more comfortable.
“I think for the first half of the game they had the jitters,” Cherry said. “You couldn’t believe the crowd outside. There was about 10,000 people with a monstrous [TV] screen in a square here. It was unbelievable. This is the first time they’ve been in the playoffs in nine years. And what I think happened was they were very, very nervous. The kids were very, very nervous the first half of the game, anyhow. Then they said, Hey, what the heck, we’ve got to turn it on. And they did. So, I said the opening game [that] last night you’re going to see a different Bruins. I’m going to predict you’re going to see a different Toronto Maple Leafs tomorrow night.”
Tyler Seguin has no points in the Bruins’ three playoff games, but Cherry predicts the young forward will break through at some point.
“Maybe he’s just a little frustrated right now, but he’s going to come through,” Cherry said.
Cherry, no stranger to controversy, recently came under fire when he offered support for Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith after Keith made a condescending comment to a female reporter. Cherry, who is credited with being the first NHL coach to allow a female reporter in the locker room (while coaching the Bruins in 1975), explained his view.
Said Cherry: “It’s not that I don’t think they’re qualified, it’s not that I think they shouldn’t do the interviews. I just don’t think they should be subject to some of the guys, the way they act. The guys take advantage of it. That’s what I meant. Again, it was taken all out of context.”
Cherry also touched on his relationship with former Bruins general manager and president Harry Sinden. The two had a falling out after Cherry was not retained as B’s coach in 1979, but Cherry said they’re finally back on speaking terms.
“Harry and I have [made up],” Cherry said. “We’ve been awful enemies for some reason. I don’t know what happened — something. But in the last hurrah, Harry and I shook hands. It was me that started the whole thing, I think. I was a little vindictive, because I didn’t want to leave the Bruins and all that sort of stuff. But Harry and I have made up, and good for it, because life’s too short to go through with arguments all the time.”
|B’s anthem singer Rene Rancourt on D&C: ‘I’m just so proud for having been a part of it’||04.18.13 at 8:28 am ET|
Longtime Bruins national anthem singer Rene Rancourt joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning, following Wednesday night’s emotional performance that preceded the Bruins’ game against the Sabres.
Rancourt started singing before putting down his microphone and allowing the 17,000-plus fans to take the lead.
“It was a very different sensation for me,” Rancourt said. “This was a first for me. I’ll tell you, I’m speechless for the first time in my life.”
Rancourt, 73, has sung the anthem at Bruins games for more than 35 years, and he said this was the most memorable.
“That is No. 1,” he said. “It’s a tough call choosing between this night, last night, and Game 6 of the Vancouver series [in 2011]. But I’d have to say, this is really a time where you feel you’re a part of history. It’s bigger than your ego. Because I’m always saying that anthem singers should really focus in on the words. That way the feeling comes across. It shouldn’t be an ego situation. This was totally unique.”
Rancourt said the fans’ participation was a big help, as he wasn’t sure he would have been able to make it through the song without getting overly emotional.
“As I was getting ready, warming up my voice during the day — because it’s not that easy a song to do — I found myself breaking up and tearing up while I was practicing,” he recalled. “I said, ‘Gee, I don’t know if I can get through this thing.’ ”
Added Rancourt: “I’m sure that the people didn’t even realize how much help I actually did need. It was wonderful. The sound was carrying me, lifting me up in the room. It was just something indescribable. '¦ I’m afraid I would have probably broken up a few times during the anthem. I’m not ashamed to admit that.”
Rancourt said the team came to him with the plan to allow the fans to sing.
“It’s the Bruins office that had the idea,” he explained. “We all talked about it and how we were going to do it: the moment of silence and showing a video and coming on with the firefighters, color guard. We worked it out. It was their idea.
“I was very nervous. I didn’t know how — what if you stop singing and nothing happens? It went more than well. I’m just so proud for having been part of it.”
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