|Barry Pederson on D&C: Tuukka Rask ‘making it look easy’||06.18.13 at 11:33 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to talk about the Bruins’ win in Game 3, the value of team defense and Tuukka Rask’s technically sound play in goal.
Pederson said that the Bruins team defense has played consistently well throughout the playoffs and has been key in winning not only the physical battle but the mental battle.
“We have seen it whether it was Toronto, the Rangers, Chicago in here or Pittsburgh,” Pederson said. “It is the fact that they’re breaking the will of the opponent. It is so frustrating to go out there and every time you get the puck, [Zdeno] Chara is taking away your space, he is running you through the boards, you think you’ve got an open lane and you go to throw it across and all of a sudden [Dennis] Seidenberg is in there with his stick, with his feet. They just don’t give you an inch.
“After a while it is almost like when you have a horse and you saddle-break him. Once his shoulders roll on you, you know you have the horse’s spirit broken and you have a chance of breaking him and getting him saddle-broken. Here’s the situation to me where you can see it on the ice where guys are going, ‘OK, we are ready, Chicago. Here comes our energy.’ And it’s like, ‘Oh, this just ain’t happening.’ They’re just frustrating them.”
That strong team defense is a testament to Claude Julien sticking with his defensive system and having his players buy into it. It is also the result of general manager Peter Chiarelli bringing in players that fit Julien’s system well and are willing to play hard on the defensive end every night.
Pederson said that one thing that makes Chiarelli successful is that he is willing to pay players for their contributions on the defensive end — not just the offensive end.
“What happens a lot of times is somebody says, ‘OK, we want to play a certain style and we want to reward these guys for being successful, but yet they’re playing team defense,’ ” Pederson said. “A lot of times throughout the season when things aren’t going well it’s like, ‘We just don’t have enough offense. We don’t have those stars like [Evgeni] Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby who can generate a lot of goals.’ But champions, as we know, are known for both sides of the puck. Not only the offense, but it’s that great, smothering team defense and the structure and the layers they have defensively.
“It has been very important also for Peter Chiarelli to reward these players for not only their offense that they show us by being maybe a point-a-game guy, but they are capable on other teams of probably being 80- or 90-point seasons, but they’re not. They are giving it up for the team and they are doing it the right way.”
Tuukka Rask was the beneficiary of the strong team defense in the Bruins’ win in Game 3, as he was protected well in his 28-save shutout Monday. However, Pederson said he thinks Rask may not be getting the credit he deserves because he is making it look easier than it is.
“I think one of the things that we are getting ourselves maybe into a bad habit of, is because Tuukka is so sound technically and is so much in control of his emotions right now, he is making it look easy,” Pederson said. “It’s not as easy as it looks. He is just attacking the shooters correctly. When he goes down he is taking up space, his belly is not touching the ice, he is standing up straight with his chest, he is controlling his rebounds.
“A couple of times last night you could see the shifts were getting long and the Bruins needed a whistle. They are coming down the right side and they shoot the puck. He is able to control the rebound and throw it outside of the rink to get yourself a stop or a whistle. He has done a great job. He will be the first to tell you that his team in front of him is playing very well defensively, but I also think his teammates will tell you, ‘Hey, listen, he is playing so well right now and he is so locked in, he is making it look easier than it actually is.’ ”
|Doc Emrick on M&M: Tuukka Rask gives Bruins ‘check mark’ over Blackhawks||06.12.13 at 12:34 pm ET|
NBC Sports play-by-play caller Mike “Doc” Emrick joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday morning to break down the Stanley Cup finals between the Bruins and Blackhawks.
Emrick said he expects the series to be almost dead even, and he did not offer a prediction for who would raise the Stanley Cup in the end. However, he drew a comparison between this series and the 1995 finals between the Devils and Red Wings.
“The edge is very difficult to call,” Emrick said. “I know there have been various surveys done and I think one very extensive one in Canada came out 50 percent to 49.2 percent, and at that point I didn’t even ask who had the 50 percent because it becomes — it is pretty much the way that everyone here is thinking. It is just too tough to call.
“I remember a similar thing that happened when we had a 48-game season in 1995 and we went into the final with a favorite team and a non-favorite one because the New Jersey Devils were not a good scoring team. They had a good goaltender and they played good defense. And the Red Wings were lights out. I mean, they were the biggest offensive juggernaut going and they banged their way through Chicago to get to the final and then New Jersey shut them down in four straight games with a defensive scheme.”
Emrick continued that comparison between the current series and the 1995 finals while discussing Zdeno Chara’s impact on Tuukka Rask’s play. Emrick compared Chara’s dominance to that of hall-of-fame defenseman Scott Stevens.
“I think if you were to ask that question to Marty Brodeur, he would say that Scott Stevens’ years were some of his best, because when you have somebody out there that is a presence that takes care of business as well as Scott did and as well as Zdeno Chara does and covers even more distance than Scott would ever hope to just because of his raw size.” Emrick said. “I think you’re making a very good comparison there and I think you’re also giving appropriate credit to the defense in front of [Rask].”
While he praised Chara for his defense, Emrick was sure to give credit to Rask, saying that he gave the Bruins an advantage between the pipes over Corey Crawford.
“If you want to put a check mark in one particular category that I think solidly goes to Boston, it is goaltending,” Emrick said. “And again, we have the leading goals-against average is one guy and the other is second. And the leading save percentage is the other guy and the one guy is second. So you can waffle back and forth. It seems to me the way that Rask has been playing, that is a check mark to the Bruins.
“As [NBC Sports color commentator] Eddie Olczyk always says, ‘Without goaltending you have got no shot.’ And they’ve sure got goaltending.”
|Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘Surprised’ to see Andrew Ference play over Matt Bartkowski in Game 1||06.03.13 at 1:58 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley, in an interview with Mut & Merloni on Friday, talked about the Bruins’ win over the Penguins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals and previewed Monday night’s Game 2.
Brickley said that the end result of the game was what impressed him most about the Bruins on Saturday night, because they did not start the game very well. Pittsburgh outshot Boston 22-17 through the first two periods.
“The way they played the first 40 minutes was not Bruins hockey,” Brickley said. “They played real strong, they looked more like the team and their identity in the third period. I liked the way they played in the third, the neutral zone was a lot better, fewer turnovers. Once they had that 1-0 lead and were able to extend that lead they got real comfortable in that third period playing the style that they wanted to play. They are going to need a better start tonight because that could have easily been 3-1, 4-1, 5-1 after the first 40 minutes.”
One thing that surprised Brickley on Saturday night was that Andrew Ference returned to the lineup in place of Matt Bartkowski. Bartkowski, a Pittsburgh native, played more than 19 minutes in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Rangers before sitting Game 1 against the Penguins.
“Yeah, [I was] a little surprised to be honest with you,” Brickley said. “I know it was a very difficult decision. The minute you get clearance from team doctors and you’re ready to go, it is a tough decision. Bartkowski being a Pittsburgh kid, he was instrumental in advancing in that five-game series against the Rangers. He gave a different element to the Bruins back line with his speed, his ability to pinch down the wall, make key plays in the offensive zone, the quick ups. He was a good match for the Rangers because the Rangers don’t have a ton of team speed so he had more time and space.
“But Andrew Ference is a guy that shouldn’t lose his job to injury. He is a veteran guy, he plays real well in the postseason, he is a leader and he is a good match for the Pittsburgh Penguins when you talk about their high-end talent. I was a little surprised. I thought they would go with the same lineup that you saw in Game 5 against the Rangers, but it was a good decision because Ference played real well.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Report: Ex-Bruin Tim Thomas might return to pro hockey next season||06.03.13 at 11:19 am ET|
Perhaps Tim Thomas is not done with professional hockey after all.
CBC’s Elliotte Friedman said that while Thomas’ agent says everything is still the status quo, it would not be surprising to see Thomas make a comeback in 2013-14 (skip to 4:32 in the video).
If Thomas does make a comeback, it does not necessarily mean he will be returning to the NHL. Friedman’s sources indicated Thomas could head to Europe. Thomas played four seasons in Finland’s SM-liiga and one season in Sweden’s Elitserien between 1997 and 2005 before spending seven seasons with the Bruins.
The Islanders traded for Thomas’ rights this season and have the right to toll his contract to the 2013-14 season because he refused to report this season.
Thomas, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner and the 2011 Conn Smythe Trophy winner, led the Bruins to a Stanley Cup in 2011. He turned 39 years old in April.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘It’s tough this time of year to retaliate’ against Matt Cooke||06.03.13 at 10:44 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about his team’s Eastern Conference finals series against the Penguins.
With usual suspect Matt Cooke not being suspended for his Saturday night hit against Adam McQuaid, there is an expectation that the Bruins will try to retaliate against Cooke. However, Thornton downplayed that possibility.
“It’s tough this time of year to retaliate,” Thornton said. “You don’t want to be the reason that you lose a game in the playoffs. Everything is just worth so much more this time of year, especially how far along we are in the playoffs. It gets more important to keep your composure.
“This hit was a little bit different [than the one on Marc Savard], obviously, and if need be I’m pretty sure Adam McQuaid can take care of himself. He is a pretty big, tough guy.”
Mark Madden, a sports talk radio host at 105.9 The X in Pittsburgh, said the Bruins did not immediately retaliate when Cooke checked Savard in the head on March 7, 2010, is because Savard was disliked in the Bruins locker room. Thornton denied that claim.
“Matt Cooke got kicked out of that game with Savvy years ago [actually, Cooke was not penalized at all]. The people that were on the ice with Savvy — a couple of them didn’t see what happened and I think a couple of them couldn’t get there in time. It was like Michael Ryder, who I don’t think ever had a fight in the NHL. Then there was three minutes left in the game, if I’m not mistaken [actually 5:37], so you can’t go out there and jump anyone either because it’s a $10,000 fine for you and a $10,000 fine for the coach and a $20,000 fine for the team — I don’t know what the exact numbers are but there are a lot of rules in place that stop you from gooning it up at the end of the games. They’re just trying to clean up the game.
“So, it wasn’t because Savvy was disliked. It was just at what time it went and who with that incident.”
One player who did fight Saturday night was Patrice Bergeron, who dropped the gloves with Evgeni Malkin after the second period. Bergeron lost the fight and got a bloody face, but Thornton said he did not have much of a chance to win it once Malkin pulled his jersey over his head.
“His jersey came over his head really quickly and there is nothing you can do when that happens,” Thornton said. “You can’t see anything, kind of the old-school way, I guess. He did a good job getting in there. He didn’t back down. I know Malkin is not known as a tough guy, but he still is about five inches taller than him. Any time anyone gets in there, it’s not an easy job to do, so I definitely congratulated him.”
|Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight eyeing spot in Boston||06.30.12 at 11:50 pm ET|
WILMINGTON – Dougie Hamilton has made headlines as the player most likely to make it to Boston for the 2012-13 season out of the development camp this week. While he has the best shot at making the NHL roster, there are a few others that are probably not as far off as one would think.
Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight, who were both selected in the second round of the 2010 draft (Knight was taken 32nd overall, Spooner was taken 45th overall), are among the next tier of prospects who have a shot grabbing the 12th forward spot in Boston.
While the Bruins currently have 11 healthy forwards on the roster (12 if Nathan Horton can return in time for the start of the next season), there is a chance that Spooner or Knight impresses the coaching staff enough to earn the final spot on the roster. However, they would have to beat out any veteran free agents that the team signs along with any AHL player in line to make the jump to the next level, such as newly acquired Chris Bourque, or Carter Camper.
“Yeah, it’s going to be hard for them,” said Peter Chiarelli on Friday. “What we told them going into this camp is that you’re going to have an opportunity to make the team. There’s obviously some that are more likely than others to have that opportunity, but what we’ve done in the past and what we will do in the future is that, if they knock our socks off, we will find room for them.”
The tough task ahead to make the roster does not deter Knight, who said he is shooting to make the NHL club.
“I’m not going to go into camp thinking I’m just going to get sent down to Providence,” Knight said. “I think if I put in a lot of work these next seven or eight weeks I can give myself a chance. You never know with injuries or trades or things like that … That is out of my control though. I’m just coming to camp ready to play.”
Spooner also said that he would try his best to make the NHL team, but that right now he is just focused on improving his attention to detail.
“Hopefully one day I can make it to the National Hockey League,” Spooner said. “Right now I am just focusing on doing all the little things that are going to get me there.
“I think skill-wise I could keep up. But I think the little things, like I said, my strength, how to adjust to that type of game, [I need to improve on].” Read the rest of this entry »
|Tommy Cross: A development camp legend||06.29.12 at 5:11 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — A few years before Matt Grzelcyk was drafted, the Charlestown native went to Ristuccia Arena to watch the Bruins run their development camp. One of the players he watched at the camp was 2007 second-round pick Tommy Cross.
Cross, who just capped off a four-year career at Boston College with his second NCAA championship and third Beanpot title, has been a constant at the Bruins development camp. He hasn’t always been able to participate (he’s had three major knee surgeries), but he’s been there since the camp started.
Cross made his first appearance at the first camp in 2007, when the team was evaluating the then-17-year-old alongside players such as David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Tuukka Rask and Adam McQuaid. Now, the 22-year-old Cross is the veteran of the camp, playing alongside younger prospects such as Dougie Hamiton, Malcolm Subban, Jared Knight and Ryan Spooner.
But while the players changed around him, the development camp has been a familiar experience for the Westminster, Conn. native.
“[It is the] same as usual,” Cross said. “It is a really good learning experience. You can still take a lot out of these camps no matter how many times you come here.
“You know what to expect. They change it up every year obviously. They kind of keep you on your toes. But you know the staff pretty well. You know some of the other players.”
As the veteran member of the camp, the former BC captain has become a leader among the Bruins’ prospects, especially those who are here for the first time. One player who is at his first development camp is goaltender Parker Milner, who won a national championship alongside Cross last season.
“Tommy is intense,” Milner said. “Whether it is the first practice here or the national championship, he is going to be intense. But he looks good out there. I think he is ready to make the jump and his leadership is next to none.”
This will be Cross’ final development camp, as he is expected to play next season with the Providence Bruins. Cross played two games with Providence last season, using the experience to get better acclimated to professional game as opposed to the college game.
“The guys in the AHL are obviously older,” Cross said. “It is a little bit more of a controlled style. I think college hockey is a great place for learning though, and I prepared myself for the next level and the AHL is kind of like a new system.”
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