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Andy Brickley on D&C: Bruins ‘gripping the sticks too tight’ 02.22.12 at 11:24 am ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ recent scoring troubles and their game against the Blues Wednesday night.

The Bruins, who have lost three of their last four games and have had injury problems with their forwards, face off against a stingy Blues team that has the third-most points in the Western Conference.

“This could be a huge game for Boston in terms of just winning the game and getting a couple of goals and knowing you beat one of the best defensive teams,” Brickley said. “Keep in mind they’ve played Montreal, they’ve played Winnipeg, they’ve played Minnesota; these are teams they should handle even if they aren’t 100 percent and they don’t have their full lineup. These are teams they should handle. The Bruins are superior teams to these teams. Maybe they go into this game as an underdog and maybe that’s the psyche that they have to have.”

Added Brickley: “Claude [Julien] has left that [Patrice] Bergeron line together — [Brad] Marchand, Bergeron, [Tyler] Seguin. He’s starved for goals, he being Claude. The team, as you pointed out, they need some goals and he’s left that line together thinking that he can at least rely on them to get some offensive production. I need that line to be real good tonight, I need Zdeno Chara to be really good tonight. You’re going to get some contributions from your role players, and when you’re injured the way they are with two top-six forwards out, those are the guys that have to deliver.”

Brickley said that a win over the Blues would come at the perfect time for the B’s.

“Even if they win this game 2-1, 3-2, low scoring, fight for every inch of the ice, I think this could be a really good victory if they can pull one out against a real good defensive team,” Brickley said. “And it will put them in a better frame of mind, because right now they are gripping the sticks too tight.”

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Andrew Ference on D&C: Tim Thomas ‘trying not to be a distraction’ 02.10.12 at 11:18 am ET
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Andrew Ference

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning and spent some time addressing the issue of whether Tim Thomas‘ political statements have become a distraction to the team.

The Bruins have struggled to a 5-6-1 record since Thomas ignited the controversy by skipping the team’s trip to the White House on Jan. 23. Thomas on Thursday told the media that he would not answer questions about politics any more.

“I think when he doesn’t want to talk about it in the locker room, I think he’s trying to not be a distraction,” Ference said. “Like I said, in this city you definitely have to be aware of the fact that whether you like it or not, your comments and your actions are going to be scrutinized. And to a certain extent, rightfully so. We’re compensated very well to be sports figures in this town, which also comes with a certain responsibility socially.”

Added Ference: “He makes the views pretty clear. I don’t think he leaves too many blank spaces for people to guess where he stands. So, it’s his choice whether to answer or not. I think he makes it more difficult on himself not to just talk about it if he’s going to put it out there. But for us as teammates, it’s really not that difficult. Like I said, we know him. We can kind of just keep our mouths shut about it because nobody really wants to wade into that. I don’t know, it’s a mixed bag, I guess.”

Ference insisted that it doesn’t really matter what Thomas or anyone says, that it comes down to how the Bruins perform on the ice.

“We do have a tight team,” Ference said. “One of the things that makes us pretty strong is we’re very understanding of each other’s differences. … You’re never going to have the same opinions whatsoever. But the thing that makes teams good is their ability to look beyond that and respect each other even if you don’t agree with each other. Our job first and foremost isn’t to be buddies. It’s to be good teammates and play hard for each other and do whatever you can to win hockey games. That’s the most important thing. Good teams and good players realize that, and they can separate the fact that they agree with somebody or not about politics. It really doesn’t matter once you hit the ice.”

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Andy Brickley on D&C: David Krejci ‘hasn’t been good enough’ 02.08.12 at 11:18 am ET
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Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan Wednesday morning and talked about David Krecji being dropped to the third line, the evolution of Patrice Bergeron, and the tough road ahead for the Bruins.

Krecji, who usually plays on the first line with Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, saw his role changed when he was put on the third line. Brickley looked at the move as Bruins coach Claude Julien trying to ignite a spark under the veteran.

“You always have to be as measured as you can be as a coach in order to get the desired results,” Brickley said. “But I will guess that David Krecji going to the third line, things have happened prior to this move to try to get more from David Krejci. … From time to time these are the things you have to do to get his attention in order to get more out of him.”

Brickley said the move isn’t that much of a shock, based on how Krecji had been playing with Rich Peverly, who was a replacement on the line for the injured Nathan Horton.

“He’s affected by not having Nathan Horton on his right side, he’s real comfortable when he plays in between Lucic and Horton,” Brickley said. “Peverly gives you a totally different element on that right side. I don’t think he and David Krecji are a good mix, I think they’ve proven that, there’s a little bit of stretch where it hasn’t gone their way.

“But David Krecji is good enough to dictate how that line plays. He hasn’t been good enough, and Claude needs to figure out a way to get more out of him. And I’m sure he’s had conversations with him, I’m sure that they’ve made adjustments on how they want to move the puck and how they want to break it out and how they want to forecheck given the personnel that he’s playing with. And now it’s gotten to the point where I’m going to win hockey games by putting other lines together that I know what I’m going to get from, and David, you make your adjustments playing with these two other players.”

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Read More: Andy Brickley, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Rich Peverly
Andy Brickley on D&C: ‘Too much inconsistency in the Bruins’ game right now’ 02.01.12 at 10:33 am ET
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Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ first game since the All-Star break, the fans’ reaction to Tim Thomas and the Super Bowl.

Despite a sloppy start to Tuesday’s game, the Bruins’ first game in almost a week, the B’s impressed Brickley with their resolve by putting the pieces together in the third period for a 4-3 win.

“When the game was on the line and they had to take their intensity to a different level they did it in the third period,” Brickley said. “Third periods have been great for them all year. Now, if you look at the first 40, it looked like a team that had had five days off. That’s a lot of time.”

Added Brickley: “There’s still just too much inconsistency in the Bruins’ game right now.”

Tim Thomas received an ovation from the TD Garden crowd before the game, ending speculation that fans might turn on him following the White House controversy.

“If there were any boo-birds in the building, they were certainly going to get drowned out,” Brickley said, adding: “Nobody’s going to boo him. Even if his perception has changed with the Bruins fans, it’s not worthy of being booed. Absolutely not.”

As for Thomas’ play in the game, Brickley said: “He looked just like the rest of the team. He had his moments of real good play and then he had some inconsistent moments, some rebounds maybe he’d like to have back. But once again, that ultracompetitiveness takes over when the game’s on the line and he made the saves he had to make.”

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Read More: Andy Brickley, Boston Bruins, Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin
Andrew Ference on D&C: Bruins ‘ready to respond’ to Canucks 01.06.12 at 12:05 pm ET
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Andrew Ference (AP)

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning and talked about Saturday’s Stanley Cup finals rematch against the Canucks, coach Claude Julien‘s coaching style, and Thursday’s 9-0 beatdown of the Flames.

Thursday’s rout of the Flames was the Bruins’ ninth win in 10 games and their second straight home rout of eight goals or more. For Ference, though, it wasn’t the type of game he likes to play in.

“The tight games are more fun than that,” he said. “The nail-biters when you come out on the right side are a little more enjoyable than that. That was a defeated team out there last night. I don’t know if you want to call it sympathy, but we don’t have any sympathy for guys you play against. But that sucks to be on the other side of that.”

Ference said he didn’t feel bad for Calgary and that it was important the Bruins didn’t stop playing hard.

“You don’t want to gloat about it,” Ference said. “You want to keep playing your game. Obviously, we have bigger things to worry about than feeling bad for Calgary. But you don’t want to throw it in their face. We stopped celebrating and coming by the bench when we scored goals. We don’t stop playing, you keep playing your game, but we’re not celebrating after the goals. You try to be a little bit more muted about stuff like that. But you can’t stop playing, you can’t let your guard down. That’s when guys get hurt, is when you let your guard down, when you let up or start playing a little easier. You can’t do it.”

Ference said that the Bruins are much further ahead of where anyone expected them to be at this point in the season, something that he attributes to the a strong core group of players with a winner’s mentality.

“I think after that first month where we kind of just, I don’t know, I don’t know what we were doing but I think we kind of just picked up back at the hockey that we were playing during the spring,” Ference said. “That playoff kind of hockey is one where its great consistency, every line is playing the same style, not really taking any shifts off, and that’s something that a lot of teams build up toward during the spring. And I think as the season goes, the games get closer and closer and closer because teams are tightening up their defense, and I think we kind of just skipped a couple of steps this year. We’re kind of just playing that good spring hockey but at a different time of the year, so that’s obviously what we’re trying to work up and get better and stay sharp and do all those things as well. And that’s probably the biggest thing we have to remember, we can’t just get comfortable and be satisfied because the teams around us are going to get better.”

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Andy Brickley on D&C: ‘I really don’t see a whole lot of challenge from anyone else in the conference’ 12.28.11 at 12:10 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley talked with Dennis & Callahan guest hosts Tom Caron and Chris Mannix on Wednesday morning to discuss the Bruins’ busy second-half schedule, which teams provide the biggest challenge to the B’s in the Eastern Conference, and NHL First Star of the Week Brad Marchand.

Last week, Marchand scored a goal in the 3-2 victory over the Canadiens and capped off the week with a hat trick and two assists in the Bruins’ 8-0 dismantling of the Panthers.

“I think we should be a little surprised to the degree that he’s playing as well as he’s playing,” Brickley said. “I think any good team and any good young player that fits into a real good hockey club that’s deep and balanced like Boston, you expect those young players to get better from their rookie seasons and you’ve certainly seen that from both [Tyler] Seguin and Marchand. To think that he would be this good this early — this productive and this reliable — is a little bit of a surprise. But keep in mind both of those young players bring a nice element of speed along with their skill set to the Bruins.”

Brickley has been just as impressed by the play of Patrice Bergeron, who is on pace to have his most productive season and has lifted Marchand and Seguin.

“They play with a guy in the middle like Bergeron and that’s a huge benefit to them,” Brickley said. “It allows them to play to their strengths, have a little bit more freedom offensively because Bergeron will distribute the puck, he’ll take care of all three zones, and he’ll win his puck battles, and he’s so reliable and dependable yet he’s got an offensive flair himself. So to have that kind of centerman in the middle — that kind of experience, that kind of talent — is a huge benefit for those two guys.”

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Read More: Andy Brickley, Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand, Tim Thomas
Andrew Ference on D&C: After Cup title, ‘you really realize how meaningless the stuff in the regular season is’ 12.22.11 at 1:20 pm ET
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Andrew Ference

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference checked in with Dennis & Callahan guest hosts Dale Arnold and Bob Ryan Thursday for his weekly chat. With the Bruins sitting atop the Eastern Conference, Ference talked about the HBO 24/7 special, the Bruins’ road success, and how Zdeno Chara became as good as he is.

The Bruins are on an impressive streak, but Ference said the excitement of the regular season just doesn’t compare to the playoffs.

“Obviously, the playoffs were more fun than it is right now,” Ference said. “I think that everybody’s got a pretty good head on their shoulders this year, and I think it’s due to the fact that we did win last year. If we wouldn’t have won last year and we were going on a run like this, I think guys would be a lot more giddy and patting ourselves on the back. But I think when you go through a championship run, you really realize how meaningless the stuff in the regular season is. All this is is prep work. And this is this trying to reach our first goal of just making the playoffs.”

Added Ference of the regular season: “It’s great. It’s entertaining. But for players it’s prep. It’s getting ready and trying to prime ourselves and make sure that we’re going in the right direction. And we’re learning all our lessons, but the first goal is just to try to make the playoffs. We’re building toward that. And I think everybody’s keeping a good head about it.”

Asked if this edition of the Bruins is better than last season’s Cup champions, Ference said: “It’s hard to compare, but I think the one advantage we do have is mentally. Just, like I said, learning what it takes, and not having the Stanley Cup be like a fairy tale. It’s a reality to all of us now. That’s a huge advantage. It’s one thing to imagine what it takes to win. But it’s another thing to know and to be there and go through it and have a lot of the same guys in the locker room with you again to go after it again. So, I think that’s the one huge advantage that we have over last year.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, including Ference talking about the his holiday plans, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On the Bruins’ toughness: “I think the one thing that’s been done here is, obviously Peter [Chiarelli] has done a good job of getting the right personalities in the room. Because you can’t have five guys on the team that are willing to do everything they can for the team and then have 15 that aren’t, or 10 and 10, or whatever the split is. You need every single guy to buy in or it just doesn’t work.

“It really only takes two or three guys to drag down an entire team, it really does, it’s amazing how quickly, especially in tough times, a bad apple can just attract guys and just bring the whole room down. It happens quickly and it’s just like a poison, so one thing they’ve done good here is get rid of some of the guys that had that and bring in guys that that weren’t like that. That’s essential, especially over the long term. For as many years as a lot of us have been here it’s been a really great locker room. The season’s too long to have bad apples and guys that don’t stick up for your guys that you can’t look across at in the room and know that they’re going to work their butt off every night for you.”

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