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Blackhawks buy full-page ad to thank Bruins, Boston 06.28.13 at 12:27 pm ET
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The feeling throughout the Stanley Cup finals was that there was mutual respect between the Bruins and Blackhawks, a mostly unspoken appreciation for the opposing team’s style and work ethic.

Now, four days after Chicago won the series in six games, that continues to be the case.

The Blackhawks bought a full-page ad in Friday’s Boston Globe to thank the Bruins, the city and “especially the citizens of Boston” for the hospitality given to not only the Blackhawks, but also their fans who visited Beantown during the finals.

“Hockey is a tough game,” the open letter opens. “As impressed as we were by the strength, talent, and competitive spirit of the Boston Bruins on the ice, we were deeply touched by what happened off the ice.

“From Boston’s political leadership to every member of the Bruins organization; from the players to the people on the streets, you demonstrated respect, good sportsmanship, and a genuine love for the great game of hockey.”

The letter, signed by Blackhawks president/CEO John McDonough and Wirtz Corporation chairman Rocky Wirtz, ends this way:

“Like the rest of the world, Chicagoans have been reminded in recent days of Boston’s strength. Please know we tip our hat to your city’s big heart and gracious spirit. You lead by example and have set the bar very high for others to follow.”

Chicago also is hosting its Stanley Cup victory parade Friday.

Shawn Thornton on D&C: Blackhawks ‘had a lot of energy, a lot of fire’ in Game 4 06.21.13 at 9:55 am ET
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Shawn Thornton

Bruins forward Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, and he was pretty clear about what the Bruins need to do to rebound in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals in Chicago Saturday night: Slow the Blackhawks down.

The home team wasn’t able to do that in Game 4 Wednesday, and the Bruins paid for it in the form of a 6-5 overtime Blackhawks win. The back-and-forth contest was ill-suited for the Bruins’ skill set, Thornton said.

“They came to play. They had a lot of energy, a lot of fire,” Thornton said. “They changed their game a little bit — they found a way to get a little bit more speed through the neutral zone, that’s kind of the way they’re built. We’re going to have to remedy that for the next game. We don’t want them entering the zone with as much speed as they had last game.

“We have to get back to playing in layers and playing our game and coming up as a unit. … We’re a better team when we’re coming up together and making plays as a five-man unit. We’re not built for the one-on-one, beating guys, dangling, stuff like that. We’re more of a straight-line type of hockey team. We have to get back to that.”

Thornton echoed a sentiment similar to one coach Claude Julien has expressed on several occasions.

“We’re a defensive team that can score, not a scoring team that can play defense,” Thornton said. “That’s how we look at things.”

Thornton noted that although it wasn’t the Bruins type of game, they still scored five goals and were still very much in it until the very end. The team exposed an apparent weakness in Chicago goalie Corey Crawford‘s game — shooting to his glove-side — but Thornton insisted it wasn’t by design.

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What they’re saying in the Windy City: Tuukka Rask is really good, Bruins are outhitting Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews needs to step it up 06.17.13 at 1:09 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask continues to be stellar in the Boston goal. (AP)

Chicago sportswriters realized over the weekend what Bruins fans have known for quite some time: Tuukka Rask is really, really good.

Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune writes that Rask has been the Bruins’ “saving grace,” his 1.73 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in the playoffs a huge reason the Bruins have gotten this far. She credits Rask, who collected 33 saves Saturday’s Game 2 overtime win, with preventing the game from “spinning wildly out of the Bruins’ control.”

Count Tyler Seguin among those appreciative of the netminder’s performance.

“He shows on a consistent basis why we have so much confidence in him, but he also gives us more motivation to do it for him sometimes,” Seguin said. “Especially if you look at [Saturday's] game, it could have been 4-0 or 5-0 after the first. We weren’t ready. We were on our heels, and they were playing great. He kept us in the game.”

Kane quotes Rask, however, as staying his usual, humble — albeit tired after not sleeping much Saturday night — self.

“I don’t try to prove anything to anybody else but for myself and my teammates,” Rask said. “I always feel like I’m in a zone. … It’s nothing different. It’s just another game.”

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Read More: Andrew Shaw, Brad Marchand, Claude Julien, Jonathan Toews
Don Cherry on D&C: Bruins will win Cup; Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin ‘a loser’ 06.17.13 at 9:26 am ET
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Don Cherry

Don Cherry joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, and the CBC Hockey Night in Canada analyst said he is sticking with his pick of the Bruins to win it all against the Blackhawks.

“They are going to win the Cup,” Cherry said point-blank. “I picked Boston all the way through.”

“It’s funny how the Bruins can turn it on like that,” he added, referencing the Bruins seemingly flipping a switch in the middle of Game 2 Saturday night. “It was like how it was against Toronto [in Game 7]. ‘Oh, 4-1? We’re going to turn it on for about 15 minutes.’ And that’s what they did in the overtime. If Chicago plays like they did in the overtime, it’s not going to go long.”

Part of that, the former Bruins coach said, was the result of the B’s consistently physical play, particularly after the first period.

“A few [Blackhawks] guys are hearing footsteps … and the defense gets rid of the puck early,” Cherry said. “Instead of taking their time a little, they know guys like [Milan] Lucic are coming, that little shot’s coming, and they get rid of the puck early.”

Cherry acknowledged that both goalies, Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford, have been playing superbly, and he doesn’t expect any blowouts in either direction.

Cherry heaped praise on Rask in particular, even giving him the edge over Tim Thomas’ performance during the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup run.

“Timmy Thomas did play great — I’m not putting him down — but Rask is unbelievable,” Cherry said. “He is in a zone right now.”

Cherry also spoke highly of Tyler Seguin, saying he fully expects the young forward to start producing more soon. The key is giving Seguin, in the form of ice time and confidence, the opportunity to succeed. Now that that is starting to happen again, the puck should start to fall.

“When you don’t play, you’re not going to be anything,” Cherry said. “He was taken off the line when [Jaromir] Jagr came. How would I handle him? I’d play him to death. And when you play him to death, he’d come through for you.”

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Read More: Brad Marchand, Don Cherry, Evgeni Malkin, Tim Thomas
What they’re saying in the Windy City: ‘Chicago Strong,’ high TV ratings, heroes abound in Game 1 06.14.13 at 5:32 pm ET
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(Chicago Tribune)

First Toronto, now Chicago.

Several weeks after a Maple Leafs fan modified Boston’s post-Marathon bombing rally cry that has since been adopted by the city’s sports teams, a Chicago company started selling “Chicago Stronger” T-shirts for $19.95 apiece.

Cubby Tees’ description for the shirt read, in part:

“Chicago is the City of Broad Shoulders – our town burned down, our winters are legendary, our Cubs have floundered for a century, yet we endure. Other cities may be strong, we’re stronger. The Bruins are strong, our Blackhawks are stronger.”

Hysteria ensued. After a multitude of tweets, many of them profanity-laced, and other forms of public outcry and ridicule, Cubby Tees issued an apology and ceased selling the shirts Friday morning.

The tone of the “apology” was, well, defensive.

“Greetings to our many new ‘fans,’ ” the statement posted on the company’s website opened. “We wish that more had read the description or the ‘Chicago Stronger’ shirt (or that we had more fully expressed it), but that might have let facts/intent get in the way of a good new-fashioned Twitter-lynching and the intertube’s click-generating outrage machine that brought you here.

“Anyone who believes that the shirt mocked those injured in the horrible events of Patriots’ Day regrettably missed our point and did not read/process our accompanying commentary. Nowhere on the shirt’s face (or within its subtext or motivation) did we take aim at the victims or make light of the incident — nor would we ever. The design poked fun at the embarrassing self-congratulatory branding of the tragedy, and its inappropriate adoption by SOME BOSTON FANS AS A MINIMIZING SPORTS ANTHEM, not the sad reality of that day’s mayhem.”

Here’s a look at what others in Chi-town are saying about the Bruins and the Stanley Cup finals.

The Chicago Tribune included a touching “Chicago Red Sox/Celtics/Bruins/Patriots/Revolution” graphic on the front page of its sports section on April 16 as a sign of solidarity. Now, though, the paper has changed its tune, Ed Sherman reports. The paper ran a modified version of the cover showing a hand ripping out the Bruins logo with the tag line, “Yeah, not right now we’re not.”

Sherman also wrote that nearly 1 million Chicago TVs were tuned into Game 1. Nationally, the game did a 4.8 rating, double what the Kings-Devils did in their opener last June.

The Tribune reports the Blackhawks echoing a similar sentiment to that of the Bruins, that the two days off between Game 1 and Game 2 are crucial. The paper also credits the Blackhawks with “cooling offTuukka Rask, just as they did to Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Quick of the Red Wings and Kings, respectively.

The Chicago Sun-Times (free account necessary) takes a look at how the Blackhawks can win even when their stars are contributing, as well as heralds goalie Corey Crawford as the Game 1 hero and assesses a lackadaisical Chicago power play.

CSN Chicago writes about Dave Bolland’s breakout game, including the assist on the game-winner.

Shawn Thornton on D&C: Nathan Horton ‘big, tough, scary guy when he wants to be’ 06.14.13 at 11:30 am ET
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Shawn Thornton

Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, checking in the day before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals in Chicago. The Bruins forward stuck up for Torey Krug and was mum on the status of the injured Nathan Horton, saying he didn’t talk to the first-line winger Thursday.

“I didn’t see him yesterday, so I don’t know the extent of it. I hope he’s in,” Thornton said. “He’s such a good player for us. I’m sure if he’s in, he’s ready to go, so I’m not too worried about him. He’s a big, tough, scary guy when he wants to be. He can take care of himself.”

Although the Bruins officially call it an upper-body injury, Horton reportedly is suffering from a chronic shoulder injury, aggravated most recently during the B’s Game 1 loss. Nonetheless, Thornton wasn’t worried about the Blackhawks targeting the shoulder, should Horton be in the lineup.

“It’s playoffs, so people are finishing their checks anyway,” Thornton said.

When questioned on Krug’s momentum-changing, third-period turnover Wednesday, Thornton was careful not to speculate too much or make any lineup assumptions, admitting he doesn’t know what coach Claude Julien’s thought process is when it comes to benching players.

Thornton did, however, give the defenseman a vote of confidence. Krug has been strong for much of the playoffs.

“For the majority of the game last game, he was really good for us on the power play, he was really good for us getting up the ice and supporting the play. One mistake … is not indicative of how he played,” Thornton said. “Whoever is in or out of the lineup, it won’t be because of anything that happened — I don’t think — in the game previous. If an adjustment is made, it’s because he figures it gives us a better chance to match up in different situations on the other side and give us a better chance of winning.

“I doubt anything’s going to happen, but I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Thornton also hasn’t talked to Krug — the players had Thursday off — but anticipated the rookie being just fine mentally.

“He’s a pretty special player, and a couple of breaks went the other way. It happens to the best of us,” Thornton said. “It’s the same as the dynamic, thought process of the team: You can’t worry about what happened last game. Move on and get ready for Saturday.”

The hosts noted that the Bruins — or Bruins fans — don’t quite have a public enemy No. 1 for the finals as they did in series past. As far as Thornton is concerned, that’s OK. There are more important things going on.

“When you don’t play all year, it’s tough to have that guy, that animosity with a non-rival,” Thornton said. “I’m not sure if it’s necessary. We have to focus on winning games, not taking somebody’s head off. I hear what you’re saying — sometimes it’s motivating when you dislike a certain individual, but this time of year you shouldn’t need an extra motivation.”

To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Claude Julien, Nathan Horton, Shawn Thornton, Torey Krug
Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘played with the heart of a champion’ 06.13.13 at 8:08 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to discuss Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals and the ramifications of the Bruins’ marathon loss going forward.

Sure, the 4-3, triple-overtime loss was disappointing, McGuire said, but the Bruins don’t have much reason to be down on themselves going into Saturday’s Game 2.

“Boston played with the heart of a champion, and I don’t expect it to be anything different [the rest of the series]. It could be a long, hard series,” McGuire said. “I saw so many positive things from the Bruins. I saw a lot of positive things from the Blackhawks. These are the two best teams. There’s no Cinderella here. Both of these teams deserve to be in the Stanley Cup final.”

What will be interesting is when the series shifts back to Boston for Game 3 Monday and the Bruins get the last line change before the game time. McGuire suspects Claude Julien will match up Patrice Bergeron’s line with that of Jonathan Toews, and David Krejci’s unit with Michal Handzus.

Speaking of Bergeron’s line, McGuire also said Tyler Seguin is a likely candidate to play with Krejci and Milan Lucic should Nathan Horton be unable to play. Horton left Game 1 during the first overtime and did not return.

McGuire also expects Seguin, who has five points (one goal, four assists) and is a minus-2 in 17 playoff games, to break out soon.

“He wants the puck. He wants to make a difference. His speed is very apparent, especially at ice level,” McGuire said. “For those that weren’t at the morning skate [Wednesday], everything he shot went in. It was unbelievable watching him in practice. He was letter perfect with his passing and shooting. His skating is great. I just get the feeling he’s about the break out, I really do.”

McGuire gave much credit to goalies Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford, even calling Crawford “superhuman” in the first overtime,” and said while Torey Krug’s crucial, third-period turnover was quite unfortunate, the defenseman can bounce back, just as the Bruins can.

“It’s a tough situation for a young player, an undrafted player, to go into the Stanley Cup finals,” McGuire said. “It was an egregious turnover. Obviously it ends up in the back of the net. Nobody wants to see that.

“But I thought he got better as the game went along. I know they weren’t afraid to use him in overtime, and he had some good chances. They used him on the power play, too, with [Dennis] Seidenberg. He’s a young player. He’s going to grow. I think he’ll be better off with the experience. Was it his best game? No. Was it a terrible game? No. He just made one bad mistake.”

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: Claude Julien, David Krejci, Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron
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