|Milan Lucic picks between his teams as Seahawks and Patriots meet in Super Bowl||01.19.15 at 1:35 pm ET|
“My West Coast team against my East Coast team,” the Bruins’ left wing said with a smile Monday.
Lucic, a native of Vancouver, grew up rooting for the Seahawks but has become a Patriots fan since coming to Boston. Lucic says his allegiance to the Pats, which grew as he nursed an ankle injury in the 2009-10 season, will win out when he watches Super Bowl XLIX.
“Since ‘09 when I had that high ankle sprain, I’ve kind of converted into a Patriots fan,” he said. “I’ve got to stick with my team now and keep cheering for the Pats.”
Lucic, the Bruins’ resident sportscaster/statistician, watched both the NFC and AFC title games Sunday, the first of which resulted in a comeback/collapse by the Seahawks and Packers, respectively, when the Seahawks, with just one timeout remaining, scored a touchdown to bring them within five points, recovered an onside kick on a botched blocking assignment, took the lead on a touchdown and two-point conversion and, after the Packers forced overtime with a field goal, won on a 35-yard touchdown pass.
Lucic thought the game was over when Russell Wilson threw his fourth interception of the game with 5:04 left and the Seahawks trailing by 12.
“I even congratulated some of my cousins from Milwaukee who are huge Green Bay fans for the win,” he said.
But then the Seahawks made their push and the Packers went to the bathroom in their pants. If the way that game ended reminded you of the Leafs blowing a three-goal lead in the final 10:42 of Game 7 of the first round against the B’s back in 2013, you aren’t alone.
“Obviously it brings back memories of the Game 7 against Toronto that we had,” Lucic said. “You kind of know the feeling that [the Seahawks are] feeling today and how excited they are to pull something like that off. I think looking back, the run that we went on having a comeback like that, because you’re so high and it seems like nothing can go wrong when you’re able to come back from something like that. I’m pretty sure that the Seahawks are feeling that right now. I think it’s going to be a real, real fun Super Bowl to watch.”
Between the Patriots’ six Super Bowl appearances since 2002, the Red Sox‘ three World Series titles since 2004, the Celtics‘ two recent NBA Finals appearances, the Revolution’s MLS Cup appearance last season and the Bruins’ Cup Finals appearances in 2011 and 2013, Boston fans are used to seeing title games and Boston athletes are used to playing in them.
Lucic says the Pats going back to the Super Bowl provides motivation for the B’s to follow suit in their league.
“You know the feeling of being there and you know the feeling of winning and winning it all,” Lucic said. “You see the Patriots make it back to the Super Bowl again, it definitely gives you a little bit of a boost, just because you know that feeling and you want to do whatever you can to re-live that feeling.”
|Sources: Bruins to host Canadiens in 2016 Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium||01.19.15 at 12:21 pm ET|
The Bruins will host the Canadiens in the 2016 Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium, WEEI.com has learned from league sources.
The Jan. 1 meeting between the two clubs, which has long been speculated, will be the second Winter Classic the Bruins have hosted. The B’s defeated the Flyers in overtime at the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park.
The Canadiens, meanwhile, have never participated in the Winter Classic and will become just the second Canadian team to compete in the annual outdoor game. The Maple Leafs beat the Red Wings in a shootout in the 2014 game at Michigan Stadium.
The Habs aren’t complete strangers to outdoor games, however, as they did play in the Heritage Classic in 2003 against the Oilers in Edmonton and in 2011 against the Flames in Calgary.
It is unknown how preparations for the event will affect the Patriots, as Jan. 1 typically falls right around Week 17 of the NFL season.
After TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported in December that the Bruins were the favorites to host the game, Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy said that the Red Sox hoped to see the game return to Fenway Park, but acknowledged that Gillette’s seating capacity of 68,756 might make it difficult for the Sox and Fenway (37,400 capacity) to win the bid.
The NHL has yet to make an official announcement, but Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton said Monday that he would love to play in a Winter Classic soon.
“I think it would be awesome,” Hamilton said. “It’s something that you kind of follow every year. In [recent] years I watched the HBO show in juniors and kind of pictured what the NHL was like. Then watching the games, it’s obviously special with the different jerseys and the venue and the crowd and rivalries and everything; it’s something you’d really want to be a part of.
“I think when [speculation] came out last year and we kind of thought it was going to be this year, I think it was kind of disappointing that it wasn’t us. Hopefully we get it and have that chance. It [would be] something to really forward to next year.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins prepare for Stars, Avalanche||01.19.15 at 10:56 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins had perfect attendance as they practiced Monday in anticipation of a two-game road trip that will send them into the All-Star break.
The B’s will play Tuesday in Dallas and Wednesday in Colorado. By the looks of Monday’s practice, Daniel Paille will remain on Patrice Bergeron‘s line in Tuesday’s game as Brad Marchand serves the final game of his two-game ban for slew-footing Derick Brassard last week.
The lines in practice were as follows:
All defensemen and both goaltenders were present.
|Claude Julien on loss to Blue Jackets: ‘Can’t afford to have those kind of outings’||01.17.15 at 11:16 pm ET|
Normally a team wouldn’t be too disappointed with one loss after a five-game winning streak, but considering that the Bruins are still fighting for their playoff lives and the Blue Jackets are out of the playoff picture, Saturday’s 3-1 loss was pretty disappointing.
“I’m disappointed,” Claude Julien said after the game. “I don’t care, six wins in a row, whatever, we just can’t afford to have those kind of outings. Disappointed that we didn’t come to play harder than we did tonight and we wanted to take the easy way out. When we do that, we’re not successful.
“We’re a north-south type of team, we backcheck hard, we forecheck hard, and we make things happen by taking pucks to the net. Tonight we weren’t willing to do that. When we got into the battle you could tell they wanted it more than us. We’ve gotta accept the blame and the responsibility. We weren’t good enough tonight and we shouldn’t accept that.”
The Bruins did have 35 shots on goal in the game, but as multiple players pointed out, they didn’t do enough to make those saves tough ones for Columbus goalie Curtis McElhinney. There was a lot of settling for shots from the outside, not setting screens and not being in position to get rebounds. That lack of getting to the so-called dirty areas seemed to be more frustrating for Julien and the Bruins than the loss itself.
Technically, the Bruins can actually afford the loss. They’re still ahead of the Panthers, who suffered a shootout loss to Edmonton Saturday night, for the eighth and final playoff spot. In terms of points, the B’s have a four-point edge with the Panthers holding three games in hand. In terms of points percentage, it’s .587 for the B’s to .581 for the Panthers. The Bruins also hold a 22-15 edge in regulation and overtime wins, which could matter for tiebreak purposes if it comes to that.
The Bruins weren’t going to keep their winning streak going forever, but suffering a letdown and having it snapped against a non-playoff team doesn’t sit well. The Bruins will look to get back to playing the right way during a mini-road trip to Dallas and Colorado this week before heading into the all-star break.
|David Pastrnak’s first year burned off as his line comes down to earth||01.17.15 at 10:59 pm ET|
Given all of the attention that’s been placed on Pastrnak prior to the Bruins deciding to keep him and the success that the trio has had, the goose-egg from Boston’s trio actually is somewhat notable, really only because it’s the first time the line hasn’t been very good since being united.
Pastrnak, who has now officially accrued one season of service time in the eyes of the NHL and NHLPA (Saturday was 10th NHL game this season, which means this season is officially the first of his three-year entry level contract) and his linemates came down earth against the Blue Jackets, overpassing and losing the possession battle in Boston’s first regulation loss in 10 games.
“A lot of passing, a lot of missed passes,” Lucic said. “Maybe trying to do too much and didn’t play that north-south type of game that gave us success when we were put together originally.
“We have to know night-in, night-out as a line that in order to be successful and get results and contribute to the team, that there’s a certain way that we need to play. That’s a straight-ahead game and using our speed and obviously using our skill, but when we’re moving straight ahead and using all those things, that’s when we’re going to have success.”
The line nearly scored in the first period when David Krejci threw a puck on net from the top of the right circle that bounced off Pastrnak’s skates in front with half the net open. Pastrnak whiffed on his shot attempt as the puck glided to Blue Jackets netminder Curtis McElhinney. That stood as the line’s best chance, though Pastrnak did draw a penalty in the final minute of the period when he was tripped by Scott Hartnell.
But that was the extent of the good for the line offensively. Though Lucic tied for the team lead with five shots on goal, the Czech Davids combined for zero. Saturday was Pastrnak’s first game without a shot on goal since his NHL debut on Nov. 24.
Since coming up, Pastrnak has been a standout player. He’s found instant chemistry with Krejci, whose vision and creativity could make him a 30-goal scorer in future seasons. Yet there will be speed bumps along the way, such as when Pastrnak took a drop pass from Krejci entering the zone in the first period and, rather than shooting or finding Krejci again, forced a n0-look pass across the ice to Lucic that would have earned him an intentional grounding penalty in the NFL.
“That line didn’t do much for us tonight; nobody did as a matter of fact,” Julien said. “We need David to use his speed on the outside; we need Krech to make sure to use his speed on the outside and find him. If you’re going to be cute and try and overpass, you’re not going to get the results. That’s not how we’ve had success in the past. I don’t think that’s how we’re going to get success in the future.”
One telling takeaway that should bode well for this line’s future: In eight periods together, the Lucic-Krejci-Pastrnak trio has yet to get scored on. They have four goals for and none against.
|Columbus coach Todd Richards: Carl Soderberg hit on Matt Calvert ‘a shot right to his head’||01.17.15 at 10:38 pm ET|
Another Bruin may be hearing from the NHL‘s Department of Player Safety. In the second period of Saturday night’s game against Columbus, Carl Soderberg caught Matt Calvert with a shoulder to the head as he tried to throw a hit, something Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards was quick to point out after the game.
“I thought the hit [Calvert] took in the second period was a shot right to his head,” Richards said.
Soderberg said he didn’t remember the play when asked about it after the game. Calvert was not made available to the media because he has been battling an illness.
Soderberg has no previous history with supplemental discipline.
GIF: Soderberg hit on Calvert pic.twitter.com/65JAwXog8P
‘ Steph (@myregularface) January 18, 2015
|5 things we learned as Blue Jackets snap Bruins’ win streak||01.17.15 at 9:37 pm ET|
The Bruins’ season-best win streak ended at five games Saturday as the Blue Jackets broke a 1-1 tie with 3:03 and added an empty netter to secure a 3-1 victory at TD Garden.
Entering Saturday, the Bruins had not lost in regulation in nine games, with the Blue Jackets having handed them their most recent regulation loss on Dec. 27.
The B’s will play the Stars in Dallas on Tuesday and the Avalanche in Colorado on Wednesday before breaking for the All-Star Break.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday:
PAILLE LOOKS GOOD IN MARCHAND’S PLACE
Paille, who skated on Bergeron’s line with Milan Lucic for a few games recently, did not look out of place in his return to the top six. The veteran winger had a game-best plus-15 Corsi over the first two period.
The demotion of Paille to the Bergeron meant that Jordan Caron re-entered the lineup to play in Paille’s usual spot alongside Gregory Campbell and Craig Cunningham. Late in the third period, Claude Julien flipped Paille and Campbell.
Speaking of suspensions, for the first time ever, that could be in question with Carl Soderberg. The Boston center caught Matt Calvert with a shoulder to the head in the second period that, though uncalled on the ice, could be reviewed by the Department of Player Safety.
RASK STAYS SHARP
Coming off his second shutout of the season Thursday, Rask had allowed only a Ryan Johansen power play goal into the third period Saturday. The Bruins caught some bad luck when Milan Lucic‘s attempt to intercept a Brandon Dubninsky pass got to Cam Atkinson, resulting in a shot and rebound that Calvert would bury.
Rask had to deal with quite the scramble in front late in the second period, but the B’s were able to survive thanks in large part to Jared Boll shooting the puck over the net with Rask trying to recover and multiple bodies diving in front.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOT-SO-SPECIAL
In addition to the penalty kill allowing Johansen’s goal in the first period, Boston struggled on the power play.
The B’s went 0-for-2 on the night on the man advantage, with the first unit struggling to enter and stay in the zone following a Nick Foligno penalty for hooking. The Bruins likely spent well less than half that power play in the offensive zone.
On the subject of penalties, the Bruins caught some tough breaks on calls. Dougie Hamilton was called on a ticky-tack hook in the first period, while Chris Kelly was the only player to receive a penalty during a second-period play in which Calvert held his stick and Kelly took a shot at Foligno.
KELLY STAYS PRODUCTIVE
When Chris Kelly sent a pass out front that went off Loui Eriksson’s stick and then to Carl Soderberg on Soderberg’s first-period goal, it stood as Kelly’s first assist in three games, but if you go back a month, you’ll see that Kelly’s been rather productive the whole time.
The assist gave Kelly 12 points in his last 16 games, gibing him .75 points per game since Dec. 16.
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