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Neely on The Big Show: ‘It’s been a rough few days’ 05.17.10 at 8:59 pm ET
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Cam Neely

Cam Neely

Hockey Hall of Famer and Bruins vice president Cam Neely called in to The Big Show on Monday afternoon to discuss the aftermath of the Bruins’ heartbreaking Eastern Conference semifinal loss to the Philadelphia Flyers and talk about the future of the club with the NHL draft, free agency and other big personnel decisions coming up this offseason.

“We’re going to look top to bottom,” Neely said. “Obviously, when you don’t win the last game of the hockey season, you have to improve your club, so we’re looking at all ways at doing what we need to do to improve the club.”

A transcript of that interview follows. You can listen to the entire interview on The Big Show audio on demand page.

Has the Game 7 loss hit you guys yet?

Oh, it hit hard. It hit hard on Friday night. It’s been a very tough few days, as you can imagine. Obviously, losing in the finals is a big deal, but this is really big, too.

Should the David Krejci injury and the return of Simon Gagne be seen as the turning point of the series, or when you’re up 3-0, should you win the series even when you’re up against those injuries?

Yeah, I think when you’re up 3-0 you have to find a way to close it out. Losing Krejci certainly hurt us. That was a big loss because what it did was we had to give Savard more minutes, and you know him stepping into the playoffs in the second round not in the condition the other players were, being out so long that he was. It was a big loss losing Krejci. Gagne, he came back and got some big goals for them at timely times in all of the games that he played in. But when you’re up 3-0, you have to find a way to close it out.

From the front office perspective, where do you start looking [players, coaches, etc.] for what went wrong with that series?

Well I think we have to look at the season as a whole, to be honest with you. The year as a whole didn’t go as we expected it to. Certain players didn’t perform to the expectations. Then, we found a way to make the playoffs and got out of the first round. Quite frankly, I don’t think a lot of people thought we would beat Buffalo, and we came out, played really well and were able to solve [Ryan] Miller and then get up on Philly 3-0.

So I think over the course of this next week, we’re going to sit down as a group and really just evaluate the whole season. I don’t think we should just look at it in this one little snapshot because the year as a whole didn’t go quite the way we had planned or expected. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bruins, Cam Neely, The Big Show,
Bruins 2010-11 salary breakdown 05.16.10 at 12:01 pm ET
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Here is a little primer for some of the end of season review we will be putting together. These are the salaries and approximate cap hits for the Bruins in the 2010-11 season. Peruse the list and you will find that the Bruins are well equipped to turn over this roster in the next couple of years if general manager Peter Chiarelli decides to do so (and he is still employed) as only Marc Savard is signed passed 2012-13. Next year the Bruins are looking at an approximate $46.14 salary cap hit with 18 players signed that count to the NHL roster but takes into account players that could spend time in the AHL next season.

Note: Restricted free agents (RFA), Unrestricted free agents (UFA).

Forwards

Marc Savard — $ 7 million ($5 million) — Last year 2013-14 UFA

Patrice Beregron — $ 5.75 million ($4.75 cap) — Last year 2010-11 UFA

Michael Ryder — $4 million ($4 cap) — Last year 2010-11 UFA

David Krejci — $ 3.75 million ($3.75 cap) — Last year 2012-13 RFA

Marco Sturm — $3.5 million ($3.5 cap) — Last year 2010-11 UFA

Milan Lucic — $4 million ($4 cap) — Last year 2012-13 RFA

Blake Wheeler — RFA

Daniel Paille — RFA

Mark Recchi — UFA

Steve Begin — UFA

Vladimir Sobotoka — RFA

Shawn Thornton —  UFA

Miroslav Satan — UFA

Brad Marchand — $.600 million ($.302 cap) — Last year 2011-12 RFA

Trent Whitfield — $.550 ($.202 cap) — Last year 2010-11 UFA

Zach Hamill — $.787 million ($.008 cap) — Last year 2010-11 RFA

Defense

Zdeno Chara — $7.5 million ($7.5 cap) — Last year 2010-11 UFA

Dennis Wideman — $4 million ($3.875 cap) — Last year 2011-12 UFA

Matt Hunwick — $1.55 million ($1.45 cap) — Last year 2010-11 RFA

Andrew Ference — $2.25 million ($1.4 cap) — Last year 2012-13 UFA

Mark Stuart — RFA

Johnny Boychuk — UFA

Dennis Seidenberg — UFA

Adam McQuaid — RFA

Andrew Bodnarchuk — RFA

Jeffrey Penner — $.688 million ($.031 cap) — Last year 2011-12 RFA

Goaltender

Tim Thomas — $6 million ($5 cap) — Last year 2012-13 UFA

Tuuka Rask — $1 million ($3.2 cap) — Last year 2011-12 RFA

Read More: Peter Chiarelli,
Simon the Bruins-killer 05.14.10 at 11:29 pm ET
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From the moment he took the ice in Game 4, Simon Gagne was the unquestionable difference in the series. The Flyers got their best sniper back in the lineup and it paid immediate dividends when he scored the biggest goal of the series, the overtime game-winner in Game 4 that gave the Flyers a flicker of hope.

By the time he scored the go-ahead power play goal on Friday night in Game 7, the Bruins’ Stanley Cup dreams were completely up in smoke.

Gagne came back from an injured toe and collect four goals and an assist in four games, the final four of the series as the Flyers made history.

Gagne, the hero of Game 7 and of the series for the Flyers, said after Philadelphia’s 4-3 win in Game 7 that nerves may have played a role in the too many men on the ice penalty that led to the series-deciding goal.

“We expected them to come very hard and they did,” Gagne said of Boston’s 3-0 lead in the opening 15 minutes of the game. “Our mistake was maybe taking bad penalties early on, two goals on the power play. It’s not the start you want. After that third goal, we had a timeout and said, ‘Let’s just play one goal at a time and focus on scoring the first goal.’

“After that we were sure they would start questioning themselves a little bit and then we went for the second one and then were able to tie the game. I’m sure at that point they started to get nervous on their side and you know what, sometimes you’re nervous and you make mistakes and then they had too many men on the ice and that might be our chance to win the game and we did,” Gagne said.

The Flyers open the Eastern Conference finals Sunday in Philadelphia against the Canadiens.

Read More: Bruins, Flyers, Simon Gagne,
Flyers help Bruins make dubious history 05.14.10 at 9:33 pm ET
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Summary — The Flyers became just the third team in the history of the National Hockey League to come back from a 3-0 series deficit and win a seven-game series, in the process coming back from a 3-0 first-period hole to score four straight goals to advance to the Eastern Conference finals with a 4-3 win over the Bruins at TD Garden on Friday night.

Tuukka Rask was the loser for Boston, allowing the four Flyers goals on 27 shots. Michael Leighton overcame a shaky first period to put the clamps down on the Bruins season with 25 saves. Simon Gagne scored the game-winner at 12:52 in the third period on the power play after the B’s were whistled for too many men on the ice.

The Bruins struck first (and, for that matter, second and third), jumping to an early lead eight seconds into a power play after Scott Hartnell went to the box for a high sticking call on Matt Hunwick in the neutral zone at 5:18 in the first period. Boston wasted no time, controlling the puck on the face off and getting a couple attempts on Leighton. The second — of the stick of Zdeno Chara — rebounded down to the right dot, where Michael Ryder sent it right back on the crease past a hopping Mark Recchi and the Bruins were off and running at 5:27.

Boston made it 2-0, again on the power play, at 9:02 when a broken rush through the neutral zone ended up in a reset by Dennis Wideman, who decided to take it all the way down the right wing into the corner and send it back towards the crease where Milan Lucic timed his crash perfectly to bang it past Leighton for the two-goal advantage before the first period was halfway over.

Leighton would let in a third straight Boston goal at at 14:10 as Lucic struck again when he turned a giveaway into a lamplighter when he rushed all the way down the right wing and let off a snap shot by the right faceoff dot that went five-hole and made TD Garden erupt.

But the Flyers, remarkably, refused to concede defeat. James Van Riemsdyk fought hard to the right of Rask, leveling Wideman and getting a broken-play dribbler under the net minder’s left pad for a soft goal that made it 3-1 at 17:12 in the first. It was Van Riemsdyk’s first career playoff goal in his second professional season (first in the NHL) coming out of the University of New Hampshire.

The Flyers made it a one-goal game early in the second period on an even strength play where Danny Briere was able to penetrate the Rask’s crease after Ville Leino put the puck deep. Briere did a spin-o-rama and put the puck across the crease, where Andrew Ference could not put a stick on it at the goal line and Scott Hartnell flipped it back over Rask at 2:49.

The comeback was complete when Briere struck on his own, this time with the assist from Hartnell at 8:39 of the second period. Briere came back down around the net and did a wrap-around on Rask that rattled through the net and back out the other side to tie the game at three. The play was reviewed but it was conclusive that Briere had put the puck in the net and Boston had relinquished another 3-0 lead in the series.

Three Stars

Simon Gagne — His Game 4 return from a broken toe made all the difference for the Flyers in this series as he scored his second game-winner of the series to complete the series comeback.

Danny Briere — Perpetual thorn in the Bruins side was instrumental in getting the Flyers back in the game as his goal and assist in the second period were the answer Philadelphia was looking for after it went down 3-0 in the first.

Milan Lucic — Two first period goals got TD Garden pumping as the Boston forward set the stage for the excitement that was to come.

Turning Point – When Briere and Hartnell teamed up to take over in the second period. The pair was able to bring the Flyers back from the brink as the Bruins went soft in front of Rask. The wily center and his large wingman were able to get deep into the crease twice to tie the game and give the Flyers a chance to win it in the third period.

Key Play — The Bruins took a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty at 11:10 of the third period, which set the Flyers up to score the go-ahead goal by Gagne when he found the puck on the right dot in front of Rask for the wrist shot top shelf to bury Boston and its Stanley Cup dreams once and for all.

Read More: Danny Briere, Game 7, James Van Riemsdyk, Michael Leighton
2nd Period Summary: Bruins vs. Flyers Game 7 05.14.10 at 8:56 pm ET
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The Flyers came out and skated like a desperate team, not one that was down and out.

Despite trailing the Bruins, 3-1, the Flyers, led by Daniel Briere and Mike Richards, applied pressure immediately on Tuukka Rask.

Scott Hartnell scored just 2:49 into the period and the blood pressure of fans began to rise in dread. It was made worse when Danny Briere went behind Rask and his backhanded wraparound beat the Bruins goalie at 8;49 to tie the game and stun the crowd.

It was also the first of two video reviews involving Rask. While the Briere goal stood, another review six minutes later would show Dennis Wideman saving the puck by gloving it and keeping it just inches from going over the goal line.

The Flyers had the clear momentum and had a paid of power play chances to take the lead but the Bruins came up with a couple of key kills to keep the game knotted.

The Flyers not only won the scoring battle in the second, 2-0, they outshot them, 11-6.

The Flyers also finish the series with a 10-3 cumulative scoring advantage in the second period.

Read More: Bruins, Flyers, Stanley Cup Playoffs,
1st Period Summary: Bruins vs. Flyers Game 7 05.14.10 at 7:54 pm ET
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Those wondering whether Milan Lucic’s goal in the final 60 seconds of Game 6 would carry over to Game 7 didn’t have to wait too long for their answer.

Lucic had two goals in the opening 20 minutes of Game 7 as the Bruins took a 3-1 lead in what appears to be turning into a no-holds barred affair.

The Bruins put on a heavy forecheck, forced the Flyers into two high sticking penalties and took advantage of the great energy in TD Garden to gain early momentum and – more importantly – the lead.

Michael Ryder put the Bruins up on top when he took control of the puck in the lower right circle and turned and fired a shot that beat Michael Leighton five-hole for a 1-0 lead at 5:27

Johnny Boychuk skated deep with the puck and just before crossing the end line to the right of Leighton, fed a beautiful pass to Milan Lucic, who stuffed it past Leighton inside the left post.

The goal at 9:02 was fourth of the playoffs for Lucic and the second power play tally in as many chances for the Bruins.

But Lucic was hardly done. Just over five minutes later, he took off with Miroslav Satan from the Bruins blue line as the Flyers lost possession of the puck and skated right for the shell-shocked Leighton. His shot beat the Flyers goalie low for his fifth of the postseason and it was 3-0.

And it could’ve been worse for the Flyers, who called their timeout after the third goal. One shot hit the right post and another hit the crossbar as the Bruins spent most of the period deep in the Flyers zone.

James Van Riemsdyk gave the Flyers a pulse at 17:12, the first career playoff goal for the UNH product.

The Bruins outshot the Flyers, 14-8, in the opening 20 minutes.

Read More: Bruins, Flyers, Milan Lucic, Stanley Cup Playoffs
Flyers looking for final push 05.14.10 at 1:41 pm ET
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So the Philadelphia Flyers enter tonight’s Game 7 trying to become the first team since the 1975 New York Islanders to win a Stanley Cup series after trailing, 3-0. They did so in the Stanley Cup quarterfinals against Pittsburgh.

What many may not recall is they were incredibly on the verge of doing it in back-to-back series when they played the defending Stanley Cup champion Flyers in the next round.

The Flyers led, 3-0, only to have the Islanders – featuring a young goalie named Billy Smith and a defenseman by the name of Dennis Potvin – battle back to tie the series and send it to Game 7 in Philly. Kate Smith and Bernie Parent saved the Flyers in that contest and the Flyers went on to win the Stanley Cup over Buffalo in six games.

The second part is the kind of history the Bruins are hoping to repeat tonight.

Still, it seems no one knows what to expect in terms of an outcome, only that it will be a battle.

“I would certainly think that way,” Laviolette said. “You got two teams that are pushed to the edge now. Boston’s going to show up and play hard, and we have to do the same thing. It’s going to be a great hockey game.”

What Laviolette mentioned several times following his team’s Game 6 win was the need to pick up the intensity for Game 7 on the road.

“The face-offs weren’t great, as the game wore on the chances seemed to be in their favor,” Laviolette said. “They were quicker to the pucks, a little stronger in their battles. You know we are going to have to be better in Boston. We are going to have to play a game with a little more intensity than [Wednesday].”

Read More: Bruins, Flyers, Peter Laviolette, Stanley Cup Playoffs
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