|Bruins bracing themselves||05.04.10 at 2:40 pm ET|
Not everyone in black and gold had bad things to say about the physical play of the Flyers on Monday night in Boston’s 3-2 win.
Defenseman Johnny Boychuk – who put the Bruins on top with a first-period goal – was drilled on a clean, hard hit by Philly’s Scott Hartnell midway through the ‘eventful’ second period, just seconds after Boston captain Zdeno Chara took a run at Hartnell behind the Flyers net.
The result was Boychuk going airborne and landing hard on the ice. Boychuk wasn’t hurt except for his ego momentarily and acknowledged that he expects to see more of that kind of play when the series shifts to Philadelphia Wednesday night for Game 3.
“It wasn’t too wide-open There were some timely goals each team scored and some good hits, like the one on me. It was a great hit.”
Boychuk also believes the Bruins can learn something from Game 5 in Buffalo when they were playing a desperate Sabres team looking to stay alive. They were blown out, 4-1, and had to come back to Boston to seal the deal.
“We were in Buffalo and they took it to us,” Boychuk said. “We’re going to have to learn from that. Hopefully, we can overcome their intensity when we go to Philly.”
There will be some 20,000 fans not cheering on the Bruins on Wednesday and Boychuk and the Bruins are more than bracing themselves for what to expect.
“It’s a good barn play in and it’s tough barn to play in,” Boychuk said. “They’re going to come out hard and we have to match their intensity.”
Chara agreed with Boychuk’s assessment and won’t be shocked when the black and orange sweaters are out in force at the Wachovia Center.
“The further you go, it’s going to get tougher and tougher and the games are going to be harder and harder,” Chara said. “It’s just normal. That’s just the playoffs. It’s Philly and they like to play that kind of style and obviously, we like to play physical. It’s just two teams meeting each other with similar physical styles of play.”
|Brickley on D&C: Savard has to apologize for nothing||05.04.10 at 2:31 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley, who also was part of the play-by-play team for Monday night’s game broadcast nationally on Versus, joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to discuss the B’s victory over the Flyers Monday night. Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
How does Savard bite a gloved finger, and how is he the only one to go to the box after that little exchange?
Yeah, when you do a game for Versus, you’re supposed to be right down the middle, but I was lost for an explanation as to why there were no penalty minutes at all for the Flyers in that scrum. I’ll give you the fact that if you want to give Savard a slashing penalty because they really try to protect the goalie, even though it wasn’t all that much, it was not an uncommon play ‘ if you want to give him a slash, fine. But there had to be some kind of penalty for either [Daniel] Carcillo and/or [Kimmo] Timonen in that scrum, but that’s not the way the officials saw it, and it’s not my job to beat them up, because those are the things you have to play through as players. The officiating has not been strong across the board in the playoffs this year.
Did Carcillo drop the gloves, or was he face-washing him with the gloves on?
He started with the gloves on, but eventually they came off in that skirmish. But you know, biting somebody’s hand when you can’t throw punches is not an uncommon thing. It has happened certainly several times in my career in the last 30 years, and I don’t see what the big deal is.
You say it happened ‘ meaning you did it to somebody else, right?
OK, I was playing in Pittsburgh, we played Montreal, I hit Ryan Walter with an open-ice hit, where my shoulder caught him right in the side of his head, he was knocked out before he hit the ice, and obviously you knew what was going to happen as soon as that happened ‘ it was just an all out five-on-five brawl. I’m on the bottom of the pile, Mark Hunter jumped on my back, neither one of us could throw punches, and he was trying to eye-gouge me. What was my defense? I had to bite his hand in order to protect myself.
So tell me what Savard did that he needs to apologize for?
He defended himself, in a position where he was outnumbered. He has to apologize for nothing.
I think this is significant ‘ but you tell me. Of the Bruins’ six playoff wins, two were in OT, three were one-goal games, and the other was a two-goal game with an empty netter at the end. Significant?
The Bruins are comfortable in those types of games. They’ve played their share of them throughout the regular season, and I know the playoffs are a different animal altogether, but they’re comfortable because they believe in the system that they play. They know they don’t have all their weapons at their disposal, some key injuries, as do the Flyers, but they expect to play those kinds of games, where it’s just going to be one goal, one way or the other, whether it’s special teams, five-on-five. But they really feel that if they play their system, execute it, get contributions from everybody on their roster, they like their chances, because they also feel they have one of the best goalies if not the best goalie in right now in the National Hockey League playoffs. So, when you have that kind of formula, and you get the lead, which is what they’ve been able to do the last couple of times at home, they feel like they’re going to win most nights.
Are the Flyers now confident that they nearly won two games in Boston, or quite the opposite, being that that they lost two games they could have had?
Their mindset has to be that this could be a 2-0 series for them, it could be 1-1, OK, it’s 0-2. What we’ve proven is that we’ve given ourselves an opportunity to win games, what are the adjustments we have to make in order to make sure we win some one-goal games on home ice? We’re going to use the crowd, number one, we’re going to try to be very aggressive on our forecheck, which they tried to do more of last night, and were successful at times, although I thought the Bruins almost gave them their two goals, certainly their opportunities to score those two goals in that 3-2 win last night, but they will play with even more of an edge, and try to maintain a certain amount of discipline, and kind of intimidate Boston a little bit. Philadelphia has a rich tradition of being good at home, intimidating at home, use the crowd and up their desperation. I mean, it’s that simple. They cannot go down 3-0. They know if they’re going to win this series they’re have to come back to Boston and win in Boston, but the only opportunity they will have is if they hold serve in Games 3 and 4.
Rumor has it when you tried to interrupt Jack Edwards during his soliloquy about the Edmund Fitzgerald, he bit you ‘ is that true?
I’m going to take the fifth on that.
You know how good you are, Brick. You don’t seem like a homer on NESN, or a homer now on Versus.
Well that’s not my concern. I guess what I’m saying is when I watch a Bruins game or analyze a Bruins game, I try to analyze it from a Bruins point of view or a Bruins fan’s point of view, but when you do Versus you really have to try to see both sides. I don’t think it’s walking the line that’s the issue, because I have an educated fan base, they’re watching television, they’re seeing basically the same stuff I’m seeing, even though I have a full view of the ice and I can answer the question why, but they see it so I don’t have to make things up, I just try to explain what’s going on and what the players are thinking.
When did you see this coming. When was it possible for the Bruins to make this kind of run ‘ and do you think it could continue?
To be honest, I had my doubts like any other Bruin fan. I don’t think I was as negative, even when they were winless in 10 straight. I thought that if they could just get to the postseason, that if they drew the right matchups they could advance. What convinced me was those final 12 games of the regular season, how they played with guys going down, and still able to use the system and believe in it, and excuse a game-plan. And then, become accountable to one another. I don’t think they had that accountability throughout the year, for a variety of reasons. But once they arrived there, they looked at the he postseason as a season of redemption, a chance to prove themselves ‘ and the experience that they had last year, that bitter disappointment in Round 2, especially for the young guys that were really just kind of finding their way in the postseason, those were the things that convinced me that they had a real good chance, certainly to beat Buffalo.
Wasn’t Carsillo’s hit on Begin way closer to crossing the line than [Steve] Begin’s hit on Carcillo, which, by the way, Carcillo put a major swan-dive flop on?
Yeah, if you watched a lot of that Sabres series, the guy kind of reminds you of Patrick Kaleta a little bit. You know, plays on the edge, finishes his hits high, even though they start within the rules, and then when he’s on the receiving end, the embellishment, and the flopping, I agree with all of that. I thought his hit was a little high, and possibly a penalty on Begin. You know, you have to make a split-second decision at that point if you’re Begin. You have to calculate, what am I going to do here to retaliate? Do I wait? Do I bide my time? Do I take a number? Do I react right now? And you have to say ‘ early in the game, home ice, it’s Carcillo, we’re up 1-0, I need to respond right now. And I agreed with the response, even though it put his team down a man.
When does Philly get ugly, if they lose Game 3?
No, I think it could happen in Game 3, I think it could happen early. I don’t know if ugly is the right word, but certainly a far more aggressive, if they can, game plan against Boston. Again, it’s that home ice, it’s that raucous crowd, it’s that desperation, ‘We’ve got to win this game, let’s try to get this lead and win the game in the first period,’ but that could be problematic. If you get outside your discipline, and you take some penalties, and you give up some two-on-ones, three-on-twos because you’re taking yourself out of position to be over-aggressive, then it can work against you. So it’s a fine line, if you’re Peter Laviolette, he’s got to really channel his guys in the right direction. But using what they use best, and that is that very physical, aggressive stuff.
A lot of expectations were placed on Lucic when he showed up. Compared to Cam Neely, would you say he’s an underachiever?
No, even when he was playing his best at whatever time over the last two, three years, it was totally unfair to make that comparison. Sure, he’s a big guy, he’s a tough guy, he can be intimidating, can drop the gloves, won the majority of his fights, showed a goal-scoring touch you know, with 17 goals on a team that was one of the best offensive teams in the league, everybody had terrific seasons, and that got the Bruins fans excited about what he could be. But to compare him to Neely is totally unfair. I think he’s a different kind of player, a different kind of skater. Would he develop into a consistent 30-goal guy? That would be awesome if he did that, and did everything else that he does do. But his game is really based on that hard forechecking, get to the front of the net, get some ugly goals, like that turnaround ‘ I wouldn’t say it was ugly, but it wasn’t a thing of beauty last night, it was just a monster shift where you win a lot of one-on-one battles. Cam really took his game to another level, especially when he got hurt. He learned to use the ice and the players around him, he got smarter, he got to areas in a different way, he didn’t have to run over people, he did it in more of a Brett Hull style, where he was in the slot, out of the slot, got back in there, took nice passes and that great, quick release. So, if Milan Lucic gets to anywhere near that comparison, I think he’s had a good career.
Tuukaa Rask aside, who has impressed you the most in this playoff series?
Wow. I mean, that list is long for me, because of what I’m watching. If I start with the elite guys, like a [Patrice] Bergeron number one, I mean, this guy is just incredible. The ability to control the puck and win pucks, when they’re out there for 50-50s, who’s going to get it, he wins so many of those battles. He’s great in the faceoff circle, he plays in every situation, and he’s just a great role model for everybody else to watch. And he plays alongside Mark Recchi ‘ this guy’s 42 years old, and he just keeps logging monster minutes and making all the right plays. And I love his commentary, you know, you’ve got to embrace the playoffs, enjoy this, this is why we play ‘ and let’s play to win when the game’s up for grabs, he talked about that going into overtime in Game 1, he talked about it going into the third period last night. Don’t overlook Chara ‘ the Bruins have had the ability to match up against Richards these whole first two games because they have the home ice. Johnny Boychuck, I love this kid, seventh defensemen to start the year, he played more minutes than anybody in Game 1, that’s how effective he’s been. The list goes on and on, [Dennis] Wideman‘s resurgence after taking a lot of heat this year, understandably. [Miroslav] Satan ‘ where did he come from? They got this guy out of Long Island who was just practicing with some pro guys ‘ wasn’t even part of an NHL camp, or had any kind of opportunity, he’s got big points for Boston ‘ so the list just goes on and on of the contributions you’re getting from guys you probably didn’t expect.
Could you see this team riding on the duck boats with the Stanley Cup a month from now? Is that possible?
Why not? They’ve been impressive, I know that’s getting way ahead of ourselves, but look at the seeds in the East. The top three seeds are all out, so I think it’s anybody’s to be had in the East. And then once you get into the finals, who knows? Who knows what players are available, injuries are a big part of the postseason, what you can withstand, what you can’t. And then, of course, it all starts on the goal line. As we mentioned already, Rask is showing that this is a big-time, prime-time goalie.
They might have a scheduling problem, because the Celtics are going to need the duck boats one day themselves.
What a feel-good morning this is, after watching the Boston sports last night.
|A little rest for the heavy hitters||05.04.10 at 1:42 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It is easy to forget through the first two rounds of the playoffs that the Bruins are still operating without some significant depth on the blue line. Mark Stuart started skating this week, coming back from surgery for cellulitis, and Dennis Seidenberg has been a regular press box presence at TD Garden, but otherwise the injured players are in the forgotten man ether that comes with the disabled list. The de facto top four defensemen — Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk, Dennis Wideman and Matt Hunwick — have logged big minutes since the last week of the regular season and even though coach Claude Julien has stepped off the throttle with them a little bit as Andrew Ference has contributed and rookie Adam McQuaid has settled down, the top two pairs are still the oxen pulling the cart.
Hence, all four blueliners got the day off on Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena between Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers. Julien dresssed six the three Black Aces the Bruins have up with the team — Andy Wozniewski, Jeff Penner and Andrew Bodnarchuk, along with Stuart, Ference and McQuaid.
“I think it is just a matter of giving a few guys some days off here and doing something different,” Julien said. “We can still get them on the ice before the game tomorrow morning. It is just about managing that stuff.”
The other heavy hitters in the Bruins lineup got to sit Tuesday as well including Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi and Tuukka Rask. A minor reward for carrying the team to a 6-2 record through eight games but nothing major. The rest of the team only skated for a half-hour or so as it has a quite turnaround for a 1:30 p.m. flight to Philadelphia.
In terms of Stuart, the defenseman is not yet ready to make the jump back to the lineup. He has been skating for the last week and only with the full team a couple of times as of yet. He said on Tuesday that he is still on antiobiotics (until May 25) and still wears an IV cast like thing on his right arm. With him around the team people cannot help but ask if he will be ready for Game 3 but the situation is not as simple as a workout or practice. He will not be on the ice Wednesday night and the team still has to wait for medical clearance as well as for Stuart to get back to a level where he can contribute.
“Definitely no … He is not playing tomorrow, he is not ready for that yet,”Julien said. “It is a situation where he has to be medically cleared and what he has got is a bone infection. He can practice now is what we have been told, he can do some things but before we can ever consider him he has to be medically cleared and feel that he is ready to go as well.”
Stuart sees a defensive unit that has been playing well through the playoffs and knows he will have to be ready to contribute when he does finally make his return to the ice.
“It is not like we don’t have six D-men playing their best right now, cause we do,” Stuart said. “It is not going to help to play a guy who hasn’t done anything for two months just to rush him back. So, I feel good out there though and obviously I want to play but it is going to be a coaches decision when they feel like I can contribute and they feel like they need me and I will just be ready whenever that comes.”
Here are the lines from Tuesday’s skate:
Red — Begin, Shawn Thornton, Vladimir Sobotka
Defense — Wozniewski, Penner, Bodnarchuk, Ference, McQuaid, Stuart
Goaltenders — Tim Thomas, Dany Sabourin
Out — Chara, Boychuk, Wideman, Hunwick, Bergeron, Recchi, Rask
|Bruins consider Carcillo a non-factor||05.04.10 at 1:19 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — When it comes to instigators, the Bruins have upgraded from series to series.
Patrick Kaleta of the Sabres is one type of player — chippy and irritating — but Daniel Carcillo is another entirely. He accused Marc Savard of biting him in a scrum started when he and Kimmo Timonen jumped Savard after the Bruins center took a whack (and a subsequent slashing penalty) at the glove of Brian Boucher after a glove save. Earlier, Carcillo had a dust up with forward Steve Begin in which Carcillo easily could have taken an interference or a charging penalty or maybe even two for diving when Begin pushed him to the ice. The amazing thing through Game 2 was that Carcillo never actually went to the penalty box. Savard and Begin did.
“You saw the play, I got hit and I just wanted to push him and he went down,” Begin said. “I think he could have taken two for diving, but, he didn’t get one. Oh, it wasn’t a hard push,” Begin said. “We play hard too. We go out there, we play hard, we hit, we try to make things happen. You can’t get away from your game for players like that. He wants to draw penalties, so you have to be smart and just keep playing and make sure nothing bad happens.”
Carcillo is a character, to say the least. Self-assured with a chip on his shoulder, he adds only a touch of offense to the usually stacked Flyers lines (12 goals, 10 assists in 76 games this year) but racks up the penalty minutes by the by the fistful — 207 in total through the regular season. He is missing his two front teeth and speaks his mind, whether it is the entire truth or some exaggeration of the truth. Overall, his play and antics can be quite amusing.
The Bruins do not think so. Savard insisted that Carcillo put his hand in his mouth during the scrum and repeated early and often that the forward embellishes on just about everything he does. Coach Claude Julien did not think much of the Begin-Carcillo dustup, chalking it up to playoff hockey and a player known for theatrics.
“Those [penalties] most of the time you end up killing,” Julien said. “I think, you know, he took a pretty good run at him. It was deemed a clean hit and I don’t really disagree with that either but it was borderline charging and it basically just him [Begin] saying listen, that he crossed a line and I sent a message. I don’t think there are any issues with that either way from either team. If our player did that and threw a legal hit and it was borderline and did something about it, I wouldn’t mind that. It is playoff hockey guys, we worry about every little thing that happens but that is part of the game and we live with it.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Brickley on D&C: Biting ‘not an uncommon thing’||05.04.10 at 9:04 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to discuss the B’s victory over the Flyers Monday night. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Addressing the second-period incident in which Marc Savard was defending himself against two Flyers and allegedly clamped his teeth on Dan Carcillo’s finger, Brickley said he was not surprised. “Biting somebody’s hand when you can’t throw punches is not an uncommon thing,” said Brickley, who admitted biting an opponent’s finger when he played. “It has happened certainly several times throughout my career in the last 30 years. I don’t see what the big deal is.” Added Brickley: “[Savard] defended himself in a position where he was outnumbered. He has to apologize for nothing.”
Brickley said he could not understand why no penalties were handed out to either Philadelphia player who confronted Savard after the Bruin received a penalty for slashing Flyers goalie Brian Boucher. “I was lost for an explanation as to why there were no penalty minutes at all for the Flyers in that scrum,” Brickley said, adding: “Those are the things you have to play through as players, because the officiating has not been strong across the board in the playoffs this season.”
Brickley said to expect more physical play as the Flyers pull out all the stops for Game 3 in Philadelphia. “They will play with even more of an edge and try to maintain a certain amount of discipline, but ty to intimidate Boston a little bit,” Brickley said. “Philadelphia has a rich tradition of being good at home, intimidating at home, use the crowd and up their desperation. They cannot go down 3-0.”
Brickley was asked when he realized the Bruins had a chance to do something special in the postseason. “To be honest, I had my doubts like any other Bruin fan,” he said. “I don’t think I was as negative, even when they were winless in 10 straight. I thought that if they could just get to the postseason, if they drew the right matchups, they could advance. What convinced me was the final four games of the regular season, how they played with guys going down, and still able to use the system and believe in it and execute a game plan. And then become accountable to one another. I don’t think they had that accountability throughout the year for a variety of reasons. But once they arrived there, they looked at the postseason as a season of redemption, a chance to prove themselves.”
|Inside the Bruins locker room||05.04.10 at 3:02 am ET|
|Claude Julien press conference||05.04.10 at 3:02 am ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien speaks to the media following the B’s Game 2 win over the Flyers.
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