|Only one game? Bruins’ first-liners feel slighted||06.03.11 at 7:22 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Bruins are three days into the Stanley Cup finals, and they’re already sick of the way it’s being perceived.
After losing Game 1 in a contest that was scoreless for all but 18.5 seconds, a couple of members of the Bruins’ first line made it clear Friday at the University of British Columbia that the press might not be giving them a fair enough shake.
“You know, it’s clear that you guys aren’t giving us much of a chance,” Milan Lucic said. “We’ve just got to do whatever we can to prove people wrong.”
The B’s top line has played against the Canucks’ second line of Ryan Kesler between Mason Raymond and Christopher Higgins. How the Bruins will deal with Kesler, a 41-goal-scorer in the regular season, has been a popular topic in the series. The series may be young, but Krejci is already sick of hearing about Kesler.
“He’s the best player in the world, right? That’s what it looks like,” Krejci said when asked about playing against Kesler. “That’s why everybody’s asking me about him. It’s not about him. Obviously, he’s a great player. He’s a really good player, but my game is to focus on my game and what I have to do, and not about other guys.”
Kesler poked a puck past Johnny Boychuk at the blue line Wednesday and hit Jannik Hansen with a pass, who then set up an easy Raffi Torres goal with Tim Thomas respecting Hansen’s shot. Krejci noted that for all the attention the second line receives, Kesler was playing with third-liners (the team was in the midst of a line change) on the game-winning goal, and that it was a closer game than he feels people are remembering.
“It was a zero-zero game all the way,” Krejci said. “You guys are making such a big deal that we lost. I mean, it could have gone either way. His line, I know he got an apple, but he was with the two other guys from another line.”
Krejci and Nathan Horton each had five shots on goal in Game 1, which tied for tops on the Bruins. Many of those shots came on the power play, but the play of the line in general was a strong point for the B’s on a night in which nobody could beat Roberto Luongo.
“It’s still good,” Krejci said. “We’d like to have over 10 shots every game, but I feel like we can maybe bring a little more to our game, especially create some chances. I don’t think we had that many great scoring chances the last game.”
Due to concerts at Rogers Arena, the home of the Canucks, the teams have had to deal with a two-day gap between Games 1 and 2. Lucic noted that he’s blocked out any chatter in that time and is focused on giving the media something positive to talk about after Saturday’s Game 2.
“Obviously we can’t control what you guys say,” Lucic said. “That’s why we try not to watch or read too much of what you guys say. For us, it’s definitely a big opportunity going into Game 2. We know we have to play better. We need to play better. We need to play the way we did prior coming into this series to give ourselves a chance to win.
“They finished first in the league, in the standings, for a reason,” he said of the Canucks. “They beat the three teams before us to get here for a reason. They’re a really good team. They beat us in Game 1 because they played better than us.”
Whether or not the media has actually been hard on the B’s, it looks like the two days off have the Bruins itching to get back on the ice in Game 2 and show that they can hang with the Canucks. For 49 minutes and just over 17 seconds, they did on Wednesday.
|All present for Bruins practice in Vancouver||at 4:49 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Bruins took the ice Friday at the University of British Columbia after not holding a regular practice on Thursday. All players were accounted for, with the exception of third goaltender Anton Khudobin. The lines looked the same as they have in previous practices, with Rich Peverley the fourth man in a gold, second-line sweater.
For now, it doesn’t look like there will be any lineup changes for Game 2, so expect Peverley to play on the fourth line and float in and out of the second line with Thornton the healthy scratch.
|Manny Malhotra on the ice again, still day-to-day||at 4:08 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — Canucks center Manny Malhotra skated Friday at the University of British Columbia after missing recent skates in his attempt to return from an eye injury suffered in March. Both he and coach Alain Vigneault were tight-lipped about where Malhotra stands on a possible return to Vancouver’s lineup during the Stanley Cup finals.
“As I said on Saturday, it’s a day-to-day situation,” Malhotra said Friday. “From one day to the next, things have changed. I didn’t feel proper to go on the ice, so I took a couple days off.”
Vigneault would only offer that “Manny is day-to-day.” Malhotra had 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points in the regular season.
|Canucks are blue over Tim Thomas’ positioning, but Bruins aren’t concerned||06.02.11 at 8:02 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — Biting aside, one hot-button issue to emerge from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals was where Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas set up shop. The Vezina favorite drew a questionable tripping call on Alexandre Burrows in the second period of Wednesday’s game, which caused Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault to question Thomas’ positioning outside of the crease.
Following the game, Vigneault said one big difference between Thomas and Roberto Luongo, both of whom entered the series with nearly identical postseason numbers, is that his guy stays put.
“Our goaltender always plays in the blue, stays in his ice. Their goaltender is always out of the blue and comes into other people’s ice,” Vigneault said after Game 1. “We’re going to need a little bit of clarification there, especially when he’s initiating contact with our team. I’m sure we’ll be able to figure it out.”
If Vigneault needs clarification, he can simply go to Rule 69.4, which applies to contact outside the crease. Here is the part of that rule that would pertain to Wednesday’s play:
“A goalkeeper is not ‘fair game’ just because he is outside the goal crease. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an attacking player makes unnecessary contact with the goalkeeper. However, incidental contact will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such unnecessary contact.”
Thomas defended his ground Thursday when the subject was brought up during the Bruins’ media availability.
“Basically I have the right to go anywhere there’s open ice,” Thomas said. “If I’m set, I have a right to that ice. If I’m out of the paint and I’m set, I also have the right to get right-of-way to get back to the crease. That’s the way I understand it.”
That’s just what Thomas felt he was doing on the penalty taken by Burrows. As for the notion that the Canucks could need clarification on what he can and can’t do, Thomas pointed to how rare it is that he has drawn such a penalty. If the Canucks are worried about it happening often, they may be reading too far into things.
“I don’t think I’ve drawn that many penalties this playoffs,” Thomas said Thursday at the University of British Columbia. “Yesterday on the one on [Burrows], I went to make the first stop, then the puck was going off to the side. I was retreating back to the center of my net, felt resistance behind my leg, and I was actually just going with it. I was going to basically flip around, flip my body around, to be able to at least have a chance to stop that rebound that went to the side of the net.
“I didn’t know if it was my guy or their guy or who [tripped me]. I was backing up and there was something behind my leg. It sort of put me off balance.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien didn’t see reason for concern either and figured Luongo could do the same thing if he wanted.
“If he gets a chance to challenge, he challenges,” Julien said of Thomas. “The rule is pretty clear. You’re entitled to your ice. If he steps out and he’s got that ice, he’s entitled to it. That’s what he’s done through the whole process.
“Now, we all know that goaltenders are to be protected. If you’re going to say he’s out of his crease, he’s fair game, that should be the same thing behind the net. ‘¦ If he’s entitled to his ice, and he’s got it, then afterwards I don’t think people are entitled to run over those guys. If Luongo comes out of his net, he’s got his ice, it’s his, it belongs to him. The rule to me is pretty clear so I don’t see any issues there.”
Maybe Vigneault and the Bruins will have to agree to disagree, and though Thomas may have gone down a little easily on the play, the ruling seems clear enough.
|Chris Kelly a common spectator for hockey bites||at 6:38 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — Bruins center Chris Kelly said Thursday that there isn’t a place for actions like Alexandre Burrows’ bite on Patrice Bergeron in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, saying “I don’t’ think biting’s part of the game.” Yet in Kelly’s case, he has seen multiple times now that it can be part of the game.
Kelly, who was acquired in February from the Senators for a second-round draft pick, was playing for Ottawa when teammate Jarkko Ruutuu got tried dining on the thumb of Sabres’ winger Andrew Peters. For a relatively quiet guy, Kelly has a sense of humor, so his perspective on how his team dealt with having a teammate bite a player was sharp.
“I didn’t think Ruutes bit him. I don’t know,” Kelly said with a laugh. “I’m always going to stick up for teammates. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Maybe Kelly didn’t know, but the league did. They suspended Ruutu for two games for the incident, which occurred on January 6, 2009. Unlike Ruutu, Burrows was not suspended for his bite.
It’s far from an epidemic, but Kelly has seen two bites in the last three seasons. Still, he’s not about to start worrying the next time he face-washes an opponent.
“I don’t think too many guys go and bite people,” Kelly said. “I don’t think you need to worry about it.”
|Patrice Bergeron shows cut finger, Bruins trying to move on from Alexandre Burrows bite||at 6:20 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — Speaking Thursday at the University of British Columbia, Bruins center Patrice Bergeron and coach Claude Julien offered no disagreement with the league’s decision to not suspend Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows for biting Bergeron in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday.
“As far as I’m concerned, the league has made a decision on it, and we move on,” Julien said. “I think what’s more important for us is to prepare for the next game more than put all our attention on something that’s already been ruled on. We’re not the type of team that whines and cries about things like that. We just move on, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Bergeron expressed the same line of thinking.
“Like I said last night, it’s the league’s decision,” Bergeron said. “I let them make the call and make the decision. It’s there’s, so I have nothing else to say about it, I guess.”
After speaking with the press, Bergeron showed some media members his right index finger, which was bruised and had two cuts on the front, and one on the back.
Burrows told Bergeron at the time of the incident, which occurred at the end of the first period, that he had no choice but to bite him because Bergeron’s fingers were in his mouth, something the B’s center laughed off Thursday.
“We were both face-washing each other, and I didn’t mean to put my finger in his mouth,” he said. “Why would I do that?”
|Dan Hamhuis day-to-day||at 4:32 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — One day after Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis left Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals in the second period due to injury, Vancouver coach said Thursday at the University of British Columbia that the defenseman is “day-to-day.”
Hamhuis hip-checked Bruins left wing Milan Lucic and was cross-checked immediately following the play by B’s center David Krejci. He headed down the tunnel and did not return to the game. The former 12th overall pick has averaged 24:50 of ice time this postseason, which is third on the Canucks.