|Brad Marchand recalls how Mark Recchi helped him early on as a rookie||04.22.11 at 9:04 pm ET|
MONTREAL — The fact that Mark Recchi is highly respected in the Bruins locker room should come as no surprise to anyone. The 42-year-old has seen everything in his time in the NHL, so when he talks, people listen.
The future Hall-of-Famer did just that after the team’s loss in Game 2 to the Canadiens, telling ESPN recently that he told teammates that they could come back from the 2-0 lead the Habs held after two games. After all, Recchi and the Hurricanes won four in a row to sink the Habs back in 2006 after dropping the first two games of the quarterfinals. The rest, as they say, is history, as the Hurricanes went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Recchi’s words were heard loud and clear by teammates, and they are now halfway to their goal of taking the series after winning Games 3 and 4.
“He said something the other day in the room and everyone kind of perked up a little like, ‘Wow. If Recchi said it, than it’s true,'” linemate Brad Marchand recalled Thursday morning. “It’s great having him here. He’s such a leader. Every time he steps up, he always says the right thing at the right time. It’s great.”
For Marchand, the inspiration from Recchi hasn’t been limited to speeches given to the team. Recchi told the rookie earlier in the season to expect criticism from him.
“One day he was like, ‘I’ll get upset with you. It’s not going to be about you missing a pass, or that you should have given it to me at this [point], but playing your position, little things like that.’ He’s just so good at critiquing you and helping you grow into your game and being in certain positions, stuff like that,” Marchand said. “He was always helping me, telling me to be a certain way or in a certain place. He was really good with that with me throughout the year.”
Marchand’s rookie season was a successful one, as he totaled 21 goals and 20 assists for 41 points. Many of those points came playing on the same line as Recchi and Patrice Bergeron after beginning the season with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton. Though Marchand didn’t always play with Recchi, the help he got from the 42-year-old seemed to come all year after No. 28 expressed an interest in tutoring the youngster.
“He was just like, ‘Listen. I want to help you, and help you out in areas where I think you could maybe do things differently,’ but he never once got upset with me about a pass or anything like that,” Marchand said. “He never got upset with me in general. He would help me out, and any little teaching point that he could help me out with, he really helped me a ton.
“Little things, how he carries himself in the room and off the ice, when to talk to the guys, when to not chirp guys, stuff like that. It’s unbelievable the amount of stuff he knows and he sees throughout the game. He’s like another coach on the ice.”
So, what is a young player thinking when one of the best to play the game begins listing how he could do better? A sensitive player might be disappointed in some, way, shape or form or take feel like they’re doing something wrong. When it comes to Recchi helping Marchand, that isn’t the case.
“You’re very grateful right away, because some guys — a lot of guys — will just sit there and let you make your mistakes,” Marchand said. “He’s that guy that will step up. He likes bringing young guys along, you can tell. The way he talks to everybody, and all the young guys, he helps them out. I was very grateful to have a guy like him teach me things that maybe other guys wouldn’t have. I learned a lot from him this year.”
Recchi’s tutelage of Marchand isn’t the first case in which he’s helped a younger player. Among the youngsters Recchi has helped along the way is Jordan Staal, whom he let live in his guest house back when Staal was a rookie in the 2006-07 season.
|Andrew Ference denies giving Canadiens fans ‘the finger’||04.21.11 at 11:02 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Following their Game 4 win over the Canadiens, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference denied any intention of making an obscene gesture at Habs fans following his second-period goal. Following his tally, which at the time made it a 3-2 game, the veteran was caught on camera giving the middle finger to the crowd.
‘Coach just showed me it, and it looks awful,’ Ference said following the win. ‘I just saw it and I can assure you that’s not part of my repertoire. I don’t know if my glove got caught up. I can assure you, that’s not part of who I am or what I ever have been. So it looks awful, I admit it, I completely apologize to how it looks. You guys have covered me long enough to know that that’s not part of my repertoire.
‘I was putting my fist in the air,’ he added. ‘I’m sorry it does look awful. I just saw it.’
Ference can be fined up to $2,500 for the gesture.
‘Honestly, I have no idea,’ he said of whether he’ll pay for it. ‘It looks really bad, but all I can do is tell you the truth and that’s the truth.’
Coach Claude Julien said in his postgame press conference that he had not seen the play.
|Michael Ryder lifts Bruins past Canadiens in Game 4 thriller||at 10:04 pm ET|
MONTREAL — The Bruins grabbed a gutsy win Thursday, sinking the Canadiens, 5-4, in overtime and tying the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at two games apiece. Michael Ryder, who had three points on the night, scored the game-winner 1:59 into OT.
The Habs jumped out to a 1-0 lead 8:13 into the first period on a shot from Brent Sopel. With just over eight minutes of scoreless play, Game 4 had the most scoreless time of any so far in the series. Ryder would tie the game in the second period, though goals from Michael Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn made it a 3-1 game. The B’s were able to battle back in that same period, getting goals from Andrew Ference and Patrice Bergeron to tie it at three at the end of two.
With Patrice Bergeron in the penalty box for hooking, Habs rookie defenseman P.K Subban scored to make it 4-3 early in the third. Once again, the Habs’ lead would not stick, as the Bruins would tie it on a Chris Kelly goal at 13:42 of the third, setting the stage for Ryder’s overtime heroics.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
‘¢Michael Ryder scoring after taking a pass from Tomas Kaberle? Ryder later setting up a critical goal? That’s something the Bruins had been waiting to see. While it’s been a while since either of those two have proven capable of playing to their potential (in Kaberle’s case, the argument could be made that he hasn’t proven it since joining the B’s) the thought of some of their ‘money’ players stepping up their play is something the B’s would welcome.
‘¢It was almost unbelievable the two teams were tied after Ryder’s goal, as the B’s were being handled by the Habs. Being able to tie it once may have given them a dose of resiliency, as they were able to battle through and later make up a two-goal deficit. Kelly’s goal gave tied it once again, proving that the team is capable of playing well from behind, an area that plagued them in Games 1 and 2.
‘¢The Brad Marchand – Bergeron – Mark Recchi line continues to be the lone Boston trio with a consistent pulse. Bergeron has two goals in four games, while a lucky bounce helped give Marchand an assist on the Ference goal.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
‘¢Going down a man just 32 seconds into the third period of a tied playoff game isn’t what a team is looking for, and when Subban scored on the power play with Bergeron in the box on a questionable hooking call. It was the Bruins’ only penalty of the game, but it was very costly.
‘¢Terrible sportsmanship on the part of Ference after his goal. Cameras caught him giving the middle finger to Habs fans after beating Price to make it 3-2. For a series with as much chirping and after-the-whistle activity, Ference would have aplenty opportunity to do that stuff to the guys on the ice. Ference is one of the better people in the game, so there’s no doubt he would like to have those few seconds back.
‘¢Milan Lucic needs to make a difference in this series, and it turns out his lack of presence has made a big difference. The underperforming winger was the B’s best scorer in the postseason, and his quiet playoffs continued Thursday. He did have a nice pass to set up David Krejci all alone in front of Price, but the center wasn’t able to finish.
MONTREAL — Claude Julien doesn’t like to share certain things in press conferences. Questions about the lineup or goaltending are generally met with something along the lines of a short, “I guess we’ll see tonight.” On Thursday, however, Julien decided to share his sense of humor.
Following the Bruins’ morning skate, a reporter asked Julien if he saw a difference in the overall mindset of the team following their trip to Lake Placid this week. The usually serious Julien saw the opportunity and took it.
“Yeah, I saw a miracle, in case you’re looking for that word,” Julien said, referencing the 1980 Miracle on Ice and causing an eruption of laughter from the packed room of reporters and cameramen.
“No,” he continued. “I think we just went there and wanted to go and relax and have some quality practices. We weren’t looking for any miracles, we just thought that was a good place for the team to be. We went out on the ice and skated the same way we skated the last time we were here.”
“Thanks,” the reporter said, to which an amused Julien shot back, “you’re welcome.”
“We all got our quote,” another reporter mused. “We can leave now.”
|Chris Kelly will play Game 4 wearing cage||at 12:55 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Bruins center Chris Kelly will be in the lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals after being cleared by team doctors. Kelly, who returned to Boston to be examined following a hit into Carey Price’s goal on Monday, wore a cage in morning skate and will do so Thursday night. He said there was no fracture after seeing the doctors.
“I’m good to play tonight,” Kelly said afterwards. “I went back to see our doctors in Boston and they gave me the green light and said everything is great and to just go out and have fun.”
Coach Claude Julien confirmed that Kelly would play, saying the third-line center is “good to go” and that “he’s going to be in the lineup tonight.”
Kelly was shoved by Habs forward Scott Gomez while the Bruins were on a 3-on-1 in the first period. The B’s center said he took no issue with the hit, which caused him to slide head-first into the post and left him with a shiner below his right eye.
“I know Gomez. I played against him for a lot of years,” Kelly said. “He’s a good, honest player and works hard. I don’t think it was deliberate by any means.”
As for wearing a cage for the first time since he was 14 years old, Kelly said that his comfort with it is “much better” than he expected it to be. Kelly even joked that if he were to play well with it, he could keep it on a la Richard Hamilton with the Detroit Pistons, who kept a clear mask on as his signature look in the 2003-04 season.
“He kept it on,” Kelly joked. “Who knows?”
As for any lineup changes, it appears there won’t be any. Mark Recchi was the only Bruin to not take the ice for the morning skate, though it’s likely the veteran was simply given the morning off. Rookie Tyler Seguin stayed out on the ice with the scratches following the skate.
MONTREAL — The Habs seemed to have held a semi-optional morning skate Thursday in anticipation of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals vs. the Bruins. In addition to both goaltenders, nine forwards (Michael Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec, Jeff Halpern, Ryan White, Benoit Pouliot, David Desharnais, Lars Eller and Tom Pyatt) and six defensemen (Jaroslav Spacek, Paul Mara, Brent Sopel, Yannick Weber, Hal Gill and P.K. Subban) took the ice.
Among the missing for the skate were Brian Gionta, Andrei Kostitsyn, James Wisniewski, Mathieu Darche and Roman Hamrlik.
|Game 4 another must-win for Bruins||at 7:48 am ET|
MONTREAL — The truth is that every playoff game is important. The stakes are always high, and every loss brings a team one game closer to elimination. Yet if Bruins fans can’t help but place a bit more emphasis on Game 4, it wouldn’t be so irrational.
Take a look at Wednesday night, and a game that put the Rangers in a real hole. As Jason Chimera tapped the game-winning goal past Henrik Lundqvist in the second overtime, the Rangers had to have known that they blew it.
Leading 3-0 earlier in the game (sound familiar?) the Rangers let the Capitals get back into it, and three quick tallies in the third period suddenly made it 3-3.
To lose such a game (especially on your own ice) in that sort of fashion is a tough pill to swallow, but the Rangers’ No. 1 concern should be with the fact that they have spotted the Capitals a 3-1 lead in the series. A 3-1 deficit, while not insurmountable, is obviously far from ideal, and the Bruins, despite being able to return home for Game 5, should be viewing it as such. Game 4 is every bit as much a must-win as Monday’s Game 3 victory was.
Unless a team has won the first three, that’s generally the nature of Game 4. Thursday night, the rest of the series could begin to look a bit clearer. Easily the most interesting non-elimination game of a series, the Bruins can tie it with two of the three remaining games to be played at TD Garden, while the Habs are looking to put the Bruins just one loss away from failing to advance to the second round for the first time in three years.
A 3-1 deficit in a series is far from impossible to overcome (Bruins fans of course know that a 3-0 deficit in a series is not impossible to overcome thanks to the Flyers), and the Flyers weren’t the only team to do it last season. The other team to come back from being down three games to one? The very Canadiens that will host the B’s Thursday night. Two of eight teams in such a position last postseason were able to come back and win the series, though the Bruins would just as soon skip out on that discussion altogether by grabbing a road win in Game 4.
One could suggest the B’s have momentum on their side after taking Monday’s Game 3 by a 4-2 score. Claude Julien wouldn’t agree with that logic, but if it’s something that is going to motivate the Bruins at the Bell Centre Thursday, he’ll probably take it. Whether or not the B’s are feeling that momentum and whether the Habs are feeling any added pressure remains to be seen.
One thing the Bruins can expect on Thursday, aside from the possible return of Jeff Halpern to the lineup and the removal of Benoit Pouliot, is for the Habs to come out flying. Given the way they turned it on for the final 30 minutes of Game 3, the Habs have to know that if they can start better and take advantage of the early breaks (such as the two penalties the Bruins took in the first eight minutes of the game), they have a far better chance of playing the third period with a lead rather than bombarding Tim Thomas with shots in a desperate attempt to tie it late.
If the Bruins can get a full game of what Thomas brought on Thursday night, even a great 60 minutes from the Habs might not matter. This has not been the prettiest series for the Vezina shoo-in, but he dominated late in Game 3, and if he can do so for all three periods Thursday, perhaps the series will return to Boston with the home team having yet to win through four games.
The Bell Centre is a loud and hostile environment. The Bruins were able to hang on to send the fans home hanging their heads Monday, but if they want to leave Montreal Thursday knowing they will return for a Game 6, they’ll need to block out the deafening boos for Zdeno Chara and notch the ever-important Game 4 win. If they lose, it could be a hole too big to come back from. A win and they are suddenly favorites once again to win the series. They’ll need more than they brought Monday night, but if they get it, they can breathe just a bit easier.