|Benoit Pouliot saw Canadiens collapse coming, sees promising postseason with Bruins||04.10.12 at 2:03 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Benoit Pouliot‘s last postseason was a disaster. Bruins fans know that.
Though he set what was, at the time, a career-high 30 points for the Canadiens, Pouliot saw his minutes dwindle in the final games of the season before opening the playoffs as a fourth-liner. He didn’t do much in the three games he played in the first round against the Bruins — zero shots on goal and less than eight minutes a night — and the only notable thing he did was run Johnny Boychuk in the corner in Game 3, resulting in Andrew Ference, to quote Jack Edwards, attempting to “rip his head off.”
And that, to put it plainly, is where things ended for Benoit Pouliot and the Montreal Canadiens.
“After that hit, when I fought Andrew there, I knew,” Pouliot said in a chat with WEEI.com Tuesday. “Well, I didn’t know, but I didn’t play the rest of the game, and then after that he just didn’t put me back in. We were losing, 2-0, and I was trying to mix something up, but I guess he didn’t like it and I went and sat on the bench.”
The “he” to whom Pouliot referring is former Habs coach Jacques Martin. Pouliot has often spoken about the lack of confidence he felt Martin had in him, but the winger feels he’s in the right situation now.
“All year long, I didn’t have [many] breaks,” Pouliot said of his final season with the Habs. “I felt like they didn’t have confidence in me and didn’t put me in situations that I was good at. It was just kind of all negative stuff, and it kind of sucked actually.
“But now, this year the coach gave me some chances and I tried not to mess it up too much. If I did, well, I didn’t do it twice. You have some bad months, you have some good ones, but I think this year all things were good.”
Pouliot still seems to have a bad taste in his mouth when it comes to Montreal. He was traded to the Habs in the 2009-10 season, and though he had 15 goals in 39 games with Montreal, he never felt the fit was quite right. Read the rest of this entry »
WILMINGTON — Moments after captain Zdeno Chara was pointing with his stick and barking at Tyler Seguin Tuesday morning on a power play drill, coach Claude Julien and assistant coach Doug Jarvis came over and had a heart-to-heart with the Bruins’ leading goal scorer this season.
They were simply reminding him to play hard on the power play and play with a “heavy stick” – Julien’s way of saying scoring on the power play and scoring in general, requires more will power in the playoffs than in the regular season.
“Playoffs, a lot of times, it’s all about little details and that’s why we’re going over video,” Seguin said Tuesday. “Even on the ice, obviously, coaches see stuff that they want you to improve on or little details they want you to fix and sometimes, as a player, you see something different. You just compare notes without crossing the line and just get prepared.”
Julien knows that Seguin – with his 29 goals – will be a marked man by Dale Hunter‘s Washington Capitals much more than he was at the start of the Stanley Cup championship run 12 months ago. Julien and Chara just want Seguin to be ready for that hunt beginning Thursday night in Game 1 at the Garden.
“I think he knows everybody on his team has his back, and all he has to do is go out there and compete and be ready to face that kind of challenge,” Julien said. “If we want him to be a better player, he has to be able to face those kind of challenges and face them with a positive result. He has to be able to work his way through and we expect him to be able to do that.”
For his part, Seguin downplayed being a focal point of Washington’s defensive game plan.
“I don’t really know about that. If you look at our team, there wasn’t exactly much gap between [players],” Seguin said. “We’re pretty close. We had [six] 20-goal scorers. That’s what makes our team pretty dangerous.”
“I don’t think he’s been bad at that this year whenever things were a little tough,” Julien added. “We’ve always kept a close eye on him. He’s a young prospect that we want to make sure that he continues to go in the right direction so we’ve taken time to bring him in and talk to him. Players have done the same thing. When it comes to a situation where you haven’t scored in a while or you’re a little frustrated, you go back to basics, and you stop looking at the big picture and just take a step back and keep your game maybe a little simpler but more efficient, and eventually, things come back.
“We’ve done a good job with him as far as the whole coaching staff, the players, to help him through those things. And he likes his teammates, he likes our coaching staff, he has a lot of trust in all of us where he’s not afraid to come up and say, ‘Listen, this is what’s happening here.’ Or whenever we suggest something, it’s nice to see a guy with that much talent and skill be so open to suggestions and help, as well.”
WILMINGTON — Adam McQuaid was once again absent from Bruins practice on Tuesday as he continues to deal with what the team is calling an upper-body injury.
Things got testy between coach Claude Julien and the media Monday regarding the defenseman’s status and what the identity of the injury, and on Tuesday Julien addressed injuries prior to taking questions.
“Guys, before we get going,” Julien said, “Injury update: It’s the same as yesterday. Nothing’s changed, and that’s where we are.”
McQuaid was initially hurt when he went into the end boards head-first in the Bruins’ March 29 game against the Capitals on a hit from Capitals winger Jason Chimera. The defenseman cut his eye on the play, which led to swelling. He tried to return last Thursday against the Senators while wearing a visor, but left the game in the second period. The team considers him to be day-to-day.
|Adam McQuaid absent again, Bruins work on power play||at 11:28 am ET|
WILMINGTON – Adam McQuaid was once again absent from Bruins’ practice Tuesday, as the defenseman is still out with what the team is now calling an upper-body injury.
Here are the lines and defensive pairings:
The B’s got a good amount of power play work in as well. The units are as follows.
PP1: Chara, Corvo, Krejci, Lucic, Rolston
PP2: Seidenberg, Peverley, Bergeron, Marchand, Seguin
According to the Washington Post, here are the lines from Tuesday’s practice. Note that Marcus Johansson is not on the first line with Alexander Ovechkin and Brooks Laich. Instead, Troy Brouwer is skating on the right wing on Washington’s top line.
Knuble, Halpern and Eakin working as extras
|Johnny Boychuk does everything as he returns to practice||04.09.12 at 1:37 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Johnny Boychuk‘s sprained knee is feeling better, and that could mean a return to the lineup in time for the playoffs.
The veteran defenseman returned to practice with his teammates Monday, and in addition to feeling good physically said his conditioning has not fallen off since suffering his injury last week against the Penguins.
“I felt good out there,” he said. “Just wanted to get back practicing and see how it feels. It felt pretty good, so I’ll take it day-by-day.”
Boychuk wasn’t held back at all during the practice, as he took regular turns in line rushes and participated in the team’s physical 3-on-3 drills.
“There wasn’t really any limitations,” he said. “I went on the ice a little bit yesterday and it was a little sore, so I tried it out today with some tape and a nice knee brace and it felt better.”
Claude Julien says that Boychuk is still day-to-day, and with three days until the Eastern Conference quarterfinals begin against the Capitals, No. 55 aims to be in the lineup.
“I hope so,” he said. “We’ll see how it feels every day. The main thing is just to come back 100 percent and be at your best.”
The 28-year-old defenseman, who this season was signed to a three-year, $10.08 million extension, admitted that he thought his injury was worse at the time. Boychuk remained down on the ice after trying to hit Penguins forward Aaron Asham and was eventually helped off by teammates.
Said Boychuk: “When you’re on the ice and you’ve never felt that feeling before, you don’t want really want to get up and then ‘what if it was bad and I made it worse by getting up?’ That was the first reaction when I was on the ice at least.”
WILMINGTON — The Bruins saw a familiar face on the ice Monday, as Tuukka Rask joined his teammates in their first practice in anticipation of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Rask has been out since suffering an abdomen strain/groin strain on March 3, and after being expected to miss 4-6 weeks, he seems to be on pace to be available should he be needed at some point in the postseason. After starting to skate last week, he faced shots for the first time on Monday.
“Good,” Rask said when asked how he felt after the practice. “It was good to get back on the ice with the guys and stop some shots, so it was all good.”
Rask didn’t look slowed by his injury Monday, as he moved around well and went into the butterfly position with ease.
The goalie wouldn’t say whether he thinks he’ll be on the bench for Game 1 against the Capitals Thursday, while Claude Julien said Rask remains day-to-day. The Finnish net minder was pleased with what he was able to get out of Monday’s skate, and said that he made every type of save he would need to make to feel ready without overdoing it.
“You don’t want to just go out there and hurt it again in the first practice,” he said. “I pretty much did everything I wanted to, so it was a good day.”
This injury was the first time in his Bruins career that Rask has been out for an extended period of time. While recovering, Rask said he spoke to teammates Andrew Ference and Greg Zanon, both of whom have had similar injuries in the past.
“It’s not easy,” he said. “It’s been a tough five weeks and a couple more days, just to stay out and not be able to go out with the guys and go on the road and stuff. It’s tough to not push it too much and just stay patient.”
Rask wouldn’t go into specifics regarding what his plan is in the coming days. He didn’t say whether he needs to ramp it up more, as he said is plan is to “just try to stop every puck.”
WILMINGTON — Adam McQuaid did not participate in Monday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena, the only notable absence for the B’s as they prepare for the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
McQuaid went into the end boards head-first in the Bruins’ March 29 game against the Capitals, with the Bruins defenseman cutting his eye, which led to swelling. He tried to return last Thursday against the Senators while wearing a visor, but left the game in the second period.
The plot thickened a bit regarding his actual injury after Monday’s practice, as Claude Julien would not term McQuaid’s injury an eye injury, but an “upper-body injury.” Asked whether the team was treating the injury as a concussion, Julien declined response.
“Peter [Chiarelli] addressed [McQuaid’s status] yesterday, and every day we keep going back to the same guys,” Julien said. “It’s day-to-day. It’s playoff time, and it’s day-to-day, so that’s all I’m going to say about it.”
Both Johnny Boychuk and Tuukka Rask returned to practice Monday. Rask faced shots, while Boychuk took regular turns in line rushes and took physical contact. Julien feels the two players are headed in the right direction, but noted it’s a tougher call with McQuaid.
“His situation is up in the air,” Julien said. “It could be resolved soon or later. Right now, as I told you guys the other day, we’re use being cautious. He’s day-to-day, and cautious is the approach we’ve taken.”