|Barry Pederson on D&C: Rangers’ shot-blocking style causing problems for Henrik Lundqvist||05.20.13 at 9:45 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to discuss the Bruins’ strong start to their series against the Rangers. Boston holds a 2-0 series lead following Sunday’s 5-2 victory.
The Bruins have been rejuvenated by the play of young defensemen Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton.
“I think right now they’re showing some signs of [being a better team with the rookies], just because of the element that these three young kids have brought, which is mobility, speed, I think right now playing with a lack of fear, a lot of confidence,” Pederson said. “But you can really see it, to me, from their offensive side. What I mean by that, a lot of times throughout the year when the offense has been struggling, everybody always points at the forwards. And vice versa, when the defensive game is struggling, everybody always point to the defense. I’ve always been a firm believer that your defense creates your offense, and your forwards create your defense.
“So, these guys are doing a really good job, to me, by jumping into plays, recognizing when there are outnumbered opportunities to make it a three-on-two, a four-on-three. Hamilton did a good job of that yesterday as well as Bartkowski and Krug. For now they’re doing I think a really good job of creating some offense and … they are bringing a little bit of speed and mobility that maybe the Bruins have not had back there in a while.”
With the strong play by the rookies, it’s led to a discussion about what coach Claude Julien will do if and when injured veterans Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden are ready to return. Pederson said he does not anticipate a problem in the locker room.
“The guys recognize what this is all about, is trying to win hockey games,” he said. “It’s one of those problems that you love to have. … You can never have enough good, young defensemen, because they’re first of all hard to come by. And it’s a situation where these guys right now are playing this way. We’ll see how things go when you go into a more hostile environment in New York.”
Added Pederson: “I think if I had to look at how I would rank them, the rookies being taken out, starting with the first guy, I would probably take a look at Hamilton, it would probably go Krug, and then last would be Bartkowski to be removed from the lineup when and if they came back.
“If Redden was the first guy back, I’m not so sure if I would make a move quite yet. These guys have, I think, kind of earned an opportunity to continue. If it was Dennis Seidenberg who was healthy, there’s no doubt that he’s coming back immediately. I just don’t get a sense with Ference that he’s even that close, but again we don’t know anything about the injuries, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
|Adam McQuaid a finalist for Masterton Trophy||05.14.13 at 1:59 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was named a finalist for the Bill Masterton Trophy, which is awarded to “the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” The other finalists are Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Wild goalie Josh Harding.
McQuaid had to overcome a scary situation during the lockout, as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome caused blood clots to form that made his right arm swell significantly in September. He needed surgery for it, but because it was during the lockout he could not do it with the guidance of the Bruins. He ended up gaining back the weight that he lost and played in 32 regular-season games for the Bruins.
McQuaid has also played in all seven playoff games for the B’s, which has been big considering the injuries they’ve dealt with on the back end.
|Adam McQuaid on M&M: ‘It’s pretty easy to dislike who you’re playing against’||05.09.13 at 2:18 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid checked in with Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to talk about Wednesday’s night’s overtime victory over the Maple Leafs that gave the B’s a 3-1 series lead.
The intensity in this series hit a new high in Game 4, a back-and-forth game that featured plenty of hard hitting. Although Toronto doesn’t have the obvious villains like some of the Bruins’ more fierce rivals, McQuaid said it’s not difficult to develop some animosity toward the skaters in blue and white.
“We’re playing for the Stanley Cup, and the guy across from you is the one that’s trying to prevent you from getting that, so it’s pretty easy to dislike who you’re playing against. They’re trying to take something away from you,” McQuaid said. “You kind of know who you’re playing against. At the same time, we’re kind of trying to focus on ourselves and make sure that we’re playing hard.”
Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel has been surprisingly successful in this series after struggling in regular-season action against his former team.
“He’s got a lot of speed. He’s a great offensive talent,” McQuaid said. “He’s got a quick shot, so he doesn’t need much time to get a good opportunity. So, you have to do your best to try and limit his opportunities and be aware when he’s on the ice.”
Tuukka Rask had a big game Wednesday, the same day the league announced the finalists for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender. Despite posting stats that put him at the top of the list, Rask is not one of the three finalists.
“We know how valuable he is to our team and what he brings to our team,” McQuaid said. “We let him know in our eyes that he deserved to be there. Some guys are joking around that he’s just going to have to be better next year. … We know how important he is to our team and how good he is. There was a little bit of surprise that he wasn’t nominated. But like I said, his value within our team, we know how important he is.”
McQuaid has been paired in this series with Wade Redden, the veteran who spent two years in the minors before returning to the NHL this season and being acquired by the Bruins from the Blues at the trade deadline in April.
“He’s a guy that has a ton of experience,” McQuaid said. “Him going through what he went through the last couple of years I think speaks volumes to the type of person he is. To persevere through that. I was just happy to see him have the success that he’s had. I feel pretty fortunate to have a D partner like that.
|Big night from top line helps Bruins past Maple Leafs in Game 3||05.06.13 at 9:49 pm ET|
TORONTO — The Air Canada Centre crowd didn’t have as much energy as was expected Monday night — and neither did the Maple Leafs — as the B’s beat Toronto, 5-2, in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Adam McQuaid got the Bruins on the board at 13:42 of the first period with a slap shot from the point, giving the Bruins four goals from defensemen this series. The Bruins expanded their lead when Rich Peverley scored the third line’s first goal of the series in the second to make it 2-0 after a nice steal by Jaromir Jagr, but a Jake Gardiner power-play goal following a Tyler Seguin tripping penalty brought the Leafs to within one.
Nathan Horton scored his third goal in as many games, and Daniel Paille scored a shorthanded breakaway goal to make it 4-1. Phil Kessel scored his second goal of the postseason to make it a two-goal game, but Tuukka Rask kept the door closed from there, with David Krejci tallying an empty-netter to finish it off.
The B’s and Leafs will play Game 4 on Wednesday night, with the series returning to Boston on Friday for Game 5.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
• For a line that rightfully was surrounded by questions heading into the postseason, the Bruins’ top line has been very good for the B’s thus far. Krejci’s goal was the seventh goal this series the Krejci line has been on the ice for, and how about this for a stat: Milan Lucic has more points (six) in three postseason games this year than he had over his final 12 games of the regular season.
• Speaking of that line, Horton now has a goal in each game this postseason. In 24 career playoff games, Horton has 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points. It’s safe to say he’s a playoff performer, and safer to say that he’s helping his cause as he nears free agency.
• If the NHL kept track of shorthanded scoring opportunities, you’d probably see Paille’s name near the top of the list. Paille’s smarts and speed make him a huge asset on the penalty kill, and it showed again when he picked off Kessel’s pass and turned it into a breakaway. The issue with Paille has always been finishing, but he finished beautifully with a backhander to beat James Reimer.
|Adam McQuaid happy to be in postseason this time around||05.02.13 at 4:13 pm ET|
Since stepping up and essentially putting Mark Stuart out of a job in the 2010-11 season, Adam McQuaid has been a reliable and physical presence on the blue line — when he’s there, at least.
McQuaid has dealt with a number of injuries in his time in the NHL, ranging anywhere from the normal stuff to blot clot surgery during the lockout. The toughest stretch for him to miss came late last season, when he suffered a head injury in the second to last game of the season and missed the Bruins’ first-round series against the Capitals.
This season, after missing a total of 16 games for various injuries (11 games due to a shoulder injury), McQuaid is healthy and able to play a role in what figures to be a physical series after Wednesday’s Game 1 against the Maple Leafs.
“It was disappointing last year not being able to play in the playoffs,” McQuaid said Thursday. “You play all season to get to this point, to give yourself an opportunity to play in the playoffs. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”
After returning from his shoulder injury on April 11, McQuaid played in three games before missing the Bruins’ game against the Panthers on April 23 against the Panthers with an undisclosed injury. It’s been a tough year for the rugged blueliner, but he said Thursday that he feels healthy.
One thing that will help a player in McQuaid’s case is the scheduling of this first-round series. The Bruins got two days off after the season ended, and they have two more between Games 1 and 2. Claude Julien kept the B’s off the ice Thursday in order to keep his players fresh.
“I think it’s good,” McQuaid said. “I think it’s good for everybody. No question, the schedule’s been busy, so it’s good to have a few days here and there, just make sure that we’re just getting recharged and ready to go.”
As for the physicality of Game 1, both teams played a style that suits McQuaid well. Each team came out hitting hard and finishing their checks, though the physicality turned to choppiness as the game got out of hand in a 4-1 Bruins win.
“It’s playoff hockey,” McQuaid said. “It’s gong to be a long series, and I think both teams are just trying to compete hard.”
|Nathan Horton out for Bruins vs. Flyers||04.22.13 at 1:58 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins forward Nathan Horton will not travel with the team to Phildalphia for Tuesday’s game against the Flyers, B’s coach Claude Julien said following Monday’s practice. Horton, who appeared to suffer a left wrist injury while fighting Jarome Iginla on Saturday (the team is terming it an upper-body injury) left Saturday’s game and did not play Sunday or practice Tuesday.
Adam McQuaid, who was hurt on a hit from Matt Cooke Saturday and didn’t play Sunday, was on the ice Monday and will make the trip to Philadelphia. It is unknown whether he will be in Boston’s lineup against the Flyers.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Nathan Horton, Adam McQuaid out vs. Panthers||04.21.13 at 12:13 pm ET|
The Bruins were without right wing Nathan Horton and defenseman Adam McQuaid Sunday against the Panthers after the two suffered injuries in Saturday’s loss to the Penguins.
Horton appeared to injure his left wrist while fighting Penguins forward Jarome Iginla in the first period of Saturday’s game, while McQuaid was hurt on a hit from Matt Cooke. Claude Julien told reporters Sunday morning that both players are day-to-day.
With Horton and McQuaid out, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton were both back in the lineup after serving as healthy scratches Saturday.
In a bit of a surprise move, Tuukka Rask got the nod vs. the Panthers after starting Saturday, marking the first time this season that Rask has started on back-to-back days.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
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