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Barry Melrose on D&C: ‘It’s going to be a tough year for the Bruins’ 10.08.15 at 9:39 am ET
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Barry Melrose

Barry Melrose

ESPN NHL hockey analyst Barry Melrose joined Dennis, Callahan & Minihane on Thursday morning to look ahead to the 2015-16 NHL season. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

With the Bruins’ disappointing season last year, he feels coach Claude Julien is under pressure right away.

“I think he is. I don’t think he should be,” Melrose said. “I think Claude is a heck of a coach, won a Stanley Cup in Boston. They had a long drought, there was no Stanley Cup winners and he comes in and gets the job done and the team is good every year. I think he’s under pressure. Boston is a team that expects to win. They expect the Red Sox to win, the Patriots to win, the Celtics to win and they expect Boston to win. It’s going to be a tough year for the Bruins. They are not the dominant Bruins they once were. Everybody got a little bit better in the East and it is going to take Claude’s best coaching job he’s ever done in his life to make this a playoff team and give them a chance of winning.”

This past offseason the team lost a number of key players, including Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic. Melrose says their margin for error is very small.

“Are they as good today as they were last year? I don’t think so,” he said. “I think what has to happen for the Bruins now is they don’t have any margin anymore. The Bruins used to be able to overcome an injury or overcome maybe a struggling player here or there, but I don’t think they can anymore. I think the Bruins have to get plays from their kids, they have to get great games from [Patrice] Bergeron, [David] Krejci and [Zdeno] Chara. They can’t afford any injuries to key players. Tuukka Rask probably has to play the best he’s ever played and they just don’t have any margin for error anymore with their lineup.

“If all those things happen they are a playoff team, but if all of a sudden Bergeron misses six weeks or Krejci, who has been hurt a lot lately, misses six weeks, Chara is already starting the year hurt, [Dennis] Seidenberg is already gone for two months, so that’s going to be tough. They’ve been able to overcome those before, I don’t know if they will be able to overcome those now.”

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Read More: Barry Melrose, Claude Julien, Zdeno Chara,
Barry Melrose on MFB: Bruins need more than Brett Connolly to make playoffs 03.02.15 at 11:57 am ET
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Barry Melrose

Barry Melrose

ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose joined Middays with MFB to discuss the NHL trade deadline and the Bruins’ playoff prospects heading into the stretch run. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Sunday night, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli traded two second-round draft picks to the Lightning for 22-year-old forward Brett Connolly.

“I like Connolly,” Melrose said. “He’s a good young player. I think he’s certainly somebody down the road that could play some big minutes for the Boston Bruins. But I don’t know if he’s good enough to put them in the playoffs.”

Added Melrose: “[Connolly] is a good player, he’s a good young kid, he’s been successful where he’s been, but he’s not ready to change the fortunes of the Boston Bruins right now.”

The trade deadline is Monday at 3 p.m., and the Bruins still have time to make another deal.

“Make a deal, get a player that you need to make your team better,” Melrose said, discussing whether the Bruins will make more moves before the deadline. “Get [David] Krejci back, and all of a sudden you become a really good team instead of just a team hoping to make the playoffs.”

The Bruins currently occupy the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers, who recently added future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr, are just two points behind.

“You saw Jagr go to Florida, Florida’s won two games since that’s happened,” Melrose said, adding: “It basically comes down to a playoff battle between Boston and Florida, and I think they play each three times yet. I just think Boston’s got to do more to make sure that they make a playoff spot.”

Added Melrose: “If the Boston Bruins miss the playoffs right now, probably some people will lose their jobs.”

However, Melrose believes that the Bruins will be able to hold on and finish the regular season in playoff position.

“I just can’t believe that [the Bruins] will be outplayed the last 20 games of the season by the Florida Panthers,” Melrose said.

For more Bruins news, visit the team page at

Read More: Barry Melrose, Boston Bruins, Brett Connolly,
Make no mistake: Sidney Crosby is no Wayne Gretzky 06.08.13 at 9:43 pm ET
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The next time someone shouts that Sidney Crosby is today’€™s Wayne Gretzky, give a quick reminder that such an argument is a waste of breath.

The 25-year-old Crosby, who just finished his eighth year in the NHL, is an immensely talented hockey player. He forms one half of the ‘€œMega Powers’€ with teammate Evgeni Malkin for good reason, but the alleged modern-day Gretzky falls short in one area: While Crosby may be great, he is far from The Great One.

Crosby did not register one point in the Bruins’€™ four game sweep of the Penguins.

‘€œIf you look back, the chances were there,’€ Crosby said. ‘€œYou try to fight, you try to get through to the net and get rebounds, and sometimes they come to you, sometimes they don’€™t. But obviously, you score two goals as a team in four games and virtually we go without any points. That doesn’€™t sit very well.’€

There are definitely similarities between the two superstars. Both players hail from Canada and entered the league soon after their 18th birthdays. Crosby became the first teenager to lead the NHL in scoring since Gretzky achieved the feat in 1980. Just like Wayne, Sid the Kid has captured the Hart Trophy. Both players have hoisted the Stanley Cup, and there is no denying that both are wonderful ambassadors for the game of hockey. The similarities, at least up to this point in Crosby’€™s career, do not extend much further.

‘€œWhen you’re the best player in the league and you’re the face of the NHL, you are always judged by a tougher standard,’€ said ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose. ‘€œSidney’€™s judged by a very tough standard. If he doesn’€™t go out and get a goal every night, or get two or three assists every night, people say he’€™s in a slump.’€

Slump or no slump, Crosby was unable to create any offense against the Bruins. Unlike Gretzky, The Kid could not find a way to lead his team. The Great One spent a decade of pure dominance in Edmonton, putting such a fork in the Islanders dynasty that it is rarely ever discussed. He won the Stanley Cup on four occasions with the Oilers before resuscitating professional hockey in Los Angeles. As incredible as Gretzky’€™s numbers were in the regular season, his work in the playoffs was simply on another level. Gretzky holds the record for most points in one playoff year with 47 in 1985, which was accomplished in only 19 games (the Bruins, by comparison, have already played 16 games this postseason). He dished out 31 assists during the 1988 playoffs, with 10 of those coming at the expense of the Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals. Gretzky was always judged by an incredibly high standard: the one that he set for himself.

Crosby is also judged by a higher standard, but he came up short this postseason. Crosby’€™s performance likely spells the end for Pens coach Dan Bylsma. Earlier this season, Bylsma became the fastest coach ever to win 200 games. He likely will soon be known as the former coach of the Penguins, joining John Tortorella as the second coach to be dismissed after an embarrassing playoff loss to Claude Julien‘€™s big, bad Bruins.

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Read More: Barry Melrose, Esa Tikkanen, Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky
Barry Melrose on D&C: Maple Leafs have to ‘be the Boston Bruins to be successful’ 05.02.13 at 12:33 pm ET
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ESPN NHL analyst Barry Melrose talked with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to analyze the Bruins’ Game 1 victory over the Maple Leafs. Game 2 is Saturday in Boston, before the series shifts to Toronto on Monday.

After trailing 1-0 early in the first period, the Bruins quickly answered with two first-period goals and coasted to a 4-1 win.

“[The Bruins] were awesome after [Wade Redden‘s goal],” Melrose said. “They looked like the old Bruins after that. They were physical, their play in the neutral zone was great. I can probably think of 10 passes and plays intercepted by the Boston Bruins in the neutral zone. They attacked the net with ferocity. And [Tuukka] Rask, he didn’t get a lot of work, but I thought he made three or four key saves when the game was on the line. It was just what the doctor ordered if you’re a Bruins fan.”

Melrose also discussed the importance for the Maple Leafs to be more physical in the coming games, and the consequence of not doing so — a quick exit in the playoffs.

“They have to play more aggressive,” Melrose said. “They’ve got to do some hitting. Toronto’s got to play on the edge. They’ve got to be finishing checks, winning battles. They’ve got to be the Boston Bruins to be successful, and they weren’t last night. They were always retaliating, they were never initiating, and that’s got to change for the Toronto Maple Leafs. If it doesn’t, this will be a short series.”

The Maple Leafs’ top offensive weapon, Phil Kessel, was essentially neutralized by the Bruins in Game 1. This is becoming all to familiar for Kessel, as he has struggled in his career against his former team, due in large part to Zdeno Chara‘s stellar defense.

“Chara’s on the ice every time Kessel’s on the ice,” Melrose said. “That just shows how good Chara is. Year in and year out I would give Chara the Norris Trophy, he’s that good defensively and that’s what he did last night. He’s out there with that huge reach. He’s got that mean streak to him, and Kessel just has no open ice. Kessel needs room, Kessel needs some space to make plays and with Chara and that long stick and that huge reach, he just doesn’t have any time or space to make plays. Chara always eats Kessel up.”

The favorites out of the Eastern Conference are the top-seeded Penguins, who took care of the Islanders 5-0 in their playoff opener. However, as we saw last year with the Kings, anything is possible in the playoffs.

“We see that every year,” Melrose said. “We see LA last year make the eighth spot and win the Stanley Cup and win it easily. It’s about getting your game together, it’s about getting hot at the right time, it’s about great goaltending, it’s about your special team kicking in key goals at key times and stopping their power play. We see it all the time. A team that looks unbeatable at the start of the playoffs loses in four straight. So, without a doubt things can change and change very quickly.”

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Read More: Barry Melrose, Phil Kessel, Tuukka Rask, Wade Redden
Barry Melrose on M&M: ‘Boston has to win this game to have a chance of winning this series’ 06.08.11 at 2:45 pm ET
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ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose joined the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday afternoon to talk about the Stanley Cup finals and Wednesday night’s Game 4. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

When asked if he would be sitting with the Green Men at the game, Melrose joked: “I stay away from the Green Men. I can’€™t even believe they got into the country. I’€™m a little embarrassed about letting those guys in.”

He added: “We keep al-Qaida out, but we let these two guys in? What’€™s that all about?”

Melrose said that the finger-taunting in Game 3 has helped made this series an exciting one. However, it may come back to bite Boston in Game 4.

“I think [Alexandre] Burrows should’€™ve been suspended,” Melrose said. “I said that from Day 1. I think that if he would’€™ve been suspended that would’€™ve put away the finger crap. But I like the finger stuff. I thought it was funny. I had some fun with it. It’€™s interesting. Five years from now when we’€™re talking about this series, what are we going to talk about? We’€™re going to be talking about that stuff with the fingers and [Milan] Lucic and Burrows and stuff like that. I have no problem with that. It’€™s interesting. But, the NHL doesn’€™t want it.

“Obviously, the referees are going to crack down tonight. They’€™re going to be reffing very close to their vest. I think that favors Vancouver. Boston’€™s got to be aggressive. They’€™ve got to be physical. And the referees are going to be told to call everything, so we might see a lot of penalties tonight.”

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Read More: Alex Burrows, Barry Melrose, Boston Bruins, Mark Recchi
Barry Melrose on D&C: Thomas ‘only guy to talk about’ for Bruins 05.24.11 at 10:23 am ET
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Barry Melrose

ESPN NHL analyst Barry Melrose called in to the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning and predictably talked about the play of Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, who allowed just one goal on 34 shots in Boston’s 3-1 win over Tampa Bay Monday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals and made perhaps the best save of the playoffs in the third period on a shot from Tampa Bay’s Steve Downie. (To hear the entire interview, click over to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.)

“Last night, he was the only guy to talk about,” Melrose said. “The Bruins basically took the first half of the game off and left Timmy Thomas out to fend for himself. The guy was great. He was fantastic. He made that game-saving save later in the game. But right off the start, he was very solid. You could tell he was on his game. He was very aggressive. He was outside the crease. And that’s how you tell if Timmy’s ready to play or not. If he’s making saves inside the paint, it’s going to be a long night. If he’s out challenging and outside the paint and very aggressive, it’s going to be a good night for Timmy Thomas. Last night, he was really on his game.”

Melrose was also willing to discuss the Lightning situation between the pipes. Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher gave Mike Smith the start in net instead of Dwayne Roloson, who had started the previous four games in the conference finals. Despite Tampa Bay’s loss on Monday, Melrose said he would stick with Smith going forward.

“I think Mike Smith. I think number one it’s hard to go back to Roloson,” Melrose said. “You have a 41-year-old goaltender. You pull him twice. You bench him and then say, ‘Hey man, we made a mistake. We want you back.’ So I think it’s Mike Smith’s series now, win or lose. And Mike Smith played well, those two goals he gave were basically unstoppable. The guy handles the puck well. That created a lot of problems for Boston. If Boston falls asleep, Mike Smith will make that long pas and create a breakaway at the other end. So that gives Boston another thing to worry about when they’re looking at their gameplan.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Barry Melrose, Dwayne Roloson, Mike Smith, Tim Thomas
Barry Melrose on M&M: Shawn Thornton deserves to be in lineup 05.18.11 at 4:12 pm ET
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ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose joined the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday afternoon to talk about the Bruins’ 6-5 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Melrose was quick to compliment the play of Bruins rookie center Tyler Seguin, who tallied four points (two goals, two assists) in Game 2.

“He certainly rode over the horizon at the right time on his white horse because Boston needed a spark and Seguin, in the last two games, has given Boston a spark,” Melrose said.

Seguin, who scored only 11 goals in the regular season, patiently waited for his opportunity and took full advantage of it in crunch time.

“He’€™s done everything right,” Melrose said. The kid’€™s kept his mouth shut. He’€™s never complained. He’€™s never gotten his agent involved. He’€™s never gone to the press. And when he got a chance to play in Game 1, bang, he was great. And then in Game 2, when they put him on the power play, bang, he scored.

“That’€™s what he has to do. He’€™s letting his actions speak for himself, and now Claude [Julien] has to play him. And the kid doesn’€™t hurt you defensively, he competes. Is he going to win the Selke award? No. But the guy who wins the Selke isn’€™t going to make the plays that Seguin is making either.”

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Read More: Barry Melrose, Claude Julien, Patrice Bergeron, Rick Middleton
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