|Maxim Lapierre admits he got a ‘little lucky’||06.10.11 at 11:25 pm ET|
The game-winning goal off the stick of Maxim Lapierre was a “lucky” break by the admission of the man who scored it. Lapierre was positioned to the right of Tim Thomas when he took a pass off the end boards and flipped it off the backside of Thomas. The puck trickled off of Thomas’ pads and dropped over the goal line, providing the margin of victory in Vancouver’s 1-0 win in Game 5.
“I was actually going backdoor for a tip,” Lapierre told Versus in a postgame interview, referring to a pass he was expecting from Kevin Bieksa in front of Thomas. “That was a good play. We got a little lucky but we’ll take it.”
“The puck got across the line by a couple of inches and that was the difference,” added Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault in his postgame press conference.
“I don’t think that was necessarily the play they were going for, from where the guy shot it to where it came out, he was pretty wide,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Bieksa’s pass from the right . “Normally, those pucks from where he shot it don’t come out there. Nonetheless, you make your own breaks. I think tonight – as a whole – they were the better team. I think we have to acknowledge that because if we don’t, we’re not going to be a better team the next game.”
Roberto Luongo – who stopped all 31 shots in the shutout – had his own take when asked if making saves like the one that got by Thomas are difficult.
“It’s not hard if you’re playing in the paint,” Luongo said, referring to Thomas’ aggressive approach. “It’s an easy save for me but if you’re wandering out and aggressive like he does, that’s going to happen.”
As for coming out stronger and outhitting the Bruins, 47-27, Lapierre said the Canucks were more in control.
“We played with a little more confidence and were more patient,” Lapierre said on his postgame TV interview. “It was good for us.”
Game 6 is now a must-win for the Bruins back in Boston Monday night. If the Bruins win, Game 7 is back in Vancouver Wednesday night.
Orr has enjoyed staying close with the city of Boston since retiring and being a small part of this championship run.
“There are a lot of guys that are responsible for making hockey what it is in Boston,” Orr said. “I’m happy to be part of that. To be there the other night, the atmosphere was incredible. To see how this team has come along, how they’ve put it together. All season long they’ve had their bumps, but they’ve always answered the bell.
“The fourth game, in my mind, they just dominated every part of the game. They didn’t make a mistake. They were so solid. I thought they were even better in the fourth game than the third game. I think guys like [Milan] Lucic and [Zdeno] Chara played their very best games in the fourth game. I was so happy to be part of it, to watch this team. It’s been a thrill.”
Orr said that he’s not surprised the Bruins are two games from winning the Cup.
“They’ve shown so much character,” Orr said. “It’s wonderful to watch. And if you look, they’re getting something from everybody. Horton gets hurt, [Rich] Peverley steps in. [Michael] Ryder gets one the other night. Tim Thomas has been a star all year. [Brad] Marchand, this kid is incredible. This kid has played so so well. They’re getting production from everybody. Am I surprised? No, I’m not surprised.”
Orr joked that coach Claude Julien wouldn’t appreciate his offensive-minded playing style as he doesn’t fit the coach’s reserved game plan.
“Coach wouldn’t like me,” Orr said. “I don’t think he would like me taking off all the time. I was lucky. I played with a team that let me do my thing. I was owned by them when I was 14. If they have wanted me to change my style [they would have]. That’s the way I was most effective.”
Chara might play the same position as Orr, but he is as different a defenseman as they come. Orr spoke about Chara’s defensive abilities, as well as his length.
“Moving guys out of the way,” Orr said. “His reach. Nobody’s going to beat him on a one-on-one. He can keep it so far away from them. You’re not going to get close enough to him to get around him.”
Added Orr: “What you have to do is pick up his stick. ‘¦ I have a difficult time lifting it.”
Regarding Nathan Horton, who suffered a severe concussion in Game 3, Orr said that he is progressing.
“He’s doing fine,” Orr said. “Obviously he has headaches. ‘¦ Hopefully he’ll play and all the rest, but longterm health is what we’re concerned with now.”
“Certainly it was a late hit,” Orr said. “It was a high hit. It was an illegal hit. Those are the kind of hits we must get rid of. ‘¦ They must get rid of those high hits. I don’t understand why the players can’t body check. … Any hits to the head, accidental or not, have to be a penalty.”
Former NHL player and current Vancouver radio host Ray Ferraro joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday afternoon to talk about the Stanley Cup finals. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Ferraro was a guest before Game 3 of the finals and has seen the Canucks fan base get much more worried since Boston knotted the series at 2-2.
“It’s a cloudy, gray day here in Vancouver,” Ferraro said. “While everybody seems to want to to believe, they’ve clearly seen that a team that they’d only seen one time in the regular season is a hell of a lot better than they thought. And you guys know, you see somebody in a short sample and you make this instant evaluation. They’re not fast enough. They’re not going to be able to hit our players.”
Added Ferraro: “They found out the game can change in a hurry. And you don’t get to be one of the final two teams by not being very good. I guess the way I would sum what I’ve seen this is that just like in life there are different ways to do the same thing. The Bruins go about it one way and the Canucks go about it a different way. And one way’s not better than the other, it’s just different. And here we sit tied 2-2.”
Former Bruin and current TV analyst Mike Milbury recently joked about Henrik and Daniel Sedin, calling them “Thelma and Louise.” When asked if he thought the identical twins needed to become tougher, Ferraro said it’s not going to happen.
“They can’t. You can’t change who you are,” he said. “The Sedins aren’t going to physically challenge anybody. I think one of their biggest problems is that they’ve gotten involved in a little bit of the extracurricular stuff. Boston’s pushing them around and they’re trying to push back. There’s no point in it. There’s no point for the Sedins. The push back has to be being stronger on the puck, winning a puck battle and when you get a power play, hurt the Bruins that way. They’re not going to hurt them physically. Mike calling them ‘Thelma and Louise’ of course it sounds great and it’s great TV, but ask him if he was coaching if he’d want the back-to-back Art Ross Trophy winners on his team. I hope he’d say yes. If not, he’d be, well, on TV.”
With the Stanley Cup finals down to a best-of-three series, two countries’ worth of media can’t help but comment on the series.
The Toronto Star’s Dan Robson hasn’t enjoyed the pettiness and immaturity by both the Canucks and the Bruins, calling them ‘fifth-grade versions of themselves.’
Wrote Robson: ‘The Bruins and Canucks have gone classless-tit for gutless-tat all series long.’
ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun, meanwhile, has focused on the games themselves, seeing Vancouver’s road losses to the Bruins by a combined score of 12-1 reflect numerous issues with the Canucks, ranging from poor goalie play to a lack of team confidence.
‘They head home with their confidence shaken, their goalie perhaps rattled and their passionate fan base unquestionably believing 40 years of misery will continue with one more giant heartbreak headed their way,’ LeBrun wrote Thursday.
Gord McIntyre, a writer for Vancouver-based newspaper the Province, wrote Friday that the media and much of the NHL wants to see the Canucks lose, that they have become the villains of the NHL. His article cited such examples as Versus commentator Mike Milbury calling Daniel and Henrik Sedin ‘Thelma and Louise,’ a Chicago reporter seeing a picture of Cher and saying ‘Luongo,’ and Blackhawks center Dave Bolland saying the team played ‘sort of like a little girl.’
Helene Elliot of the Chicago Tribune wrote Thursday that the Bruins’ success is based on Tim Thomas‘ success, and Thomas’ success is based on his ‘feistiness.’ Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.com wrote a similar article Thursday, but added that the Canucks don’t respect Thomas’ aggression and talent. MacMullan quoted Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa as calling Thomas ‘leaky,’ and wrote that, according to the Canucks, simply shooting more will expose Thomas’ weaknesses.
|GQ’s Jonah Keri: ‘No one wants’ Bruins to win||06.09.11 at 4:31 pm ET|
In a piece written for GQ.com entitled “The Boston Bruins vs. The World,” noted sportswriter Jonah Keri has a simple but sharp message for the Bruins and their fans.
After spending a few paragraphs discussing the “We want the Cup” chant that has filled the TD Garden and discussing how every other NHL team wants a Stanley Cup, Keri writes, “But you, Bruins fans? No one wants you to have it.”
He notes that there are plenty of good reasons to root for the B’s. Among them are Tim Thomas‘s long journey to stardom, Alexandre Burrows‘s bite on Patrice Bergeron and Nathan Horton‘s season-ending concussion. But Keri still adds “You know what? We’re still not rooting for you.”
His main reasoning behind this thesis is that Boston fans complain of “The Drought,” the 39-year period since the B’s have lost won the Stanley Cup, when the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics have all took home trophies in the last decade. Since Keri claims that all Bruins fans also root for these other squads, there should be no remorse for those who don the black and gold.
“You sound like the douchebag who [expletive] that, after the three-bedroom in Tribeca, the place in the Hamptons, the kids’ boarding school, the annual trips to Paris and Aruba, the four cars, and two alimonies, you’ve barely got enough left for that third bottle of Dom at Per Se,” Keri writes before concluding, “We feel for the 12 Bruins fans who’ve shunned the city’s other franchises and waited nearly 40 years for their shot. The rest of you? Prepare yourselves for heartbreak. Until the day after Vancouver wins the Cup, when you can watch your first-place Red Sox try to break Boston’s Three-Year Curse.”
|Claude Julien: ‘We’ve got to bring our game with us’||at 12:16 pm ET|
Now comes the hard part.
The Bruins have turned the 2011 Stanley Cup finals upside down. They have overcome two remarkably heartbreaking losses in Vancouver by not just beating the Canucks on their Garden home ice but running the Sedin twins and the rest of the Western Conference champs right out of the building.
The Bruins dominated in every way possible, outscoring the Canucks, 12-1, in the two wins to even the series and turn it into a best-of-3.
Now, the Bruins have to carry that momentum with them on their cross-continent flight and translate it enough on the Rogers Arena ice on Friday night to give them a chance to win the Cup on that same Garden ice on Monday night.
How do they do it?
“I think we’ve got to bring our game with us, simple as that,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We have to bring our game. That has to continue in Vancouver. It doesn’t matter where you are, you got to play the same way whether you’re at home or on the road.”
And that mean laying out the hits, doing everything possible to keep the aggressive Tim Thomas in his comfort zone between the pipes, and continuing an amazing run on the penalty kill.
In the two wins, the Bruins outhit the Canucks 67-58 and Thomas stopped a remarkable 78 of 79 shots on goal, primarily because he saw nearly every single one of them. That’s where it gets tricky. The Canucks will no doubt run more bodies at Thomas in front and the Bruins defenseman must continue to clear bodies away. Read the rest of this entry »
After all, Nathan Horton has done it all this postseason for the Bruins – especially in the clutch. There was the overtime winner in Game 5 against Montreal. There was the overtime winner in Game 7 against Montreal.
And there was game-winner against Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
But Horton won’t be playing anymore this season. Peverley was moved up to the top line of David Krejci and Milan Lucic and responded with first and last goals of a 4-0 thumping of the Canucks to even the series at 2-2 going back to Vancouver.
Peverley wasn’t informed he was on the top line until just before the game.
“Just before warm-ups,” Peverley said when asked when he found out he was playing on the top line. “I had no idea who was going to go in there, if it was going to be me or [Michael Ryder]. Rydes took a lot of shifts with them too. [Tyler Seguin] was in there, too. Nothing is set in stone.
“I haven’t contributed as well as I think I could, offensively. Anytime you can help out, especially in this environment, you want to do so.”
Julien has experimented with different looks for his top line and came to the conclusion before Game 4 that Peverley was his choice.
“We had different looks,” Julien said. “We saw [Michael] Ryder go up there a few times as well when Rich was killing penalties. I said I’d use different players at that position. Pev’s got good speed. Their line had forechecks pretty well with Lucic on one side. We thought we’d keep that going. He still has pretty decent hands. We thought we would start with that. Michael is another guy who can fit on that line as well. Certainly Tyler [Seguin] was a consideration. His skill and speed level on that line at times also.”