|Shawn Thornton: ‘To get a standing ovation in a visiting arena is pretty special’||11.05.14 at 12:32 am ET|
If ever Shawn Thornton wanted a reminder of what he meant to Bruins fans over the last seven years, he got it in a 45-second tribute in the first period Tuesday night at TD Garden.
As they did with the return of Johnny Boychuk two weeks earlier, the Bruins gave a video tribute on the large monitors above center ice midway through the first period. It featured him holding up the Stanley Cup in 2011, scoring a goal and naturally some of his better fisticuffs over his time in black and gold.
He showed his appreciation by waving his stick in the air.
“It’s pretty touching you know,” Thornton said. “Very, very kind, very gentle. Gentle? That’s not the word I was looking for. To get a standing ovation in a visiting arena is pretty special and I appreciate it. The fans have always been great to me here and again tonight. It’s pretty nice.”
Thornton, who signed a two-year, $2.4 million deal on July 1, played 17 shifts and spent 14 minutes on the ice as coach Gerard Gallant used his whole bench. He finished with one shot, one takeaway and four hits, but no fights.
“Well, Turk rolls four lines so I think he has had confidence in our line all year,” Thornton said. “Again tonight was another case of that. I think it’s nice to have two guys in Mack [Derek MacKenzie] and Kopy [Tomas Kopecky] that I’m playing with, it makes life a little easier for me. It’s nice to have the trust in us to put us out there.”
|Claude Julien, with contract extension in hand, still ‘has fire in the belly’ to win another Stanley Cup||11.03.14 at 2:25 pm ET|
Claude Julien was finally ready to talk about his good news on Monday.
After finalizing the terms of his new contract on Sunday morning, Julien felt comfortable enough to talk about what the extension means to him.
“I feel just as hungry this time around as I was before we won our first one,” Julien said. “I’m excited to have an opportunity to have a team that can compete for that and be part of it.
“I’m happy. We finalized the details [Sunday] morning and there was still some work to be done in our discussions. I’m happy to be here because as far as I’m concerned, this is a great team here. We have an opportunity every year to at least be contenders for the Stanley Cup.”
After bringing Boston its first Stanley Cup in 39 years in 2011, Julien was awarded a contract extension one year later in July 2012. He reached the Stanley Cup finals in 2013 before his team went out to the Canadiens last year in the second round. But all the while, Julien said Monday after his team’s practice, that the fire and hunger still burns inside him.
“I think my focus has to be 100 percent here, and it has been,” Julien said. “I think the thing I feel the most that’s important right now is no matter what we’ve accomplished, I’m really still very hungry to win another Stanley Cup. You want to succeed. And you when you start getting tired of doing that is when I think you become weaker as a coach. I really feel strongly about this organization and the direction it wants to go in. I feel strongly about my intentions of wanting to win. I was just as disappointed as anybody else last year because I really felt we had a team to go all the way. So, you come back and you’re hungry, and you have that and what they call the fire in the belly, I’m extremely happy in this organization, as long as they want me.”
“We have worked at this for a few months, but there was never any doubt in my mind that this would get done,” general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a statement. “Claude is one of the top coaches in the NHL and has consistently shown a passion for winning through his coaching. Coaching is a difficult profession at the best of times and what Claude does in implementing structure in his systems, and having a solid defensive foundation while allowing freedom in offensive play is no easy task. During his time with the Bruins, he has excelled in maintaining this difficult balance, and his longevity here speaks volumes. He has coached the Bruins to a Stanley Cup and a Cup Final appearance and our goal to win with him at the helm remains the same as we move forward.”
Julien said he was in no rush to extend his contract simply because he know Chiarelli had bigger matters on his plate, like dealing the salary cap and the unpopular trade of Johnny Boychuk.
“This has been in the works for longer than that,” Julien said. “It wasn’t even an argument-type thing. To be honest with you, Peter, in my mind, had a lot more important things to do than to worry about signing me. We all know that all of the stuff of signing players and everything else. It was a mutual agreement between us to let him deal with his stuff and mine would come around eventually. It was just that it leaked out Saturday but we weren’t done yet. We just finalized everything and now it’s time to move on and hopefully, after today, turn the page.”
|Pierre McGuire on MFB: ‘I believe [Bruins] will find a way’||10.30.14 at 2:07 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB in advance of Thursday night’s Bruins game with the Sabres and to talk about the injuries the Bruins have been forced to deal with. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Bruins have lost two of their last three games, including two, one-goal games at home — the latest a 4-3 loss to the Wild where they blew a two-goal lead in the third period. McGuire stressed even if the Bruins were to lose to Buffalo Thursday night, it would not be a time to panic.
“It’s an 82-game schedule,” McGuire said. “This isn’t football, it’s not every week being a Super Bowl game. You have to understand there are ebbs and flows in every season and there’s huge peaks and gigantic valleys that you have to climb out of. This reminds me so much of what Detroit went through last year without [Henrik] Zetterberg and [Pavel] Datsyuk — they had so many key injuries. Jimmy Howard was not doing well due to injury and illness. Everyone said they wouldn’t make the playoffs – 22 years in a row they made it, 23 won’t happen — but, guess what? They found a way.
“I believe this Boston Bruins team will find a way and a lot of those young players are getting an opportunity to play now, they are going to be the beneficiaries in this.”
Added McGuire: “I’m bullish on the Bruins, I really am. There’s no substitute for grit and there’s no substitute for maturity and this is a mature leadership kind of team that has a tremendous amount of grit.”
The Bruins have had a number of injuries to their defensive group, including Zdeno Chara (ligament tear in knee), Torey Krug (broken finger), Kevan Miller (upper-body) on top of the trade of Johnny Boychuk to the Islanders before the season. McGuire says this is a time for three other Bruins defensemen to step up, as well as an important stretch for assistant coach Doug Houda.
“The biggest thing is – limited ice time — this is where Doug Houda, who is not a real big-name on the Bruins, but he’s the assistant coach that changes the defense, he’s got to really pay attention to matchups,” said McGuire. “This is where [Dennis] Seidenberg has to play like he played in Toronto the other night — almost 26 minutes, he was really good. Dougie Hamilton obviously was fantastic in that game. He’s going to have to be good. This is where you need Adam McQuaid to be a little bit more stable and better with the puck. Those three guys are going to have to be a lot better, especially when you consider not having Chara, Krug and the trading of Boychuk.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Seth Griffith makes like Bobby Orr, but Bruins ruin it with 3rd-period meltdown||10.29.14 at 12:05 am ET|
No Stanley Cup was on the line Tuesday night at TD Garden, but Seth Griffith certain woke up the Gallery Gods echos when he made like Bobby Orr of May 10, 1970, and flew through the air to score what was, at the time, the go-ahead goal in the second period.
But the trouble with this airborne goal is that it wasn’t the final goal of the season. It wasn’t even in the final goal of the game.
The Bruins would score again, on a power-play tally from Milan Lucic, to go ahead 3-1 entering the third period. But the final 20 minutes featured a meltdown as the Wild outworked the Bruins and came away with a 4-3 win at TD Garden.
Still, the Griffith goal is what many Bruins fans will take with them out the door as the lone highlight. Gregory Campbell made it all possible when he rushed the net, drew a defender and left Griffith alone to come down the slot and finish it off. It was the rookie’s second goal of the night and third of the season. He also added an assist and was just a fight shy of the Gordie Howe hat trick.
“It’s kind of hard to be happy but two goals — obviously the win is more important,” Griffith said. “It’s too bad we didn’t have a very good third.”
|Johnny Boychuk has an ‘interesting’ return to Boston||10.24.14 at 1:41 am ET|
The toughest part of Thursday night’s return to Boston for Johnny Boychuk came during the national anthem.
“Just feeling the atmosphere and being back on the ice,” Boychuk said. “I tried not to look anywhere but just concentrate, and be prepared for the game. That was the most difficult part, but after the first couple shifts, then it’s time to get going.”
Boychuk was a plus-1 in 23 minutes and 25 shifts in the Islanders’ 3-2 win over the his former team at TD Garden. Only one of his “Johnny Rockets” found its way on net and it was stopped. He had two blocked shots and two giveaways. Boychuk did not figure in the scoring but was just happy to be apart of a night of appreciation from the Bruins fans who had watched him grow up in Boston.
“It was an interesting night,” Boychuk said. “You’re playing against that team, and you grew up with them, playing, for the last six years, you see them and you’re the opposition now. Looch [Milan Lucic] steamrolled me, so I’ll get a nice chuckle out of that when I see him. They’re a good team. We came in here, we were determined, and we held them off in the last five minutes. They had some good chances, but the other ex-Bruin [Chad Johnson] made some great saves for us, and kept us in the game when we needed it.”
If there’s any silver lining to losing your captain and best defenseman for an indefinite period, the Bruins can take some comfort in the fact they’ve been down this road before.
The Bruins lost Dennis Seidenberg to a torn ACL last season. They lost Chris Kelly to a broken leg last December and a back injury just before the playoffs. The 2013 team made the Stanley Cup finals despite the loss of Gregory Campbell to a broken leg in the Eastern Conference finals. Just last week, Kevan Miller dislocated his shoulder in a fight in Buffalo and has been lost indefinitely.
But when Islanders forward John Tavares’ right knee collided with Chara’s left knee Thursday night in the B’s 3-2 loss, there was the sense that Boston’s captain could be out a while early on in a season when the Bruins are struggling to find their identity.
That sense was apparent when talking to Bruins players in the dressing room afterward.
“He’s an irreplaceable player, so obviously him not being out there, everyone notices, us and them,” Kelly said.
But Kelly insisted that Boston’s flat second period Thursday had nothing to do with Boston getting outscored 2-0 and looking listless on the ice.
“I don’t think so. They were ready right from the opening faceoff and we weren’t,” Kelly said. “Like I said, he’s an irreplaceable player. He plays every situation for us and he’s our leader. We’re going to need to fill that void collectively as a group not just one guy is going to be able to do that.
“I though we played desperate, but they were up 3-1. They may have set back a little bit and we pushed the pace. Yeah, the third period was better but like I said, 20 minutes isn’t good enough to win hockey games.”
|Milan Lucic, Bruins show what happens when you stick with game plan, don’t panic||10.22.14 at 6:32 am ET|
There may have been frustration among those in the sellout crowd at TD Garden when the Bruins allowed two goals in the span of 37 seconds of the second period Tuesday night, leading to a 3-2 deficit after 40 minutes of play. But that was not the mood in the dressing room as the Bruins prepared to take the ice in the third.
As a matter of fact, it was the determination to stick to the game plan of throwing pucks to the net and generating traffic in front of San Jose goalie Antti Niemi that Claude Julien, Milan Lucic and others credited for scoring three in the third, en route to a 5-3 win for Boston’s first winning streak of the season.
“It was exactly what we talked about after the second,” Julien said. “I really liked our game, even the second period was probably our best second period of the season. We just had that little lapse again that allowed them to score a couple goals. Coming out for the third, I thought we were playing well enough that we could give ourselves a chance if we just stayed with it. And our guys did exactly that. We found a way to get some goals. Same old, same old, getting your nose dirty around the net, jumping on those loose pucks. [It] made a big difference.”
Lucic had his most productive and active games of the season in front of the net. The effort didn’t produce any goals off his stick but he did assist on three goals, including the game-tying goal five minutes into the third period that sent the Bruins on their way.
“I think that’s the most important thing, especially when your down, is to stick with the game plan and play desperate to get yourself back in the game,” Lucic said. “Talking in the second intermission here, going out for the third, we just talked about being positive and sticking to the game plan and giving ourselves opportunities where we can get ourselves back in the game. We did that and were able to come out with a big win.”