|Brad Marchand: Nobody gave Bruins a chance vs. Penguins||06.07.13 at 11:58 pm ET|
Brad Marchand said prior to the Eastern Conference finals that the Bruins were “in over our heads” against the Penguins, but after completing the sweep of the top-seeded Pittsburgh club seemed to relish the role of the underdog. Speaking after the game, Marchand had the following exchange with a reporter:
Question: “A week ago nobody would have predicted that you guys would sweep the Penguins. Is it any –”
Marchand: “Nobody predicted that we were going to win at all.”
The left wing was then asked how satisfying it was to win in the fashion that Boston did, to which he replied, “It’s very satisfying. People keep counting us out, and we’re happy to be where we’re at.”
Asked what was behind his logic when he made the statement about the Bruins being in over their heads, Marchand replied, “We were just saying what you guys told us.”
Underdogs or not, the Bruins will await the winner of Blackhawks and Kings series in the Stanley Cup finals.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Don Cherry on D&C: Brad Marchand ‘no pest’||at 12:15 pm ET|
Hockey Night in Canada analyst Don Cherry checked in with Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Cherry already is looking forward to a Bruins-Blackhawks Stanley Cup finals.
“Every guy on that team has an edge, and they play with an edge, the Bruins,” Cherry said. “I don’t know when they get on against Chicago and that. But I know one thing, boy, they’re playing smoking now. And when Chicago wins — and they’re going to win, too — that’s going to be a bang-up series. Chicago doesn’t hit — I know I’m jumping ahead a little here — but they’d better be ready because it’s going to be a tough series for them. There’s a few guys on Chicago that I think you’re going to hear footsteps.”
Cherry credited Claude Julien with using a more cautious strategy in overtime of Game 3.
“One thing I’ve never seen before in the playoffs or any time: Everybody, when you get in the OT, you always say attack, get it over with quick, attack, attack, get it in the first five minutes. The Bruins, if you watch, they had five guys back. I’ve never seen it before. They had five guys back, waiting for them to come, sitting and waiting for a break. I’ve never seen that before. And they got the break when [Jaromir] Jagr took the puck off [Evgeni] Malkin, and they went in. ‘¦ You watch, just before the goal, they were back at the red line, waiting for a break. Boy, it really paid off, I’ll tell you.”
“He’s not a pest,” Cherry said. “A pest is a guy that will get you about three or four goals, or five or six goals, that will go around jabbing guys and stuff like that. This guy is above all that because he can score goals. He’s what you call a good player that goes around looking for trouble, causes disturbances and that. ‘¦ You just can’t call him a pest or dirty or anything like that, he’s too good a player for that. He’s above that stuff. He’s just a good, honest, hard player that can score goals. That’s the why I look at it. He’s no pest.”
Gregory Campbell has become a cult hero for playing with a broken leg after blocking a shot on the penalty kill in the second period of Game 3.
“There’s no other sport in the world [in which] a guy will play with a broken leg. ‘¦ That’s the spirit of the Bruins,” Cherry said.
|Peter Taglianetti on M&M: Brad Marchand could near Matt Cooke territory||06.06.13 at 2:00 pm ET|
Framingham native and former Penguin Peter Taglianetti checked in with Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to chime as a voice from the other side of the ongoing Eastern Conference finals, and said Brad Marchand might want to watch out. Sooner or later, the scrappy Bruins forward could be viewed similarly to how Matt Cooke is now.
Cooke has drawn the ire of hockey fans everywhere and Bruins fans in particular for a series of dirty hits throughout his career, most recently after a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting defenseman Adam McQuaid from behind in Game 1.
While Marchand is not on that level, Taglianetti compared the two.
‘If you guys had Matt Cooke, you guys would love him. If the Penguins had Marchand, they would love him. He plays on the edge,’ Taglianetti said. ‘I don’t think [Marchand is] dirty-dirty, but he plays with that little edge that you sit there and go, ‘Wow, you better watch yourself.’ The one thing that I’d give him as a piece of advice, at some point ‘¦ this guy is going to get a reputation and he’s going to be put in that same [group] Matt Cooke is soon.’
Taglianetti, disappointed in the Peguins play thus far that has led to the Bruins’ 3-0 series lead, pinned it in the lacked of fundamentals. He cited Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang getting tied up in front of the net in Wednesday’s Game 3 as an example.
‘Little things like that irk the hell out of me,’ Taglianetti said. ‘Not knowing who is on the ice, or trying to make a stretch pass when the team’s bottling up the neutral zone ‘ there’s a lot of little things that the mentality of the game just doesn’t seem to be there.’
As for the atmosphere in Pittsburgh, well, it’s about how you’d expect. People are worried, frustrated.
‘I probably couldn’t use the words people are saying,’ he said. ‘You don’t have to be a superstar to be a leader. A lot of people around here are wondering who is supposed to be leading this team.’
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Penguins ‘were stunned more than quit’||06.04.13 at 12:07 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire checked in with Mut & Merloni on Tuesday morning to break down the Bruins’ 6-1 victory over the Penguins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.
The Penguins have been the harder-hitting team in the first two games, but the Bruins have dominated on the scoreboard. McGuire said the Pens are making the same mistake they did a year ago, altering their style to try to match a more physical opponent.
“They didn’t learn their lesson from last year against Philadelphia. They tried to do the same thing with Philadelphia last year and they got banged out,” McGuire said. “You saw the frustration with [Sidney] Crosby, you saw the frustration with [Evgeni] Malkin, you saw the frustration with [Kris] Letang. You’re seeing a lot of the same stuff right now.
“[Penguins general manager] Ray Shero tried to address it. That’s why he brought in Brenden Morrow, that’s why he brought in Jarome Iginla, that’s why he brought in Jussi Jokinen, that’s why he brought in Douglas Murray — older players that can maybe stabilize situations if there were negative times in a playoff run. It hasn’t worked so far in this round. We’ll see.
“This is my one caveat to everybody: I did the last series between Detroit and Chicago, and there was so much frustration on the Chicago side of things [when the Blackhawks were down 3-1] it was unbelievable. They were melting down before everybody’s eyes. And then they just role-reversed it and eventually won the series. Anything can happen. But the Bruins have really earned to be in this position. They really merit where they are right now.”
While the Penguins have shown a lack of focus and discipline, the Bruins appear to be playing with more intensity.
Said McGuire: “There’s a heart there, there’s a soul there. There’s a Bruin passion. ‘¦ There’s a lot to be said about the character of the city of Boston, about the players that represent the city of Boston and about the fans that go to the games there and watch the games. There’s a lot to be said. I think emotion matters a lot in our sport, and there’s a lot to be said about ‘Boston Strong.’ ”
|Bruins light up Penguins in Game 2||06.03.13 at 10:36 pm ET|
PITTSBURGH — The Bruins offense has been the only one to show up offensively, and it led them to a 6-1 victory over the Penguins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday. The B’s now hold a 2-0 series lead after taking both games in Pittsburgh.
Brad Marchand, who had just two goals in the Bruins’ first 13 playoff games, turned in a big night with two goals, which came in the first and final minutes of the first period.
Sidney Crosby gave the puck away at the blue line on the first shift of the game, with Marchand racing his way to a breakaway and beating Tomas Vokoun with a wrist shot glove side. Goals from Nathan Horton and David Krejci in a two-minute span later in the period prompted Dan Bylsma to replace Vokoun with Marc-Andre Fleury.
Less than three minutes after the change, Brandon Sutter scored the Penguins’ first goal of the series with 34 seconds left in the first, but Patrice Bergeron‘s line negated any optimism the Penguins could have brought into the intermission by turning some good neutral zone work into a rush that resuled in Marchand’s second of the night with nine seconds left in the period.
The teams skated to a scoreless second period before Bergeron took a feed from Jaromir Jagr in the offensive zone with plenty of open net and made it 5-1. Johnny Boychuk poured salt on the wound with a slap shot goal from the point with just over a minute to play.
Interestingly enough, the last team to come back from an 0-2 deficit in the conference finals and win was the 1991 Penguins, who came back against the Bruins en route to winning the Stanley Cup. The series will head to Boston, with Game 3 being played Wednesday and Game 4 Friday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
— The Penguins’ offensive stars have been duds through two games. Crosby had two bad turnovers, one of which led to a goal in the first minute of the game, and none of the Penguins’ top six forwards have managed a point through 120 minutes this series. Jarome Iginla got behind Zdeno Chara to set himself up for a good opportunity on a rebound from an Evgeni Malkin shot in the first period off a rush, but he fanned on it. Bylsma switched James Neal and Pascal Dupuis late in the second period.
|Penguins not buying Bruins’ underdog talk||05.30.13 at 2:11 pm ET|
PITTSBURGH — The “B” on the Bruins’ jerseys should stand for “Boucher,” because the Bruins are taking a Guy Boucher-like approach to the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins.
Two years ago, the then-Lightning coach played the underdog card strongly against the Bruins, saying that the Lightning would be hard-pressed to “solve” the “enigma” that was Tim Thomas. Now, it’s the Bruins who are volunteering just what an uphill climb they face, with Brad Marchand telling reporters Wednesday that the Bruins are “in over our heads” vs. the offensively loaded Penguins.
The Penguins aren’t buying it.
“I wouldn’t read into that too much at this point,” Sidney Crosby said after Thursday’s practice. “It doesn’t really matter who’s favored or who’s not. Two pretty good hockey teams who have gotten to this point and want the same thing, so all the other stuff doesn’t really matter.”
While the Penguins don’t have a problem with being labeled as favorites, they can appreciate that a team labeling itself the underdog is simply a means of trying to gain an us-against-the-world mentality.
“I think we’re pretty focused on just preparing ourselves,” Brooks Orpik said. “If that motivates them, then great for them. I think we have plenty of ways to motivate ourselves in here. Each team can motivate themselves however they want. That’s out of our control.”
|Matt Cooke: ‘I can’t control people’s opinions’||at 1:42 pm ET|
PITTSBURGH — Matt Cooke hasn’t been suspended in over two years, but the controversial Penguins forward knows that his past is on plenty of people’s minds as he prepares to face the Bruins in Eastern Conference finals.
Cooke, a veteran of 13 seasons, is best known for having a career of dirty hits, none more infamous than his elbow to the head of Bruins center Marc Savard back in 2010. The hit effectively ended Savard’s career, as lingering concussion symptoms have kept him off the ice the last two seasons. Savard last played in 2011, but was shut down for the season after suffering another concussion on a routine check from Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick.
“I can’t control people’s opinions,” Cooke said Thursday. “Fans have emotions towards certain things and they’re going to be attached to them. I need to go out and prepare to play against the Bruins to the best of my ability, and if I’m worried about that, it’s going to affect me in a negative way.”
Asked if he thought about the Savard hit (for which he was not suspended at the time), when he saw that the Penguins would play the Bruins in the conference finals, Cooke shook his head and said, “Nope.”
The Bruins have said this week that they aren’t focused on Cooke now, but they certainly aren’t fans of his. After Cooke’s last suspension, which came in March of 2011 when he was banned for the rest of the season and playoffs for targeting the head of Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, Brad Marchand called for an end to Cooke’s dirty play.
‘I think that it’s about time he gets ‘ he’s got to be taught a lesson,’ Marchand said at the time. ‘He’s doing that stuff left, right, and center. I expect that he’ll probably get a bunch of games, but he’s got to be taught a lesson. You can’t be running around doing that stuff all the time. He’s going to seriously hurt someone again. Look at Savvy, and now McDonagh. He could have easily hurt him.
‘It just seems to be part of his game. He likes to throw cheap shots around. I don’t know if he’ll learn. Hopefully he does. Hopefully he doesn’t hurt someone to the point where their career is over. You want to get that stuff out of the game, and hopefully he does learn his lesson.’
Cooke, his teammates and coach Dan Bylsma have said Cooke’s been a different player since the forward vowed to change entering last season. He hasn’t been suspended since, though he received heat after it was his skate that accidentally sliced Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson‘s Achilles’ tendon back in February.
“His game and his approach to the game and how he plays has changed significantly since then,” Bylsma said. “I’m not sure Matt’s ever going to get away from some of that reputation throughout the league, but he’s put a significant amount of hockey in between his last suspension and how he’s played the last couple years for us.”
Bylsma added that Cooke has been “one of our best performers in the first two rounds, playing his game, playing well, playing physically.” He noted that if Cooke remains a storyline throughout the series, it’s “probably going to mean Matt’s playing well and we’re playing well vs. the other way around.”