|Andy Brickley on M&M: Tim Thomas ‘looks healthy and ready to go’||10.17.13 at 3:51 pm ET|
NESN commentator Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to discuss the Bruins’ Thursday night game against the Panthers and former Boston goaltender Tim Thomas, as well as Jarome Iginla‘s scoring drought and Brad Marchand‘s demotion to the third line.
Thursday’s game will be the first time that the Bruins will face off against Thomas, who played in Boston for eight seasons and won two Vezina Trophies (2009, 2011) as the league’s best goaltender during his tenure with the team. Thomas is best remembered for his incredible play in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy after posting a .967 save percentage in the Stanley Cup finals against the Canucks.
After the Bruins were eliminated in the first round of the 2012 playoffs by the Capitals, Thomas announced that he was going to sit out the 2012-13 season. Still under contract with the Bruins during his hiatus, Thomas was traded to the Islanders on Feb. 7, 2013. The 39-year-old goalie then signed a contract with the Panthers on Sept. 26.
Brickey said that Thursday’s game certainly will be interesting, adding that the Bruins are motivated to hand their old teammate another loss on the young season.
“If anything you can [see] from the morning skate, [Thomas] looked good, he looked healthy, he looked pretty focused,” Brickley said. “He looks healthy and ready to go. Those numbers are a little inflated obviously with a little rust from taking the year off and then having to deal with an injury, but you know him and his competitiveness, he’ll be ready to go tonight.
“I don’t know if I would term [the Bruins’ mood towards Thomas] as animosity. The general sense that I get from being around the guys and certainly this morning is that this is a game that they want to win, but whatever personal reasons or whatever feelings they have for Tim Thomas, this is not a love-in. … This is a guy and a team that we want to beat, and want to beat real bad.”
|Loui Eriksson kicking old habits as he gets familiar with Bruins||10.07.13 at 9:21 pm ET|
It’s only been two games, but with a four-day break between games for the Bruins, there couldn’t be a better time for the first of what should be about 600 “How is Loui Eriksson fitting in?” posts.
The new second line of Patrice Bergeron between Brad Marchand and Eriksson has tried to gain chemistry while also handling some mighty tall tasks in matching up against Steven Stamkos‘ line Thursday and Pavel Datsyuk‘s line Saturday. The three kept Stamkos and Martin St. Louis’ trio off the board in season-opener and swapped goals with Datsyuk’s line in the Bruins’ win over the Red Wings.
Yet with Eriksson coming in to do more than defend, one couldn’t blame Bruins fans for being eager to see how the three will fare offensively. That’s a work in progress, as Eriksson admitted Monday that he’s still trying to shake some old habits.
“Sometimes it feels like I’m trying to play like I did in Dallas a little bit,” he admitted. “I’m just trying to learn to ‘¦ stay more on my side. I get a tendency to go on the other side. I think that’s a pretty simple thing to adjust to.”
Indeed, a first-period opportunity Saturday fell apart when Eriksson, a left-shot right wing, and Marchand didn’t seem to be on the same page on a play in which they were on the opposite wings. It wasn’t a matter of where they were on the ice, as that happens all the time, but Eriksson seemed to want to get back on their respective sides while Marchand appeared eager to continue as is. Marchand, waiting at the blue line, tried to stay the course and remain on the right side, while Eriksson seemed to be getting back over to the right side as he brought the puck through the neutral zone.
The good news is that there wasn’t any confusion the next period, when Marchand flew down the right wing and, with Bergeron driving the net, fired a shot past Jimmy Howard for his first goal of the season.
“You just need to read each other,” Eriksson said. “I think we’re getting better at that.”
The three players seemed to get more comfortable with one another as the game went on, and though it’s surprisingly been the third line that has perhaps clicked the most on the early season, Julien sees enough progress that he likes the direction in which perhaps his most important line is headed.
“I think you see it in practice, too. Games, practice. It’s a matter of time,” Julien said. “You can’t judge or expect miracles in the first few games of a season. You give them a good month to get to know each other and play together, and you hope that in that month it progresses. So far I’ve seen that from training camp to now.”
|Brad Marchand feared he was next after Tyler Seguin trade||09.12.13 at 1:09 pm ET|
“It came as a bit of a shock,” Marchand said of the trade. “I think there were definitely some guys that thought we were pretty safe, and it was a bit of a wakeup call that every day you come in you’ve got to make sure you’re doing everything you have to do to stay here. I don’t think anyone really expected Segs to be shipped out that early, but it definitely took a little while to sink in.”
Marchand clarified that he was one of the guys who may have gotten a little too comfortable, and that after Peter Chiarelli moved on from Seguin and his contract, he feared that his days in Boston could also be numbered.
“A little bit, yeah. Definitely,” he said. “Anything can happen at any time. If you have half a bad year or you’re not playing up to par, with the cap system nowadays, they’re going to want to improve the team. You don’t want to be that guy to get shipped out. The easiest thing to do is play your best and hopefully you can save yourself.”
Marchand’s concern makes a little sense considering that he, like Seguin, is a young player whose partying finds its way into the news often, but Marchand is a better player right now with a better contract. He’s entering the first season of a four-year, $18 million contract while Seguin is set to begin a six-year, $34.5 million contract.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Loui Eriksson opens training camp with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand; Jarome Iginla with Milan Lucic and David Krejci||at 1:00 pm ET|
Claude Julien has wasted no time in trying out what could be one of the best two-way lines in the league, as Julien used Loui Eriksson on the right wing with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron in line drills on the day on the ice of training camp. The second group featured Jarome Iginla in Nathan Horton‘s familiar spot with Milan Lucic and David Krejci.
Eriksson, who was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to Dallas, is considered an elite two-way player. The 28-year-old has had seasons of 36, 29 and 27 goals in his career, and he figures to replace Seguin’s offense while adding a more complete game.
“Definitely no disrespect to Segs — he’s a phenomenal player and we clicked very well; we had a couple great years together — but Loui’s a bit of a different player,” Marchand said. “He’s still a very good goal-scorer, a very good playmaker, and he plays hard in our end. I’m sure he’ll complement us very well and hopefully we’ll all be able to play well together.”
Iginla was signed in the offseason after Horton elected not to return to the B’s after three seasons in Boston.
Another line that was used quite a bit in the first group was Chris Kelly between Jordan Caron and Reilly Smith. Both Smith and Caron are competing for third-line minutes this season.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Brad Marchand: ‘It was difficult’ to see Tyler Seguin traded||09.06.13 at 12:24 am ET|
LOWELL — Speaking publicly for the first time since the trade of Tyler Seguin, Bruins forward Brad Marchand said Thursday that he wishes his former linemate and good friend off the ice the best in Dallas.
Seguin was traded along with Rich Peverley in a six-player deal on July 4 that netted the Bruins Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow.
“It was difficult,” Marchand said. “We were very close, but that’s business. That’s hockey. I don’t think you can ever expect to be safe wherever you are. That’s just another example of that. He’s a great young player and he’s going to have a great future ahead of him.”
Seguin, 21, had his professionalism called into question by general manager Peter Chiarelli prior to the trade. There were concerns about his maturity and his off-ice habits, so much so that the team reportedly had to hire a guard to make sure he didn’t leave his hotel room the night before home games.
Marchand, who is no stranger to having his partying make headlines, defended Seguin on that matter.
“Obviously things happen, but you look at social media nowadays and nobody can hide anywhere anymore,” he said. “It just seems like things can get blown out of proportion a little bit, so I think that’s definitely part of it. At the same time, he’s young and any guy in his position is going to have fun.
“I just want to wish him the best and try to headhunt him a little bit when we play him.”
|Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand all invited to Team Canada orientation camp||07.22.13 at 2:29 pm ET|
While Lucic and Marchand will compete to play in the Olympics for the first time in their careers, Bergeron was a member of the 2010 team that won the gold medal in 2010. Bergeron is a member of the Triple Gold Club as a player who has won gold at the Olympics and World Junior Championships in addition to winning the Stanley Cup.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Brad Marchand: ‘We had a good opportunity and it slipped through our fingers’||06.26.13 at 10:45 pm ET|
Brad Marchand wasn’t hiding much on Wednesday during breakup day for the Bruins at TD Garden.
Marchand made it clear that he’s still pretty depressed about what happened on Monday night, when a 2-1 lead with less than 90 seconds left turned into a 3-2 loss in the matter of 17 seconds.
While there will be several veterans departing (Andrew Ference, Jaromir Jagr, Jay Pandolfo), the core of a talented young team will remain intact. That was reassuring but only small consolation Wednesday.
“Well, it’s definitely a little reassuring that we know we could potentially have a good team,” Marchand began. “I mean, things always happen, trades and everything like that, but for the most part the foundation is there. But I don’t think it changes what happened, we had a good opportunity and it slipped through our fingers. That was a tough game to swallow.”
But with names like Tyler Seguin, Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Marchand himself, the team figures to make deep runs in the Cup playoffs a habit.
“I mean, you look at a lot of guys on our team are locked in here and they definitely did a great job of making sure were going to have a very good team for a while,” Marchand said. “And we’re very, very fortunate to be a part of this organization and this team. We definitely have a good group in here.”
With so much talk about injuries on Wednesday, did Marchand suffer any injury?
“Just my heart,” he quipped.
How is this year’s loss different that 2012 first-round exit to the Capitals?
“It’s definitely a lot better than losing in the first round, but it’s still disappointing,” Marchand said. “Whether you lose in the first round or the finals, you didn’t win. So it’s definitely different in ways where we made it here and had the opportunity but still didn’t win.”
Now Marchand and the Bruins begin a short summer break before September rolls around.
“It’s definitely going to be a little bit different,” he said. “We finished so late and we start a week early, so, I mean, were going to have to take a little bit less of a break and try to get back right into things quickly and get prepared for that training camp.”
Marchand was held without a point in the six games against Chicago and didn’t score a goal in the final eight games of the playoffs.
“They’re a good team,” Marchand said of the Blackhawks. “They were tough to play against, and things just didn’t go right. It would have been nice to contribute a little more.
“It was a different year. Missing up until Christmas time and coming back in, it was a different season. But you always want to try to improve in all areas of your game. I thought this year I was a little bit better defensively and tried to focus a little bit more on that, but definitely still areas to improve.”