|Brad Marchand says Tyler Seguin is ‘pressure’ free now, and it shows||03.08.13 at 1:18 pm ET|
Forget the pressure of playing against his hometown Leafs on Thursday. After all, Tyler Seguin has proven that’s not really pressure at all. It’s inspiration.
The true pressure test came early in the season in the form of expectations for the budding superstar of the Bruins.
On Sept. 11, he signed a six-year, $34.5 million contract extension with the Bruins, when he was still 20 years of age. He then lit it up in Switzerland during the four-month NHL lockout, just to stay sharp. Stay sharp he did with 25 goals and 15 assists in 29 games with Biel.
He started relatively slowly with three goals and seven assists in his first 17 games. But since the calendar turned to March he’s been on fire. He has four goals in two assists in four games in March and has turned the Patrice Bergeron–Brad Marchand line into the most productive on the team.
“I think there’s a lot of pressure on him coming into the year with his new contract and with how well he did over in Switzerland,” Marchand said after Thursday’s 4-2 win over the Leafs in which he had two goals and an assist. “I think he was feeling pressure a bit because a lot of people were saying a lot of things about him, and it seems like right now he’s just very calm and confident, and he’s not really worried about anything else. He’s just focused on playing, and when he does that he’s a great player, and you see it night in and night out right now. He’s making a difference.”
Funny, it’s the assist he got that impressed everyone the most. After Marchand fought for a loose puck near the Toronto bench, he picked it up and made like a missile for the Leafs goal in the final minute of the first period. He was stopped but the rebound was left for Bergeron to tap home for a 1-0 lead.
“When Segs is on his game that’s the kind of things he does,” Marchand marveled. “He takes the puck to the net hard, and he uses speed and skill, and you saw that in the first goal, you saw it in the second goal, and I guess again on the third one. His speed, that’s how he has to play.”
In 14 career games against his hometown Leafs (actually, he grew up in nearby Brampton, Ont.), he has 10 goals and six assists. Any extra bounce for the player who is the reason for the “Thank you, Kessel” chants at TD Garden?
“I’d like to say no,” Seguin said with a smile. “I mean I try to prepare for every game but [Thursday] I thought we did a good job, I think all of our goals our line scored so it was a total line effort whether it was winning battles or making nice passes.
Is there is a little more relief now that these pucks are hitting the back of the net?
“Yeah, you could say that,” Seguin said. “I think every guy in here likes to score and I’m no exception so definitely feels good.
“I think the last couple weeks I’ve just been playing good in my D-Zone and competing a lot more than I think I was in the start of the season. Over in Europe I think I was circling a bit more and didn’t really have to battle, I don’t even know if I got hit over there for the few months I was there but I had to find that game again with me, and I think it’s coming around now.”
The fire everyone always wanted to see from Seguin has been lit. How long will it burn?
“I mean I think it just comes with not producing and just getting more determined and getting back to focusing on the little things more than the big picture or the statistics, I’m starting with that and things are rolling from there,” he said. “I mean it feels good. I think again, like I was saying, as a whole, as a line, I think we’re playing really well, we’re moving the puck well and winning battles and I think with our experience with each other over the last two years those two the last three, it’s really clicking right now.”
Seguin couldn’t help but get a little friendly jab in at Marchand when reminded that he’s scoring all the goals that Marchand was getting from his assists early in the season.
“I just gave it to March [early in the season],” Seguin said. “What else are you going to do, look at the stats?
Well, that’s not a bad place now for No. 19.
|Patrice Bergeron line stays hot for Bruins||at 1:07 am ET|
David Krejci‘s goal proved to be the game-winner, but it was the exception in Thursday’s 4-2 Bruins victory over Toronto: the only Boston goal that didn’t involve Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin or Brad Marchand.
Seguin picked up two goals and an assist, Bergeron a goal and two assists, and Marchand two assists. If Marchand had touched the puck before Bergeron on the game’s final goal, an empty-netter by Seguin, all three would have had a hand in three different goals on the night.
Success is nothing unusual for that line, which features three of the Bruins’ top four scorers. But with Seguin picking up his scoring pace after a slow start and Marchand beginning to rack up assists as well as goals, they’re proving they can combine to put the puck in the net in any number of ways.
Marchand had one assist through his first 12 games and now has seven in his last eight. He attributed that shift, jokingly, to Seguin’s newly rediscovered goal-scoring ability.
“Well, it’s nice to see [Seguin] start finishing,” Marchand said, sarcastically complaining. “It was getting a little frustrating there early on. It’s nice for him to finally get a couple and get his confidence up with the [empty-netter].
“That stuff happens,” he continued in a serious tone. “Goals come in bunches, assists come in bunches and there will be a bunch of games where you don’t get anything. It’s just how it goes.”
Seguin did find the empty net with 15 seconds left in the game, but he also found a hole on Toronto goalie Ben Scrivens in the second period for his sixth goal of the year. Marchand chipped the puck past Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf to Seguin, and Seguin fired it over Scrivens’ outstretched leg pad to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead.
‘I saw [Seguin] all alone, and I guess no one is really threatened by him right now because he’s not scoring, so it’s just nice to see him finish,’ Marchand joked.
The Bruins’ first goal made use of all three players’ skills: Marchand dug out the puck along the boards to send Seguin on a breakaway from the blue line, and Bergeron followed through to knock the rebound past Scrivens.
Marchand said that kind of hard work and positioning, as well as his play in the defensive zone, are what set Bergeron apart as an elite player.
‘When I came here, Bergy was a guy that I always found myself watching because he always prides himself on getting better,’ Marchand said. ‘He always wants to learn and improve his game.’
The trio received the game’s three stars — Marchand third, Seguin second and Bergeron first — allowing them to be recognized, fittingly, as a unit.
‘We have a lot of fun out there, and it seems like we’re continuing to build and find each other a little bit more each game,’ Marchand said. ‘We work pretty hard on and off the ice to talk to each other and figure things out, and it’s a lot of fun playing with those guys.’
|Top guns: Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron lead Bruins to win over Leafs||03.07.13 at 9:38 pm ET|
Tyler Seguin set up the game’s first goal with a powerful offensive rush and scored the go-ahead tally as the Bruins avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season with a 4-2 win over the Maple Leafs Thursday night at TD Garden. Anton Khudobin got the start in net and stopped 25-of-27 shots for the Bruins (15-3-3), who also managed to stay ahead of the surprising Maple Leafs (15-10-0) in the Northeast Division. Boston has 33 points while the Leafs have 30, with the Bruins enjoying four games in hand on Toronto.
Seguin added his second goal of the night on an empty-net tally with 14.8 seconds left to provide the final score.
Before getting on the board first, the Bruins had several chances in close on Leafs goalie Ben Scrivens. Chris Kelly was denied on a backhander in front. The puck bounced out to Rich Peverley, who couldn’t control the loose puck to put it into the open net. Jay Pandolfo also had a chance on the same shift but was stopped by Scrivens.
It was Pandolfo’s first game filling in on the third line, as Chris Bourque was placed on waivers earlier in the day. The Bruins and Leafs appeared to be headed for a scoreless first period when Seguin picked up a loose puck in front of the Toronto bench and split two defenders. He skated in on Scrivens, who made the initial stop but couldn’t contain the rebound. Patrice Bergeron was there to put in the rebound between the legs on a backhander to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead with 52.3 seconds left in the first.
The Bruins led after 20 minutes, extending their shutout streak over the Leafs to 146 minutes, 47 seconds, which spanned a pair of shutout wins last season and on Feb. 2. The Leafs finally broke through when David Krejci lost a puck in the offensive zone, leading to an odd-man break on a 4-on-4 situation. Nazem Kadri finished off the rush with his 11th goal of the season at 2:32 of the second, ending the shutout streak at 149 minutes, 19 seconds.
But the rest of the second period belonged to the Bruins. Bergeron took control of the puck in the neutral zone and fed Brad Marchand down the left wing. Marchand found Seguin rushing down the right wing and fed him with a circle-to-circle pass. Seguin beat Scrivens for a 2-1 lead at 7:11 for the go-ahead tally. Over the last nine games, the Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin line has 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points, with 15 of those points coming in last three games.
Khudobin was big several times in the first and second period, including pad saves on Tyler Bozak in each period.
The Bruins made it 3-1 when the Krejci line finally broke through. Andrew Ference fired a shot from the high slot. Scrivens couldn’t contain the rebound and Krejci was there with the backhander into the open net for a two-goal lead after 40 minutes.
The Leafs made it a one-goal game when Mikhail Grabovski skated to the middle of the left circle and fired a shot through a screen that Khudobin never saw until it was past him and in the net with 5:08 left in regulation. The Bruins had a great chance in the final two minutes to restore their two-goal lead but Scrivens stopped a Bergeron slap shot in close before Seguin’s second goal of the night.
The Bruins helped their cause by killing off all three Toronto power plays, including a brief 5-on-3 in the first period. The Bruins have killed off 79-of-86 penalties this season, good for an NHL-best 91.8 percent rate.
The Bruins are off Friday before hosting the Flyers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. For more from DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia and the WEEI.com team at the Garden, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.
|P.J. Stock on D&C: ‘Everyone’s guilty’ of embellishing||03.06.13 at 10:08 am ET|
Former Bruin P.J. Stock of Hockey Night in Canada joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to talk about how changes in hockey have led to more embellishment, and how he thinks an openly gay player would be received in the league.
There have been rumors around the web that Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges would be coming out this week, but according to You Can Play president Patrick Burke, who spoke with the Canadiens, they are untrue. Stock said that in general he thinks the league is ready for a gay player, but that he would have to worry more about taunts from opposing players and fans than about issues in his own locker room.
“I think there would be those jokes, to the opposition, which there are all the time,” Stock said. “In the locker room would be completely different. I think he would be respected and they would be positive jokes. You’re the same 20, 22, 23 guys for a year and you all learn about everybody’s flaws, your pros and cons, and you’re a big family. Yeah, it would be addressed, something that would be talked about, and yeah, you’re 20 guys that shower together all the time, so there’d be a couple jokes here and there, but that wouldn’t be the problem. I would love to see how it would work out, but the opposition is where you get into some situations where it would be interesting to see where other players react. … I hope there’s someone that steps out, I really do.”
On the topic of embellishment, Stock said he understands why Claude Julien was frustrated with the way penalties were called in the Bruins’ loss to Montreal on Sunday, but that the Canadiens don’t dive any more than any other team.
“Everyone does it,” Stock said of diving. “I don’t think any one team does it more than others. Now, there’s certain types of players that might do it more than others, so if you have more of those players on your team, therefore it might happen more often. But the Canadiens in general? I know P.K. Subban adds some flair to when he gets hit, but — I’m a huge Brad Marchand fan. You look at Team Canada, you look at players that can skate, players that have played big in big games — Brad Marchand’s an easy person not to pick, but I think if you’re really going to sit there and look at things, he does so much so well. But does Brad Marchand embellish? Yeah. You’re trying to sell something. ‘¦ And Claude Julien knows that, and he’s frustrated about what happened the other night, losing [Zdeno] Chara out for 17 minutes, and they’re losing the game to his arch-rival, to the team that let him go years earlier. But ‘¦ everyone’s guilty.”
Stock also pointed out that the value of a big hit or a big fight has changed within the game, and that instead of being momentum-changers, those moments are now cause for suspensions. He said he believes that’s why players embellish more now — getting their team a power play is more effective than getting into a fight.
“Goals are what change the game,” Stock said. “Every time there’s a big hit now, you’ve got to re-look at it 15 times to see, did he leave his feet, did he hit his head? And then there’s always some kind of altercation after it, it’s never just a big hit. The way you would change the momentum was you would increase the physical side of play, which would lead to checking, fights, get the crowd into it. Now, unfortunately, you can’t do that as much. Teams don’t have those kind of players and the game just doesn’t allow for it anymore. So the way you change the momentum is by trying to get a power play, which leads to those players embellishing, because how else do you get a power play?”
|Late hit: Canadiens make Zdeno Chara and Bruins pay||03.03.13 at 10:14 pm ET|
Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais scored third period goals under four minutes apart to erase a one-goal deficit after 40 minutes and beat the Bruins, 4-3, Sunday night at TD Garden. The Canadiens overcame a career-high three assists from Brad Marchand to avenge a 2-1 loss to the Bruins on Feb. 6 in Montreal. The win also gives the Canadiens 32 points, two more than the second-place Bruins in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins had their six-game winning streak snapped and lost for just the third time this season in regulation, falling to 14-3-2 on the season.
The game was highlighted by several fights, including one involving Zdeno Chara. The Bruins captain was lost for 17 minutes late in the second period and over half of the third period when he fought Alexei Emelin, who moments earlier hit Tyler Seguin.
The Canadiens jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Tomas Plekanec took a centering pass from former Bruin Michael Ryder and partially fanned on the shot. But Plekanec got just enough of the puck to throw off Rask, who had the puck trickle past him just 21 seconds after Andrew Ference went off for an interference penalty.
The Bruins then turned up the intensity, thanks in large part to a big forecheck from Milan Lucic. Tyler Seguin tied the game when he took a pass from Patrice Bergeron and beat Peter Budaj. But the tie game lasted only 16 seconds as on the next rush up the ice, Dasharnais centered a puck for Pacioretty. The puck never reached Pacioretty and instead went off the stick of Johnny Boychuk and past Rask for a 2-1 Canadiens lead after 20 minutes. The Bruins set the tone, however, out-hitting Montreal, 15-8, in the opening period.
The Bruins dominated the second period from nearly every aspect, including the penalty kill. The Canadiens had a 5-on-3 power play for 70 seconds but thanks to zone clears by Lucic and Hamilton, the Bruins were able to kill off the entire two-man advantage, allowing just one shot on goal in the process.
Just prior to the two-man advantage, the Bruins reclaimed the lead on goals by Patrice Bergeron and Dougie Hamilton. Seguin fed Bergeron at the right post. Bergeron tried to stuff the shot past Budaj and finally got some help when Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov, crashing the net to help, kicked the puck past his own goalie with his left skate to tie the game, 2-2.
The Bruins took their only lead of the night just over five minutes later when Hamilton put himself on the low right of Budaj and turned his upper body just in time to take a pass from Marchand. Hamilton one-timed the shot from the bad angle past Budaj for a 3-2 lead.
The turning point of the game would come with 4:25 left in the second. Seguin was skating through the neutral zone with the puck when Emelin checked him to the ice. Seguin went down immediately, holding his left side and skating off slowing to the dressing room. Seconds later, Chara took revenge with a devastating check on Emelin, sparking a one-sided fight between the two. Chara was assessed a two-minute instigating penalty, five-minute fighting major and a 10-minute misconduct, adding up to 17 minutes of lost ice time for the Bruins top defenseman. Read the rest of this entry »
|Dougie Hamilton might look like Beaker, but he’s no Muppets buff||02.27.13 at 2:47 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Dougie Hamilton is a smart guy. He knows the game of hockey well, and he was a superb student before his NHL career, winning the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year in 2011.
There is one thing he doesn’t know, however, and that’s the Muppets.
A photoshopped picture of Hamilton, done by the website bostonbruinsfan.com, made the rounds on Tuesday night. The image had a frowning Hamilton next to a picture of Beaker in a Bruins uniform. The Bruins saw it on the bus after their 4-1 win over the Islanders last night and had a good laugh over it.
The picture was hilarious to teammates, but though Hamilton said he found it funny, he didn’t get the joke as well as the rest of the team.
“I don’t know who Beaker is,” he admitted Thursday.
That didn’t sit well with Milan Lucic.
“Looch was really upset about that,” Brad Marchand said. “Looch asked every person on the plane last night if they knew who the Muppets were after Dougie said he didn’t know. We had some fun about that one. I hope Looch has settled down a little bit about that one.”
Often the target of jokes from teammates and opponents himself, Marchand is glad to see the Hamilton — a very business-like player for a rookie — get involved with the good-natured ribbing.
“Everyone gets it from day to day,” Marchand. “It’s funny to see Dougie react to things like that. He’s new and young and guys like to have fun with it. He’s good about it, he takes it in stride.”
|Barry Pederson on D&C: ‘As Bruins fans, you’ve got to be ecstatic’ about proposed realignment||at 9:39 am ET|
Barry Pederson of NESN joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about the Bruins’ strengths so far, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin‘s styles of play, and the newly proposed NHL realignment plan.
“I think it makes total sense,” Pederson said of the realignment plan, which would reconfigure the league into four divisions. “As Bruins fans, you’ve got to be ecstatic. You’ve got Detroit coming into this, what’s going to be called the Central Division, you’ve got four Original Six teams, some rivals, Buffalo still in there, and [Andy Brickley] will be happy because you still have Tampa Bay and Florida and he can go down and play some golf now and then. As Bruins fans, it’s a pretty good setup.”
Pederson said he thinks Marchand’s attitude, even more so than his speed or his hands, is his greatest strength, although his speed combined with Seguin’s creates space for their line to work.
“I don’t think he gets enough respect around the league for his offense because of the way he plays,” Pederson said of Marchand. “Marchand is sneaky offensively. Last night, he gets that puck on his backhand, he knows that [Evgeni] Nabokov‘s going to come diving out at him — he just waits and waits and then is able to get the goal. He’s got a great release. His speed really backs the defense off, and he and Seguin, when they’re going, they’re hard to play against.”
Despite speculation that Tim Thomas will never end up playing for the Islanders after being traded there, Pederson said he thinks Thomas is too competitive to walk away from hockey completely if he’s still capable of playing.
“I have no insight, for sure, to what’s going through his mind, but ‘¦ to me there was a guy that never quit on anything,” Pederson said. “He went after shots that most guys would just say, ‘Oh, it’s an empty net, I’m not going to dive over there.’ So I just have a really hard time thinking he’s going to walk away from the game the way it’s going. I just have to think he’s coming back at some point.”