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Don Cherry on D&C: Bruins ‘just don’t seem to be ready’ 05.07.14 at 9:25 am ET
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Don Cherry

Don Cherry

Legendary Hockey Night in Canada analyst Don Cherry checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to discuss the Bruins’ disappointing 4-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

“That was not one of their better games. I don’t understand it,” the former Bruins coach said. “They spot teams a 3-0 lead and think they’re going to come back in the third period. It’s a dumb way to play.”

The Bruins were hurt by a couple of defensive breakdowns that led to early Canadiens goals, and Cherry said their failure to be prepared to play hard and focused from the opening faceoff is an issue that continues to haunt them.

“It’s funny, you can sit here and dissect it. You have to be behind the bench to realize that Montreal is going to come out flying,” Cherry said. “They have their favorite singer. You have to be ready for something like that. It’s easy to say. I’ve been there many times before.

“There’s so many mistakes made, even down to the one where [Tuukka] Rask doesn’t bang his stick on the breakaway. You’re taught in junior, in bantams, when you see a penalty near the end, you bang your stick to warn the guys. Here’s a guy that’s not ready. They just don’t seem to be ready. They think that they can come back all the time in the third period. They seem to be relying on that third period all the time. They don’t play desperate right now. I’m telling you, they better start, because they’re sky high, Montreal is sky high.”

Added Cherry: “You’ve got to play like [Brad] Marchand. Believe it or not, he was plus-2 last night. He is a guy that they’ve got to look to. He plays like that all the time, and that’s the way they’ve got to play. They were fast asleep the first two periods.”

The Bruins’ problems start in goal, where Rask has continued his career-long struggles against the Canadiens, while Carey Price has come up with some big saves at the other end.

“Rask is not playing the way Rask can play. … Price is outplaying him, that’s for sure,” Cherry said. “Rask is not playing like he did in the season for some reason. Montreal’s got — I don’t know if they’ve got his number or what. But he’s not the Rask that I know.

“But here’s the thing that bothers me, is the Bruins were out-hit last night. Imagine the Bruins being out-hit by those little midgets with Montreal. They’re just not ready. And if they’re not ready, it’s going to be a short series.”

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Read More: Brad Marchand, Carey Price, Don Cherry, P.K. Subban
Montreal sports radio host Mitch Melnick on M&M: ‘Every player dives and embellishes a little,’ including Bruins’ Shawn Thornton 05.01.14 at 12:04 pm ET
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Mitch Melnick

Mitch Melnick

Montreal sports radio host Mitch Melnick of TSN 690 joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to discuss the Bruins-Canadiens playoff series and accusations that the Habs sell out in an effort to get penalty calls. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

The Canadiens often are criticized — at least in Boston — for embellishing physical contact in an effort to draw penalties.

“When the Bruins talk into microphones and cameras and are talking about stuff like, ‘We don’t do stuff like that. We don’t dive. We don’t embellish. We don’t do this, we don’t do that.’ Everybody does it. Everybody does it. Shawn Thornton, stand-up guy, he does it. Every player dives and embellishes a little,” Melnick said.

“The fact of the matter is, if you polled players around the league, who’s the most disliked guy on the ice, Brad Marchand probably wins that poll by a mile since Sean Avery was kicked out of the league. And do they respect Brad Marchand? Absolutely. It’s kind of like Boston toward [P.K.] Subban. The bigger the moment, the more P.K. Subban wants that spotlight. Those guys are winning hockey players. On the ice, in the heat of battle, they do things that drive you absolutely up the wall, and you want to strangle them. But there’s a respect factor. As long as they don’t cross the line and do stuff that ends up in a serious injury. These are winning hockey players.”

Subban has become the poster child for Bruins fans’ distaste for the Canadiens’ style. Melnick said Subban “takes a lot of abuse ‘€¦ behind the play” and it’s not always visible to fans.

“I’m not trying to defend him. He’s still learning. He’s still a kid,” Melnick said of the 24-year defenseman. “He’s doing things that he won’t do a year from now, or two years from now. But it’s a growing process. And he feels that he gets so much abuse that once in a while he’s got to put some mustard on it.”

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Read More: Brad Marchand, Carey Price, Mitch Melnick, P.K. Subban
Brad Marchand misses morning skate, Daniel Paille a game-time decision for Bruins vs. Canadiens at 11:41 am ET
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For the second time in three days, Brad Marchand was not on the ice with his Bruins teammates as the team held its morning skate in anticipation of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Canadiens.

Marchand, who missed Tuesday’s practice but practiced Wednesday, was hoarse when he spoke to the media Wednesday, suggesting he was ill. Claude Julien — as is customary in the postseason — offered no update on Marchand’s health after Thursday’s morning skate, saying that “he took his option.” Based on that, the expectation should be that Marchand plays.

Daniel Paille, who missed the first round against the Red Wings due to a head injury, has been cleared to play for a number of days. Julien said that Paille is a game-time decision for Game 1. Assuming that Paille returns to the lineup, Jordan Caron would sit after filling in for Paille in the first round.

On the Canadiens’ end, Max Pacioretty was not on the ice for morning skate, but Michel Therrien said he too took his option. When asked if Pacioretty was OK, Therrien responded, “of course.”

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Daniel Paille, Max Pacioretty,
Brad Marchand ‘definitely’ feels like a marked man, knows he has to be on best behavior against Canadiens 04.30.14 at 10:28 pm ET
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Boston’s most notorious pest knows he had better be on good behavior in this series since the whole hockey world – especially officials – will be watching.

Brad Marchand accepts the reputation he has built for himself as the Bruins most tenacious bad boy. It may have contributed to a pair of roughing calls in the third period of Game 5 against the Red Wings that gave Detroit some life before the Bruins extinguished the Wings, 4-2, to advance to Round 2 against Montreal beginning Thursday night at TD Garden.

Does Marchand feel like a marked man in these playoffs by both the opponents and officials?

“Yeah definitely, especially that second one,” Marchand said of his second roughing call in Game 5 last Saturday. “It was a push and you don’t see too many penalties called like that, even in pee wee like that. It was a tough but that’s a reputation that I’ve built for myself and I have to play through that. I think the biggest thing is to walk away from things that I don’t need to be part of.

“I think in time you get to know where the line is and the refs do a pretty good job of filling you in along the way. I got a couple of penalties that last game that I thought were tough calls but other than that, I think everyone is really doing a great job of playing our game, playing physical and walking away at the right times.”

Marchand knows he, Milan Lucic and the Bruins better skate away at the right time because Montreal enters the series with a potent power play at 17.2 percent in the regular season. The Bruins did finish the regular season with the eighth-ranked penalty kill in the league, coming in at 83.6 percent.

“Against Montreal, they have a really good power play for one [reason], and two, they do a really good job of drawing penalties,” Marchand said. “I think our biggest thing is we can’t get frustrated. We have to make sure that even when we do get a penalty called against us, we don’t let it bother us, and go out and kill it and continue to try and push our game on them. We want to try and be physical and play the way we did last series and hopefully, we’ll be able to draw a couple of penalties on them.”

Marchand did give a little insight as to what the Bruins might try to do to get under the skin of another emotional player, Canadiens goalie Carey Price, a goalie they beat in overtime of Game 7 of the first round of the 2011 playoffs.

“I think the biggest thing is he’s a really good goalie, he’s definitely emotional and all good goalies are,” Marchand said. “They compete and we’re going to have to find a way to try and get in front of him and it’s very tough to beat him straight up so we’re going to have to try and do some of that stuff.”

But running the goalie to intimidate certainly will not be an option, as goalie interference has been called throughout the NHL with regularity in the first round.

“I think in past years, in playoffs, they let a lot more go,” Marchand said. “It doesn’t seem to be that way this year. They call it just like regular season so you have to try to play intense and play within the ref’s rules.

“I think you have to continue to go to the net hard but stay out of the blue paint. I think that’s when calls are easily made when you get inside the paint and you hit the goalie. But if you go as hard as you can and you stop outside and you battle outside, we have to continue to do our job and get some ugly goals on this guy. We can’t shy away just because the refs call penalties.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand, Montreal Canadiens, NHL
Brad Marchand returns to Bruins practice at 1:22 pm ET
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Brad Marchand was back at practice Wednesday after not taking part in Tuesday’s practice. Though he did not say why he was absent Tuesday, his voice was hoarse on Wednesday, suggesting he was ill.

With Marchand back at practice, Daniel Paille returned to the Merlot line after skating in Marchand’s place Tuesday. Wednesday’s lines and pairings were as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Florek – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille/Caron – Campbell – Thornton

Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Boychuk
Krug – Miller

Dennis Seidenberg practiced again and did not take contact. Corey Potter remains absent after appearing to injure his shoulder last week in practice.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Daniel Paille,
Brad Marchand on Justin Abdelkader: ‘By no means am I ever trying to be like him’ 04.25.14 at 3:32 am ET
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DETROIT — Great goal-scorers respect other great goal-scorers. Great defensemen appreciate another blueliner who can take away half the ice. Great coaches may occasionally fear one another, but they become great by outthinking their counterparts. Even fighters have respect for one another and are thankful when the other obliges.

So what do pests think of other pests?

Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader is not a fighter; he’ll do it once or twice a season. Yet he’s been the first in line to participate in post-whistle festivities, as the Bruins have seen in their first-round series against the Wings. In the last two games, the 27-year-old grinder has taken two roughing minors and drawn three.

Brad Marchand is one of the league’s most noteworthy pests, as he routinely gets chippy after the whistle but doesn’t drop the gloves often. Though both play on the top six for their teams, Abdelkader has never scored more than 10 goals in the a season in the NHL, whereas Marchand has scored 20 goals in each of his three full NHL seasons (he scored 18 in the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign).

Asked about Abdelkader’s extracurricular work following the Bruins’ Game 4 overtime win, Marchand didn’t seem overly impressed.

“He’s really the only guy they have on their team that’s like that that plays a physical game,” Marchand said of Abdelkader. “I think he’s trying to play that role a bit and help the team a bit, but by no means am I ever trying to be like him.”

As for his own antics, Marchand, who cross-checked Henrik Zetterberg after a whistle in Game 4 and was accused of diving (which he probably didn’t) in Game 3, said he feels he’s better served toning it down for the remainder of the series. Marchand missed two open nets in Game 4 and said he needs to put all of his focus on performing better rather than mixing it up.

“I think I’€™m going to try to stay out of the scrums the rest of the series and just worry about playing,” Marchand said. “I might be focusing a little too much on other stuff, and that’€™s why I’€™m missing my opportunities. I think I want to help the team more on the scoresheet than in other ways.’€

Read More: Brad Marchand, Justin Abdelkader,
Brendan Smith on Brad Marchand: ‘That’s why he’s great’ 04.23.14 at 3:01 pm ET
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Brendan Smith knows what Brad Marchand is all about. (AP)

Brendan Smith knows what Brad Marchand is all about. (AP)

DETROIT — Add Brendan Smith to the list of folks who were suspicious of Brad Marchand‘s actions when Marchand held his right knee after receiving a leg check from Smith on his left leg in the second period of the Bruins’ 3-0 Game 3 victory over the Red Wings.

Though Marchand planted his right leg and twisted it as he fell to the ice, video of the hit made the rounds on the internet suspecting that Marchand, trying to fake an injury in an effort to draw a penalty, forgot which leg to sell.

Smith said he saw a picture of the play and found it “interesting.” Upon having Marchand’s explanation — that he had twisted the other knee — relayed to him Wednesday, Smith sarcastically said “oh” and said “I’ll let you guys be the judge of that.”

“That’s the kind of player he is and he’s lived off of it for a long time and that’s why he’s great,” Smith said. “That’s something that he’s going to do, but it’s kind of funny when you get caught like that when you go down on your left leg and you’ve got your right leg up. But that’s how he is and how he plays.

“It’s worked for him. You think about last year’s playoffs. He baited [Matt] Cooke into maybe fighting and then he wheeled up the wing and put it top shelf, but that’s something that he does. He’s an antagonizer, he’s like a pest kind of a guy, but he’s very good at it and he’s one of the best in the league at that. It’s good that the refs can understand that and go from that.”

Marchand has been going after Smith since the opening shifts of Game 1. Smith denied that Marchand was getting under his skin but did say he has a problem with his cheap shots.

“I don’t know him, so I don’t know,” Smith said. “I don’t like some of the cheap shots here and there. Nobody really does — name somebody and I’ll call you a liar because nobody really likes cheap shots. In that sense, I don’t like how he plays in that sense, I don’t like how he plays in that way. Other than that way, I don’t really know him, so I can’t comment.”

Read More: Brad Marchand, Brendan Smith,
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