|Tuukka Rask says he wasn’t as angry as he looked during apparent meltdown||11.17.11 at 12:22 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask is among the most relaxed and courteous players you’ll find on the Bruins, so on the rare occasion that he gets upset, it’s a must-see moment.
The Finnish goaltender provided one of those moments in Wednesday’s practice, when Patrice Bergeron scored on him during a special teams drill. A suddenly furious Rask swung his stick four times over his head as he attempted to break it over the crossbar. When he had no luck doing so, he skated over to the gate, forced it open, and threw his stick off the ice.
“We were just joking around, or I was just joking around,” Rask explained to WEEI.com Thursday. “I was half-mad. It was a penalty-killing [drill], so I was just joking around, trying to break my stick. I couldn’t break it.”
Rask, who became a YouTube sensation when he threw milk crates onto the ice after a shootout in Providence back in 2009, knew his mini-meltdown would get plenty of attention. As such, he wasn’t surprised when it became the biggest story of Wednesday’s practice.
“Obviously you guys [expletive] jump on it right away,” he said with a laugh.
Coach Claude Julien said after the practice Wednesday that “Tuukka has a temper,” but that the B’s don’t mind it. In fact, Rask’s teammates have had fun on the rare occasions that the mild-mannered Rask gets frustrated. Last season, Rask stormed off the ice late in practice, with Michael Ryder firing a slapshot through the door that hit him in the rear end as he left the ice. Wednesday saw more of that, as players got a kick out of his attempt to break his stick.
“We were practicing the power play and Tuuks couldn’t stop a beach ball. He decided to take it out on his stick,” Brad Marchand said Wednesday on Mut and Merloni. “It was funny, though, because he couldn’t break it. So, he ended up getting madder and madder. He was breaking his stick over the post and it wouldn’t break. The boys just kept laughing at him. It was pretty funny.”
Rask said Thursday that he didn’t mind the laughter, and that it establishes that such tirades are nothing too serious.
“We were just [joking] around. Guys were laughing,” he said. “It was real good.”
Who knows if and Rask will lose his cool again. Whenever it is, he can bet on it being both a big deal and a good source of light-hearted amusement for his teammates.
|Andy Brickley on D&C: Not a good idea to challenge Bruins’ manhood||11.16.11 at 9:55 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning for his weekly appearance.
The Bruins defeated the Devils, 4-3, Tuesday night for their sixth straight win. It was a game that Boston had to work for all three periods to win, as opposed to the blowout victories the B’s had earlier in the winning streak.
“I think in this six-game winning streak this is the first game that when the Bruins pushed, there was a push back,” Brickley said. “Boston had to earn just about every inch of ice that they got. The good news was that Boston got better the deeper they got in that game. They had a strong third period and their will to win in the third period was clearly evident. A team that is feeling ultra-confident right now.”
The Bruins started the season 3-7, but they have drastically turned it around, winning all six games they’ve played in November. The team is averaging just under six goals per game this month. Brickley said that many people will point to the increased goal-scoring and improvement on the power play as the main factors in Boston’s winning streak, but he thinks the biggest change has come in the B’s’ own zone.
“They went back to being and reemphasizing a Bruins team that takes away the middle of the defensive zone and tries to keep everything to the perimeter to allow their goaltenders to get good looks at pucks and not allow second-chance opportunities,” Brickley said. “When they play that way, their counterattack game now really becomes more prominent.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
On Brad Marchand’s play against the Devils: “He took two offensive zone penalties, whether he agreed with the goaltender interference penalty, and then away from the puck really a meaningless roughing penalty that really served no purpose, and I know that’s part of his game. But listen, the second one’s a really bad penalty. You’re interested in winning the hockey game as well as playing to your strengths. Yeah, that was definitely a teaching moment, and I loved the fact that Claude sat him down. He got an opportunity probably to address his teammates in the locker room before the third period, saying, ‘My bad, that’s on me, I’m going to get it back.’ And to get it back the way he did on that set play right off the faceoff in the third period was a thing of beauty.”
|Brad Marchand knows he did wrong and makes up for it||at 8:16 am ET|
No one had to tell Brad Marchand why he was benched in the second period of the Bruins’ 4-3 win over the Devils Tuesday night at TD Garden.
He knew that coach Claude Julien wasn’t pleased with him taking a roughing penalty midway through the period, throwing a punch at New Jersey’s Adam Henrique when the two squared tussled in the Devils zone.
The penalty was the first of two straight called on Boston, which led to a 5-on-3 power play and a New Jersey goal, after the Devils had gone scoreless in 22 straight power plays.
“I didn’t have to say anything. I think we’re kind of at the stage where we’ve been together long enough, he knows what I wasn’t happy with and why he sat,” Julien said. “But at the same time, he’s a good player for us, and he certainly deserves a chance to get back into it, and it was nice to see him respond quickly. He was a much smarter player in the third period.”
He took a pass from Zdeno Chara on the opening faceoff of the third period – as Julien put him back on the top line – and raced down the ice and beat Johan Hedberg six seconds into the period to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead.
“I took a bad penalty there and they scored on it and it’s a learning process when things like that happen,” Marchand admitted. “You’re going to pay for it sometimes. And I had to pay by sitting on the bench tonight.
“You just want to bounce back. I didn’t want to hang my head I wanted to go and show I can be better. And I think he was kind of giving me a pat on the butt. I had to be better in the game. I didn’t have a good first couple periods I want to come in the third and play stronger and help the team win.”
He was given encouragement on the bench from teammates like Patrice Bergeron.
“Bergy a couple of times before the third and right before when we’re on the ice and just said, ‘keep your head up and let’s go for it, bounce back,’ that kind of thing and kind of get me motivated. It just shows his leadership and just another little thing.
“You don’t ever want that to be the scenario when you miss a couple of opportunities at the end of the game when your down a bit. But a couple penalties were’¦I have to avoid. It’s kind of a wake up call. It is needed sometimes and tonight was one of those times.”
|Bruins-Devils Live Blog: Nick Palmieri ties it at 3||11.15.11 at 6:38 pm ET|
|Brad Marchand: ‘It’s a little tougher out there’ after signing contract||11.11.11 at 9:12 am ET|
Before scoring two goals in Thursday’s 6-3 win over the Oilers, Brad Marchand had just one goal since his power play score on opening night against the Flyers.
There was some thought that maybe – just maybe – he was putting pressure on himself to produce after signing his two-year, $5 million contract extension in mid-September.
“I don’t want to change my game, change how I play,” Marchand said, before admitting he’s now a focal point of defenses. “It’s a little tougher out there. You have to face [expectations] but, for the most part, I just want to play the same way.”
The chances were certainly there throughout the first 13 games. But he had just two goals and five assists to show for his work.
On Thursday, those chances turned into goals, two to be exact, as Marchand took a little time to exhale.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “It was nice to get the monkey off the back it was definitely getting frustrating, missing a lot of opportunities, so it was nice to get a couple.
“I think the big thing was keep it a little more simple and getting pucks to the net. I was getting a lot of opportunities and they just weren’t going in. And if you keep pushing and keep getting opportunities then eventually something is going to go in and that’s what happened.”
Now, the Bruins are back at .500 at 7-7-0 and Marchand hopes his game will ride the momentum of the team’s four-game winning streak.
“Definitely, it’s nice to get back to .500 here and obviously we are a little ways from where we want to be and where we should be, but we’re definitely taking steps forward,” he said.
Does he feel he is out of a scoring slump?
“I don’t know it’s just one game, you have to keep going forward and keep things simple and hopefully they keep going in,” he said. “I just got a little luck out there. That’s how it goes sometimes. I went longer spurts last year without scoring goals and it’s just how it goes. Things go up and down. You can’t get too high or too low. It’s hockey.”
|Bruins-Oilers Live Blog: Ryan Smyth has Oilers within one||11.10.11 at 6:57 pm ET|
|Brad Marchand on M&M: New month, new opportunity for B’s||11.02.11 at 2:10 pm ET|
Bruins forward Brad Marchand joined Mut & Merloni Wednesday for his weekly discussion about the team. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
The Bruins are coming off an impressive 5-3 victory over the Senators Tuesday night, which followed a disappointing October.
“It was a good time to try to look at it to change things around,” Marchand said. “A new month, come in with a really hot team, 6-0 in their last six games. It was an opportunity for us to get on a roll, and that’s all we really wanted to do.”
The has been speculation that the Bruins will make some personnel changes in an attempt to get the defending Stanley Cup champions back on track.
“We’re not really thinking about that right now,” Marchand said. “We have to focus more on how we’re playing. If we’re worrying about getting traded then that’s going to keep in our mind and it’s going to bother us. We know that if we just go and win, we don’t have to worry about that.”
Marchand recently said that referees are giving him less leeway this season, so he’s needed to be more careful about stirring up trouble. However, he isn’t ready to stop being an agitator.
“It’s part of my game,” he said. “I do want to just worry about your game and not that extra stuff. But sometimes it gets you more involved and allows me to play better. So, I might have to do that a little more now.”
In last Thursday’s game against the Canadiens at TD Garden, Marchand and P.K. Subban engaged in a fight after two earlier attempts that were broken up by officials and teammates.
“It was good,” Marchand said. “We got it over with. The crowd liked it.”
It was revealed after the fight that Marchand and Subban have been friendly off the ice.
“We played together before,” Marchand acknowledged. “But on the ice and off it are two completely different things. When you’re on the ice, you’re doing a job. You hate everyone you’re playing against. [You have] no friends out there. Sometimes, you have to do that stuff.”
Added Marchand: “I think there’s a lot of guys from my team that were a little jealous that I was the one to go with him. [Nathan Horton] wanted to go with him, and [Milan Lucic]. If I was him, I wouldn’t be fighting those guys, either.”