|Bruins hope to shake sloppy play as they return from All-Star break||01.30.12 at 9:04 pm ET|
The Bruins are ready to jump back into their busy schedule, and they’re hoping that they’ll look more ready for their games than they did prior to the break.
The B’s were red-hot in November and December, but they limped into the All-Star break with uncharacteristically sloppy games, and a seven game stretch that saw them go 3-3-1. in their last three games prior to the break, the Bruins allowed three or more goals in three straight contests for the first time this season.
Now that the break is over, the Bruins are embracing the fresh start that comes with diving back into game action, and they’re hoping that whatever was plaguing them in past weeks is gone.
“It’s almost a blessing in disguise that we got to shut it off and reload and refocus after a couple crazy games and uncharacteristic games,” Milan Lucic said Monday. “That’s probably the best way to describe it. We’re aware of what we need to get back to doing well.
“The feeling for me coming off this break is that I wanted to get back and be around the boys and start playing again. Hopefully everyone else has got that same feeling, and that’s what’s going to help us be at our best.”
The B’s will be without both Andrew Ference (serving the last game of his three-game suspension) and Nathan Horton (concussion) Tuesday against the Senators, but that doesn’t mean they can’t come out with a better effort Tuesday. The B’s may have peaked in November, but that doesn’t mean they’re incapable of returning to the level of play that saw them go on a 21-2-1 earlier in the season.
“We enjoy winning, and we enjoy playing the way we were in November and the early part of December,” Brad Marchand said. “It’s a little frustrating when you’re not playing your best, and you know you can be better, but that’s how hockey goes. You’re not going to be your best every night. We know that.
“There’s always ups and downs during the season. The thing that you have to be bale to do is make sure you don’t get too high and don’t get too low, and hopefully we’ll be able to bounce back here.”
|Brad Marchand on M&M: Tim Thomas ‘made his decision and that’s that’||01.25.12 at 2:30 pm ET|
Bruins forward Brad Marchand made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni Wednesday afternoon and talked at length about the Bruins’ visit to the White House, time off from hockey during the All-Star break and the team’s prospects for the second half of the season.
On Monday, the Bruins visited the White House and President Barack Obama to celebrate their 2011 Stanley Cup title. For Marchand, it was an incredible opportunity that he and the team cherished.
“That was pretty cool, it was almost surreal,” Marchand said of being on stage with the president. “You see him on TV and obviously he’s such an iconic figure and it’s a room filled with cameras and everything. It was a good time.”
The visit, however, did not come without some controversy, as goaltender Tim Thomas, the 2011 Conn Smythe Trophy recipient, did not attend the ceremony. In a Facebook post, Thomas noted that he believes “the Federal government has grown out of control,” but stressed that his decision was “not about politics or party.”
Marchand said that Thomas’ absence did not take away from the Bruins’ day in Washington.
“I had fun,” Marchand said. “Timmy made his decision and that’s that.”
With the Bruins sitting at 31-14 and in first place in the Northeast Division, Marchand also stated that he feels good about the direction of the team heading into the season’s second half.
“Definitely,” he said. “We’re sitting in a very good position right now. We haven’t been as hot of late, but with a little bit of a break right now and we get back into things, hopefully we get back to the way we were playing before. We’re in a great position, especially after how we started.”
|Andy Brickley on D&C: Coach Claude Julien correct to question Bruins’ effort||01.18.12 at 10:04 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to dissect the team’s recent struggles. The Bruins lost to the Lightning Tuesday night, their second loss in three games.
Coach Claude Julien questioned the team’s work ethic, and Brickley backed him up.
“Everybody knows it’s a fine line between winning and losing if you don’t bring the kind of effort, and then you add to that you’re missing a couple of key skill guys and how it changes your lineup,” Brickley said. “But it does, it boils down to battles, one-on-ones, who wants it more.”
With Brad Marchand serving the final game of his five-game suspension and fellow forward Rich Peverly dealing with a personal matter, the Bruins appeared to be missing a spark Tuesday in Tampa.
“They’re tremendously talented kids, they’re hockey players, they’re smart, they play the game the right way. But it’s their speed that changes the dynamic of the Bruins,” Brickley said. “When you’re watching last night’s game, the Bruins on the breakout, you see them caught by a lot of the backcheckers of Tampa. You don’t see that explosive forecheck. You don’t see them getting 3-on-2s and 2-on-1s because they have speed through center ice. ‘¦ The whole dynamic of your offense changes, but it’s the speed element that you miss the most.”
After visiting the Devils Thursday night, the Bruins host the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers Saturday afternoon.
“I’m pretty curious to see how these two teams match up,” Brickley said of Saturday’s game. “I like the way both teams are built, I like the way they’re both coached. Meaning, what’s it going to look like in April and May, because I like the way their built as far as playoff hockey. Yeah, they’ll be real good regular-season teams, too. But because of the way they play — the physical style, the physical nature, the toughness the one-on-one battles, all that kind of stuff — that’s the way both those teams are built, with a lot of talent sprinkled in. I think they’re two of the best teams in the East and I’m very curious to see where they both match up against each other and the styles that they play.”
|P.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty say Bruins aren’t dirty||01.12.12 at 12:56 pm ET|
While there has been talk out of Vancouver about the Bruins having dirty players, members of the Canadiens said Thursday that their rivals are not dirty.
“No. They play a certain way and I think that’s why they’re successful,” Max Pacioretty, who had his season ended last year by a shove from Zdeno Chara, said when asked if he finds the B’s to be dirty. “To some extent, I wish we played a little more like them. Maybe not as much as they do, but they’re definitely an intimidating team to play against. They have so many guys who can step up — I’m not talking about fighting — I’m talking about physical. You watch the games recently in the NHL, and there’s not many pretty plays happening. They’re all tough, grinding goals, and a big body presence. I think that’s why they’re successful this year.”
Defenseman P.K. Subban said he has not seen former world junior teammate Brad Marchand‘s hit on Sami Salo, but that he does not consider Marchand or the Bruins to be dirty.
“It’s tough,” Subban said. “There’s a fine line now when you’re throwing hits, so you’ve just got to pay attention to it.”
Said Subban of the B’s: “They’re in your face, you know what I mean? They’ve had a lot of success over the year. They’re Stanley Cup champions, and they’re playing some good hockey this year. Whatever they’re doing, they’re doing something right. Whenever you play them, you know they’re going to be in your face, they’re going to finish their checks and they’re going to work hard.
“They’ve got some tough guys on that team. Some real tough guys. They play the game hard. Our team, we’re not built to kind of brawl it out every night. We’re going to stick up for each other as a unit as a group.”
|Bruins prepare for Canadiens||01.11.12 at 1:17 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — With the Canadiens coming to town Thursday, the Bruins returned to practice Wednesday after Tuesday’s 5-3 come-from-behind win over the Jets.
All members were present for the B’s, including the suspended Brad Marchand. Normally the team’s second-line left winger, Marchand skated as the extra forward on the third line with Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley and Zach Hamill.
The Habs, who are currently 12th in the Eastern Conference, are coming off a 3-0 loss to the Blues Tuesday night.
Thursday marks the Bruins’ final game of a four-game homestand before they hit the road for four in a row. Coach Claude Julien said he expects to call a forward up from Providence for the trip, as the Marchand-less B’s currently do not have an eligible 13th forward. Assume that player will be Jordan Caron.
|Some notes on the hockey game being played today||01.10.12 at 12:59 pm ET|
The war of words between the Canucks and Bruins may or may not be over, but what we do know is that the B’s actually have a hockey game Tuesday. Here are some quick notes to get you prepared:
– With Brad Marchand suspended for the next five games, Benoit Pouliot will play in his place on Patrice Bergeron‘s line with Tyler Seguin. Pouliot has eight points (three goals, five assists) over his last eight games.
– The move to put Pouliot on Bergeron’s line means that Zach Hamill will step in and play on the third line with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. Hamill has played well with the B’s this season but is still looking for his first career goal.
– No word of who is in net for the Bruins, as Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas left Tuesday’s morning skate at the same time. Rask was ahead of Thomas, but only by a step. Thomas was in net for the Bruins’ 4-2 win over Winnipeg on Nov. 26, while Rask manned the pipes in a 2-1 loss to the Jets on Dec. 6.
– Old friend Blake Wheeler comes into Tuesday’s game on fire. The former Bruin has 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) over his last 14 games. Five of those six goals have come on the power play. Wheeler skates on the Jets’ second line with Bryan Little and Evander Kane and is on the team’s second power play unit.
– Bruins killer Dustin Byfuglien is out for the Jets with a knee injury. The defenseman had a goal and an assist against the B’s on Nov. 26.
|Suspended Brad Marchand responds to Alain Vigneault’s ‘threatening’ comments, Kevin Bieksa||at 12:13 pm ET|
Bruins forward Brad Marchand spoke to the media following Tuesday’s morning skate, making his first public comments since being suspended five games by the league for his low-bridge hit on Canucks defenseman Sami Salo.
“I’m obviously a little disappointed,” Marchand said of Brendan Shanahan’s ruling. “I wasn’t expecting as many games as I got, but that was the decision and now I just have to move on.”
Marchand had asked Shanahan for clarification on the legality of such hits prior to the season so as to be sure that he would not commit the infraction.
“I’m a smaller guy, I play low to the ice. That’s the way I’ve protected myself in the past and I just felt it was better to be safe than sorry,” Marchand said of his preseason inquiry. “I brought it up to him and when I walked away from the conversation he told me to protect myself was OK in that situation. When that situation arises I felt I was protecting myself and I was allowed to do it and that’s why I did it.”
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli expressed frustration Monday night over the confusion given what Marchand had been told before the season, but the 23-year-old said he now knows how to handle the situation the next time he’s in it.
“It’s clear that I’m not allowed to do that,” he said. “Guys in the league aren’t allowed to do that. They tried to make that clear and I’m going to have to do something else next time.”
As for the rule that the hit was “clipping” — which is the act of taking a player out across or below the knees — Marchand still disagrees with both the officials and Shanahan, who called it such in the video explaining the situation.
“We brought it up,” Marchand said of letting the disciplinarian know his stance on the hit. “Clipping is what I believe it says when you hit the guy at the knee point, around the knee. We felt it was very clear in the video I got him right on the buttocks and it seemed very clear on the video that was the case. Maybe he viewed it differently and at the end of the day he makes the call.”
Marchand also said that he took Canucks coach Alain Vigneault‘s comment that “someone is going to hurt” Marchand as a threat. He also responded to Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa‘s post-game assertion that the B’s play a “stupid” style of hockey.
“We play stupid? Yeah, we play stupid, “Marchand said. “I guess smart enough to win a Cup.”
Here’s the rest of what Marchand had to say:
On the team’s reputation:
“We play a hard game. We have a lot of physical guys, a lot of tough guys on our team. It’s tough for other teams to play against, and some teams may not like it but that’s our style of hockey and we’re not going to change it.”
On whether there’s a double-standard with other players not being punished for similar hits:
“I expect if there’s any more hits like this it will be penalized the same way, otherwise it will be a double-standard. But until we see more hits like this we can’t say that, so hopefully hits like this will be [viewed] and be penalized the same way.”
On whether he’ll change the way he plays:
“I’m still going to play hard. That’s my game, to play hard. At the end of the day I have to protect myself and so does everybody in the league, so that’s not going to change the way I play.”