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Brad Marchand thinks NHL’s new diving fine policy is ‘a little absurd’ 10.11.14 at 1:15 pm ET
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This season, the NHL is hitting accused divers where it hurts. Guess which Bruins player doesn’t like that?

Under a new set of rules for this season, players will be given a warning for their first dive, a $2,000 fine for their second, a $3,000 fine for their third, a $4,000 fine for their fourth and a $5,000 fine for any and every dive after that.

They’€™ll also likely find themselves in the doghouse, as coaches will be fined $2,000 if one of their players dives a fourth time, $3,000 if they dive a fifth time and $5,000 for any other dives.

Brad Marchand, a player with a track record of embellishment penalties, was given the first of the 2014-15 season Thursday night when he was sent off for selling a Henrik Zetterberg interference penalty. The penalty came on the first shift of the second period.

There was just one problem: Marchand didn’€™t appear to dive on the play. It looked like, after passing the puck back to the point in the offensive zone, he was trying to avoid Zetterberg by jumping around him.

(GIF courtesy of Boston.com)

Both Marchand and Claude Julien took issue with the call, which in all likelihood shouldn’€™t have been a penalty on either player. Whether Zetterberg even knew Marchand was there when they made contact is up for debate as well.

Dives — whether penalized or not — are reviewed before action is taken by the league’€™s part. The Bruins have yet to hear whether Marchand has received a warning for the play, with Claude Julien saying Saturday that, to his knowledge, Marchand hadn’t. The Bruins will know more soon, as a list comes out each week indicating which players have earned a strike.

Whether or not the clock has started on him, Marchand still opposes the league’€™s new approach.

“I think the new rule is a little absurd,” Marchand told WEEI.com Saturday. “It’€™s all a judgment call by the referee. How do you judge how guys are on their balance, how they’€™re on their skates? What if they’€™re on one foot and on their turn a guy gets pushed? Does that mean that he has embellished?

“€œThe fact that guys are going to start getting fined for it, I don’€™t agree with that. It’€™s all the discretion of the referee and you’€™ve got to try to play within the rules. We’€™re going to try to find that line, but at end of the day, it’€™s up to the referees with what they want to call, and you’€™ve got to live with it.”

Though certain teams — the Bruins certainly among them –€” have played the “everyone dives but us”€ card over the years, the fact is that if you want to look for it, there’€™s proof of selling calls with every team and many, many players throughout the league. Some are known more for it than others, and some of Marchand’€™s more egregious falls, as well as closer calls, have earned him a reputation that might make keeping all of his $4.5 million salary more of an uphill climb this season.

Marchand is correct, however, when he questions what is is viewed as embellishment. He brought up a terrific example of a player grabbing his face when he has not been hit with a stick.

“There’€™s no real definition of embellishing,” Marchand said. “Even when a guy sees a stick up on his face, it happens so quick, it might not hit you, but at the same time, you’€™re going to react to a stick up within inches of your face. It’€™s just everyone’€™s natural reaction. Sometimes it hits you, sometimes it may not. Yeah, you might think it’€™s going to hit you and you move your head back and that’€™s [considered] embellishing. It’€™s just a natural reaction; you may not even mean to do it.

“That’€™s where there’€™s such a fine line between that rule. I’€™m not too fond of all the fining and all that, but if that’€™s where it’€™s going to go, then you’€™ve got to live with it.”

Marchand knows he has a reputation for many things, and diving is among them. Of all the things for which he’€™s known, Marchand says the “diver”€ label is the most infuriating.

“It is,” he said. “Especially after a play like last game, I think it was an absolutely ridiculous call, and the fact that now I have a strike against me because of something like that [Editor’s note: Said strike is TBD]. I don’€™t think you can argue anything; I had my feet completely taken out from under me. What are you supposed to do there? It’€™s a bit of a ridiculous call, but that’€™s how it is.”

Julien says that he has ‘€œno doubt’€ that referees are more inclined to call such penalties on Marchand, but he puts that on the player.

“That’€™s up to him to clean up that situation. He created it, right?’€ Julien said. “I think he’€™s done a great job this year of staying focused and just playing his game. Whether he gets in the other team’€™s kitchen or not, that’€™s part of his game. But I think it’€™s just about making sure you don’€™t lose the respect of your referees by chirping or by continuing to do things after the whistle when they tell you to stop. I think that’€™s where he’€™s lost those guys a little bit. You can always redeem yourself, or you’€™d like to think players can, he’€™s really tying to do that.”

Julien has gone after other teams –€” specifically the Canadiens –€” in the past for embellishing. On Saturday, however, he admitted what many know to be true but don’€™t always want to say: Everyone dives.

“I don’€™t encourage embellishment. I don’€™t want to see it. That doesn’€™t mean it won’€™t happen every once in a while on our team,” Julien said. “€Like anybody else, I just don’€™t like it. Our players are clear on that. We’€™re not clean; we do make those kind of mistakes every once in a while, and when it becomes an issue, it gets addressed.

“The league is doing a great job of trying to take that out of the game, and I think it’€™s a real important thing to our game to take out because it really tarnishes what this game’€™s all about.”

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In showdown of elite centers, Patrice Bergeron dominates Flyers’ Claude Giroux 10.09.14 at 12:23 am ET
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In theory, Wednesday night’€™s season opener between the Bruins and Flyers should have given us a great back-and-forth battle between two of the NHL‘€™s best centers. Patrice Bergeron and Claude Giroux both finished in the top five in Hart Trophy voting last season, and their lines were matched against each other for most of the game Wednesday night.

But instead of that great battle, what we got was a total beatdown in favor of the Bruins. Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith dominated Giroux, Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek all game long, rendering one of the best players in the league virtually invisible.

Bergeron won 10 of the 12 faceoffs he took against Giroux and ended up with a plus-16 Corsi (22 shot attempts for, 6 against), according to hockeystats.ca, while Giroux finished the night with a minus-18 Corsi (6 attempts for, 24 against). Bergeron and his linemates combined for seven shots on goal, while Giroux and his managed just two. It seemed like every time the two lines were on the ice, the puck was in the Flyers’€™ zone, and the numbers reflect that.

“They take pride in being a better line than the line that they’€™re facing up against,”€ Claude Julien said. “It’€™s just a trait that they have. They worked hard. You have to give them credit, too, for how they checked against that line because it had a lot of potential to be dangerous offensively. But those guys did a pretty good job of taking away those opportunities.”

The key was winning battles. Bergeron is one of the best faceoff men in the NHL, but it’€™s not like he won all 10 of those faceoffs cleanly. Some of them required him outworking Giroux on a second or third attempt to win the puck back, and some of them required Marchand or Smith to jump in and beat the opponent to a loose puck.

Battles in the corner led to longer offensive-zone possessions. One of the best examples of this came with around 9:40 left in the second when Bergeron won a 1-on-1 battle in the corner to the left of the Flyers’ net. He came away with the puck and moved it back to Zdeno Chara at the left point. Chara then moved it over to Adam McQuaid, who sent a shot through a nice Smith screen, one that he was able to set by winning a battle for position. The shot didn’€™t go in, but it wasn’€™t an easy save either. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brad Marchand, Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Patrice Bergeron
Islanders beat Bruins in preseason contest 09.30.14 at 9:42 pm ET
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The Bruins came back from a two-goal deficit in the third period of Tuesday’€™s preseason game against the Islanders but ultimately fell, 5-3.

Boston first got on the board in the first period with a goal from Patrice Bergeron putting in his own rebound, but three straight goals from the Islanders gave them a 3-1 lead heading into the third. After Brad Marchand took a cross-checking penalty, Matt Bartkowski scored a shorthanded goal and Marchand took a pass from Loui Eriksson upon exiting the penalty box for a breakaway on which he tied the game. Cal Clutterbuck beat projected Providence backup goaltender Jeremy Smith to make it 4-3 with 3:09 remaining in the game. The Islanders got an empty-netter from Scott Mayfield with 1:11 to seal the victory.

Niklas Svedberg started the game for the Bruins, allowing one goal on eight shots. Smith took over halfway through the second and allowed two goals late in the second before settling down in the third.

Torey Krug and Reilly Smith did not play, but are expected to this weekend. The Bruins’€™ lineup for the game was as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Eriksson
Marchand – Bergeron – Cunningham
Gagne – Soderberg – Fraser
Caron – Kelly – Robins

Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – Boychuk
Bartkowski – McQuaid

The Bruins have two more preseason games remaining. They’€™ll play the Islanders in Connecticut on Friday before wrapping up the preseason Saturday evening against the Red Wings. The B’€™s will host the Flyers in their season-opener Oct. 8.

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Brad Marchand knows what Reilly Smith and Torey Krug are experiencing 09.09.14 at 5:15 pm ET
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WILMINGTON –€” If anyone knows what it feels like to be Torey Krug or Reilly Smith right now, it’€™s Brad Marchand.

The fall after the B’€™s won the Cup in 2011, Marchand, a restricted free agent, remained unsigned up until two days before training camp began. The sides avoided a holdout by striking a two-year, $5 million deal.

With training camp opening next week, both Krug and Smith remain without contracts. Marchand can remember the feeling of being days out of training camp and trying to agree to a new deal.

“It’€™s tough,”€ he said Tuesday. “€œThey want to be here and we’€™d love to have them here. I don’€™t know what’€™s happening with the negotiations, but it is a frustrating time for both sides.

“€œYou want to be with the guys and skating and have all that stuff behind you, because at the end of the day you love the game and you don’€™t want to be missing out on this stuff. Hopefully it will get done soon, and I’€™m sure it will.”

In the cases Krug and Smith, the circumstances are different than Marchand’€™s was. For one, Krug and Smith are entry level free agents and therefore don’€™t have any leverage. The biggest thing at play here, however, is the fact that cap space is tight.

Boston has only $3.218 million to sign both players for the coming season. A trade is expected at some point, but until the B’€™s do anything, forcing both players to take less than they’€™re worth is the team’€™s only move.

Training camp holdouts happen in the NHL (Drew Doughty in 2011 among them) and both P.K. Subban and Ryan O’€™Reilly were restricted free agents who missed games in the lockout-shortened 2013 season before eventually signing with their teams.

For his own sake, Marchand doesn’€™t want to see Smith, the right wing on Boston’€™s second line, sit out into the season. He’€™d rather have Smith in camp so prepare for the season with Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

“It would be good,” Marchand said of Smith’€™s situation resolving itself sooner rather than later. “It’€™s always good to have as much time in training camp to play with your line, but that’€™s not something I can control.”

And if Smith remains unsigned for a long time?

“œMe and Bergy will just go out and have fun by ourselves, I guess.”

Read More: Brad Marchand, Reilly Smith, Torey Krug,
Brad Marchand says he ‘hates’ Tomas Plekanec, but everyone already knew that 07.30.14 at 12:01 pm ET
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The biggest news surrounding Brad Marchand this offseason is that Peter Chiarelli said he wouldn’€™t trade him. The least surprising surrounding him came Tuesday night.

Speaking at the 2014 Phoenix House Champs for Change in his home town of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Boston left wing answered a question about which player irritates him the most by pointing to Tomas Plekanec, Montreal’€™s well-rounded-but-not-so-well-liked-by-opponents center.

“€œThere’€™s a few guys who really irritate me,”€ Marchand initially answered, but then he went into detail.

“Tomas Plekanec from Montreal, I hate him. I can’€™t stand him. No, I probably shouldn’€™t say that. I dislike him very much.”

The answer prompted a mixed reaction from the crowd, with plenty of laughter throughout. Marchand then quipped, ‘€œSomeone’€™s going to call and get mad at me for saying that tomorrow.’€

The fact that Marchand and Plekanec don’€™t like each other is not news. Don’€™t forget that Marchand clocked Plekanec in the head before a faceoff in Game 7 of the second round of playoffs last season, a shot that went uncalled.

Below is video of Marchand’€™s comments.

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Peter Chiarelli: Bruins not planning on trading Brad Marchand for Patrick Marleau or anyone else 06.13.14 at 9:39 am ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told WEEI.com Friday morning that he has no plans to trade forward Brad Marchand. He also refuted a rumor from Thursday that the team was discussing a trade of the pesky forward for Sharks veteran Patrick Marleau.

“€œI have had no discussions for Marchand and I have no plans to trade him,” Chiarelli said. “I don’€™t make it a practice to respond to reports in the social media, but occasionally it is necessary.”

A veteran of four seasons, Marchand has three years left on a four-year, $18 million extension that contains a modified no-trade clause. His $4.5 million cap hit is fourth among Bruins forwards and sixth among Bruins players.

Marleau is not a logical fit for the Bruins given that they are looking to shed salary going forward rather than add it. In addition to Marleau being 34 years of age, his deal carries two more years of a $6.66 million cap hit and contains a no-movement clause.

The upside of adding a player like Marleau is that he is still productive at his age, as he had 33 goals for the Sharks last season, but making that expensive of a minor upgrade (Marchand had more goals than Marleau’s 17 in the 2013 season) in one spot on the top-six would make it even harder for the Bruins to re-sign Jarome Iginla, who is a free agent and led the Bruins in goals in both the regular season, when his 30 goals matched Patrice Bergeron‘s, and postseason.

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

Read More: Brad Marchand, Patrick Marleau, Peter Chiarelli,
Bruins report card: Forwards 06.10.14 at 4:15 pm ET
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As the Stanley Cup finals take place, the fact that the Bruins didn’t even reach the Eastern Conference finals after winning the Presidents’€™ Trophy further accentuates the failure that was their 2013-14 season. Here are the individual grades:

FORWARDS

Patrice Bergeron: A
Regular season: 80 GP, 30 G, 32 A, 62 PTS, plus-38
Postseason: 12 GP, 3 G, 6 A, 9 PTS, plus-1

Bergeron had the type of season that led Twitter to be insufferable over his candidacy for a video game cover, so that’€™s a good thing, I guess. This was Bergeron’€™s second career 30-goal season, and the fact that he scored 30 goals given that he never, ever cheats offensively, was pretty insane. He likely would have had more points than his 62 points had his linemates been more consistent early on.

Bergeron had nine points (three goals, six assists) over the first eight games of the playoffs, but he failed to register a point in the last four games against the Canadiens.

Jarome Iginla: A-
Regular season: 78 GP, 30 G, 31 A, 61 PTS, plus-34
Postseason: 12 GP, 5 G, 2 A, 7 PTS, even rating
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT

He hit 30 goals in the regular season, and while that thrilled Bruins fans, that’€™s what they should have expected from him. It took him a bit to start scoring regularly, but once he hit his stride, the Bruins’€™ first line had perhaps its most consistent regular season since David Krejci became the team’€™s No. 1 center. The Bruins will want to bring him back, but there’€™s no telling whether Iginla is willing to go year-to-year given that it’€™s the only way the Bruins can capitalize cap-wise on his status as a player over 35 years old.

Carl Soderberg: A-
Regular season: 73 GP, 16 G, 32 A, 48 P, plus-4
Postseason: 12 GP, 1 G, 5 A, 6 PTS, plus-4

It’€™s probably too early take positives from the season and apply them going forward, but Soderberg showed he can be one of the league’€™s better third-liners since he was moved to center. Considering Bergeron and David Krejci aren’t going anywhere, that’s where Soderberg will remain. He has one year left on his deal with a $1.083 million cap hit. If the 28-year-old takes another step forward in his second full NHL season, he’ll be due a sizable raise.

Reilly Smith: A-
Regular season: 82 GP, 20 G, 31 A, 51 PTS, plus-28
Postseason: 12 GP, 4 G, 1 A, 5 PTS, plus-5
RESTRICTED FREE AGENT

Don’€™t confuse his midseason slump with a complete collapse; Smith was one of the Bruins’€™ best players in the postseason. With even a little consistency down the stretch in the regular season, this would be an A+.

The Bruins coveted Smith when it came time to talk trade with the Stars, and they planned on him being a steady third-liner for them this season, but he claimed the second-line right wing job and raced out to a team-leading 18 goals in his first 52 games. Of course, scoring just two goals over the final 30 games wasn’t exactly top-six material. How much of that can be attributed to his midseason illness that caused him to lose weight is unknown, but with more consistency Smith can expect to push for 30 goals going forward.

Milan Lucic: B-
Regular season: 80 GP, 24 G, 35 A, 59 PTS, plus-30
Postseason: 12 GP, 4 G, 3 A, 7 PTS, plus-3

Lucic hit a goal-scoring rut in the middle of the season and he hit some of his opponents in the you-know-whats late in the season. That scoring slump saw Lucic score one goal over an 18-game stretch from Dec. 5 to Jan. 14, and without such a stretch Lucic could have pushed for 30 goals.

Daniel Paille: B-/C+
Regular season: 72 GP, 9 G, 9 A, 18 PTS, plus-9
Postseason: 7 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 1 PT, minus-1

He had three concussions this season, but he still played in 72 regular-season games. Paille’s the type of player who could figure to stick around if the Bruins decide to revamp their fourth line, as he has the speed that’€™s allowed the B’s to move him up in the lineup at points in addition to his penalty-killing duties.

Gregory Campbell: C
Regular season: 82 GP, 8 G, 13 S, 21 PTS, plus-1
Postseason: 12 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS, even rating

The Bruins’ bottom-six –€“ particularly their fourth line — is supposed to be better than that of other teams, and it was a bad year for the Merlot Line. Campbell was a minus-3 in the Montreal series, with his line on the ice for the disastrous shift against Montreal’s fourth line in Game 7 that resulted in Dale Weise‘s first-period goal. The positive is that Campbell played all 82 games and 12 postseason games coming off a broken leg that ended last season in the Eastern Conference finals for him.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brad Marchand, Jarome Iginla, Shawn Thornton,
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