|Bruins year in review: Top rookie||06.22.11 at 3:09 am ET|
Each day this week, WEEI.com will be taking a look back at the Bruins’ historic 2010-11 Stanley Cup Championship season. So far, we’ve looked at the goal of the year, fight of the year and save of the year. Up today is the Bruins’ rookie of the year, a no-brainer for anyone who followed the championship season.
BRUINS’ TOP ROOKIE
Brad Marchand: 21 G, 20 A, 41 points (regular season); 11 G, 8 A, 19 points (postseason)
“I was impressed with with Marchy from the moment I saw him play. I obviously wasn’t too familiar with him, but having seen him early in training camp’¦ then just build his way up and keep getting better and better, to be honest with you, he was so important to our team. When we were successful, usually Marchy had a big game or played well.
“Playing with Marchy, I enjoyed it a lot’¦ He deserves everything that he’s gotten. He’s worked for it. He had the opportunity. He made the team and he started with us and worked for his ice time. Rightfully so, he’s an important part of this team. To even do what he did in the playoffs, that’s even more important, and says more about him as a player that he can step up in those big games.”
At the beginning of training camp, Tyler Seguin was a household name in Boston. He was perhaps the only Bruins rookie a Bostonian could pick out of the very lineup Seguin assured he had yet to crack. By the end of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup run, people were talking about a few Boston rookies. Seguin’s goals got him the hype and Adam McQuaid‘s mullet got him the cult following and customized t-shirts from Andrew Ference, but no Bruins rookie came close to bringing it the way Brad Marchand did.
When the B’s opened the regular season in Prague, Marchand was a fourth-liner who got around 10 minutes of ice time. When the season ended, he had assisted the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals and scored two of his own. When all was said and done, Marchand hoisted the Cup having scored 11 goals in the postseason, one behind David Krejci for the postseason lead. He worked his way from being a famed member of the Merlot Line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton to forming perhaps the team’s most consistent line with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi, and aside from missing time after being rocked on a beautiful P.K. Subban hip check in December, the 5-foot-9 Marchand looked invincible in the process.
The story of Marchand’s preseason confidence has been well-documented. He told both Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien that he would score 20 goals (the very number Milan Lucic was optimistically aiming for prior to the season) in his first full season. Chiarelli told him to think about what he was saying. While thinking may never be Marchand’s game, he certainly backed up his words by popping 21 in the regular season.
The downside with Marchand is that with the good, you must take the bad, but depending on how you look at it, the bad isn’t all that bad. He crosses the line often, whether it be with his on-ice actions or words. He was suspended for elbowing R.J. Umberger in the head, but at the end of the day he’s a far cry from a dirty player. He’s one of the Bruins who have been guilty of embellishment, but with Marchand, it’s nowhere near the point of some of the players the B’s saw in Montreal and Vancouver. If anyone wants to deem Marchand’s feistiness a problem, it’s a problem every team in the league would love to have. He’s a special type of player, and the B’s are fortunate to have someone who’s just as good in all three areas of the ice and at killing penalties as he is at getting under opponents’ skin and scoring goals.
Now, after a rookie year in which he became a hero in Boston, Marchand will get paid. A restricted free agent, Marchand couldn’t have asked for a better time to be due a raise, as it should be a big one. He had a salary cap hit of $821,667 last season and could now get upwards of $3 million.
Just a note before we get to the honorable mention section: While McQuaid was a far more mature player in his rookie campaign and provided far more stability than Seguin did (it’s an apples and oranges comparison anyway given the difference in age and position), the argument could be made that the B’s could have won the Stanley Cup without him. In this scribe’s opinion, the Bruins would not have won the Cup were it not for Tyler Seguin. The youngster may have singlehandedly changed the Eastern Conference finals with his performance in the second period of Game 2. As a result, if we had to make this thing a list, Seguin would be the runner up to Marchand.
HONORABLE MENTION: Tyler Seguin, Adam McQuaid
|Shawn Thornton on The Big Show: Bruins used Canucks’ comments as motivation||06.20.11 at 6:28 pm ET|
Bruins forward and two-time Stanley Cup winner Shawn Thornton joined The Big Show Monday to review the Stanley Cup finals and the entire Stanley Cup playoffs. To hear the interview, check out The Big Show audio on demand page.
Following Game 7, rookie forward Brad Marchand said that he hated the Canucks given how “cocky” they were throughout the series. Thornton wouldn’t use Marchand’s words, but he did share the same feelings.
‘No, I mean I don’t want to talk bad about them and be a sore winner, but I will say some of the comments that were made and kind of the way everyone had us dialed in,’ he said. ‘They were planning the parade on Monday and they hadn’t even won the game yet. Stuff like that motivates the other team. We did a good job of toeing the line and not letting anything get out into the open. Even though we were a confident bunch as a group we weren’t out there talking about it as much.’
Even though Thornton’s line, the fourth line did not score much during the playoff run, Thornton knew what their role was and how it changed from series to series.
‘Our line, when we played over a certain amount we did a good job getting the puck deep, and creating energy,’ he said. ‘That’s our role. In different series’ our line was used in different ways. The Montreal series not as much, they are run and gun, the Philadelphia series we were used a little more and Tampa not as much again because they are built a little different, but that Vancouver series the first couple games they came out and were really physical, so our line did the same thing and we wanted to push that and be physical.’
Thornton did not play in the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals, but was inserted into the lineup for Game 3.
‘Right before warm up I found out,’ Thornton said. ‘That was tough, I’m not going to lie. I thought he [Claude Julien] was going to make the change, but you are never 100 percent. I was ecstatic. I prepared like I was playing, but it’s different when you’re not sure. You’d rather know, but I guess it was a last minute decision and it worked out just fine.’
After going down dropping the first two games in Vancouver the Bruins knew that they weren’t out of it.
‘We knew we were in them, we were a goal away in each game,’ Thornton said. ‘We knew if we got back playing the way we needed to play we could win. We did a good job all year of not letting the highs get too high and the lows too low, and we did a really good job after that game of just focusing on the next game and the game after that. That was our main focus going into those games.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|Plain and simple: Bruins win the Stanley Cup||06.15.11 at 10:45 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Stanley Cup never entered TD Garden when the Canucks had a chance to win it on Monday. Now, it’s safe to say it will be in plain sight in Boston for quite some time.
The Bruins knocked off the Canucks, 4-0, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night to win the Cup for the first time since 1972 and take the trophy for the sixth time in franchise history.
It was only fitting that the longest tenured Bruin, Patrice Bergeron, sure-fire Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas and top rookie Brad Marchand stole the show in Vancouver in providing Boston with the most coveted trophy in all of sports.
Both Bergeron and Marchand had a pair of goals on the night, factoring for all of the Bruins’ tallies. Marchand’s second was an empty-netter with just over two minutes remaining.
Bergeron opened the scoring for the Bruins at 14:37 of first period, taking a pass from Marchand in the slot and sending the puck past a pair of Canucks skaters and just past Roberto Luongo‘s right leg.
The goal marked one bookend of a telling issue for the Bruins, as they did not record another shot on Luongo until 7:40 into the second period. Marchand had another superb opportunity in that span, though he saw his backhanded bid in front of Luongo go off the crossbar.
Despite the lack of work provided for Luongo, Marchand made his presence felt by beating the Vancouver netminder on a wraparound at 12:13. The rookie finished the postseason with 11 goals, and the B’s won all nine games in which he scored.
If it’s possible for a dagger to come in the second period, Bergeron provided it with a shorthanded goal on a breakaway late in the period. The play was reviewed to determine whether Bergeron punched the puck into the net, though the goal stood, and so too did the Bruins’ lead.
Thomas’ performance capped a remarkable series for the anticipated Vezina winner, as he allowed just eight goals over the entire series and set the record for most games in a Stanley Cup finals series. His shutout was his fourth of the postseason and second of the finals.
Though first period yielded the Bruins’ first goal, though it was not the most encouraging 20 minutes. The B’s managed only five shots on goal, with the fourth line of Gregory Campbell between Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille. The line’s tireless work and aggression stood out for the Bruins, with each member getting a shot on Luongo. By the end of the period, the line had contributed 60 percent of the team’s shots on goal.
An injury scare occurred for the Bruins early on as well, as a hit from Chris Higgins at the blue line in the first period left captain Zdeno Chara down on the ice for a few moments. Chara got up and returned to the bench without any further issues.
The Canucks came out of the gate much stronger than the Bruins, and had quality opportunities throughout the night despite the Bruins’ attempts to push the play to the side. Vancouver’s best opportunity came a little over nine minutes into the second, when Chara was attempting to send the puck up the boards in his own zone, only to see the puck deflect off of Henrik Sedin and in front of the net to Alexandre Burrows. The controversial Vancouver winger had an empty net to work with, but Chara made up for his own miscue by getting in position to save the puck for Thomas.
A few odds and ends from the game:
– Dennis Seidenberg is now the second German to win the Stanley Cup, joining Uwe Krupp (1996).
– Both Henrik and Daniel Sedin were on the ice for the first three Bruins’ goals. Henrik was one of the players in front when Bergeron’s shot went past him on its way to Luongo on the first goal.
– The Canucks’ power play finished the Stanley Cup finals just 2-for-31.
– Tyler Seguin has gone from No. 2 overall pick to Stanley Cup champion in less than a year.
– Of the four major sports, the Patriots now have the longest Boston championship drought, as they las won the Super Bowl in February of 2005.
Former NHL player and current Vancouver sports radio host Ray Ferraro joined Mut & Merloni Wednesday to preview Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals and give some perspective from the Canucks fan base. To hear the interview, check out the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Ferraro said that despite another Boston blowout in Game 6, Vancouver fans aren’t too worried about their chances Wednesday.
“I was really surprised, they’re actually very confident. I don’t know if they even watched Game 6,” he said. “I guess they put their faith in the fact that it’s almost been like two completely different books for this series. … For the life of me, I can’t figure out why it’s been such. Vancouver’s been so bad in Boston and Boston hasn’t been able to punch through here in Vancouver, so I guess that’s what it’s all about, Game 7, you play all year to get home-ice advantage and the fans here, they’re pretty happy that it’s in Vancouver.”
“I think [Vancouver fans] were, almost to a person, disappointed with Luongo’s comments after Game 5,” he said. “Where it really went sideways was the next day at the airport. He had the chance to kind of soften the blow a little bit and say, ‘You know, it’s not really what I was trying to say, this is what I was trying to say …’ But he didn’t do it, so that’s one thing. And then you come out and you last eight minutes in Game 6, you know, you get torched.
“I don’t think the fans here are really thrilled with that. I do know there’s no player I can think of on either team that gets scrutinized more in their hometown than Luongo. I can’t think of a Bruin player who would be under as much heat as Luongo is here. And not just in this series. Almost since the day he’s been there.”
Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to offer his thoughts from a referee’s viewpoint on the Stanley Cup finals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
‘This is not a typical series, certainly not a typical Stanley Cup final,” Fraser said. “We’ve seen such crazy, bizarre things go on, and the officials have certainly been under a lot of scrutiny. There has been some inconsistencies for sure, from my perspective. They need to make sure they are well prepared and call that first penalty that happens, otherwise they’re going to be batting uphill all night.’
Fraser was asked about Game 7s and if the referees don’t call as many penalties as in other games.
‘It’s got to be imagined,” he said of that perception. “The players will dictate what the officials do and how they respond. That being said, the officials have to respond appropriately. I found in most Game 7s, the players just want to play. All the stuff that happened in the previous six games is over, it’s forgotten, now it’s do or die. … This is the kind of game where one call, one penalty can make a huge difference in the outcome of the game.”
When asked about the Johnny Boychuk hit that knocked out Mason Raymond for the rest of the series, Fraser said he didn’t feel like it was deserving of a suspension. “The Vancouver fans are furious,” Fraser said. “That was a normal, acceptable kind of play. Twenty seconds in, Johnny fork-hooked the legs of Raymond. It should have been a two-minute hooking or interference penalty. That was it. Once he turned him and their momentum carried him into the boards, it was an awkward position, that’s all it was. There was no suspension deserved.”
|Brad Marchand is a rat’s rat||06.14.11 at 7:50 am ET|
If the Canucks were hoping that Brad Marchand would wilt as a rookie under the pressure of his first playoff experience, they obviously did not judge or scout him nearly close enough.
And there’s no reason to think Marchand is about to crumble under the pressure of the first Stanley Cup finals Game 7 in Bruins history.
“We have to make sure that we have a good start. And they just seem to get so much momentum and energy off their crowd and we just have to find a way to counter that and come out strong,” said Marchand sounding every bit the veteran of 24 playoff games.
When he scored in the Game 3 blowout of the Canucks, he referred to the fact that he is considered the modern-day “rat” of the Bruins, a nickname lovingly bestowed on Ken Linseman for being the bur in the side of every opponent. It’s a nickname that he continues to wear with pride as he proved again to the Canucks on Monday.
“I was there, it was a good shot but I have to make that save,” Luongo said. “He put it where he wanted but I have to make a save there.”
“We weren’t too worried about that in here,” Marchand said of Luongo’s talk after Game 5. “He can say what he wants to say. We were just trying to focus on playing this game so we got a couple early, and you know, obviously they switched the goaltenders up. Obviously he’s bounced back every game and I expect the same thing back in Vancouver.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Game 6 countdown, 6 p.m.: Inside the numbers||06.13.11 at 6:00 pm ET|
With Game 6 fast approaching here are a few notable statistics regarding the series and Stanley Cup finals history that could play a role in Monday night’s game:
– The team that has scored first has won each of the first five games of the series.
– The last time the home team won every game of the Stanley Cup finals was in 2003 when the Devils beat the Ducks in seven games.
– The Bruins are 7-0 in the playoffs when Brad Marchand scores.
– Since 1989, six Stanley Cup finals series have been won in six games. All of the clinching games have been won on the road.
– The last four times a team won the Stanley Cup in Game 6, all games were decided by one goal, with three games going into overtime.
– Only two teams since 1939 have won Games 6 and 7, with Game 7 being on the road in the Stanley Cup finals. They are the Canadians in 1971 and the Penguins in 2009.