|Fourth line a source of energy for Bruins||10.23.10 at 1:53 pm ET|
If you think very highly of the Bruins’ fourth line after its most recent example of high-energy play on Thursday, you’re not alone. The combination of youngster Brad Marchand, newcomer Gregory Campbell and fan favorite Shawn Thornton has made for a line that has impressed many on the young season, including the guy who determines their minutes.
“That's as good as I think we've seen our fourth line here in the years that I've been here as far as what they do, I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to start these guys,” Claude Julien said following Saturday’s game. “They're reliable enough that if the other team puts their top line in, they know, and what's good about them is that they don't question what they're going to do. They put pucks in deep and they're going to work and they work hard and they seem to be in sync with the fore-check, but they seem to set the stage and the tempo for the game early on.”
The line can expect about 10 minutes of ice time a game, with Campbell and Marchand both seeing time on the penalty kill. Thornton and Campbell both have a plus-one rating, while Marchand’s is even. There’s a lot to like, and the members of the fourth line are taking pride in it.
“We work hard,” Gregory Campbell said following Saturday’s morning skate. “The coaching staff has given us a lot of confidence and that helps out a lot as a player. [They've] kind of expected us to do more than just be a responsible checking line. That’s something that we have to take pride in, to be an energy line and to be responsible and to be hard to play against. On the flip side of that, we have to try to create things, and that helps a lot when we have three good lines that are playing before us, and for us to go out there at key times in the game and provide that energy and wear the other teams down. It helps over the course of a game and the season.”
The players undoubtedly appreciate the minutes that they’ve been given each night. Marchand knows that if they are to continue getting as much ice time as they’ve gotten, they’ll need to prove capable of passing each test they face. Going against Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals’ top line on Thursday was the most recent example of them doing so, and perhaps a big reason for Julien’s postgame praise. Marchand hopes that as the games pile up, the fourth line continues to handle whichever line they’re up against.
“I think that the main thing as that we want to take advantage of the other teams’ fourth lines,” Marchand said on Saturday. “We just want to get it deep in the other team’s end and try to take as many pucks to the net as we can. We want to be defensive and be accountable in our end. It’s nice of [Julien] to trust us against other team’s top lines. We played against Ovechkin’s line there the other night, and I think we held our own, so it’s nice that they trust us and they know we’re accountable out there.”
Taking an Alexander Ovechkin shot off the foot isn’t one of the NHL feats a player hopes to accomplish in their career, but as of Thursday, Bruins fourth-line winger Brad Marchand, like it or not, finds himself among the group of players to do so. Marchand was limited to two shifts after the occurrence and sat out Friday’s practice. He was on the ice for Thursday’s morning skate, however, and said afterwards that he feels he’s good to go.
“I feel a lot better today. It was nice to have that day off yesterday to rest my foot up, and it felt good when I was out there today,” Marchand said, later adding that “it’s a little tender, but I’ll be able to go tonight.”
Asked where the shot hit him, Marchand seemed apologetic in answering, ”somewhere in the foot.” Though he didn’t seem overly concerned with the foot on Saturday, he admitted that the same couldn’t be said for how he felt Thursday.
“I couldn’t put any pressure on it when I was on the ice, and it just went numb. Guys have told me before that when you break your feet and your hands, it just goes numb, so I was kind of panicking at that point in time,” Marchand said. “I got back to the room, started to get some more feeling back as time went on, but I was just more scared when it was broken.”
Reporters have been hard-pressed to find certainty regarding who they can expect to play in net each night, but Claude Julien was more than accommodating in commenting on Marchand’s status. The coach seemed optimistic as the team prepares to take on the Rangers in their second game at the Garden.
“He seems good,” Julien said. “This morning I talked to him again and he felt good, and obviously we’ll make that final decision after warm-ups if there is an issue. If not, he’ll be in the lineup.”
The verdict: He should play unless the pain comes back.
“I can’t afford to miss any games and sit out,” Marchand said. “It’s not that bad.”
|Brad Marchand and the ‘give it to Thornton’ Bruins offense||10.18.10 at 8:31 pm ET|
Sometimes it’s hard to argue with a player’s logic. Monday was not one of those days.
After going from player to player discussing how one prepares for a player like Alexander Ovechkin, a stop by Brad Marchand‘s locker in the Bruins’ dressing room brought about a most peculiar discussion. Reporters were talking about the undersized winger and how he and Gregory Campbell go about setting up Shawn Thornton, who on Saturday notched his first goal in over a calendar year in the Bruins’ 4-1 victory over the Devils.
“I think he’s really underestimated, and we always talk about it in the [dressing] room: Just give it to Thornton, go in front of the net, and he’s going to put it in,” Marchand said as reporters laughed. “That’s what our game plan is.”
Upon his suggestion that the team would enter a game planning on feeding Thornton, who, in all fairness, did have as many shots on goal Saturday (three) as all three second-liners combined, reporters noted that such logic would apply more to the likes of Ovechkin. Fifty-goal scorer or one-goal scorer, Marchand still trusted the plan of getting it to their enforcer, and joked that the coaches agree.
“Yeah, they pulled us in and they were like, ‘Listen guys, your whole game plan is to give it to Thornton, and you guys just skate around and make him look pretty,” Marchand said.
|Bruins not getting hung up on Marchand’s kneeing call||at 2:20 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Perhaps the most controversial call in Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Bruins was the first-period kneeing call against Brad Marchand on a play in which he hit Dainius Zubrus. As a small guy (Marchand is 5-foot-9) the 22-year-old forward can expect tough calls each time he hits a player low, but Claude Julien said on Monday that the team felt it was a clean hit and that such calls shouldn’t shake Marchand.
“I think it’s a situation where he’s got to play his game,” Julien said. “He went in, and to us, it seemed like a clean hit. If it’s perceived another way, you’re going to get some tough calls all year long. The good part about it is that, first of all, in our minds, it was a clean hit and a tough call for him. It was up to the rest of the team to bail him out, and they did.
“I’m not going to ask him to change his style. He’s doing what he does pretty well, and that’s why he’s in our lineup right now. We’re certainly not going to look at that as a negative more than, ‘keep playing your game, and hopefully the referees make the right calls.’”
|Video: Claude Julien, 10/18/10||at 2:07 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Here’s the video of Bruins head coach Claude Julien talking about getting ready for the Capitals, keeping opposing teams on their toes with their revolving door of defensive pairings, and whether Saturday’s kneeing call against Brad Marchand was a fair one.
|Video: Claude Julien, 10/15/10||10.15.10 at 1:43 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Here’s the video of Claude Julien talking about the Bruins’ special teams, Cam Neely, and Brad Marchand on Friday at the team’s final Ristuccia skate before departing for New Jersey, where they will face the Devils on Saturday.
|Notes: Game 7 by the numbers||05.13.10 at 3:48 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins are about to play in their 19th Game 7 in team history on Friday night against the Flyers. It will be the 15th Game 7 on home ice and the second time they have been taken to a Game 7 after leading a series three games to none (1939 against the Rangers was the last time). It is the fourth time they have been taken to a Game 7 after holding a three games to one advantage (1939 Rangers, 1992 Sabres, 2004 Canadiens).
The Bruins hold a 9-9 record overall in Game 7s and are 9-5 at home. They are 2-2 when the game is decided in overtime, such as last season in the semifinals against Carolina. The Bruins have lost three straight Game 7s after winning their previous six and this will be the first time they face the Flyers in an ultimate game.
Coach Claude Julien is 1-2 lifetime in Game 7s while Flyers coach Peter Laviolette is 2-1. Julien’s lone win came over the Bruins when he was the coach of Montreal in 2004. Steve Begin (2-0), Mark Recchi (4-3) and Dennis Seidenberg (2-1) are the only Bruins players to have winning records in Game 7s while captain Zdeno Chara is 0-4.
The Flyers will be playing their 14th Game 7 and their sixth on the road where they are 2-3 in their history. This is the first time they have forced a Game 7 after being down three games to none or one. Philadelphia is 7-6 all-time in ultimate games. Chris Pronger has a 1-5 record in Game 7s, Simon Gagne is 1-2 and Ian Lapiererre is 0-3.
Thursday quote — From Brad Marchand, who wore a grey practice sweater and may be in the game for the Bruins tomorrow night:
“It is definitely harder watching. You want to go out and help as much as you can. I would be very happy, very excited. I have been staying in shape and stuff and if I get the call, I will be ready,” Marchand said.
Marchand was asked if he could play the pesky, instigating role that he showed at times during the regular season.
“Well, you know, it is always part of the playoffs. The trouble with that is that sometimes you get dumb penalties and I know that is something we want to stay away from. We kind of let them do that and not focus on that tomorrow. We just want to play our game and if we do that we will be better off,” Marchand said.