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Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘It’s the officiating itself’ causing more players to embellish 03.06.13 at 1:45 pm ET
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NESN’s Andy Brickley talked with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday about the Bruins’ overtime loss to the Capitals on Tuesday and about B’s coach Claude Julien‘s implication that the Canadiens dive more than most teams.

“From where Jack [Edwards] and I sit, it was more about what the Bruins failed to do,” Brickley said of the Capitals’ four-goal comeback Tuesday. “A 3-0 lead after one period, a game that you could certainly put away — the Bruins have the capability, it should be in their DNA by now. ‘€¦ Now it comes on the heels of giving a game away to Montreal in the third period, and over the last two periods plus overtime, to give that game away against Washington. It’s disturbing, it’s frustrating. And it shouldn’t happen in a season when points are at a premium, when it gets amplified.”

Brickley said that while it hasn’t hurt them much to this point, Tuesday wasn’t a big departure from the way the Bruins have been playing all year.

“When you really look at this team, they don’t do anything the easy way,” he said. “They don’t blow teams out, and they had an opportunity to do that last night, and even with the things that hurt them — mismanagement of the puck, turnovers, weak third periods of late, not extending leads even greater than three goals. … That offense needs to find some other gear. You’ve got to expect some shakeup on lines 2, 3 and 4.”

In response to a video that compiles various instances of the Bruins embellishing, Brickley noted that many of the plays in the video are against Montreal and Vancouver, and said the Bruins may have been diving in those situations to stay on an even playing field with teams that do it frequently. He added that he thinks players are embellishing more because officials aren’t calling penalties when they should.

“The problem isn’t so much about the embellishment,” he said. “It’s the officiating itself. If the officiating was of a higher quality, then embellishment becomes less of a part of your strategy as a team to get power plays.”

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Chris Bourque not worried he’ll be replaced at trade deadline 03.04.13 at 3:21 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — As the trade deadline approaches, players on bad teams worry about being moved, but players on good teams worry about being replaced. Not too many Bruins should have reason to worry about that, but Chris Bourque probably tops that list.

With less than a month to go before the trade deadline, enough of the season has been played for teams to diagnose potential weaknesses and where upgrades could be needed. In the Bruins’ case, there isn’t much not to like.

Tyler Seguin is finally hitting his stride after a slow start and the Bruins’ top two lines have been very productive. The defense has been strong as usual, and though Andrew Ference isn’t having his best season, the B’s shouldn’t actively seek anything more than a potential depth move on the back end. Tuukka Rask has been healthy and strong, so between the offensive production, solid defensive play and sound goaltending, you’d have to nitpick to find an area that needs upgrading.

That’s why Bourque’s name has come up so much. The Bruins have grown accustomed to getting more production out of the third line, and Bourque has gone from the third line left wing to the fourth line Saturday to a healthy scratch Sunday, which was his second of the season. He was taken off the power play late in Saturday’s win against the Lightning before eventually sitting vs. the Canadiens.

With there little not to like about this Bruins team, Bourque has been a target for criticism from the get-go. The chemistry with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley — two guys who gelled with the likes of Michael Ryder and Benoit Pouliot in the past two years — wasn’t there, so it’s no surprise that B’s fans were hoping for a Ryder redux prior to last week’s deal that sent the veteran sniper from Dallas to Montreal.

Despite Ryder no longer being an option, you would think that a winger for that Kelly line would be at the top of Peter Chiarelli’s shopping list as April 3 draws nearer. If the Bruins were to upgrade on the third line, Bourque wouldn’t be of much use as a fourth-liner, so he would likely suffer the same fate that Joe Corvo did last season when Boston replaced him in the lineup with Greg Zanon.

For now, Bourque isn’t worried that the trade deadline will mean him losing his spot in being lineup.

“Everyone’s here to win,” Bourque said Monday. “If they bring more guys in, that’s what they’re going to do. I can’t control any of that stuff. I’ve got to control what I can control and that’s it.”

In 17 games this season, Bourque has one goal and three assists for four points and a minus-4 rating. With three more games, the 27-year-old will have tied his career high with 20 games played, which he did in the 2009-10 season with the Penguins. The question at the beginning of the season was whether Bourque would be the season-long answer with Kelly and Peverley after being given the job in camp, but he’s yet to secure a stranglehold on the spot.

In the meantime, Bourque says his mindset hasn’t changed from one game to the next. He’s going to assume he’s in the lineup and he’s going to assume he’ll be given more opportunities. Time might be running out for him to make a lasting statement though.

“You come to the rink ready to play,” Bourque said. “If you don’t, then you’re not coming to the rink with the right attitude. You’ve just got to stay positive and be ready at all times.”

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Shawn Thornton back in, Chris Bourque sits vs. Canadiens 03.03.13 at 7:14 pm ET
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Chris Bourque was not on the ice for pre-game warmups Sunday night, indicating that Shawn Thornton is back in the lineup and that Bourque will sit for the second time this season. The Bruins confirmed following warmups that Bourque is a healthy scratch.

Bourque was last a healthy scratch on Jan. 31 against the Sabres. Thornton was a healthy scratch Saturday against the Lightning, and Sunday marks Jay Pandolfo‘s second consecutive game in the lineup. The lineup is as follows, per line rushes:

Milan LucicDavid KrejciMilan Lucic
Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronTyler Seguin
Daniel PailleChris KellyRich Peverley
Jay Pandolfo – Gregory CampbellShawn Thornton

Zdeno CharaJohnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg – Dougie Hamilton
Andrew Ference – Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask

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Under the Boston microscope, Chris Bourque still seeking results 01.31.13 at 1:52 pm ET
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There haven’t been many changes to the Bruins’ lineup, so Chris Bourque hasn’t exactly been able to slide in under the radar.

Yes, he joined the Bruins this offseason with everyone knowing that he was the son of Bruins legend Ray Bourque, but he also came in with people knowing he wasn’t able to stick on other NHL rosters, so he had something to prove. With that comes pressure. With a slow start to his Boston career came more pressure, and it’s been easy for fans to be down on the 27-year-old.

With Jordan Caron working his way back from a shoulder injury and a mediocre performance in the AHL, Bourque was handed the left wing spot on Chris Kelly‘s line, as well as a job on the Bruins’ second power-play configuration. He’s also been given a shot in each of the Bruins’ shootouts this season, but through six games he has gone pointless with a minus-4 rating and an 0-for-2 showing in shootouts.

Though the team has yet to lose a game in regulation, Bourque has felt the burden of a slow start, and it led to the team making him a healthy scratch in favor of Lane MacDermid for Thursday night’s game against the Sabres.

“I obviously put a lot of pressure on myself, especially to produce,” Bourque said after Thursday’s morning skate. “When you don’t produce, you feel like you’re not helping the team win, but we’ve been winning. We haven’t lost a game yet, so I can’t complain too much. Like I said, obviously I want to contribute and help the team win, so if that’s by getting points or just doing little things, that’s what I’m trying to focus on.”

Kelly himself didn’t score in his first 20 games for the Bruins after being acquired prior to the 2011 trade deadline, totaling just two assists in the process. He gets the sense that a lot of the pressure that Bourque is feeling will go away when he finally buries one.

“I’ve been in his shoes before, where you want to come in, you want to play the perfect game defensively, yet you’ve got to add some offense to kind of get noticed,” Kelly said. “I think Chris has done a great job and helped our line. He’s just a little unlucky here or there, but those bounces will eventually go in.”

In 39 career NHL games, Bourque has one goal and three assists for 13 points. He’s bounced around since playing at Boston University for a season, as he’s played in the Washington and Pittsburgh organizations while also spending time in the KHL and Swiss League. His skill set is apparent, as it wasn’t just his name that made him the 33rd overall pick in the 2004 draft, but the production hasn’t been yet.

“I think he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself right now, and it’s certainly not the Chris we know,” Claude Julien said Thursday. “I’ve seen him enough to know he’s a really skater, he’s a really good playmaker, but I think right now he’s putting way too much pressure on himself. Hopefully we can help him through that. Once he takes that extra weight off his shoulders, you’re going to see a player that can certainly be a much more efficient player than he’s shown so far.”

Time will tell whether Bourque’s stay in the press box is prolonged. The Sabres have more fighters in their lineup than previous seasons thanks to the additions of John Scott and Steve Ott, so perhaps the Bruins simply wanted to add another fighter (MacDermid had seven fights in Providence this season) for Thursday. Either way, the value of Bourque hasn’t been lost on Kelly, who said Bourque has been a good addition to a line that just hasn’t been able to score yet this season.

“He gets in on the forecheck, he makes good plays in the breakout,” Kelly said of Bourque. “He’s in the right spot offensively and defensively. You get one of those bounces and you guys aren’t talking to us, we’re blending in.”

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Chris Bourque a healthy scratch vs. Sabres at 12:07 pm ET
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After a challenging start to his Bruins career, Chris Bourque will be made a healthy scratch Thursday night against the Sabres, Claude Julien confirmed after the team’s morning skate.

Bourque, who has no points and a minus-4 rating through six games, stayed out later than his teammates in the skate, which is often a sign that a player won’t be in that night’s lineup. Tough guy Lane MacDermid will be inserted into the lineup on the fourth line, while Daniel Paille will move up to take Bourque’s spot on Chris Kelly‘s line.

“Chris spent a little extra time on the ice, and he’s a player that we’re going to sit out tonight,” Julien said Thursday. “I had a good talk with Chris this morning. I think he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself right now, and it’s certainly not the Chris we know. I’ve seen him enough to know he’s a really skater, he’s a really good playmaker, but I think right now he’s putting way too much pressure on himself. Hopefully we can help him through that. Once he takes that extra weight off his shoulders, you’re going to see a player that can certainly be a much more efficient player than he’s shown so far.”

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Chris Bourque feels the comfort is there and the offense will come 01.25.13 at 12:47 pm ET
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Chris Bourque is only three games into his Bruins career, and though neither he nor his line has made a ton of noise on the ice, he’s found Boston — the third NHL stop of his career — to be an ideal fit.

“Every game I feel more and more comfortable,” he said. “Obviously getting the nerves out the first couple of games, playing in the Garden with a full house, there’s definitely a little bit of nerves and obviously in New York the other night, but I’m starting to settle in here and I’m starting to feel pretty good and hopefully just get better every day.”

Bourque said that it still feels “surreal” playing for the Bruins given that he grew up watching his father, Ray Bourque, carve out a Hall of Fame career with the B’s, but that’s to be expected.

“Every day that passes, you get kind of used to it a little bit more,” he said. “Seeing my dad’s picture all over the place, every time I see that it reminds that he was such a legend here, so it’s still a little bit different, but something that I’m going to have to get used to. It’s a lot of fun being around these guys, a great group of guys and a good hockey team.”

As for what he’s done on the ice, Bourque is looking for his first goal as a Bruin (he has one goal in 36 career NHL games), but he’s been trusted with minutes on the third line, power play (he was on the ice for Brad Marchand‘s power-play goal against the Rangers Wednesday) and shootout, as he was Boston’s third shooter against the Jets Monday. The confidence is there on Bourque’s part, and the faith is there on Claude Julien‘s part.

“Chris Bourque is a great player, skilled guy,” Julien said after Friday’s morning skate. “I think he’s been an important part of our power play as far as giving us that left shot that we need right now. He’s been pretty decent there. I think he’s another guy that’s feeling his way through our hockey club. The one thing you want out of players that are coming in for the first time is that they don’t hurt your hockey club, and [he] hasn’t.”

The line of Chris Kelly between Bourque and Rich Peverley hasn’t been the Bruins’ strongest — they’ve produced no goals, while Bourque and Peverley have minus-2 ratings and Kelly is a minus-1 — but Bourque thinks the process of coming together has gone increasingly well.

“I think every game has gotten better,” he said. “Last game there were a lot of power plays and PKs. [Kelly and Peverley] kill penalties and me and Pevs are on the power play, so we didn’t play as much together as a line, but when we’re out there I feel like we’re creating some good energy. That’s part of the job as a third line is creating energy for the team and getting momentum. I think it’s been going pretty well so far.”

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Ray Bourque on M&M: Dougie Hamilton ‘a little bit like I was at that age’ 01.16.13 at 2:19 pm ET
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Bruins legend Ray Bourque talked with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday about the end of the NHL lockout, his son’s play at Bruins camp, and Dougie Hamilton‘s situation as a promising teenage defenseman.

Through Celebrities for Charities, Bourque is sponsoring a raffle in which the winner gets to watch the Bruins’ season-opener with him and his family — an opportunity many Bruins fans would love no matter what, but even more so considering that Chris Bourque could be taking the ice.

“He is so excited about the opportunity,” Bourque said of his son. “This kid grew up in the old Garden and the FleetCenter and the new Garden, skating. I’d bring him to the rink as much as as I could, two, three times a week, and he’d start skating. He was on skates at 2½. Chris and his brother Ryan ran around that room and drove the trainers crazy for many, many years. To put that Bruins jersey on last night [in the Bruins’ scrimmage against the AHL Providence Bruins] and go out and play in the Garden was a real thrill for him.

“I wasn’t at the game last night — I actually went and saw my younger son Ryan play in Portland as part of the Rangers’ farm team — but I’m really excited and hoping to see [Chris] this weekend. And I got a lot of texts saying he played well and did a good job.”

Bourque also weighed in on Hamilton, who will try to establish himself as a high-scoring 19-year-old Bruins defenseman this year, just as Bourque himself once did.

“The position is not an easy one to play in the NHL at a young age,” Bourque said. “But I’ve got to say, he’s coming into such a good situation, just like I did. I didn’t come in with an expansion team or where expectations are for you to carry a load, to be the savior. He’s just here to do his job and play his game, and his game is a very good game.

“He’s got a lot of talent, he’s got great size, he’s got all the tools. Who knows how it’s going to start, but this kid could play for the Bruins for many many years. It’s a comfortable situation to come into as a young guy you’re supported by so many veterans. Guys like [Zdeno] Chara and [Dennis] Seidenberg and their whole defense corps are very solid and such great veterans in how they go about their business and how they prepare and all that stuff. For a young guy to see that and to live that, there’s no better situation to be in, and I know they’re going to be right there in terms of support for him and giving him advice. Just watching with your own eyes and seeing how they’re doing their job will be great for him.

“I met him the other night. He was at my restaurant, Tresca, and he was coming out. Very quiet, very shy, a little bit like I was at that age. I just spoke to him for a little bit and look forward to talking with him more. He’s excited about the opportunity. I think we’re going to see him around this year, but many, many years to come, we’re going to see this guy and he’s going to be a big part of the Bruins.”

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