|Don Cherry on D&C: Matt Cooke is ‘a little rat,’ Mario Lemieux ‘one of the biggest phonies’||03.22.11 at 9:20 am ET|
CBC hockey commentator Don Cherry joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to discuss the Matt Cooke suspension, what could happen the next time Zdeno Chara travels to Montreal and the recent slide of the Bruins.
After a seven-game winning streak that seemed to announce the Bruins as serious Stanley Cup contenders, the club has struggled, posting a 1-3-3 mark in its last seven games. Cherry was asked if the Bruins were built for a deep postseason run.
“There’s something wrong there,” said Cherry, who coached the Bruins from 1974-79. “Right now, there’s something wrong with that team. When they came into Toronto, and they were absolutely awful. But if you’re going to take a swoon, this is the time to do it. I would like to see [Shawn] Thornton play. He hasn’t played that much since [Chris] Kelly came to Boston. ‘¦ I would play Thornton a regular shift because he’s the Bruins for sure.”
The NHL suspended Penguins forward Cooke for the final 10 games of the regular season plus the entire first round of the playoffs on Monday, the fifth suspension in Cooke’s 12-year career. Cooke, of course, was not suspended for the elbow to the head of Marc Savard last year, which directly caused what might turn out to be a career-ending concussion for the Bruins center. Cherry feels if Cooke had been properly disciplined for the Savard hit it might have prevented the elbow to Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh that led to Cooke’s suspension.
“He should have been tossed for what happened to Savard, but they said they didn’t have a rule,” Cherry said. “The guy never even got four minutes or anything for that. If he had got [suspended for] 20 games then, maybe he would have been straightened out. He should have been suspended for what he did to Savard and he got his comeuppance. ‘¦ They should have given him 20-30 games back then and it might have straightened the little rat out.”
Cherry added that Mario Lemieux, who complained about dirty play following last month’s game against the Islanders, is “one of the biggest phonies I’ve ever seen in my life.”
“He says, ‘we have to get ride of headshots,’ and the [president], Dave Morehouse, says ‘we have to get rid of headshots,’ and [general manager] Ray Shero, who I really like, says the same thing. What happens? They’ve got the [biggest] headshot guy of all time, they’re paying his paychecks. What a bunch of hypocrites, I’ll tell you.”
Chara was not suspended for his March 8 hit of Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty, who suffered a concussion and a non-displaced fracture of cervical vertebrae. This led to outrage throughout Montreal, and Montreal police did open a criminal investigation against Chara. Cherry was asked if the Boston defenseman has reason to be concerned about future trips to Montreal.
“Who’s going to arrest him? That’s not going to happen. And the Canadiens have really have nobody to do anything to him,” Cherry said. “Who would? And if the game is close, nothing is going to happen. He’s too big, too strong. ‘¦ There’s no way he did that to that guy [on purpose], he was just taking that guy out. And I really give it to the owners ‘ the Molsons ‘ they didn’t have enough padding on that turnbuckle. It should have been padded, the kid would have bounced right off.”
To hear the interview, click here.
|Milan Lucic plays hero in win over Lightning||03.03.11 at 9:28 pm ET|
Milan Lucic kept up his recent hot streak and improved the Bruins’ win streak to seven games by scoring the game-winning goal at 16:18 of the third in a 2-1 victory over the Lightning at TD Garden.
Lucic, who had eight points over the B’s recent six-game road trip, fired a wrist shot past both a mess of bodies and Lightning goaltender Mike Smith at an odd angle to give him his 28th goal of the season and the Bruins a big victory. With the win, the Bruins now lead the Lightning by two points for second place in the Eastern Conference.
Eric Brewer opened the scoring in the game, beating Tim Thomas at 4:04 of the second for his ninth goal of the season. Steven Kampfer responded with his his fifth of the season at 6:06. Kampfer would later take a big hit in the corner from Mattias Ritola and not return to the game.
Thomas made 27 saves and picked up the victory, improving to 29-8-6 on the season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Kampfer did a good job of both redeeming himself and scoring his first goal in quite a while. After his turnover in the Bruins’ zone led to Brewer’s goal, he responded in short order by beating Smith with a snapshot from the point to tie the score at one. It was Kampfer’s fifth goal of the season, and first since Jan. 13. His status after leaving the game, however, is unclear.
– It was a good home debut for Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly, both of whom have been able to strike up good chemistry on their line with Michael Ryder. Both Kelly and Peverley, donning home sweaters for the first time at TD Garden, were credited with a helper on Kampfer’s goal and were a plus-1 on the night.
– Johnny Boychuk was crushing people. He laid a huge hip check on Nate Thompson in the third and followed it up with a big hit in the corner on Blair Jones.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– When things get chippy between the Bruins and their opponents, the obvious way to settle it is by dropping the gloves. The Lightning aren’t that kind of team (they’re 27th in the league in major penalties while the B’s are 4th), and it seemed the only way the B’s could find a fight was to wind up shorthanded. That was the case in the second period, when a Nathan Horton trip and Lucic roughing penalty resulted in Lucic dropping the gloves with Brewer. The B’s wound up having to kill a 5-on-3, but they did so successfully.
– Once again, the power play looked very good despite the fact that it didn’t get results. Still, sooner or later, results are how that facet must be judged. The B’s were 0-for-3 on the man advantage Thursday, and they’re now 1-for-16 since acquiring Tomas Kaberle, who looked good in keeping the puck in during Brewer’s high sticking penalty but also sent the puck out with a blind pass. Still, the unit appeared to be vastly improved, and it’s hard to imagine results not coming in the near future.
– Smith entered the game with a 3.20 goals against average, but he sure didn’t play like it. The Lightning netminder came up with huge saves throughout the night, robbing Patrice Bergeron in the first, Horton on a breakaway in the second and Brad Marchand in the slot in the third.
No time for celebration, as the Bruins, fresh off a 6-0-0 road trip, are back at the Garden for a huge game with the Lightning on Thursday. The teams are tied with 81 points apiece through 63 games, with the B’s holding the tie-breaker for second place given that they’ve won less games via shootout.
It will be Tim Thomas between the pipes, as he’ll put his 28-8-6 record on the line after last playing Saturday night in Vancouver. Tuukka Rask started the Bruins’ last two, earning victories over the Oilers and Senators.
Thomas is 2-0-0 in two starts against Tampa Bay, allowing four goals with a .944 save percentage.
While the Bruins have won their last six, the Lightning have gone 3-2-1 in the same span. They lost a 2-1 contest to the red-hot Devils on Wednesday.
Here are some pre-game notes:
– Comparisons are nice, but even Roger Clemens would say people are beating references to 1972’s perfect six-game road trip with a dead horse.
“I don’t look at it at all,” Shawn Thornton said after the morning skate. “I honestly don’t. It’s purely a coincidence as far as I’m concerned.
“We’ve got a six game thing going here, and it doesn’t matter about anything else. We’re just trying to get seven in a row and then eight in a row. We’ll take it one at time here.”
“He got examined yesterday by our doctors and things are going extremely well for him,” Julien said. “We hope to see him back on the ice the beginning of next week. That could be as early as Sunday if things keep going well.”
– No Vincent Lecavalier for the Lightning. He’s out with a mid-body injury on which the Lightning haven’t elaborated much.
– The three new guys in Tomas Kaberle, Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly will play in the Garden as Bruins for the first time Thursday. Kaberle and Kelly have played five games for the B’s since being acquired via trade, while Peverley has four under his belt.
While Bruins fans will welcome all three to the Garden, the focus will likely be on Kaberle, who was the big fish of trade season. Neither of the newcomers have lost a game as a member of the Bruins, and after years of limited team success in Toronto, that’s something Kaberle welcomes.
“My first six years I played in the playoffs every year. The last five, it wasn’t there. It’s tough to always answer the questions to the media of ‘why not,'” Kaberle said after the morning skate. “Hopefully we’ll have a good rest of the season and prepare for the playoffs.”
Kaberle said he is feeling more and more comfortable as he familiarizes himself with the Bruins way.
“I feel good. Obviously it’s a great team. Every line’s got something on the ice, and everybody can score. It’s nice to see that, and with two goalies behind us, we feel pretty comfortable.”
– Kaberle is undoubtedly the biggest name the team added when the moves were made, but Kelly and Peverley are fitting in very nicely on the third line. Both were among the leagues better faceoff men at the time they were acquired, and having both taking draws and killing penalties is something Julien likes to see.
“Right now, you’ve got to be extremely pleased with first of all [Peverley’s] faceoffs, how dominant he’s been on draws,” Julien said. “With that line you’ve got a guy taking him on the strong side, and Kelly, a lefty and a righty, so you’ve got to be comfortable with that situation.”
“At the same time I think both Kelly and Peverley have seemed to have built some pretty quick chemistry there on the penalty kill as well. They seem to read off each other extremely well.”
– Thornton doesn’t want the new guys’ ability to come in and contribute immediately to go unnoticed. All three players have wound up on the scoring sheet since joining the B’s.
“They’re a big part of it too. These guys came in and stepped in seamlessly,” Thornton said. “It’s been a really easy transition for us and them.”
– How about this one from the stat truck? Over the last 10 games, Tyler Seguin has more goals than Steven Stamkos. Take that, development.
Well, not exactly. By Stamkos’ standards, the Tampa Bay star is in a slump as far as goals go. He has just two over the last 10 games (Seguin has three), but continues to lead the league with 41. Seguin has no points over his last four games.
|Shawn Thornton on D&H: Tomas Kaberle ‘one of the best defensemen in the league’||02.21.11 at 12:55 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, while on his way to the airport for the Bruins’ road trip that starts with a game Tuesday in Calgary, checked in with the Dale & Holley show Monday and talked about the team’s recent roster changes. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Asked if there was any tension around the team last week, Thornton acknowledged that there was. “There always is this time of year,” he said. “The media obviously reports it. I think it gets worse these days, with ‘I’m not bad-mouthing anybody, but ‘ countless blogs and stuff that nobody really has to [be accountable]. You can just throw stuff against the wall and hope it sticks. There’s a lot of names being thrown around nowadays. I think everybody’s hoping that they get one right. So, yeah, there’s a little bit of tension. I think the best thing to do is not try to pay too much attention to it.”
Thornton had high praise for new Bruins Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. “I’ve known Tomas for a long time,” he said. “We were in the minors together for a little bit, actually. The way he moves the puck and the way he sees the ice when he has the puck ‘ even without it ‘ he’s such a smart player. He’s one of the best defensemen in the league, and I think we’re very, very fortunate to have him.”
Of Kelly, Thornton said: “He can skate, he can shoot, he competes really hard. I think he’s a good pickup for us.”
Thornton said the adjustment period for the new Bruins shouldn’t be long, especially considering their age and the fact that Peverley comes from Atlanta, where first-year Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay is using a style similar to the one used when Ramsay was an assistant in Boston the past three seasons. “I think it should be pretty seamless, being that they’re older guys,” Thornton said. “Kelly, Peverly, Kaberle ‘ they’ve all been around the league a bunch. ‘¦ The fact that Kelly’s been in the league for six, seven years makes it a little easier than being maybe 20 or 21.”
Bruins goalie Tim Thomas challenged Canadiens netminder Carey Price to a fight when the teams met in Boston earlier this month. While it didn’t go so well for Thomas, Thornton was impressed with the effort and strategy. “His game plan was pretty good for a guy fighting somebody a lot bigger,” Thornton said. “I’ve actually used his game plan before. But when you miss your grab on the way in, sometimes it goes all out the window. And it did for him. But you know what? He did a good job. He protected himself well.
“He’ll be the first to tell you it wasn’t much of a fight. But that was the loudest I’ve heard the Garden I think in a long time, when those two squared off. It was pretty fun.”
|Sunday scrimmage for Bruins||02.20.11 at 11:54 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Tomas Kaberle isn’t in town, but those packing the stands at Ristuccia in Wilmington get to see Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley for the first time. While that’s all fine and dandy, the real question of how these lines will shake out remains unanswered. Rather than wearing their traditional color-coded practice sweaters to indicate lines, the B’s wore black and white uniforms for a skate that included a scrimmage.
Unfortunately the scrimmage was of 4-on-4 variety, so the lines for the B’s with Peverley in the mix remain unknown. Check back for more following practice.
|Chris Kelly won’t join Bruins until Friday||02.17.11 at 3:26 pm ET|
Bruins forward Chris Kelly, acquired Tuesday night in a trade with the Senators, will not be available to play Thursday night against the Islanders due to immigration issues. Kelly, a Canadian citizen previously employed in Canada, will remain in Ottawa, where he will join the team Friday.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:
“At this time we have not received the proper immigration approval necessary for Chris to play in tonight’s game against the New York Islanders. This is the normal operating procedure for a non-immigrant to legally work in the United States. Chris will meet the team in Ottawa tomorrow and will be available to play in tomorrow’s game against the Senators.”
|Amidst trade rumors, players try to block out the chatter||02.16.11 at 5:07 pm ET|
By now, there are few people who don’t know that Peter Chiarelli wants to trade for a defenseman. Not only has the Bruins general manager stated it several times, but it’s been discussed heavily by media and fans alike as the Feb. 28 trade deadline grows nearer.
Tomas Kaberle has been the most popular name in the rumor mill, and with reports emerging Tuesday that the Bruins are the only team he would accept a trade to, many are playing hypothetical GM in trying to predict what the B’s could move to Toronto should a deal be made.
Yet as the rumors are generated, players face the annual task of trying to block out all the trade whispers. Claude Julien admitted Wednesday that there’s “no doubt” that players can have a tough time dealing with it, adding, “I’m sure there’s some players thinking about that.”
From the moment the Bruins acquired Chris Kelly late Tuesday night, rumor sites and various sultans of speculation made the connection that given the two players’ cap hits, Blake Wheeler could potentially be expendable in a trade for a defenseman. The 24-year-old has heard his name in various rumors before, and will use past lessons learned to handle this trade season.
“I guess the first lesson you learn [is] you don’t read anything because you’re always better than you are when things are going good, and you’re always worse than you are when things are going bad,” Wheeler said Wednesday. “Trades and all of that are the same way.”
“I can’t speak for everyone in our locker room. I know personally, I don’t read anything. I’m sure most of the guys don’t read much either, because what good does it do to read your name and that you’re going to be traded? Ninety-five percent of the time it’s not true anyways, so until that happens, you’ve just got to worry about your business here.”
While players are better off not focusing on names and who could go where, the Bruins are in a different situation from years past, as it is universally know that the team has a move in mind. With Chiarelli targeting a defensemen, the logjam that already exists on the blueline could face even more competition. Johnny Boychuk was the team’s healthy scratch on Tuesday, and the B’s have scratched a different defenseman over the last three games.
While the seven guys on the Bruins’ blueline are already pushing one another for a spot in the lineup, Boychuk would welcome another defenseman under one condition.
“If it’s going to help our team, then yeah,” Boychuk said Wednesday. “Anything to help our team.”
Earlier in the season, various rumors suggested Wheeler could be on the move to the Coyotes, the team that he elected not to sign with after they spent a fifth overall pick on him. Nothing happened there, but Wheeler can bet that he will continue to hear his name brought up in rumors. With Wheeler a part of a team that is in the midst of a season-worst three-game losing streak, the winger is more focused on changing the team’s luck than worrying about a change in uniform.
“The rumors you hear never happen, and the ones you don’t hear about, those ones seems to happen,” he said. “From our standpoint, I think our focus is that we have games to play. We have points to earn, and we can’t worry about what’s being written in papers, or online in blogs.
“We start worrying about things we can’t control and all of a sudden things we can control are going to slip. We’ve already lost three straight, so the most important thing for us is to start winning. Whatever happens from other standpoints is going to happen, and that’s out of our control.”
The Bruins will be on the road for the next six games and will not return to the Garden until March 3. Julien can see why players could worry about whether they’ll be with the club for that next game in Boston, but at the same time knows that it isn’t the hands of anyone in the dressing room.
‘I know it weighs on players’ minds all the time when you hear rumors about a certain player on your team,’ Julien said. ‘At the same time, you want the players to be professionals and deal with the issues as professionals and say it’s out of your control. At the same time, those players, if it’s not here, it will be somewhere else.
“It’s not like they’re not going to be playing hockey anymore. You really have got to take that approach and say, ‘You know what? It’s one game at a time. Right now I’ve got to do my job and let the people that make those decisions that are out of my control make them. That’s the best way to approach it.”
Five more days and the players won’t need to think about it. For now, the only change they’ll need to focus on is in the final scores.
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