|Torey Krug and Bruins embrace high expectations: ‘I wouldn’t call it pressure’||04.18.14 at 2:00 pm ET|
Pressure is what you make it.
As the Stanley Cup playoffs begin, the Bruins are making it nothing more than chance to fulfill their own expectations.
According to the Vegas line provided by Bodog.com, the Bruins are 7-2 favorites to win their second Stanley Cup in four years by the time late June rolls around, and for good reason. They are relatively healthy heading into the playoffs, though nursing injuries to Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly while battling a flu bug.
“Well, we never get comfortable,” Claude Julien said before Friday’s Game 1 with the Red Wings. “We’ve always talked about that. No matter what we’ve accomplished, we always know that the good things happen from hard work, so the minute we stop working hard and focusing on the areas we need to focus on, things can change. So that’s always been our approach.”
But it’s not the flu or injuries to Paille or Kelly that are of primary concern – it’s the parity in the Stanley Cup playoffs that present the biggest obstacle. Julien reminded everyone Friday that there’s nothing to be taken for granted when a team like the Bruins take on a club like the Red Wings, a difference of 24 points in the season standings.
“Not with parity,” Julien said. “I don’t think that exists anymore. I’ve been mentioning that for the last couple of days, about the percentage of upsets in the first round over the last couple of years. So it just goes to prove to you that anything can happen in the playoffs. We’ve seen it many times before and I don’t expect that to change this year also.”
Bruins defenseman Torey Krug says he learned a lot from his first experience in the playoffs last year. That experience, he says, will help as he and the Bruins open the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden.
“Pressure is whatever you put on yourself,” Krug said. “This team has high expectations of itself. I wouldn’t call it pressure. We’re going to respond well to whatever it is. We’re excited to get things going.”
Krug broke onto the scene in the 2014 playoffs as a power play weapon and an offensive force.
“You have to play like that,” Krug contined. “If you’re scared to make mistakes, the puck is going to end up in the back of your own net. You have to make sure you play with confidence. That’s the same message the coaching staff was preaching today. It’s the same thing as last summer. Just eager to get going. It’s an exciting time.”
|Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘I just totally don’t expect’ Dennis Seidenberg to return||04.16.14 at 1:11 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about Dennis Seidenberg and the upcoming playoff series against the Red Wings. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
When Seidenberg tore his ACL last December, most assumed he was done for the season. But with Seidenberg back on the practice rink, some have speculated that he could be back at some point, including Peter Chiarelli. Brickley said if Seidenberg is going to come back, he has to come back at full strength.
“He’s just such an incredibly strong athlete that if he can look like he’s able to play and actually get up to speed and be a productive player then that would be a tough decision, but a good decision to have to make,” Brickley said. “That being said, I’m still in the camp that I just totally don’t expect it.”
Added Brickley: “I think if he’s back he’s going to play regular minutes. And I don’t think they want him in a 10-15-minute range. … If he’s in the lineup and he’s playing, he needs to be able to handle similar minutes.”
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was the coach of the Canadian team for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, with Claude Julien his assistant. While the two shared coaching ideas and strategies during that time, Brickley doesn’t see it as an advantage for either coach.
“I don’t think we’re at any point of the season now where there are any secrets, with all the video pre-scouting that you do, with all the actual scouts that represent Detroit that have been following the Bruins over the last month or two,” Brickley said. “Everybody is well aware of how the Bruins play and everybody is well aware of how Detroit defends as well. Usually Claude Julien gets the checkmark when it comes to who’s got the better coaching when you’re comparing two teams, but this one is a pretty even matchup when it comes down to that.”
|Claude Julien isn’t overly worried about the speed of Red Wings: ‘We’ve played fast teams before’||04.15.14 at 10:59 pm ET|
The Detroit Red Wings present plenty of problems for the top team in the East. But Claude Julien isn’t worried about his Bruins being overwhelmed with the many challenges they’ll see from Detroit starting Friday at TD Garden.
“We’ve played fast teams before,” Julien said, referring clearly to teams like Montreal and Ottawa. “And again, we can look at their record whichever way we want and see us 1-3. I look at the games we played against them and there was one game, the first one in Detroit that we didn’t play very well. The other three, we could have won the two that we lost, I mean, we had the lead in that last one.”
Julien brought up the three regular season losses because he is more than aware that there are those who think this is the worst possible first-round match for his team that finished with an NHL-best 117 points. But then Julien offered perspective, specifically that it’s the Red Wings who have to be worried about containing the weapons of a team that won 54 games.
“So I don’t think that it is going to be that big of an issue as much as we may be an issue for them,” Julien said. “Teams have strengths and it’s how you counter those things. I think our team can certainly skate, I don’t think we’re a slow team whether people underrate our skating or now, I don’t know. But we’ve shown that we can skate with these guys but certainly close the gap quick on those guys too. And that’s what you have to do, you have to make sure you don’t give those guys too much room because they will make plays and they will take the ice that you give them.”
With a team like the Red Wings loaded with offensive firepower, Julien was asked if he sees similarities to his young team that fought the 2007-08 Canadiens team tooth and nail before losing in seven games.
“I don’t know, they’re not all that young,” Julien said. “They have some young players but so do we. I’m not sure that that’s the same situation to be honest with you. You know, you have the [Pavel] Datsyuks and [Todd] Bertuzzi will be in there, they have some veteran players. And I know the [Gustav] Nyquists and [Tomas] Tatars, those kinds of guys have carried their team when they needed it the most but I think our young Ds have done a pretty good job the same way when a guy like [Dennis] Seidenberg went down.
“I think there are a lot of similarities there and I don’t think they’re as young or that much younger than we are, I haven’t done the math yet when it comes to the age of both teams because that’s not the important thing to me. But again, like I said, I don’t think that is going to be comparable to what we went through against Montreal. We had some real key players who had to grind it out, you just have to look at our roster now and look at where those guys are, a lot of them aren’t seen any more. So it was just one of those years where, to us, talent was fairly low for whatever talent we had was extremely young. But we had a really good work ethic.”
|Claude Julien on Marathon bombings a year later: Way city came together is what I’m trying to remember most||at 3:46 pm ET|
Zdeno Chara spoke for an entire organization when he responded to the question Tuesday of what the one year anniversary of the most painful day in Boston history meant to him.
“I’m not born and raised but I feel a part of the city,” the Bruins captain from Slovakia said with pride. “I’m always going to call myself a Bostonian. It’s just one of those things that it feels like a home. You try to respect the city and what it represents.”
The Bruins held practice Tuesday morning at TD Garden, getting ready for their playoff opener on Friday against the Detroit Red Wings. But after practice, coach Claude Julien, Chara and Jarome Iginla all recalled what they were feeling one year ago to the day when Boston was terrorized and attacked by the bombings at the Boston Marathon and the weeklong manhunt that nearly shut down the city.
“Anybody who doesn’t know this is the anniversary isn’t paying attention,” Julien said. “But it’s got some good and it’s got some bad obviously. It’s sad what happened but for us, I look at how the city just came together and how everybody helped each other and did everything they could to help one another so that’s what kind of sticks in my mind.
“But at the same time it was a tough few days from the lockdowns and everything else, those are the things that are coming to mind and some games that were postponed, rightfully so. So some of it isn’t great memories but some of it ‘ certainly the way the city came together is what I’m trying to remember it the most for.
Julien and Chara were getting ready to play Iginla and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, April 19 at TD Garden when a manhunt for the two bombers centered in Watertown shut down the entire city. The game between the Bruins and Penguins was eventually called off on that Friday night and rescheduled for the next day.
The Bruins had two games rescheduled due to the bombings and the manhunt. On April 15, the Bruins postponed their game against the Ottawa Senators to the last day of the season.
On Tuesday, the Bruins reflected on that day in 2013, and how sports and the Bruins helped the city heal.
|Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘I have no problem with tinkering with lines right now’||04.02.14 at 12:32 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ final stretch of games in April before the playoffs begin. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
With the season winding down, Claude Julien may change some of the lineups to see how different players play together and give rest to others.
“I have no problem with tinkering with lines right now,” Brickley said. “If I expect a few guys, like [Patrice] Bergeron or even a David Krejci, get a night off between now and the final game against Jersey, the regular season, then you’re going to be forced to have different combinations. And if you choose to break up some lines in order to see what something look likes, now is the time to do it.”
The Bruins went 15-0-2 in the month of March, playing in multiple back-to-backs on their way to securing a division title. According to Brickley, the third and fourth lines were a big reason they were able to do that.
“That third line along with the fourth line and their ability to play and handle significant minutes during that month when you’re playing 17 games really sets this Bruins team apart from the rank and file,” Brickley said.
Brickley sees two distinct views when it comes to projecting the first opponent of a team during the playoffs.
“Do you want to start out with a team that you know you can pretty much handle, and then you want to gradually increase that emotion and adrenaline to keep you getting in the postseason?” Brickley said. “Or do you want someone really meaningful right off the bat, get that emotion where it needs to be in the postseason? I’m of the school of thought that it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to beat three really good teams to get to the final. You’ve got to beat four unbelievable teams to win a Stanley Cup.”
|Adam McQuaid still not close to return for Bruins||03.26.14 at 12:23 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — All healthy Bruins were on the ice for practice Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena. Unfortunately for the Bruins, that’s a group that still doesn’t include Adam McQuaid.
B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli said earlier this month that the team was shutting McQuaid down for two-to-three weeks to rehab a quad strain that has hampered the defenseman throughout the season. Wednesday marked three weeks since Chiarelli announced the plan, but Claude Julien said Wednesday that McQuaid remains off the ice.
“No, nothing,” Julien said when asked for an update on the player. “He’s still working out off-ice, but he hasn’t been on the ice yet.”
McQuaid’s continued absence increases the likelihood that the team might have to use Kevan Miller in the postseason. Miller has played well and has seen his minutes increase over his 39 games for Boston this season.
McQuaid has been limited to just 30 games this season and has not played since Jan. 19.
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins pregame: Daniel Paille cleared for return, Chad Johnson starts in net||03.15.14 at 12:33 pm ET|
Winners of seven straight, the Bruins will welcome back one forward and another making his NHL debut. Bruins coach Claude Julien announced before Saturday’s game with Carolina that Daniel Paille, who has missed the last five games with concussion symptoms, has been cleared to return to game action.
Asked if he will be available and will play, Julien was more coy with reporters pre-game.
“Could be,” Julien said with a smile. “Probably. You’ll have to make some deductions. right? I have to keep you guys on your toes. I’m too predictable.”
The other big story Saturday is the NHL debut of 23-year-old forward Matt Linblad, a Friday call-up from Providence.
“It’s pretty special,” Julien said. “I’m sure he’s dreamed of playing in the NHL, and exhibition games are one thing, and this is the real deal right now. But at the same time, I think he’s earned it. He’s played really well. I liked his training camp, I liked his, again, his hockey knowledge and his hockey IQ.
“Hockey sense is always an important part of any player at this level, and he has that. He’s a smart individual, so you put that with the good skater that he he is, and it makes for a pretty decent player. So we have high hopes for him and there’s an opportunity for him to show he’s gotten better over the course of the season.”
Julien also announced that, after playing in three straight games, defenseman Andrej Meszaros would get the day off, giving Torey Krug more time on the blue line as well as the power play.
“There’s going to be some changes here as we go along, and I think [Meszaros] has played three straight games and we’ve continued to work with him,” Julien said. “So, we certainly don’t want to let our other players that have been here be pushed aside because of trades. So it’s just managing that whole back end.”