|Here comes John Tortorella||05.16.13 at 1:47 pm ET|
Rangers coach John Tortorella grew up around these parts. He went to high school at Concord-Carlisle and played college hockey at Maine. Now the Rangers’ head coach is back in New England to coach against the Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals, so how does he —
“Don’t ask me questions about me,” Tortorella said. “Ask me about the team, please.”
And we’re off.
Tortorella is known for his unusual dealings with the media. Like Bill Belichick, he doesn’t have much interest in divulging information or patience for questions he doesn’t like, but unlike Belichick, he can be confrontational about it. That’s not a knock on him; it’s just the way he is with the media.
On Thursday, Claude Julien‘s press conference concluded with Channel 7’s Rhett Lewis asking if the Boston coach had any pointers for getting reporters to answer their questions.
“I’m sure he’s excited about answering your questions,” Juien said with a grin. “Good luck, guys!”
And then Julien, almost in drop-the-mic fashion, got up and left. Then Tortorella came in, and things weren’t so funny.
On both Wednesday and Thursday, Julien had some nice words for Tortorella, saying Thursday that even though he didn’t plan on talking to him during the series, he can appreciate him as a coach.
“I certainly respect him for what he’s done and who he is,” Julien said. “He has his own personality and I’m one of those people that respect people for who they are. I’ve had some good chats with John in the past.”
Tortorella didn’t exactly return the favor.
“I’m not going to talk about him,” he said. “I’ll talk about the Rangers.”
“I don’t coach him,” he said. “I’ll answer questions about the Rangers.”
Tortorella was then asked about getting more zone time on the power play as the Rangers’ first-round series against the Capitals went on. The Rangers were 2-for-28 on the man advantage against the Capitals over the seven-game series.
“Eh, it still wasn’t good,” Tortorella said of the power play.
The Rangers’ coach isn’t a man of many words, but this will certainly be an interesting series with him around.
Following the Bruins’ morning skate, coach Claude Julien said that Brad Marchand will be “there” for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Rangers after leaving the skate early with an apparent injury.
Marchand walked through the B’s dressing room following morning skate and seemed to be in good spirits. He was not limping or noticeably encumbered, though he declined to talk to the media.
“He’ll be fine,” Julien said of Marchand. “He’ll be there tonight.”
Though Marchand did appear to be fine when walking through the room, Carl Soderberg might be the more likely candidate to play in his place than Kaspars Daugavins if Marchand is unable to go. Though Daugavins played in Game 1 of the first round and said he is ready to make a return to the lineup, he stayed out on the ice with the healthy scratches while Soderberg left with the players who figure to be in the lineup.
“First thing that comes to your mind is it sucks when somebody get hurts, first of all,” Daugavins said. “Especially a guy like Marchy who is one of our better players on the team. You know it’s not good for us. Even when you want to play, you don’t want to see your best player go down. It’s tough, but whatever happens happens and you have to be ready just in case they tell you you’re playing. I’m ready. I’m waiting for my chance, and if I go in I’ll do my best.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Peter Chiarelli on Claude Julien: ‘As long as I’m here, his job is safe’||05.15.13 at 3:16 pm ET|
“I feel strongly about our coach, and his job is safe,” Chiarelli said of Julien, acknowledging that he had heard heard rumors that both he and the coach would be fired if the Bruins lost Game 7 against the Maple Leafs, but saying, “As long as I’m here, his job is safe.”
“He’s been producing consistently,” Chiarelli said. “He’s a terrific coach.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
When Patrice Bergeron won the Selke Trophy as the league’s top defensive forward last season, many folks it was overdue. He’d been considered one of the more underrated players in the game for quite some time, but his national exposure during the 2011 playoffs got people’s attention, and the next year he got his first Selke nomination and victory.
More so than other awards, the Selke fraternity is a kind of member-for-life type of club. Once you’ve won it, you’ll be considered every year as long as you’re healthy. Pavel Datsyuk, a three-time winner and a finalist again this season, is proof of that. Now that Bergeron is a member of the club, the Bruins are pleased to see he’s finally getting the recognition from the national media (the trophy is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association).
“I can tell you right now, I would be extremely disappointed and would’ve been vocal about it had he not been [a finalist],” Claude Julien said. “This guy here is so good at both ends of the ice, and he keeps proving it year after year. There’s not too many guys in this league that can do what Patrice does. You saw him, as you mentioned, scoring those goals the other night. But you also see him every year, we talk about Zdeno [Chara] playing against top players on other teams, so does he for the most part. At the end of every year he’s always a plus player, so that tells you a lot about the utility and how valuable this guy is to our team.”
Bergeron led the NHL with a 62.1 success rate on faceoffs (549-for-884) and finished sixth in the league with a plus-24 rating during the regular season. The other two finalists for the award are Datsyuk and Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews are the other finalists for the award.
|Claude Julien: ‘We make it tough on ourselves’||05.13.13 at 11:51 pm ET|
Claude Julien spoke for Bruins fans everywhere and certainly those in his own organization when he was asked what it was like to survive the most miraculous Game 7 comeback in the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs Monday night.
“They certainly keep you in check,” Julien said. “I’m a tired coach, I’ll you that much, trying to find a way to get these guys to give us what we want out of them. We make it tough on ourselves. We’re being honest here, not being able to close it in Game 5. We’ve had trouble, we’ve always had trouble with the killer instinct.”
Down 4-1 and the their season all but over, the Bruins managed to score three times, including twice with an extra attacker in the final 1:22 of regulation to force overtime in Game 7. Patrice Bergeron scored the game-tying and game-winning goals as the Bruins prevailed, 5-4, in Game 7 and now get to face the Rangers starting Thursday at TD Garden.
“That’s maybe a fault of ours but the strength of ours is the character that you saw tonight,” Julien said. “There’s that fault and that character and somewhere along the way you try to fix the faults and keep the character going. That’s the biggest challenge for me.”
Tony Amonte, who provides Bruins analysis for CSNNE, checked in with Mut & Merloni on Monday to talk about the B’s first-round series against the Maple Leafs.
Following their 2-1 loss in Game 6 Sunday night in Toronto, the inconsistent B’s face a Game 7 Monday night at TD Garden. Amonte said the Bruins’ failure to rise to the occasion the last two games is a very bad sign.
“You can’t survive that way. You can’t win a Stanley Cup. And that’s the way it’s been the last couple of months for this team,” Amonte said. “You just don’t know what you’re going to get on a nighty basis. If you’re going to play that way, especially in the playoffs, you’re not going to go very far.
“Could it be that they’re going to be out tonight? Yeah. If their B club shows up, the minor league team shows up, they’re in trouble, they’re going to lose this game tonight.”
The Bruins had an impressive overtime win in Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead, but they haven’t been able to close it out after starting slow in the last two games.
“I was surprised,” Amonte said. “Coming off of Game 4, that was probably one of the best games of the playoffs as far as this year out of both teams. The Bruins showed a high-powered offense in that game, pretty strong defensively, Tuukka [Rask] was on his game. So, it seemed like, yeah, they put a dagger in the hearts of the Toronto Maple Leafs. But then to come out in Game 5 in the first period, and Toronto dominated. They turned the switch off and they didn’t play the way they needed to. By the time they got into the game, it was too late again, just like it was last night.
“It’s all about getting out there early, establishing some confidence. For these guys, now it’s in their heads. They’ve got to go out and score goals.”
“You’ve got a guy out there basically quarterbacking the power play in Tyler Seguin who has no points and no assists,” Amonte said. “You’ve got a guy that’s got 10 points at that point in time, 10 points in the playoffs, leading the playoffs in scoring, sitting on the bench. From a fan’s perspective, it’s crazy. You have to play the odds. And the odds say Krejci’s going to score a point way before Seguin is ever going to do it.”
TORONTO — Here comes Game 7.
With all the things that can be said about this Bruins team after blowing a 3-1 lead — that this is typical of a team that lost nine games that it led in the third period in the regular season, that the B’s are pulling a 2010, etc. — the Bruins are trying to think about none of them. If they’re going to be embarrassed that they let the Leafs come back in this series, they can do it later. First they have a game to win.
“Being frustrated right now is not going to help,” Patrice Bergeron said after the Maple Leafs‘ 2-1 win in Game 6. “It’s about being determined, finding ways to put it in. It’s all about [Game 7] now.”
The Maple Leafs have momentum, and while both teams have goalies who have played exceptional, the Bruins have made more mistakes and the Maple Leafs have made them pay. Claude Julien summed it up pretty well in his five-question postgame press conference Sunday.
“We are the team that should have prevailed in this series in everybody’s eyes, but they’ve played well and we haven’t played well enough,” he said. “It’s as simple as that, and that’s why it’s a 3-3 series right now.”
The Bruins put on their best “We’re not frustrated” faces after Game 6, but they should be frustrated. This should have been a five-game series, but the B’s came out flat and lost Game 5 and then had to play without Andrew Ference in a Game 6 that they shouldn’t have had to play. Now, they have one game to save their season.
“We’ve always said they were a good team. We never said it was going to be an easy series, so here we are now,” Bergeron said. “It’s all about one game, and whatever happened in the first six games doesn’t really matter. It’s about us showing up.”
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