|All eyes on the ice (conditions) for Game 6||06.24.13 at 2:39 pm ET|
High humidity and temperatures in the 90s outside for a second straight day are hardly the ideal conditions for good ice for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.
But that’s what both the Bruins and Blackhawks will be dealing with Monday night in front of a loud and fired-up Garden crowd, whose energy will only add to the heat.
“Well, obviously with some fans in the building tonight, it’ll get obviously warmer,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “I thought the ice this morning was in pretty good shape, and they’ve done a good job. Walking in here yesterday with 90-plus degrees it was nice and cool in the arena.
“But those doors are going to open I would imagine and some of the heat will come in. But those are conditions that you have to play with at this time of year. Everybody has been through it, and two teams are going through the same conditions. Both teams are going to tell you the same truth; keep the game simple and try and avoid those mistakes from overhandling pucks in those kind of ice conditions.”
Chris Kelly, who was outspoken about the patchy ice conditions after the Bruins won Game 3, provided the best perspective.
“It’s June, late June,” he said. “You expect it. I think even up in Canada it’d still be warm. If the ice is going to be bad, it’s going to be bad for both sides. You expect that. I think the pretty plays might not always be there because of the ice conditions.”
What’s the most important thing the Bruins can do tonight to handle the ice and the Blackhawks?
“I think managing the puck, putting it in a better situation so we can get it,” Kelly said. “Just making better plays. I think our puck management can still be a bit better.”
|Claude Julien has ‘hope’ Brad Marchand will find his hot streak in time for Game 6||06.23.13 at 8:21 pm ET|
Never has been more evident than in these playoffs.
Marchand had three assists in the first round series against Toronto. Then he warmed up with a goal and an assist in each of the first two games against the Rangers. Marchand went on to score a pair of goals in Game 2 against Pittsburgh and an assist in each of the last two games.
Those were the last points of the playoffs for Marchand. Claude Julien said Sunday he’s not worried.
“Well, if he’s going to be a streaky player I would hope that streak starts [Monday],” Julien said. “I don’t think he’s played terrible, but certainly he knows he can play better. But a lot of our guys do, too. We all need to be better in order to get ourselves back into this series here. We feel confident that we can. You go through bumps along the way, and you fight through it. Just have to look at the other team. They have guys that haven’t produced and they started producing. If we can do the same thing, then we’re going to get ourselves back into it.”
“I mean it’s tough,” Marchand said. “They are very good defensively. They’ve got a lot of speed and they come back very hard. They don’t give up many odd man rushes. Everything you get is kind of from down low so we’ve got to make sure we play that way. Play down low and try to get to the net.”
The media from Canada and across the states asked Marchand Sunday if some of his recent struggles have to do with his size – or lack of it – at 5-foot-9.
‘I mean when you are down low you just have to use your assets,” he said with a good-natured smile. “A lot of guys like Looch [Milan Lucic] and Horty [Nathan Horton] they’re big and strong and try to hold guys off. Guys like me, we just try to use our speed and agility down there and try to create a little bit of room for yourself.
Claude Julien insisted Sunday afternoon upon his return to TD Garden for media availability that he is being as forthcoming as possible when it comes to the undisclosed injury of Patrice Bergeron. The Bruins center reportedly injured his spleen in the first period of the 3-1 Game 5 loss in Chicago Saturday night.
“He’s day-to-day,” Julien began his press conference. “Isn’t that good enough? Day-to-day. [It’s] a body injury.”
But Julien did show a sense of humor. Julien reported that he heard that Brad Marchand was asked about the way Bergeron looked on the plane ride home from Chicago Sunday morning.
“Was that you that asked Marchy that question?” Julien inquired.
Then Julien informed the media that he had a funny conversation with Marchand about Bergeron.
“[Marchand] said [Bergeron] looks dashing in his suit,” Julien said before getting serious again. “Guys, day-to-day is really good news to me, anyways, should be to you guys.”
Julien made one more reference to Bergeron when asked if Bergeron’s availability would factor into continued playing time for Carl Soderberg on the second line with Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr.
“What does day-to-day mean? I don’t know if he’ll skate [Monday morning],” Julien said of Bergeron. “He may, and that’s what day-to-day is. I’m trying to be as clear as I can here. At the same time, I like Soderberg’s game. Anybody who knows that this guy hadn’t played in two months and played the way he did should be impressed. I know I was. He had good jump. He had no fear.”
Julien said he may have to look for ways to shuffle his lines if Bergeron is not ready to play Monday night in Game 6.
Julien also said he fully agreed with the league’s decision not to discipline Johnny Boychuk for a hit in the second period on Blackhawks captain Jonthan Toews. Toews remained on the Chicago bench but did not play at all in the third period.
Nathan Horton was sporting five stitches above his left eye after taking a hit to the face shortly after Chicago’s first goal in the first period Saturday. Horton said he’ll be suited up and ready for Game 6.
|Claude Julien on Patrice Bergeron: ‘He may be in the next game’||06.22.13 at 11:58 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Claude Julien was a frustrated head coach Saturday night after he lost Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals to the Blackhawks at United Center, 3-1, and in the process lost his best all-around player to an undisclosed injury.
Pressed about the nature of the injury suffered by Patrice Bergeron and his prognosis, Julien tried to be as clear as he could before losing some patience.
“Well, no update, and I think there’s no concern until you get an update,” Julien said. “As far as we’re concerned, he’s just getting evaluated
right now. Not much I can say on his situation.”
Asked what happened, Julien said he was not at liberty to say.
“No, not really,” Julien said. “It’s just an injury that wasn’t able to let him finish the game. He may be in next game. I’m not going there.
When asked if this was an existing injury that was aggravated, Julien reached his boiling point.
“Guys, I’m not going there, so anything else but injury here. I’ll update you when I have an update. There’s nothing more. We can ask a million questions. I don’t have any more information than probably you guys do right now.”
Carl Soderberg, tabbed to take Kaspars Daugavins spot on the fourth line, found himself centering the No. 2 line when Bergeron went out early in the second period.
“I thought we could use him, and although he had very limited experience in this league, he’s still a pretty skilled player and had a good year. I thought if we were going to give him a shot, tonight was probably a good time for it. He showed me enough to be able to move into Bergy’s spot. I thought he played well, and although there wasn’t maybe the chemistry that you see with that line usually because it’s his first time, certainly not disappointed in the way he played tonight.”
|Is this series headed for seven?||at 3:15 pm ET|
CHICAGO — As the teams approach Game 5, it’s hard not to think about Game 7.
The most lopsided game in the series was Game 3, when the Bruins picked up a 2-0 win. Every other game has been decided in overtime, and with how close this series has been, Bryan Bickell admits the mindset has to be that the Stanley Cup finals will go the distance.
“Yeah,” the Blackhawks left wing said. “With three games [going to] OT and both of the games that we won [coming] in overtime, I can’t say it’s not going to be OT tonight. You never know. This is a tough, grueling series. Both teams are battling for the same goal and there’s a lot of passion out there. There’s a lot of grueling battles in front or goalies doing whatever it takes. It’s fun and it’s a great time to be part of this.”
Rich Peverley and Dennis Seidenberg say they aren’t taking that mindset, as neither claim to be in the business of either predicting the future or looking past each individual game. They just want to take Game 5 and go from there.
It will be interesting to see what the fifth game as the series holds, as Game 4 was certainly a departure from the tight-checking play that was seen in the first three games. Neither team want to see a game like Game 4, as both teams swapped chances up and down the ice. One would think that the Blackhawks would prefer that type of game given that their speed would be a bigger advantage, but with how much the Bruins exposed Corey Crawford in Game 4, they actually should be worried about getting themselves into a track meet.
There’s no telling whether the series will revert back to its old self or remain high-scoring, but Claude Julien expects one thing to stay the same: the close score.
“I expect a real good game,” Julien said. “[The series is] obviously 2-2. Do we know how it’s going to go? I don’t think either coach could have told you before last game it was going to be a high scoring game. I think we were surprised.
“Will that continue? I really don’t know. Again, it’s how well the teams play, how good the goaltenders are, and everything else. It depends on a lot of things. Is it going to be penalty filled, it is going to be five-on-five? I think it’s really hard to predict this time of year. The only thing I’m capable of saying here is based on the first four games, they’re all tight and they’re all close and they’re all exciting.”
CHICAGO — Maybe it was as innocent as Claude Julien showing his game face but when he was asked why he would bench Kaspars Daugavins and consider inserting Carl Soderberg into the lineup for his first playoff game in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals, he defended his turf in no uncertain terms.
“Why? Because I’m the coach and because I can,” Julien began. “You guys ask me why I make those changes. I didn’t spend three days thinking about that. It’s a situation that I can do. If I do that tonight, we’ll see where it goes. I may just go back to Daugavins, because again I’m tinkering between those two like I have from the beginning of the series.”
Julien admitted that he has only seen him play in six games toward the end of the season with the Bruins, which might factor into whether he plays in Game 5.
“Well, I haven’t seen him that much,” Julien said. “He’s only played a few games, and that’s probably the main reason he hasn’t played in the Playoffs is we went with some experienced players. Injuries have forced us to kind of look elsewhere, and that’s the injury to Gregory Campbell. So Daugavins, we’ve looked at Carl Soderberg, Jordan Caron, and there’s Jay Pandolfo. So there’s situations there that we can look at. We’re trying to find the best fit possible.
“I have to look at whether I feel comfortable staying with Daugavins, or as you know right now, it’s been between Soderberg and Daugavins. But they’re two different players. Size-wise they’re different. One is obviously real gritty along the walls, and the other one is probably more of a play maker. So, there’s a difference there, and that’s where I have to make my decision what I feel I may need for tonight.”
CHICAGO — Bruins coach Claude Julien was very aware of the comments by Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews after Game 4. In the hours before Game 5 here Saturday, Julien said if Chicago thinks they can attack and expose Zdeno Chara, then go for it.
“I mean, they’re allowed their comments,” Julien said. “If that’s what they think, then they should try it again. A lot of people have tried to figure out Zdeno, and he’s the type of player he is. People talk about five goals against, but were they all his fault? None of them were his fault, actually.
Chara was a minus-3 on Wednesday night in Game 4 and was on the ice for five of the six Chicago goals, leading several Blackhawks – including Toews – to say they had success by not being intimidated by the 6-foot-9 36-year-old Bruins captain.
Julien said stats don’t mean nearly as much in the eyes of his coaching staff as the presence Chara provides on the ice.
“Just one of those situations where we feel he’s one of our best players on our team,” Julien said. “He’s one of the best defensemen in the league, so I don’t think there’s too many flaws in his game. But if they want to think that way, they’re entitled to it. I have no response to that except to know that my player is going to be good and ready tonight, and they can try it again if that’s what they think.”