|Brad Marchand knows he did wrong and makes up for it||11.16.11 at 8:16 am ET|
No one had to tell Brad Marchand why he was benched in the second period of the Bruins’ 4-3 win over the Devils Tuesday night at TD Garden.
He knew that coach Claude Julien wasn’t pleased with him taking a roughing penalty midway through the period, throwing a punch at New Jersey’s Adam Henrique when the two squared tussled in the Devils zone.
The penalty was the first of two straight called on Boston, which led to a 5-on-3 power play and a New Jersey goal, after the Devils had gone scoreless in 22 straight power plays.
“I didn’t have to say anything. I think we’re kind of at the stage where we’ve been together long enough, he knows what I wasn’t happy with and why he sat,” Julien said. “But at the same time, he’s a good player for us, and he certainly deserves a chance to get back into it, and it was nice to see him respond quickly. He was a much smarter player in the third period.”
He took a pass from Zdeno Chara on the opening faceoff of the third period – as Julien put him back on the top line – and raced down the ice and beat Johan Hedberg six seconds into the period to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead.
“I took a bad penalty there and they scored on it and it’s a learning process when things like that happen,” Marchand admitted. “You’re going to pay for it sometimes. And I had to pay by sitting on the bench tonight.
“You just want to bounce back. I didn’t want to hang my head I wanted to go and show I can be better. And I think he was kind of giving me a pat on the butt. I had to be better in the game. I didn’t have a good first couple periods I want to come in the third and play stronger and help the team win.”
He was given encouragement on the bench from teammates like Patrice Bergeron.
“Bergy a couple of times before the third and right before when we’re on the ice and just said, ‘keep your head up and let’s go for it, bounce back,’ that kind of thing and kind of get me motivated. It just shows his leadership and just another little thing.
“You don’t ever want that to be the scenario when you miss a couple of opportunities at the end of the game when your down a bit. But a couple penalties were’¦I have to avoid. It’s kind of a wake up call. It is needed sometimes and tonight was one of those times.”
|Claude Julien: If Milan Lucic wanted to hit Ryan Miller, ‘he would have never got up’||11.15.11 at 11:59 am ET|
Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s morning skate that the team was “convinced” Lucic’s hit on Miller “wasn’t deliberate” and were therefore pleased with Brendan Shanahan‘s decision to not suspend the forward.
Julien said that he doesn’t believe goalies should be hit, but noted the difference between a hit and a collision. He believed Saturday’s incident was a collision.
“I know for a fact that if Milan had intended on hitting [Miller], he would have never got up,” Julien said of Lucic. “We all know how hard he hits. It speaks for itself.”
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|Andrew Ference takes the ice||at 11:50 am ET|
Andrew Ference did not participate in the Bruins’ morning skate Tuesday, but the injured defenseman did return to the ice prior to the skate. Ference left Thursday’s game against the Oilers with a lower-body injury and did not play Saturday night. Claude Julien had said the defenseman was close to skating again Monday, and was glad to see him progress on Tuesday.
“He skated, and it’s his first game of skating,” Julien said. “‘¦ He’s come along, so he started saint again today. Hopefully he’ll progress. ‘¦ He becomes day-to-day the minute he steps on the ice.”
Julien hadn’t yet spoken to trainers about Ference on Tuesday, but said he might know by Tuesday night whether Ference might practice with the team on Wednesday.
|Bruins don’t hang their heads and get rewarded||11.02.11 at 10:35 am ET|
Tim Thomas is usually the center of attention whenever he plays and the Bruins win a game.
But this has hardly been a usual season so far and Tuesday was hardly a typical game.
“Yeah, I was waiting around my locker when you guys came in but no one came over,” he told reporters with a good-natured smile after Boston’s 5-3 win over Ottawa. “But I wasn’t the story tonight.”
Thomas – as is usually the case – was right on the money. The story Tuesday was the rediscovered tenacity of a Bruins team that rode its determined style to a Stanley Cup title four months earlier.
That tenacity was tested when the team fell behind 2-1 after one period to the Senators and blew a 3-2 lead early in the third period. That was hardly what the Bruins – losers of three straight and seven of 10 to start the season – needed for confidence.
“I think we were trying to maintain that 60-minute focus in our game,” head coach Claude Julien said. “I thought maybe in the beginning of the third, after that power play, we seemed to get a little bit sloppy, and of course, they tied the game up. But I think everybody was on the same page tonight as far as, don’t hang your heads, let’s go out there, let’s get the next goal, and let’s find a way to win this game. Determination was a lot better tonight and positive, I guess, thoughts, more than hanging our head and saying, ‘Here we go again.’”
“I thought we had the momentum all night and it was one of those games where we felt confident we could do it and come back,” added Patrice Bergeron. “And playing like that, that’s how we come back in games and show character and stay consistent and keep going at them. And I thought tonight was the perfect example that when we put the puck in deep and work at it, we’re a tough team to beat.”
|Re-examining Nov. 1 and the uphill climb the Bruins face||10.31.11 at 5:21 pm ET|
Last week, we noted the Bruins should want to be either in or very close to the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference by the time the first of November rolls around. Now, the day isn’t over yet, but chances are there will be no Halloween miracle that takes the Bruins out of dead last before the second month of the season, and based on history, that means they’re in deep trouble.
Without totally recycling last week’s story, each of the last two seasons has seen only one Eastern Conference team not in the top eight on Nov. 1 go on to make the playoffs. That means, for the most part at least, that the playoff picture is largely made up after a month, and it barely changes.
So, with the Bruins 3-7-0 and in last place at the end of October, they are going to have a heck of a climb back into the playoff picture if they don’t want the season that follows June’s Stanley Cup victory to be a colossal failure. It means they’re going to need to turn things around quickly to avoid suffering the fate so many teams who start slow, finish strong and still miss the playoffs, see every season. Last year, it was the Devils and the Hurricanes whose stellar play late couldn’t save them, but those teams didn’t have nearly the expectations of the depending champs.
“You look back at things like this [later in the season],” Milan Lucic said Monday. “Obviously, there’s adversity that you have to face throughout the season. For us, it’s right now. We’ve got to figure it out quick, because I know it’s only 10 games, but you know how many teams that have had starts like this that haven’t been able to recover.
“You look at New Jersey last year, who finished as probably the best team since January, and they weren’t able to recover. You can reflect on this. Obviously we’ll see what happens down the road, but we’ve got to do everything we can to get out of this as quick as possible. We’re going to have to do it as a team and as a group effort. The only way we’re going todo this is if we help each other.”
There seems to be an understanding throughout the Bruins’ dressing room that as far as time for struggles go, this is it. They won’t be able to slump at later points in the season, because with overtime losses in place, it will be hard enough as it is for them to gain ground.
“Basically, every team in the league is going to go through a rough patch at some point this year. Our’s is right now, unfortunately. We understand that this is our rough patch, and we won’t be able to have another one, or we’re going to sink ourselves,” Claude Julien said. “There’s a lot of things that you just keep trying to figure our they those things happen, and there are no answers. ‘¦ Right now if we had the answer, it would have been fixed. That’s why you try to find those answers.”
Whatever the answers are, the Bruins need to find them quick. The last defending champion to miss the playoffs was the 2006-07 Hurricanes.
|Claude Julien doesn’t put all the blame on refs, says B’s are frustrated||10.18.11 at 10:41 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien, who was given a game misconduct in the third period of the B’s 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes Tuesday, said afterwards that he was unsure of why he was tossed from the game.
“I wish I knew,” Julien said. “I really wish I knew. I guess when they announced the misconduct to Lucic, I just shook my head. I guess that was merit for being kicked out. That’s all I can come up with.”
The Bruins were assessed 82 penalty minutes minutes, and though Julien seemed upset with his own penalty, he did not blame the officiating for the result of the contest, which dropped the Bruins to 2-4-0 on the season.
“We have to take responsibility for our own actions here. ‘¦ I think what I saw from tonight is we started off the game well. In the first period we had some great chances, but we’re not capitalizing,” he said. “What I see is frustration setting in, and the minute we start getting frustrated, we lose focus of our game, and it gets worse and worse. That’s been a bit of a pattern this year.”
Julien’s lone criticism of the referees regarded Zdeno Chara’s third-period high-sticking call, with the Bruins’ coach accusing Hurricanes forward Eric Staal of diving.
“I’m not saying all the penalties were good calls,” Julien said. “I really was disappointed on the one on Zdeno, trying to hold his own ice, and for some reason he gets called because the other guy embellishes. That was one that was clear in my eyes that I would question, or not agree with, but the rest, they were calls and you have to take responsibility of your own actions.”
|Milan Lucic agrees with Claude Julien: B’s took the game ‘way too lightly’||10.10.11 at 4:57 pm ET|
It was pretty apparent, even before Claude Julien called out his team before reporters in a post-game press conference, that the Bruins were fairly disgusted with their performance in a 1-0 loss to the Avalanche that wasted a brilliant performance by Tuukka Rask.
The Bruins managed 30 shots on Semyon Varlamov, but not enough sustained pressure. When they got great chances, including Lucic with just under six minutes to go in the game, they couldn’t finish.
“Well, they played well, you have to give them credit,” Lucic said. “But on our part, we took today’s game way too lightly. We lost most of the battles, they were first on pucks. Regardless of if we were the champs last year or not, the major areas on the ice, they wanted the puck more than us. And that’s why we weren’t able to generate enough to get that goal.
“We created some pretty good chances, just have to find a way to bear down on them.”
In their losses to the Flyers and Avalanche, the Bruins could not do two basic things essential to winning hockey and their Cup run of last spring: Control the puck and win physical battles.
“Yeah, it seemed like we were chasing a lot and they were just chipping past us and going,” Lucic said. “And we were a step late, a second late here a step late, a second late over there. And that’s basically what happens. I talked about being first to the puck and winning battles and we didn’t have enough of that. Good for four periods and need to work on the rest.”
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