|The day after the Cup: Pierre McGuire talks to The Big Show||06.16.11 at 3:55 pm ET|
NBC analyst Pierre McGuire was a guest on The Big Show on Thursday and he noted that as the Bruins were inching closer toward capturing the Stanley Cup on Wednesday night in Vancouver, there was a major difference between the two teams.
“There were definitely chemistry issues on one bench,” McGuire said. “Coaches overreacting. I thought in the case of Alain Vingeault when the frustration set in, and the composure and the focus and basically every one of the Bruins players acting as coach. It was really an interesting dynamic to witness.”
McGuire added, “When you have a knockout game and things start to go south in a hurry, guys just deviate from the plan and you could sense that. You didn’t see the same Vancouver Canucks team in the third period that you saw in Games 1 or 2 or Game 5 when they were in Vancouver.”
McGuire said that he thought Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo hurt himself with his comments about Tim Thomas after Game 5. “The damage was done to Roberto Luongo [after Game 5],” McGuire said. “The whole thing, the two-day break, putting the foot in the mouth, questioning Tim Thomas’ ability to make a save against Maxim Lapierre in Game 5.
“The one thing I thought was very apparent and I’ve been through this twice as a coach winning a Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh in 1991 and 92, you have to manage the message and make sure your players are debriefed before dealing with the media. You’ve got to be so careful because everything is scrutinized. I really felt the Vancouver PR machine went off the rails going into Game 6. They were too brash, too arrogant. I give Boston full credit. They managed their message the entire playoffs and they deserve a lot of credit for the way they handled themselves. On the Vancouver side I don’t think it was handled very well.”
McGuire also had praise for Bruins’ coach Claude Julien, particularly his decision to practice as soon as the team landed in Vancouver. “Instead of practicing the day of the game they practiced as soon as they got off the plane,” McGuire said. “They had a much better start. They had livelier legs and they were ready to go. They really believed in their plan. That little deviation helped them a ton. That’s where Claude Julien isn’t getting enough credit.”
McGuire also felt Julien was more willing to adapt this year as opposed to last. “The one thing I was really impressed with from Claude compared to a year ago, the ability to make adjustments both in-game and during the series,” McGuire said. “We didn’t see that last year. I think that’s a big reason they lost last year. [Peter] Laviolette outrcoached him and obviously the injury to [David] Krejci. But this year I saw a man prepared to make changes. He could deviate from the matchups if he had to, he wasn’t afraid to get his fourth line on the ice and I thought they were a huge factor in Game 7. Claude deserves a lot of credit.
|Video: Canucks fans welcome Bruins to the Rogers Arena||06.15.11 at 6:43 pm ET|
VANCOUVER– The Bruins bus arrived just a short while ago at Rogers Arena and the Canucks fans made sure they gave them a warm welcome.
|Bruins have one last chance to get traffic in Vancouver||at 3:40 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Bruins had no problem addressing the elephant in the province Wednesday.
The Bruins don’t play well in British Columbia (specifically Vancouver) — at least they haven’t thus far in the Stanley Cup finals. They’ve been sound defensively for the most part, and Tim Thomas has turned in the same type of dominance he’s turned in (three goals against in three losses) anywhere else. Yet the team hasn’t been able to create traffic and set up shop in front of Roberto Luongo, limiting their close-range chances and handing the Vancouver goaltender a pair of easy shutouts.
“It seems like we haven’t brought our physical game here to Vancouver,” native Milan Lucic said. “If we can just focus on that and moving our feet, kind of just playing more of a relaxed game ‘¦ It feels like we’ve been tense the last three times that we’ve played here, so if we can do that I like our chances.”
It was interesting that Lucic admitted to playing tense, as it’s seemed clear that the Bruins’ offense has seemed to be just that on the Rogers Arena ice. If there’s any time for them to break out of it, it’s now.
“I don’t think that we’ve had our best games out here,” Chris Kelly said Wednesday, “so hopefully tonight we can correct that and come out and play our best game.”
It’s been a breeze for the Bruins when it comes to getting in close when playing at home. So why, in Vancouver, have the Canucks been able to box them out as well as they have? And why, in turn, have the Bruins seemingly bought into the mirage that is a stronger Vancouver defense at home?
“I think [it’s been] a bit of both,” Kelly said of whether it’s been the Canucks’ defense or the Bruins’ offense that is to blame for Boston’s lack of traffic in British Columbia. “Give them credit. They’ve done a good job boxing us out, preventing us from getting to the front of the net, but I think we need to battle a little harder and find ways to get there.”
If the Bruins can’t find ways to battle harder, their season will end in so-close-yet-so-far fashion. Coach Claude Julien has sent a message to the B’s since they closed out Game 6. The message?
“Crash ‘n bang,” Tyler Seguin said. “We made our adjustments, and obviously we want to get up in their face a little bit more. I think last time in their building they took it to us more than [we did to them], and we definitely want to respond with just as much if not more physicality.”
Yes, the Bruins have been a different, weaker animal in Vancouver than they have been in Boston. But when it comes to Wednesday night, they have to be aware that with the Stanley Cup just 60 minutes (or more) of hockey away from being theirs, they have to look at it as one game to shine, rather than the fourth game of a rough Vancouver experience.
“That’s kind of why we think it’s a different mindset tonight,” Seguin said, “because it’s just one game.
|Bruins and Canucks: The little things lead to the big prize||06.13.11 at 1:50 pm ET|
It was a little thing – a little thing that Claude Julien works on often during practice. But on this Monday morning, the small detail of winning faceoffs could have a huge impact on who wins Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Last Friday, in Game 5 in Vancouver, the Canucks found a way to win 34 of 65 draws while the Bruins only won 29 of those 65 one-on-one battles.
While none of them led directly to a goal, it did skew puck possession in Vancouver’s favor as the game progressed.
It’s actually been an area the Canucks have won in nearly every game of this series, including in both blowout wins by the Bruins in Games 3 and 4. But add the faceoffs in with losing puck battles and not getting enough bodies in front of Roberto Luongo and the small things become huge problems – problems the Bruins cannot afford tonight with no margin of error left.
In a close game, losing those battles can be deadly, especially when you’re the Bruins trying to kill one of best power play units in the game. So far, the Bruins have killed 24 of 25 Vancouver power plays.
“I don’t think we would be putting them there if it was just a faceoff thing,” Julien said. “But between Bergeron and Krejci are right-handed shots, and whether one of them is on the half fall, doesn’t really matter. The other one can be on the goal line. Krejci can make some plays from down low and Bergeron can take pucks at the net. We just feel that right now that’s a good scenario for that power play.
“We’ve got [Rich] Peverley who does move the puck well and [Dennis] Seidenberg who can shoot the puck well, we’ve got a good combination there. It’s shown some flashes of being very good, and when it hasn’t, it’s been not because of who you got out there, but what they’ve done. We’ve lost some battles in the last game. Certainly didn’t make some strong passes that were cut off. Vancouver does a great job. They’ve got good sticks on the penalty kill. If we don’t make crisp passes, you end up turning it over.”
The same goes for Vancouver.
“We have to bring our ‘A’ game and play the right way,” said Daniel Sedin. “When we win faceoffs and we have a lot of puck possession, we’re a good team. They’re obviously a good faceoff team so that’s going to be a big thing tonight. If we play the right way, and we play tight the way we did at home, it’s hard to get good scoring chances against us. When we play like we did in Games 3 and 4, we’re going to get some scoring chances but they are too, and that’s not the way we want to play.”
|Bruins hopeful Nathan Horton will attend Game 6||at 1:28 pm ET|
The Canucks have the Stanley Cup at the Garden for motivation Monday night, and it seems the Bruins will have some less famous inspiration in the house.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said he expects Nathan Horton, who is out for the series due to a severe concussion suffered in Game 3, to be in attendance as the B’s look to prevent elimination in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals. Horton came into the Boston dressing room after the team’s 4-0 victory in Game 4, and has seen teammates here and there since.
“He’s been around,” Claude Julien said, also noting that under no circumstances would Horton be able to make a return to the ice this week. “‘¦If people are looking for miracles, if he’s [in attendance Monday], it will be pretty special. But right now, he’s still dealing with those concussion issues as we speak.
“He popped in quickly this morning just to say ‘hi.’ I have the impression that he’s going to be coming to the game tonight as long as he feels good, and that can vary as the day goes on. I think right now his plan is to hopefully be here tonight.”
Horton had eight goals and nine assists for 17 points in 21 games this postseason, his first playoffs experience. He scored series-clinching goals in Game 7 of both the Eastern Conference quarterfinals and finals.
|Claude Julien: ‘We’ve got to bring our game with us’||06.09.11 at 12:16 pm ET|
Now comes the hard part.
The Bruins have turned the 2011 Stanley Cup finals upside down. They have overcome two remarkably heartbreaking losses in Vancouver by not just beating the Canucks on their Garden home ice but running the Sedin twins and the rest of the Western Conference champs right out of the building.
The Bruins dominated in every way possible, outscoring the Canucks, 12-1, in the two wins to even the series and turn it into a best-of-3.
Now, the Bruins have to carry that momentum with them on their cross-continent flight and translate it enough on the Rogers Arena ice on Friday night to give them a chance to win the Cup on that same Garden ice on Monday night.
How do they do it?
“I think we’ve got to bring our game with us, simple as that,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We have to bring our game. That has to continue in Vancouver. It doesn’t matter where you are, you got to play the same way whether you’re at home or on the road.”
And that mean laying out the hits, doing everything possible to keep the aggressive Tim Thomas in his comfort zone between the pipes, and continuing an amazing run on the penalty kill.
In the two wins, the Bruins outhit the Canucks 67-58 and Thomas stopped a remarkable 78 of 79 shots on goal, primarily because he saw nearly every single one of them. That’s where it gets tricky. The Canucks will no doubt run more bodies at Thomas in front and the Bruins defenseman must continue to clear bodies away. Read the rest of this entry »
After all, Nathan Horton has done it all this postseason for the Bruins – especially in the clutch. There was the overtime winner in Game 5 against Montreal. There was the overtime winner in Game 7 against Montreal.
And there was game-winner against Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
But Horton won’t be playing anymore this season. Peverley was moved up to the top line of David Krejci and Milan Lucic and responded with first and last goals of a 4-0 thumping of the Canucks to even the series at 2-2 going back to Vancouver.
Peverley wasn’t informed he was on the top line until just before the game.
“Just before warm-ups,” Peverley said when asked when he found out he was playing on the top line. “I had no idea who was going to go in there, if it was going to be me or [Michael Ryder]. Rydes took a lot of shifts with them too. [Tyler Seguin] was in there, too. Nothing is set in stone.
“I haven’t contributed as well as I think I could, offensively. Anytime you can help out, especially in this environment, you want to do so.”
Julien has experimented with different looks for his top line and came to the conclusion before Game 4 that Peverley was his choice.
“We had different looks,” Julien said. “We saw [Michael] Ryder go up there a few times as well when Rich was killing penalties. I said I’d use different players at that position. Pev’s got good speed. Their line had forechecks pretty well with Lucic on one side. We thought we’d keep that going. He still has pretty decent hands. We thought we would start with that. Michael is another guy who can fit on that line as well. Certainly Tyler [Seguin] was a consideration. His skill and speed level on that line at times also.”