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Mike Emrick on M&M: ‘Weird things can happen in a seventh game’ 05.26.11 at 1:15 pm ET
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NBC and Versus play-by-play man Mike “Doc” Emrick joined the Mut & Merloni show on Thursday to discuss the Lightning-Bruins series  and preview Friday night’s Game 7 at TD Garden.

“The whole series has been [unusual], nothing [predictable] about what we’€™ll get tomorrow based on what we’€™ve seen so far,” Emrick said. “We know they are both good defensive teams, but try proving it.”

Emrick noted that Games 7’s are entirely unpredictable.

“Weird things that can happen in a seventh game we remember more because they were seventh games and not Games 4, 5 or 6’€™s,” he said. “Anybody can beat anybody in a Game 7. You get the right penalty call at the right time, you get a fluky bounce. ‘€¦. If you care who wins you go, ‘€˜Shoot, this is torture.'”

To hear the entire interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Here are more highlights from the interview:

On the Bruins’ struggles on the power play: “It’€™s a very unusual squad because its only happened a couple of times in history. It’s never happened before that a team didn’€™t get one power play goal and won a series, which they did in seven games against Montreal.

“The power play did strike late [in Game 6] and that certainly helped, but overall it was as flawed on the night as Tampa Bay’€™s was strong. Special teams made a big difference in this game, and they tend to make a big difference in games, but when you have a Bruins team that has got this far without much of a power play you have to say, ‘Well the ultimate seventh game might it not mean anything.'”

On the Bruins adjustments, including Zdeno Chara to the front of the net on the power play: “I think that confused [Dwayne Roloson], [Chara] had a deflection once, he got tangled with him once. Some of the things they were doing didn’€™t work but [Claude Julien] is more of a status quo coach than [Guy] Boucher is, but the thing is they have both had success they way that they do.”

On the Tampa Bay power play: We talked earlier in the series about how  [David] Krejci, [Milan] Lucic and [Nathan] Horton had a lot of pressure because they weren’€™t producing well it was that same thing with the star power for Tampa Bay because [Vinny] Lecavalier and  [Steve] Stamkos haven’€™t aligned in recent games. They came to the floor last night.

“It may have been not so much the Bruins penalty kill, but the fact there was heat on these guys, the ultimate heat on these guys, that if they don’€™t perform last night they aren’€™t performing anymore till October. They rose to the occasion.”

On Tyler Seguin’s ice time: “I am not sure what kind of difference he would have made. You have to remember that  the game he had the four points in and tied a record, it wound up being a wacky wide open game that set up perfect for him.

“People say Seguin should get more time, and I understand that, but who will you take it away from? Maybe people would have people hand-picked to take time away from, but I can’t think of anyone. I know you mentioned [Mark] Recchi and thought he was out there too much, but there’s savvy and skill for a seventh game in particular that Mark Recchi has.”

On his Game 7 prediction: “This is going to be low scoring, and something bizarre will happen later on, but if I wake up two mornings from now and pick up the paper and realize the score was 7-6 I won’t be shocked.”

Read More: Claude Julien, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton
It’s official: Everyone’s complaining about Eric Furlatt at 12:02 am ET
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TAMPA — Bruins coach Claude Julien said he “disagreed” with the officiating in Wednesday’s Game 6 loss to the Lightning. The Bruins had five power plays to the Lightning’s four, but players and the coach took issue with some of the calls. What made matters worse in Julien’s eyes were the fact that the calls came on the very day that Tampa coach Guy Boucher called referee Eric Furlatt “lopsided” in favor of the Bruins this postseason. Entering the game, Furlatt had called 24 penalties on the Lightning, as opposed to nine on the Bruins.

“What was more disappointing is probably the fact that I don’t know if I agree with those calls,” Julien said when asked about special teams. “Hopefully what was said today didn’t have any impact on that, because if it did, I’d be really disappointed. You look back at those, and you get an opportunity to look back at them, and it’s really, really tough to swallow.”

Boucher fired back in a unique way, actually picking up the game sheet to present his counter-argument when asked about Julien’s words.

“Well, first of all, I was asked that,” he said. “I didn’t bring it up myself. I was asked, and people put numbers in front of me. Those were the facts and the numbers. If you’re asking me,” Boucher said as he took out the box score and began reading off it, “the power plays are 5-4 for them today, and they were 3-0 for them to start the game in the first period. It was 4-1 for them before we got our other power play, so I don’t know, who had the advantage today? We had less power plays than them.”

The Lightning went 3-for-4 on the power play, while the B’s were 1-for-5. Tampa was called more often, but Bruins players felt the calls against them may not have been legitimate.

“Well, I mean, it seemed like some of them were just makeup calls because we had a bunch of [power plays],” a frustrated Milan Lucic said. “You’d hope it’s not the time of year where there’s makeup calls like that. You can’t let the refs get to you. You don’t want them to be difference, and you want to do whatever you can to work past that. We don’t want to make excuses because of referees, but then again, we have to do whatever we can to not take penalties.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Claude Julien, Guy Boucher, Milan Lucic
Mark Recchi: ‘We got away with one’ thanks to Tim Thomas 05.24.11 at 6:10 pm ET
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TAMPA — Claude Julien meant nothing personal at all by his comments but the Bruins coach was clear Tuesday that he doesn’t want his team putting everything on the shoulders of Tim Thomas as they try to advance to the Stanley Cup finals with a win Wednesday night in Game 6 at St. Pete Times Forum.

Clearly, that would be easy to do when Thomas was the single-biggest reason the Bruins stole Game 5 on home ice Monday night. But that’s also a good way to get pounded and wind up with a Game 7 Friday in Boston, something every Bruins fan, player and coach wants to avoid.

“You don’t want to rely on your goaltender,” Julien said. “He’s an important part of our team, and it’s nice to be able to rely on him, but you don’t want to go into the game relying on him.

“You want to do your job. And there’s going to be some games, like we said yesterday, that what’s important is a win is about finding a way. And you fall down 1-0 in the first two minutes of the game, and, you know, it’s a team that usually shuts other teams out pretty good. We stayed the course. We weren’t our best, but we stayed the course, and we found a way to get back into the game.”

Then there was the take of veteran Mark Recchi, who realizes the Bruins were extremely fortunate to ride their hot goalie to a win.

“Right off the bat, we have to be a lot better. The first period was not our hockey club. Give them credit, they came out to win and Timmy gave us that opportunity and he shut the door. We had a little tension last night and it showed in our play.

“We know we got away with one [Monday] night but at the same time, we found a way to win and the guys’ attitudes are great like that way. We’re going to have to be a lot better in Game 6 if we expect to finish this series.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Mark Recchi
By just showing up, Bill Belichick ‘reached out’ to Claude Julien at 5:31 pm ET
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TAMPA — Bruins coach Claude Julien made it very clear Tuesday. Coaches are completely preoccupied with their teams in the playoffs, not really leaving time for socializing.

But even Julien had to notice the video board during Game 1 and Game 5 Monday night when Patriots coach Bill Belichick was spotted and featured throughout.

Monday night, as “Bruins fan of the game” Belichick, sporting a suit and tie, smiled and waved the black and gold hanky each time he was shown on the video board.

“I think what he’s done is reached out to us by doing what he’s done,” Julien said on the off day before Game 6 Wednesday night at St. Pete Times Forum. “I think coaches understand — and I would be the same way — I would never dare call him or any of those guys when they’re in the playoffs. But I’d certainly be there to show my support, which I did the Patriots when it was time and I’ve done it for the Red Sox.

“I’ve been there a few times. And I’m a big fan of those Boston teams, the Celtics included. And I think it’s about showing support. You don’t need to necessarily talk unless somebody really needs to talk to you. And I think if I reached out to him myself, he’d be more than happy to talk to me.”

In Game 1, Belichick was dressed down considerably from Monday, wearing a more casual outfit that included a cutoff Bass fishing shirt. During each game, girlfriend Linda Holliday was in attendance by his side.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Bill Belichick, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien
Johnny Boychuk no longer ‘foggy,’ ready to go for Game 6 at 5:10 pm ET
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TAMPA — On Tuesday Bruins coach Claude Julien used the same word as he did Monday — “fine” — to describe defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who left Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals a little over halfway through the third period after hit from Tampa Bay forward Steve Downie.

“Nothing has changed,” Julien said. “He’s fine.”

Boychuk himself said that he will play in Wednesday’s Game 6 and that despite feeling a bit woozy following the hit that earned Downie a boarding penalty, he knew that he was OK.

“I was a little foggy, but then after I got off the ice, I felt totally fine,” Boychuk said Tuesday. “Even when I was on the ice, they just wanted to make sure I was OK before I even tried to skate. I didn’t really want to fall.”

Boychuk said that the hit caught him by surprise, and though he noted players in his position have “got to be aware of their surroundings,” not knowing Downie was coming didn’t help matters.

“I didn’t see him’€¦ obviously,” Boychuk said. “I didn’t see him coming. You can’t really brace yourself if you can’t see him.”

Downie was not disciplined by the league for the hit, and Boychuk took a respectable approach when asked his feelings on it.

“I saw the hit,” he said. “If it’s suspendable, then the league will do it, but I’m feeling fine and that’s the main thing.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Claude Julien, Johnny Boychuk, Steve Downie
Claude Julien: ‘We can’t be tight’ if we want to reach Stanley Cup finals at 1:26 am ET
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Claude Julien is on the verge of taking his Bruins to a place no one has in 21 years. It’s a place he won’t mention by name by it starts with “Stanley” and ends with “Cup finals”.

And after Monday’s 3-1 win in Game 5 of the Eastern finals, he’s more than prepared for all the questions he’ll be hearing about it over the next two days.

“Well it’€™s going to take, and you’€™ve heard it before, it’€™s almost a cliché, it’€™s going to take our best game. When a team’€™s got its back against a wall, it comes out with the best of efforts and this is where we have to make sure that next game, as I mentioned here earlier, we can’€™t be tight,” Julien said. “We’€™ve got to out there and play with a purpose and be ready to go out there and play hard.

“Maybe put them on their heels and maybe get them to play tight. But this is the position you want to be in obviously, up in the series. We’€™ve got two games here to win one. Our goal right now is not to play Game 7. And I know their goal is to create a Game 7. So, there’€™s a difference between the two teams.”

Julien doesn’t want to see his team feel the pressure in Game 6 the way they did in the first period Monday night.

“I just think we need to understand we’€™ve got the lead in this series. And we’€™ve got to go out there and play without playing on our heels. When you’€™ve got the lead like that you should go out and play on your toes, not your heels, and if you play well enough, maybe you put the other team on their heels. I didn’€™t say we are groining to put them on their heels, I said the goal is to play well and try to play as well as you can. And they’€™ve got their backs against the wall, so this is our opportunity here to come up with our best effort of the series.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, NHL
Tony Amonte on M&M: ‘I love the way the Bruins have rebounded all playoffs long’ 05.23.11 at 12:50 pm ET
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CSNNE hockey analyst Tony Amonte joined the Mut & Merloni show Monday to talk about the Bruins-Lightning series, which is tied heading into Monday night’s Game 5 at TD Garden. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

“It’s just really been a series of mistakes and capitalizing on those mistakes,” Amonte said. “And I think both teams have done that.”

Amonte pointed to an uninspired power play at the start of the second period as the beginning of the downfall for the B’s in Game 4 Saturday. Said Amonte: “They come out for a two-minute power play on fresh ice. There should be no question there, getting the puck in, getting it set up. They actually hurt themselves on the power play. They didn’t get the puck in. The effort wasn’t there. And that set the tempo for that whole period. They come out of that 3-3 and now they’re in trouble. They’re scrambling after that.”

Added Amonte: “I just think that they went into the locker room, they relaxed for a minute, they forgot about what they needed to do to be successful. And it’s just hard work. That’s what the Bruins are all about ‘€” how hard they work, how much they can outwork their opponent. That’s when they’ve been successful this postseason.

“Secondly, they lost the physical game. They got bumped around pretty bad and they didn’t react, and they didn’t adjust to it and get on the physical play themselves. They just kind of sat back, took it, and Tampa was able to take that game over.”

Amonte, who is sticking with his pre-series prediction of Bruins in six games, said he expects a quick recovery for the B’s. “I love the way the Bruins have rebounded all playoffs long,” he said. “They’ve been able to shrug these things off and move on and get into the next game. You’ve got to look for [David] Krejci‘s line tonight. I think Claude [Julien] gave them a little bit of a back-hander in the media yesterday, saying they needed to be better. Every time he’s done that, that line has stepped up and played better that next game.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Claude Julien, David Krejci, Dwayne Roloson, Guy Boucher
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