|Aaron Ward on M&M: ‘It’s not a quick fix’ to put Tyler Seguin on power play||05.16.11 at 1:51 pm ET|
NHL analyst and former Bruin Aaron Ward joined the Mut & Merloni show Monday afternoon to talk about the Eastern Conference finals, which the Bruins trail 1-0 after Saturday night’s 5-2 loss to the Lightning. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Ward cautioned Bruins fans not to panic despite the rough start.
“It’s a feeling-out process,” he said. “It’s funny to listen to Tampa talk about all the time they had off, and [Martin] St. Louis was utterly concerned about the rust level. They obviously didn’t show a whole lot of rust in Game 1. And I think Boston did. That’s why it’s seven games. The sky’s not falling yet. There’s no Chicken Little yet.”
The Bruins power play continues to be a disaster, with an 0-for-4 performance in Game 1 making the B’s 2-for-41 in the postseason. However, Ward said he doesn’t think rookie Tyler Seguin is the answer.
“If they were going to shake it up they would have done it a while ago,” he said. “Right now, if the stat’s right, they’ve got the third-worst power-play percentage in the last 25 years in the playoffs. And that’s just one of those things where maybe it’s a personnel thing. And it’s not that someone’s not getting it done. But maybe you shake it up and you integrate some of the first power play with the second power play, get some new life, new blood in it.
“And I know everybody’s screaming for Seguin, but I think you have enough veteran guys in that locker room that can figure it out amongst themselves. You don’t need to put a young guy on and put the pressure on him to direct the power play.”
Ward said Claude Julien was proven correct to avoid making major moves when the Bruins fell behind the Canadiens 2-0 in the opening round, and that’s the way he’ll continue to manage his team.
“It’s how Claude coaches,” Ward said. “And Claude has my utmost respect. He’s a guy that sticks with what got him there. He’s not a knee-jerk-reaction kind of coach. He knows what he wants out of his team. He knows the philosophies to take into a game. Everybody was screaming for Seguin during the Montreal series and they get out of it. Then they cruise through Philadelphia. It’s part of the playoffs.
“Everybody looks for that, ‘Well, it’s a quick fix.’ It’s not a quick fix. One player doesn’t change the direction of an entire team. Twenty guys on the ice can have that effect. One guy doesn’t have it. One guy can hurt a team. But one guy can’t drastically improve the percentage of winning a team. A guy getting in there, a guy like Seguin can do a lot of things ‘ like, nice, young, fresh legs, very healthy, fresh outlook on the game ‘ and be a catalyst in that manner. But he’s got to be given an opportunity to get himself accustomed to the playoffs.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien made the decision to mix up the second and third lines in Monday’s practice, but speaking after the skate, he hardly sounded like a man who had his Game 2 lineup set in stone.
Rich Peverley made the jump to the second line in the practice after playing Game 1 between Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder. Peverley skated Monday with Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi, while Chris Kelly took his spot on the third line with. Center Patrice Bergeron rotated in with the second line during line drills, centering Marchand and Recchi (his usual trio), as well as Marchand and Peverley.
Julien said he doesn’t know whether he will have Bergeron for Game 2, and that Monday’s lines were put in place to give him more options should he feel a change is in order.
“Just moving guys around a little bit,” Julien said following the practice. “I think it’s important that if we’re going to [mix up lines], that they get used to playing with each other. Kelly has an opportunity to play with that line and has gotten used to them a little bit. Now Peverley [has skated with Recchi and Marchand] and I’ve got some options. Just giving some thought to maybe different combinations if need be, and tomorrow we’ll decide which one we want to go with.”
Mixing up the second and third lines would be nothing new for Julien this series. He moved Seguin up to the second line with Kelly and Marchand in the third period of the team’s Game 1 loss, with Recchi moving down to the third line with Peverley and Ryder.
‘I think me and Kells [Chris Kelly] might do some switching off,” Peverley said. “I think it’s just to give an option down the middle there. I’m just going to try and play my game. I’m not going to try and be Bergy. He’s a tremendous player. I’ll just try and use my speed.
‘Usually, you try and prepare to play with anybody. And you want to be able to play with anybody. I don’t think it’s going to be any different at all.’
As for what needs to change, Peverley broke out a time-tested but very appropriate hockey cliche.
‘We played well but we didn’t play a full 60 minutes,” Peverley said. “Obviously, you make mistakes at this time of year, they end up in the back of your net. Some costly mistakes, a little bit of a lull there and within a minute-25 seconds, we’re down 3-0. We can’t let that happen and we have to be fully prepared.’
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron took a significant step in his return from the concussion he suffered in Game 4 of the conference semifinals, skating with the team for Monday’s practice. It was his third straight day of on-ice work, and the first with his teammates since suffering the concussion.
Bergeron did not don his usual yellow (second line) jersey, though he did participate in line drills, rotating in on his regular line that now consists of Brad Marchand, Mark Recchi and Rich Peverley. He also took part in special teams drills prior, though he left the ice early without taking contact. Though it seems the center is making quick progress, coach Claude Julien didn’t offer too much on where the 25-year-old stands.
“He’s going through the protocol of what he has to go through,” Julien said. “There’s not much more to update you guys on except [to say] when he is ready to go, you guys will know it. You can’t predict how quickly or how soon it’s going to be. It’s just one of those situations where right now, you see him going through today’s skate. That’s protocol. Right now we’re not ready to make any comments, because he’s just going through those stages.”
Asked specifically about Bergeron’s chances of playing in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals vs. the Lightning on Tuesday, Julien was not ready to lean either way.
“No comments,” the coach said. “I don’t know.”
|Lightning’s penalty kill shuts down Bruins in Game 1||05.15.11 at 2:04 am ET|
The Bruins’ power play deserves all the criticism it gets for its performance in the playoffs, but the Lightning’s penalty kill also deserves quite a bit of credit for its performance in Game 1.
The Lightning made it difficult for the Bruins’ man advantage, which went 0-for-4 in the game, to enter the zone and get set up all night long. They pressured the Bruins out high and forced them to gain entry by dumping the puck instead of sitting back and letting the B’s skate over the blue line. They also did a good job winning races to pucks and clearing the zone quickly, and they consistently got in passing and shooting lanes.
That’s not really all that surprising given the fact that the Lightning ranked eighth in the regular season on the PK at 83.8 percent. They’ve taken their game to an even higher level in the playoffs, killing off penalties at a 94.8-percent clip (55 for 58).
‘I think we’ve had a good penalty kill all year long, top five for most of the year,’ coach Guy Boucher said. ‘I think we’re following that up in the playoffs. We had a really good penalty kill in the first series and the second series. We’ve got to adjust to the other team and at the same time stay confident in what we are doing. Obviously our guys pay the price a lot and I think that’s the key to our penalty kill.’
Goalie Dwayne Roloson said there’s no one thing that has been the key to the Lightning’s successful PK, but that it’s more about attention to detail.
‘Our guys have done a great job focusing and doing the little things to allow us to kill those penalties off,’ Roloson said. ‘You know, whether it’s battles at the blue line or getting pucks down deep when we get that opportunity. So there’s no one thing. I think it’s just, for us as a team, just playing within our structure and doing the little things that we have to do to win hockey games.’
Although there might not be one specific key, the Lightning’s shot blocking is one thing that really stands out. They blocked 17 shots total in the game, with at least a handful of those coming while they were shorthanded.
‘You have to block shots,’ said forward Martin St. Louis. ‘It is a desperate time of the year. I think it is the mentality we have, blocking a lot of shots all year long and in the playoffs. ‘¦ You want to get that shot and block that shot and make an attempt to block every shot so Rollie gets less work.’
As good as Tampa Bay’s penalty kill was, though, there was still a lot the Bruins’ power play could’ve done better.
“I thought our execution could certainly have been better, especially on those entries there,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “If we do our job properly, I think we are going to have success, but you need the execution. … You need the execution to be there and you need the killer instinct. When you have the chance, you need to bury those things. And same thing with the loose pucks, you have to be first on those and make sure you get them and not the other team. So execution, killer instinct is something that needs to be better on our power play moving forward here.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien was not satisfied with the level of his club’s intensity following a 5-2 loss to the Lightning in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night at TD Garden.
“I think we could’ve had a better effort,” Julien said. “I think overall, as a team, we’re definitely going to need to be better and get a better effort. The rust was even on both sides, as far as time off. You don’t want to use rust as an excuse.”
The Bruins actually came out strong, applying early pressure on Tampa Bay goalie Dwayne Roloson before the Bruins had a defensive breakdown over an 85-second span that gave Tampa Bay a comfortable three-goal cushion in the first period.
“The effort was something we’re going to need more of,” Julien added. “The other part was the fact that we gave them that 3-0 lead. It was like the Montreal series. I thought we gave them some easy goals and that was more of our doing than it was theirs. Until that point, I thought we had started the game really well and had good momentum but those three goals certainly set us back.”
The Bruins will not be on the ice Sunday but return to practice Monday at TD Garden, with Game 2 scheduled for Tuesday night in Boston before the series shifts to Tampa Bay for Games 3 and 4 Thursday and Saturday.
|Bruins hope Marc Savard makes it to Boston during Conference Finals||05.14.11 at 11:51 am ET|
The Bruins to not have expect to have Marc Savard in the house for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, though coach Claude Julien confirmed Saturday that the center, who is recovering from post-concussion syndrome, is expected to make the trip to Boston during the series.
“I think he’s supposed to be coming down at some point,” Julien said after Saturday’s morning skate. “I’m not quite sure exactly what day or which game, but he’s supposed to come down. He might be here on the weekend for all I know. I heard something about it a while back, and I can’t say I remember exactly the date.
“No doubt, he’s a part of our hockey club. He’s always welcomed here any time he wants to come down. I know he’s trying to get over a concussion that’s really set him back, and we’ve given him that space and that time. Being around the family is a good way to help yourself through that also. He’s always been welcomed here whenever he needs to see doctors or he wants co tome around the team, he’s welcome to do that.”
Since suffering his most recent concussion in late January and being shut down for the season, Savard has spent his time back home in Peterborough, Ontario.
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron skated prior to the team’s morning skate Saturday, marking the first time the team’s postseason points leader has taken the ice since suffering a concussion in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the Flyers.
“He went out and just had a light skate this morning,” coach Claude Julien said following the team’s morning skate in anticipation of Game 1 of the conference finals vs. the Lightning. “That’s where he’s at now, just a light skate on his own.
“This is something that’s just protocol, that he’s going through the normal stuff,” the coach added. “Today was a light skate on his own, and he just got off the ice when we went on. I don’t think there’s much more that we can give you except that it can go either way. We’re certainly not going to comment on that kind of stuff and just hope that he keeps getting better.”
While Bergeron will miss at least the beginning of the series, Julien said that defenseman Adam McQuaid, who sprained his neck in Game 2 of the conference semifinals in Philadelphia, will be in the lineup for Game 1. McQuaid has three points (all assists) and a plus-4 rating thus far in the playoffs.