|Bruins must find Bell Centre success that eluded them in regular season||04.17.11 at 2:51 pm ET|
The Bruins know they were a good road team in the regular season. They strung together that perfect 6-0-0 road trip beginning back on Feb. 17, and their 53 road points were good for fifth in the NHL over the 82-game campaign.
After dropping the first two games of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals to the Canadiens at TD Garden, they had better hope that they can play Monday night’s Game 3 and Thursday’s Game 4 like they did in many of the regular-season’s road games. The only problem is that while they have been fantastic in many buildings, the Bell Centre is most certainly not one of them.
The B’s took a 4-3 loss to the Habs on Dec. 16, and in their second meeting in Montreal, they blew a 2-0 lead in the final 2:22 en route to taking an embarrassing 3-2 loss in overtime on Jan. 8. While the March 8 game in Bell Centre was ugly enough as a result of the Max Pacioretty/Zdeno Chara mess, the B’s play in a 4-1 loss wasn’t much prettier. With the Habs winning all three games of their meetings at the Bell Centre, they could conceivably be licking their chops at the prospect of sweeping the B’s in front of their home crowd. They’re not thinking about it, but the Bruins are thinking about finding a way to turn into the team that grabbed 24 road wins.
“That’s hopefully something that can help us get back in the series, and that’s going to be up to us to have that same approach as we’ve had most of the year on the road,” Claude Julien said Sunday. “We’ve been a good road team, we’ve done the things better, and for some reason on the road you seem to want to keep your game a little simpler than you do at home. That’s something that’s going to have to happen. Keep it simple, but keep it efficient and maybe if we do that we’ll make less mistakes.”
|Claude Julien: ‘There was absolutely no way in the world’ Zdeno Chara (dehydration) could have played||04.16.11 at 11:07 pm ET|
After the Bruins’ 3-1 loss to the Canadiens in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Saturday, coach Claude Julien defended B’s captain Zdeno Chara, who did not play due to dehydration. The 6-foot-9 blueliner, who played in 81 regular-season games, went out for warmups but was not able to overcome the issues that had hospitalized him Friday.
“He came off the ice and he was sweaty, he was dizzy. There was no way in the world we could have used him tonight and played him. Absolutely no way,” Julien said. “The doctors said the same thing. I spoke to him, and even attempting to come was courageous on his part, but there was absolutely no way that he could have played tonight. It’s unfortunate. We missed him, but certainly he did the best he could to even try. To be honest with you, it wasn’t even close.”
As for Chara’s status for Monday’s Game 3, Julien said the team will “see how these next two days go,” though he did say that dehydration was not the only issue with Chara. The coach also proceeded to call out any members of the media questioning the captain.
“[Dehydration] is one of the situations, and we’re not going to comment any further than that,” Julien said. “I know that he’s been jumped on a little bit by some of the media that think they know better than anybody else, but there was no way he could play.
“You’re going to say, ‘Oh, well we don’t know the whole thing’ — I think if he could have played, he would have played tonight. He tried his best and he couldn’t play. I was disappointed that people would even question this guy for what he is and what he’s done.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien said Saturday that he expects captain Zdeno Chara to be in the lineup for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals after being hospitalized Friday night for dehydration.
“He got treated with a little bit of hydration, and that’s basically all there is to that,” Julien said. “Until our medical staff tells me he can’t go, he’s in tonight.”
Julien would not divulge whether Chara stayed overnight in the hospital, but did say that the medical staff, who will make the decision, “have yet to tell me that he can’t go.”
Chara led all Bruins skaters with 25:06 of ice time on Thursday, totalling five shots on goal in the team’s 2-0 loss to the Canadiens. His plus-33 rating in the regular season led all NHL skaters.
“He’s our leader. He’s our captain,” forward Shawn Thornton said of Chara. “He’s 6-foot-9, 260 pounds. He’s a big, big presence for us. He’s been our best player for the four years that I’ve been here, so he’s huge.”
In the unlikely event that Chara is not able to play Saturday, reserve defenseman Shane Hnidy, who played in three regular-season games with the team since signing on in late February, is ready to go.
“That’s why I’m here,” Hnidy said with a smile. “You’ve got to have that kind of mind set that every day, regardless of the situation, you’re coming in preparing to play. When told otherwise, you look after that.”
|Claude Julien: Net-front presence is a ‘mind-set’||04.15.11 at 1:25 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien did not have trouble identifying one of the main reasons the Bruins lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. The team struggled to establish a presence in front of Carey Price throughout the 2-0 loss, as the Habs’ defense tightened up and power forwards such as Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton failed to make an impact.
“We spent most of the night with the puck, but at the end of the night, we didn’t get the results. That’s probably the thing that sticks out the most. We just have to make some adjustments and understand that if we’re going to score goals, we’ve got to pay the price a little bit better around the net.
“We’ve got to be a little better down low, and stronger on the puck,” Julien said after Friday’s practice. “Part of it was that, but part of it was that we know we have to be a little bit more involved. Some of the net-front presence is not necessarily something you have to practice more than it is a mind-set. If we commit ourselves to going there, we’ll get there. Sometimes you have to work through it because they’re doing a pretty good job of boxing us out.”
The B’s did not appear to be down on themselves on Friday despite the loss. Many players pointed to positives of Thursday’s game both after the contest and after Friday’s practice. Julien sees the reasons for optimism, but he expects more from all of his skaters.
“I think we all know that although we played a decent game, we can all be a little better. As a team, we feel that we can be a little better. That’s basically it, and that’s to a man.”
Price made 31 saves in the shutout victory, while the Habs blocked 20 shots.
|Is frustration already setting in for these Bruins?||at 10:33 am ET|
The Game 1 loss to the Canadiens had been in the books less than an hour when Bruins coach Claude Julien took to the podium to fulfill his obligation of addressing the media.
Naturally, he wasn’t in the best spirits after Carey Price shut down and shut out the Bruins, 2-0, in the opener of the Eastern quarterfinal series at TD Garden. He was asked all the questions you’d expect but there was one question asked repeatedly in different ways. How frustrating was it for your team – again with Stanley Cup aspirations – not to be able to find the back of the net?
They out-shot the Canadiens, 31-18 and dominated the second period by an 18-6 tally.
“I think that’s one thing that we had talked about’not getting frustrated with certain things,” Julien said. “But obviously we felt we should have came out with something better than we did in the second period and unfortunately we didn’t capitalize. We had some great opportunities, but I think there’s reasons for that. I don’t think we did a very good job of taking away his [Carey Price] vision. He saw a lot of shots tonight and he saw a lot of pucks. We definitely have to get better in that area if we plan on scoring some goals. We had some quality chances as well that we didn’t capitalize on and when you get those quality chances, you have to make sure you bury those.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Michael Ryder: ‘I know what I have to do’||04.12.11 at 2:35 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — All things considered, Michael Ryder stunk it up down the stretch for the Bruins in the regular season. Playing out the third season of a three-year, $12 million deal Ryder scored just one goal over his last 17 games en route to wrapping up a second consecutive 18-goal campaign.
Through his struggles, the hope for the Bruins was that Ryder could pick it up in the playoffs. Given his 13 points in 11 games in the 2009 playoffs, it wouldn’t seem so inconceivable. It’s far from a sure thing, as the signs of life from the forward seemed minimal at times over the final two months of the season (two goals over 25 games). Ryder had only five points in 13 playoff games last year, but he can understand why fans might expect him to elevate his game come the postseason.
“Playoff time is pretty easy to get pumped up for,” Ryder said in his usual reserved demeanor. “This is what we play for. It’s the most exciting time of the year, and if you can’t have fun and can’t get excited to play, the I think there’s something wrong. I enjoy the playoffs, and I want to make sure I get off to a good start and try to help this team go as far as we can.”
Given his laid-back attitude, it’s no surprise that Ryder rarely shows frustration with any individual struggles. Even prior to the season, Ryder never got too low on the fact that he had a tough year in 2009-10. Yet just as he rarely shows frustration, Ryder is not the type of player to get carried away when things are going right. It seems it isn’t so much a lack of emotion as it is keeping a level head.
“Through my career, I’ve been through everything,” Ryder said. “I’ve been a healthy scratch here and there and I’ve been through tough seasons. I’ve learned a lot from everything. For me, when I stay calm, I know what I have to do. I’ve been in the league long enough, and I know what I have to do to be successful to do things.
“When things go bad, I kind of [have to] calm myself down, even though I don’t show it sometimes,” he admitted. “It takes a toll on you when you don’t score and you’re supposed to score. I just try to stay calm and try to find my way. I guess everyone has their own way of getting out of things.”
The Bruins can only hope that Ryder can find his way out of his funk. Coach Claude Julien, who hasn’t been afraid to make Ryder watch games in the press box as a healthy scratch, is simply trying to look ahead rather than in the past.
“Where [his game] it at doesn’t really matter right now,” Julien said after Tuesday’s practice. “Where it’s going to be when the playoffs start is what should matter. That’s what we’re going to wait and see.
“It’s a new season, it’s a new start, and our worry right now is where we’re going to be as a team.”
WILMINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien has led the B’s to the playoffs in four straight seasons since coming aboard in 2007. He has yet to take the team past the second round, as the past two seasons have ended with the Bruins being eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Given that last year’s ending, an elimination at the hands of the Flyers after the B’s led both the series and Game 7 by a 3-0 count, there has been speculation that a longer playoff run could be required for Julien to keep his job. Speaking after Tuesday’s practice, the coach shot down the idea that he could be worried about potentially being let go.
“Not at all,” Julien said when asked whether he felt he was coaching for his job. “It hasn’t changed. I’m coach like like very other year. That part of it doesn’t change at all. You don’t come in here worried about yourself. In the playoffs, you come here worrying about winning the Stanley Cup. Certainly, it’s not even in the back of my mind.”
Julien also noted that not all of the responsibility falls on the coach in the playoffs, and that ultimately the players must execute for the team to get desired results.
“It’s not all about the coach, let me put it this way,” he said. “You have to expect that your players are professional enough that they know what’s at stake and they prepare. As a coach, all you can do is make that preparation as good as you can get it. At the end of the day, when the puck is dropped, they’re going to be the ones performing.”