|A little rest for the heavy hitters||05.04.10 at 1:42 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It is easy to forget through the first two rounds of the playoffs that the Bruins are still operating without some significant depth on the blue line. Mark Stuart started skating this week, coming back from surgery for cellulitis, and Dennis Seidenberg has been a regular press box presence at TD Garden, but otherwise the injured players are in the forgotten man ether that comes with the disabled list. The de facto top four defensemen — Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk, Dennis Wideman and Matt Hunwick — have logged big minutes since the last week of the regular season and even though coach Claude Julien has stepped off the throttle with them a little bit as Andrew Ference has contributed and rookie Adam McQuaid has settled down, the top two pairs are still the oxen pulling the cart.
Hence, all four blueliners got the day off on Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena between Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers. Julien dresssed six the three Black Aces the Bruins have up with the team — Andy Wozniewski, Jeff Penner and Andrew Bodnarchuk, along with Stuart, Ference and McQuaid.
“I think it is just a matter of giving a few guys some days off here and doing something different,” Julien said. “We can still get them on the ice before the game tomorrow morning. It is just about managing that stuff.”
The other heavy hitters in the Bruins lineup got to sit Tuesday as well including Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi and Tuukka Rask. A minor reward for carrying the team to a 6-2 record through eight games but nothing major. The rest of the team only skated for a half-hour or so as it has a quite turnaround for a 1:30 p.m. flight to Philadelphia.
In terms of Stuart, the defenseman is not yet ready to make the jump back to the lineup. He has been skating for the last week and only with the full team a couple of times as of yet. He said on Tuesday that he is still on antiobiotics (until May 25) and still wears an IV cast like thing on his right arm. With him around the team people cannot help but ask if he will be ready for Game 3 but the situation is not as simple as a workout or practice. He will not be on the ice Wednesday night and the team still has to wait for medical clearance as well as for Stuart to get back to a level where he can contribute.
“Definitely no … He is not playing tomorrow, he is not ready for that yet,”Julien said. “It is a situation where he has to be medically cleared and what he has got is a bone infection. He can practice now is what we have been told, he can do some things but before we can ever consider him he has to be medically cleared and feel that he is ready to go as well.”
Stuart sees a defensive unit that has been playing well through the playoffs and knows he will have to be ready to contribute when he does finally make his return to the ice.
“It is not like we don’t have six D-men playing their best right now, cause we do,” Stuart said. “It is not going to help to play a guy who hasn’t done anything for two months just to rush him back. So, I feel good out there though and obviously I want to play but it is going to be a coaches decision when they feel like I can contribute and they feel like they need me and I will just be ready whenever that comes.”
Here are the lines from Tuesday’s skate:
Red — Begin, Shawn Thornton, Vladimir Sobotka
Defense — Wozniewski, Penner, Bodnarchuk, Ference, McQuaid, Stuart
Goaltenders — Tim Thomas, Dany Sabourin
Out — Chara, Boychuk, Wideman, Hunwick, Bergeron, Recchi, Rask
|Bruins consider Carcillo a non-factor||at 1:19 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — When it comes to instigators, the Bruins have upgraded from series to series.
Patrick Kaleta of the Sabres is one type of player — chippy and irritating — but Daniel Carcillo is another entirely. He accused Marc Savard of biting him in a scrum started when he and Kimmo Timonen jumped Savard after the Bruins center took a whack (and a subsequent slashing penalty) at the glove of Brian Boucher after a glove save. Earlier, Carcillo had a dust up with forward Steve Begin in which Carcillo easily could have taken an interference or a charging penalty or maybe even two for diving when Begin pushed him to the ice. The amazing thing through Game 2 was that Carcillo never actually went to the penalty box. Savard and Begin did.
“You saw the play, I got hit and I just wanted to push him and he went down,” Begin said. “I think he could have taken two for diving, but, he didn’t get one. Oh, it wasn’t a hard push,” Begin said. “We play hard too. We go out there, we play hard, we hit, we try to make things happen. You can’t get away from your game for players like that. He wants to draw penalties, so you have to be smart and just keep playing and make sure nothing bad happens.”
Carcillo is a character, to say the least. Self-assured with a chip on his shoulder, he adds only a touch of offense to the usually stacked Flyers lines (12 goals, 10 assists in 76 games this year) but racks up the penalty minutes by the by the fistful — 207 in total through the regular season. He is missing his two front teeth and speaks his mind, whether it is the entire truth or some exaggeration of the truth. Overall, his play and antics can be quite amusing.
The Bruins do not think so. Savard insisted that Carcillo put his hand in his mouth during the scrum and repeated early and often that the forward embellishes on just about everything he does. Coach Claude Julien did not think much of the Begin-Carcillo dustup, chalking it up to playoff hockey and a player known for theatrics.
“Those [penalties] most of the time you end up killing,” Julien said. “I think, you know, he took a pretty good run at him. It was deemed a clean hit and I don’t really disagree with that either but it was borderline charging and it basically just him [Begin] saying listen, that he crossed a line and I sent a message. I don’t think there are any issues with that either way from either team. If our player did that and threw a legal hit and it was borderline and did something about it, I wouldn’t mind that. It is playoff hockey guys, we worry about every little thing that happens but that is part of the game and we live with it.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Claude Julien press conference||at 3:02 am ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien speaks to the media following the B’s Game 2 win over the Flyers.
|Sturm out for season with knee injury||05.02.10 at 12:44 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien confirmed reports Sunday afternoon that forward Marco Sturm will be out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Sturm suffered the injury 21 seconds into his first shift of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers after he hit the boards when he missed a partial check on Philadelphia defenseman Matt Carle. Sturm crumpled to the ice and had to be assisted to the tunnel.
“Marco suffer a knee injury yesterday that will keep him out for the rest of the year,” Julien said. “It is unfortunate news for our hockey club and especially for him who has battled through a major injury last year and was really looking forward to these playoffs.”
The injury is believed to be Sturm’s right knee, which is the opposite from when he injured his left knee on Dec. 18, 2008, and missed most of the 2009-10 season. Sturm had been held pointless for the Bruins’ seven playoff games, though led the team with 22 goals during the regular season. Sturm did not produce for the Bruins down the stretch, either, as he only had two points (a goal and an assist) since March 13 after back-to-back multiple-point games on March 9 and 11, the two games after center Marc Savard went down with a Grade 2 concussion in Pittsburgh on March 7.
Julien said that he was unsure what the next medical step would be for Sturm and that the doctors need to let the swelling go down before figuring the extent of the injury.
“I don’t know yet,” Julien said. “We talked about the injury keeping him out for the rest of the year. When you have the injury there is swelling involved and that is a medical issue and I don’t know what is going to happen either way with him.”
UPDATE — The Bruins announced on Sunday afternoon that Sturm has torn both his ACL and MCL and will have surgery in 4-6 weeks. Here is the full press release from the team:
BOSTON — Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that forward Marco Sturm will miss the remainder of the 2009-10 season after sustaining a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and torn medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee. He sustained the injury during the first period of the Bruins/Flyers game on Saturday, May 1.
Sturm will have surgery within 4-6 weeks from the date of the injury (May 1). His expected recovery time is an estimated six months post-surgery.
Sturm is a veteran of 855 NHL regular season games and has registered 234 goals and 232 assists for 466 points in his career. The 31-year-old tallied 22 goals and 15 assists during the 2009-10 season, marking the seventh time in his career he surpassed the 20-goal plateau. He played in all seven playoff games this season and has scored eight goals and tallied 11 assists in 52 postseason games for San Jose and Boston.
An injury to his left knee caused him to miss significant time during the 2008-09 season.
|Julien: ‘I think some of our players weren’t even born’||05.01.10 at 12:25 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien held a pre-game press conference at TD Garden Saturday morning before puck drop of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers. Julien touched on how he will monitor the return of center Marc Savard, the play of rookie defenseman Adam McQuaid and the playoff history of the two teams. Along those lines, Julien said not to expect the same type of series that was waged between the two franchises during the heyday of the Broad Street Bullies of the 1970s.
“Because the past is the past and we all anticipate the same thing to happen that happened in I think it was 1975, that was quite a few years ago. I think some of our players weren’t even born,” Julien said. “Nonetheless, we want to associate that with today. The game has changed, the rules have changed, so much has changed. I’m not saying it won’t be a physical game, but to try and associate those two, I don’t think there is going to be a ton of comparison.”
The Bruins and Flyers have not met in the playoffs since the semis in 1978 when the Boston took down Philadelphia in five games.
Julien was noncommittal about who would make the lineup come game time though word has just come down that Shawn Thornton is the healthy scratch. He participated in warmups but will be on his way to the press box to watch shortly. Blake Wheeler will get the nod at the forward spot on the fourth line.
Here is the transcript of the press conference, courtesy of the Bruins media relations staff:
On how the team is going to handle Philadelphia is going to try and rough up the thin defensemen core:
Well, Mick I think we have been dealing with that for about a month now, since those two other guys [Mark Stuartand Dennis Seidenberg] got hurt and we have had to use more those [other] players. It hasn’t been an issue so I don’t know why we should be looking at it as an issue again. Guys know what to do. They want to stay out of the box. We have to stick together. It’s the same old cliche as you hear everyday so, again, it’s not a big deal for me and we will deal with it the way we have dealt with it so far and if it becomes more of an issue, then we will make the adjustment.
On how he monitors how Marc Savard is playing and feeling:
I think you get a pretty good idea by watching what he is doing out there and seeing the energy he is deploying and at one point he gets to the bench, you can see if he is overly tired. You can do that with any player right now. When you see them on the bench, you have a pretty good idea if a guy needs an extra break, so those are all things that we have to look at. The thing is, we talked about putting him in situations where he is going to help our hockey club. At the same time, this is playoff hockey. We can’t wait or sacrifice our team for the sake of giving him that opportunity. It is important for him to go out in the situations we put him in and really try and help our team out. It’s as simple as that. We are here to win. We are not here to cater to anybody, but we have to do what it takes for the team and that is why he has been working hard for the last ten days to get into the best shape possible so that he can step in and at least contribute in some way or fashion.
On Adam McQuaid and how he has been prepared for the playoffs:
He is a stay at home defenseman, we know that. You’re not going to see him rush up the ice a lot, but what he does is take care of his own end and takes care of it well. He is a good sized defenseman that has a good presence. He can certainly take care of the toughness area. He takes care of himself extremely well there. He makes a good first pass and that is what we’re getting out of him and that’s what we expect out of him. I don’t think we are going to ask him to do more than what he does well. I think he has done a tremendous job when called upon. That is where he fits in and we are happy with the way he has answered.
On if he expects the style of play to be the same between the two teams as it was in the past:
I don’t know. We always want to predict here before it starts and a lot of times we predict rough and tough and all of the sudden it is a good, fast-paced hockey game. I think we will probably have a better idea after tonight which direction the series is going into. I know that we just want to go out there and play our game and I think they want to do the same thing here. Because the past is the past and we all anticipate the same thing to happen that happened in I think it was 1975, that was quite a few years ago. I think some of our players weren’t even born. Nonetheless, we want to associate that with today. The game has changed, the rules have changed, so much has changed. I’m not saying it won’t be a physical game, but to try and associate those two, I don’t think there is going to be a ton of comparison.
|Bruins know what to expect from the Flyers||04.30.10 at 2:32 pm ET|
The Bruins are in for a physical series. It’s just the nature of Philadelphia sports — if you play there, you have to bring an edge. This group of Flyers is no exception, with bruising bodies including Chris Pronger and Braydon Coburn on the blue line and pesky, instigator forwards Daniel Carcillo and Scott Hartnell up front. Carcillo put up an impressive 207 penalty minutes during the regular season and then another 18 in five games against the Devils in the quarterfinals. A big part of the how the series swings will be how Boston manages the physical game and how well the B’s keep their tempers when the Flyers inevitably get under their its skin.
An interesting situation pops up with the Bruins as the return of Marc Savard from concussion causes a player to get bumped from the lineup. Indications from the last three days of practice are that nominal enforcer Shawn Thornton will sit, as Blake Wheeler may take his spot on the checking line. Coach Claude Julien warned not to assume that a decision had been made, but often this season what we have seen in practice is what we see come game time. Either way, Julien does not seem to see the loss of Thornton on the ice as a major concern.
“We are, I guess I would consider us ‘team tough.’ I don’t see any issues any way we go, and if there is, they will be addressed. It is as simple as that,” Julien said.
Thornton does not see himself as only a tough guy, to his credit because he does do other things well on the checking line. At the same time, he is always willing to ring the bell when his particular services are called upon.
“To tell the truth, I think I can play the game besides for that and be a factor in anything, not just the tough man. If that stuff happens, I am more than willing to take care of it. I think it is more that I play with a chip on my shoulder and don’t back down and showing through the last few that I don’t just want to play against the tough team but that I try to contribute in every game,” Thornton said.
Boston did well against the Sabres when it came to keeping net-crashers out of the way of Tuukka Rask, and the team is going to have to keep cutting the timber again to make sure that the goaltender can see where would-be goal-scorers are coming from.
“The less time you spend in the D-zone is for the best, but they are going to get their cracks and you just have to stay composed and stay where you are supposed to stay and just work in front of Tuukka, because if you let him see the puck he is going to stop the majority of things,” Wheeler said.
Rask, as per his normal demeanor, did not seem too concerned about the Flyers’ style of play. The Bruins have seen it before and they know what to expect.
“We know them and we played against them and their style. They like to get pucks in and crash the net. That is what a lot of teams do, but they have big forwards and really that is their style of play to get in front of the net and get pucks in,” Rask said. “I mean, guys block shots and get me a lane to see shots, and in the last series we did a great job with that. As a goalie it really helps when you can see the shooter and maybe one more thing and when you see the puck it becomes much easier.”
The Bruins also need to be aware that the Flyers have a history of the quick strike while on the penalty kill. They had just six short-handed strikes (same as the Bruins) in the 2009-10 regular season but led the league with 16 in 2008-09 and were near the top with 13 in 2007-08. Granted, without Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne for the series because of toe injuries (Gagne may return if the series goes the distance but Carter definitely is out), the Flyers’ short-handed capabilities are hindered, but that does not mean the Bruins should take the possibility lightly.
“Definitely, you have to be smart with the puck, even on the power play. You can’t make lazy passes, and if you find yourself turning the puck over it is going to be going the other way pretty quick,” Wheeler said. “Eliminate turnovers is probably first and foremost. I think they live on turning the puck over and going the other way, and if we eliminate those things I think we will give ourselves a great chance.”
|Stuart gets back into the mix||at 1:19 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart was back on the ice for a second day on in a row on Friday as he resumes hockey activities after being grounded with cellulitis in his right forearm since the beginning of April. Cellulitis is an infection of the deepest layers of the skin and can spread throughout the blood stream and the lymph system with sometimes fatal consequences. Stuart has been held away from the team and from doing any type of exercise because he was not allowed to get sweat near the spot of the infection, and he wears a cast-like IV over the spot for the time being. Stuart had surgery on the area earlier this month and knows that this type of injury can be extremely serious.
“Yeah, it can be very serious. You have to take care of it. It is very serious and, you know, they did a good job of going in there and cleaning it out and now it is up to me to watch it and make sure that I am taking the meds the right way and, yeah, you have to take care of it,” Stuart said. “I think the doctors did a great job and a lot of the responsibility is on me.”
Stuart got the infection after a cut on his arm swelled up badly and quickly got worse. The Bruins initially thought that he would be missing in action for two weeks or so, but the first round of antibiotics did not take to the infection and doctors had to take time to figure out which medication was right to treat the injury.
“It swelled up badly and the infection was bad and got worse and it escalated pretty quickly, so I got on the meds and it was kind of trial and error a the beginning to find out which meds were the right ones because there is different types of bacteria, different types of infection. So, I am on the right one right now and we go from there,” Stuart said.
Unlike Marc Savard, who understandably was in a mental daze for weeks after his concussion, Stuart has been cognizant during his time away from the team — though, like Savard, not allowed to do any physical activity. Talking to Stuart, one got the sense that he has been extremely bored for the last month and has been ready to run for weeks. He was allowed to get on a training bike three days ago.
“Just going out and skating, just jumping on the bike three days ago is huge for me. Just to start doing stuff. The worst part is not only just playing but not being able to do anything and really sweat, so I think it is just nice to get out there again and we will work on trying to get back playing,” Stuart said.
Coach Claude Julien said that the recent news on Stuart is encouraging and that, if all things go well, he is on the day-to-day list in terms of practicing with the team. Having Stuart on the horizon is a good safety net for Boston because Andrew Ference has been playing with a torn adductor and hernia and, even though he made it through the Buffalo series, is a ticking time bomb as to how long he can stay on the ice, as even he has admitted.
“Well, it is because what he has gone through is unpredictable as far as the length of time that he would miss and, you know, we were told something at the beginning and obviously it didn’t respond as well,” Julien said. “We got bad news in his case and things were looking worse and now things are looking much better. That’s what happens with the type of injury that he has suffered and the infection that has gotten into it, so it is nice to see him on the ice. It is nice to have good news, and he is a day-to-day situation in terms of how he is doing, and we will go with that. If everything goes well, hopefully we will see him practicing with the rest of the guys here soon.”
A few people who saw Stuart yesterday noted that, of all the players on the team, he has the best playoff beard of all of them. Really, nobody comes close. Perhaps it is just Stuart’s manly nature, but maybe, just maybe, he had a trick up his sleeve.
“Yeah, I cheated,” he said. “This was an injury, I started this when I got surgery, so I got a couple of weeks on them.”