|Bruins review: Good week for Reilly Smith, Shawn Thornton’s hands||10.20.13 at 6:00 am ET|
Reviewing the week that was in Bruins land.
Welcome to a new thing we’re going to do here each Sunday on the Big Bad Blog. As the name and italicized words suggest, it will take a look back at the week for the Bruins, who’s playing well, who isn’t and what’s going on in Providence.
The Bruins won two of three this week and stand third in the Atlantic Division with 10 points, two behind the Red Wings and Maple Leafs. Both Detroit and Toronto have played nine games to Boston’s seven, however.
Red Wings beat Bruins, 3-2, on 10/14 (recap)
Bruins beat Panthers, 3-2, on 10/17 (recap)
Tim Thomas told his side of the story, putting some blame on the Bruins
David Krejci said that nobody knew what was going on with Thomas two years ago
We tried to make sense of all that
Tuukka Rask shut out the Lightning on 10/19 (recap)
Carl Soderberg returned to the lineup
IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR…
Reilly Smith: Though he wasn’t even a sidebar when the Bruins swing their trade with the Stars, Smith was a player Peter Chiarelli specifically wanted, and the 22-year-old has shown why. Smith has gone from competing for a third-line job to playing on the second-line and power play. His first goal as a Bruin was the game-winner Thursday against Thomas, and he had the primary assist on the team’s third goal Saturday with a nice pass to Patrice Bergeron. Only issue thus far: He passes too much.
Carl Soderberg: Soderberg made his season debut Saturday and looked good. He skated well and showed what could be top-six skill. The question is whether Jordan Caron will sit for long.
Shawn Thornton’s hands: After fighting in three of the first four games of the season, Thornton kept his gloves on this week. He nearly scored in Thursday’s win over the Panthers off a nice pass from Paille in front, but was stopped by Thomas.
Daniel Paille: The Merlot Line got its first goal of the season Thursday thanks to Paille. Thornton got the second on Saturday.
The Bruins’ penalty kill: The Bruins were a perfect 5-for-5 on the PK for the week.
IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR…
Brad Marchand: A potential 30-goal-scorer, Marchand spent the entire week on the third line as he tries to get out of his season-opening funk. He was particularly bad Thursday against the Panthers, turning lots of pucks over in what’s been an ugly trend this season. Perhaps Soderberg’s presence on the third line will help him, as the line produced a goal Saturday.
Zdeno Chara: Two 5-on-5 goals were scored this week that could have been prevented by Chara. Pavel Datsyuk went around him to set up Henrik Zetterberg‘s goal Monday, while Chara couldn’t get the puck out in front prior to Jesse Winchester‘s goal.
Jarome Iginla’s goal total: Notice the phrasing there, as plain old “Jarome Iginla” wouldn’t be accurate. Iginla was good in all zones Saturday and provided the screen in front on Adam McQuaid’s second-period goal, but seven games without is a goal is something few saw coming from the future Hall-of-Famer.
MEANWHILE, IN PROVIDENCE…
The P-Bruins lost both of their games this week. Malcolm Subban allowed four goals in a 5-2 loss to Springfield Friday night, while Niklas Svedberg gave up four of his own on Saturday in a 5-4 loss to Manchester. Matt Fraser had a goal in each game, while the rest of the scoring came from Craig Cunningham, Seth Griffith, Justin Florek and Kevan Miller.
Fraser, who scored more goals in the AHL than anybody over the past two seasons, is tied with Nick Johnson for the team lead with three goals through six games this season. Ryan Spooner has two goals and three assists for five points but has a minus-2 rating.
|Daniel Paille on D&C: ‘We have a team that’s hungry’||10.02.13 at 8:15 am ET|
Bruins forward Daniel Paille joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning, the day before the B’s begin defense of their Eastern Conference championship by opening the season against the Lightning at Boston Garden, and talked about returning to the ice after last season’s exciting finish.
Although the Bruins lost the Stanley Cup finals to the Blackhawks with a heartbreaking Game 6 loss, Paille said he can look back now and feel proud of what the team was able to do.
“You had to appreciate what we did throughout the season with everything that happened to the city,” he said. “I think overall everyone was happy for our team and the way we played throughout the whole playoffs.”
The Bruins made some major adjustments to their lineup — most notably losing Nathan Horton, Tyler Seguin and Andrew Ference, while bringing in Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson — and Paille said he expects the team to continue to be among the league’s elite.
“We count ourselves lucky that we feel like we have that capability to go to the finals every year,” Paille said. “Not every year is going to happen, but I think what makes us contend most every year — over the last few years, anyways — is that we have a team that’s hungry and wants to play and competes for each other. I think that goes a long way to making a championship team. We want to continue that trend, and hopefully we can keep that up. I’ve played eight years now in the NHL, and it’s tough to get there. I think the last two years that we’ve been there, I count myself fortunate for that.”
Added Paille: “With the guys that we lost and the guys that we brought in, I think it’s more the defensive style that I think our management was looking for in Jarome and Loui and especially having [Torey Krug], too. But at the same time, they bring that offensive capability that I think the other guys brought. So I think it will be a huge key for us going into the season, especially with two of them being hungry for the Cup.”
Paille was on the ice when Gregory Campbell broke his leg blocking a shot in Game 3 against the Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals.
“Soupy, it takes a lot for him to stay down,” Paille said. “So for him to just limp around like that and barely able to skate, it says a lot about his character and the way he plays for us every day.”
Paiile is hosting a charity event to raise money for the Jimmy Fund on Monday at Tresca restaurant in the North End. For more information, go to jimmyfund.org. Listen to the complete interview below.
For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Daniel Paille talks third-line possibility||08.12.13 at 9:17 pm ET|
MIDDLETON — Bruins winger Daniel Paille joined linemate Shawn Thornton and B’s goalie Tuukka Rask for Thornton’s fourth annual Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s tournament at Ferncroft Country Club Monday, and he acknowledged the possibility that he might not be a linemate of Thornton’s for long.
With all of the turnover that has occurred on offense this summer, the Bruins are left with a vacant spot on the third line. Assuming Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg make up two thirds of the third line, the B’s will have their choice of guys like Jordan Caron, Jared Knight, Matt Fraser, Reilly Smith, Ryan Spooner and Carter Camper, among others.
Or they could bump up Paille, who was an unsung hero of sorts last season with 10 goals in the shortened season and four more in the playoffs. That would allow one of the younger players to be slipped into his spot on the fourth line with Thornton and Gregory Campbell.
Paille, who isn’t too far removed from his days as a healthy scratch, would love the idea of being moved up, but he isn’t going to bank on it or change his approach.
“I don’t want to change too much,” Paille said. “I want to continue the trend I had last year and build off that. If an opportunity comes up where I’m able to take advantage of the situation where I could play that third line spot, I definitely will. I’m not quite sure what the circumstances are going to be at this point.
“I’m not really going to go with too many expectations. I’m going to go into training camp and see what the position will be, and I definitely have no problem playing with Soupy and Thorty because we’ve done very well in the past.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘a very, very difficult team to play against’||06.18.13 at 1:14 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire checked in with Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to dissect the Bruins’ 2-0 victory in Monday’s Game 3.
The B’s frustrated the Blackhawks by limiting Chicago’s scoring opportunities.
“First of all, [the Bruins] were really doing a good job controlling the puck and controlling the neutral zone and dictating the terms of the game, that’s No. 1 and 2,” McGuire said. “I think the third thing they did, obviously, is they were able to get last change, so they had the matchups they wanted. Not having Marian Hossa in the lineup for Chicago really hurt them in terms of manufacturing offense. … That’s a big loss for Chicago; that’s not Boston’s fault.
“And then for both teams, the ice conditions. Tuukka Rask alluded to it when I interviewed him, and Dennis Seidenberg and I talked about it after the game. The ice conditions were not good. I could tell in the morning they weren’t going to be good because of the humidity in the city of Boston yesterday. There’s not a building in the league that would have had good ice yesterday, just because of the humidity. You’ve got to hope it cools off.
“But Boston’s doing exactly what they did to Pittsburgh: They’re killing the stars. Look at the hits on Jonathan Toews. They’re just crushing him. Hey, that’s all fair game in hockey. That’s part of the sport.”
McGuire also praised the Bruins defense and noted: “You add in the Patrice Bergeron factor and the faceoff-winning factor for the Bruins, and they’re a very, very difficult team to play against.”
McGuire noted that the Blackhawks’ comeback in Game 1 might have come at a cost.
“The one thing I’ll you that I don’t think is getting talked about enough: The wear and tear of Game 1, the three overtimes, I think it took a lot more out of Chicago, even though they won, compared to what it took out of Boston. I really do,” he said.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: No excuse for Bruins’ slow start in Game 2, ‘can’t let it happen again’||06.17.13 at 9:50 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about the Stanley Cup finals leading into Monday night’s Game 3 at TD Garden.
The Bruins were outshot 19-4 in the first period of Saturday night’s Game 2, but some inspiring words in the locker room got the B’s motivated and they responded with a 2-1 overtime win. Thornton wouldn’t reveal which players led the talk, but he said the feeling in the room was mutual.
“We knew we were not good enough,” he said. “But we also brought up the fact that even though we were terrible, that was probably as good as they were going to be be, and maybe as bad as we were going to be, that Tuukka [Rask] gave us a chance to only be down 1-0. If we could regroup, then we could get things going.”
Thornton said while the Bruins started slow, the Blackhawks deserve some credit for dominating the opening 20 minutes.
“I don’t have a reasoning for [the slow start]. All I can say is it wasn’t good enough, and we can’t let it happen again,” Thornton said. “Give them credit, though. They came out flying. They were ready from the drop of the puck. They really pushed the pace. We’re fortunate to have [Rask] in there backstopping. If it wasn’t for him, it would have been a lot different.”
Pressed as to why the Bruins came out so flat, Thornton said: “I have no idea. My only thought is maybe it took 20 minutes for guys to get their legs underneath them after the long game [Wednesday]. But I don’t want to sound like excuses, because there isn’t. I have no idea why everyone wasn’t ready to go right from the drop of the puck. There’s no excuse for it.”
Thornton said he expects a stronger start in Game 3.
“It better be,” he said. “We’re at home, we should be able to feed off our crowd and be ready to go for the drop of the puck. The good news is it’s an 8 o’clock game [the first two games started at 7 p.m. Chicago time]. Last time we didn’t show up ’til 8.”
|Claude Julien: Bruins ‘built’ for defensive success in playoffs||06.05.13 at 1:24 pm ET|
Defense wins championships. It’s a cliche nearly as old as the Stanley Cup. But it’s true. Keep your opponent from scoring and your chances of winning in the playoffs increases dramatically. And, according to Claude Julien, it’s been the secret to success for the Bruins in the first two games against the Penguins as the Boston forwards have shown a commitment to coming back and playing defense while the Penguins, not so much.
“It’s been good for us,” Julien said Wednesday morning before Game 3. “I think, when you look at our team, it’s built that way. We take pride in that part of our game, and that part of our game’s also given us the opportunity to be better offensively; turn that puck over quick and then everybody comes back, then we go back up the ice as a unit. That’s been a big part of our game and when it’s good, it provides us with some good offense.”
Julien was told that some in the Bruins dressing room Wednesday – like Daniel Paille – said that’s it’s not as simple as it looks to play a defensive system like the Bruins employ. Julien begged to differ.
“It’s not complicated, so I’m going to have to have a talk with Dan,” Julien said half-jokingly. “It really isn’t. What we try and do is eliminate the gray areas, make it black and white. It really is easy. He probably said complicated because he doesn’t want to tell you what it is. But it isn’t. This game shouldn’t be a complicated one.
“Guys have skills, you try to put some structure together, but the one thing you don’t take away is their ability to use their imagination and their skill and their hockey sense to make plays. Defensively, is where you’re extremely structured, and you want to make sure that you have layers and guys come back to where they should be positionally. When it comes to offense, a couple of rules, but the rest is about letting them do their job and letting them use their creativity.”
Julien again reminded everyone that his team is taking a level-headed approach in the hours before Game 3, knowing the Penguins figure to be hungry after losing Games 1 and 2 on home ice.
“It doesn’t matter what situation it is, I think our guys our mature enough to understand that whatever we went through, whatever the situation is right now, we have to be a good team in order to win at this stage of the season,” Julien said. “We can’t afford to let our guard down, whether it’s the respect for a team you’re playing, and the ability of that team to take advantage of you if you’re not ready, or whether it’s just from within our group to want to be a good team every night. That’s what’s important right now, thats we stay focused on the present and don’t live in the past, don’t look in the future. I’ve said that before, we’ve been good when we’ve kept our eye on what’s going on right now. That’s what we’ve got to do.”
|Claude Julien in closeout state of mind: ‘We’re going to do whatever it takes’ to win Game 4||05.23.13 at 1:22 pm ET|
NEW YORK — Short and sweet.
That’s the way both coaches kept their press conferences on Thursday before Game 4 and that’s the way the Bruins would like to wrap up their Eastern Conference semifinal series tonight at Madison Square Garden.
“We’re here to win a hockey game tonight,” Claude Julien said at the beginning of his 98-second press briefing. “We’re going to do whatever it takes.”
Julien’s press conference was about a minute longer than John Tortorella‘s press briefing with reporters, that was limited to two questions.
Speaking of Julien, the Bruins coach was asked about the importance of the home crowd at MSG, and keeping the New York fans on their hands.
“As important as it has been in every game,” Julien said. “Whether at home or away, you get the crowd in or crowd out. That’s not going to change.
“I think we want to play a 60-minute game. That just shows the character of our guys playing hard right ot the end. It’s a great thing to have and you hope you can keep it.”
Brad Richards has been informed that he’s been benched for tonight as a healthy scratch and Aaron Asham is likely to sit out as well.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Julien said.
“I think it’s going to be more difficult just because they’re going to have two players who are going to step in there and want to change the game and they’ll probably be their two best players tonight,” Daniel Paille said. “It’ll most likely going to be a low-scoring game and make sure we’re not panicking out there and stay focused on our system and things will go well for us.”
As for Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden, both of whom skated with the team Thursday, Julien said he won’t reveal anything until game time.
“Our lineups will be on the ice tonight for warmups and that’s all I’m going to say about that,” Julien said.
As for the players, they’re taking the typical one-game-at-a-time approach.
“I don’t think we focus too much on sweeping,” Paille said. “We focus more on today. Obviously, it’s great to look at on paper but there’s a lot that goes into that. Everyone is in a confident, positive attitude and we want to continue that trend today.”
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