|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|
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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|Bruins expect changes from Rangers in Game 4||at 1:13 pm ET|
NEW YORK — So Brad Richards won’t be in the lineup in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. That’s pretty big news purely from a standpoint of how far he’s fallen. As it pertains to this series, it isn’t really that big a deal unless the guy who plays in his place (Kris Newbury and Michael Haley are the candidates; fellow fourth-liner Arron Asham is a potential scratch as well) has a big performance.
John Tortorella was playing Richards on the fourth line. Richards played only 8:10 in Game 3, so although he’s a big name with a big contract (his nine-year, $60 million deal of which he’s in the second year screams amnesty buyout), it isn’t like the Rangers are taking one of their top-six forwards out of the lineup.
So when the Bruins, who were on the ice for their morning skate when Richards said he wasn’t playing in Game 4, found out about the development, they didn’t begin to think about all the questions that will accompany it (Has Richards played his last game as a Ranger? Will Tortorella get fired?).
“Obviously they’re going to make changes, but that’s their job,” Chris Kelly said. “Our job is to focus on our team and be ready to play right from the drop of the puck and be ready to play a good road game.”
Daniel Paille sees the move as something that will give the Rangers a greater focus in Game 4 as the team tries to stave off elimination.
“I think whoever’s going to take his spot is going to want to be a difference-maker, and it’s just going to make it that much harder,” he said. “I think that will wake up their team and [help them] realize that they have to play hard.”
The Bruins are clearly focused more on their lineup than New York’s. The B’s are expected to go with the same group they’ve used in the first three games of the series, as Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden still aren’t expected to jump back in.
As for Richards’ take, he was a man of few words Thursday morning. He admitted that it was difficult to be productive on the fourth line, but that the development is all the motivation he needs for him to never let it happen again.
Richards won’t be the only new absence to the Rangers’ lineup. While Asham did not confirm that he is out, defensemen Anton Stralman was hurt in Game 3 and is expected to be replaced by Roman Hamrlik.
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Tyler Seguin ‘about to break through’||05.22.13 at 12:07 pm ET|
NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, following the Bruins’ 2-1 victory over the Rangers in Tuesday night’s Game 3.
The Bruins controlled the first couple of minutes of the game, despite the Rangers’ desperate situation, sending an early message.
“If you’re going to start a game on home ice, you’re down 2-0, you know you’re never in trouble in a playoff series until you lose on home ice, you want to set the tone early,” McGuire said. “So, you want to go after it, you start your heavy hitters, you start Brian Boyle, you start Derek Dorsett, you start Taylor Pyatt. You start your bangers, I call them the stampeding elephants, and you’re expecting them to stampede. Well, they didn’t. In fact, Boston took the game to them. That really set the whole tempo for the game, I thought.”
McGuire said the Bruins have the upper hand because they have the Rangers questioning themselves.
“There’s three things you want to accomplish in a playoff series: concern, doubt and fear, if you’re the opponent,” McGuire said. “Right now the Rangers are clearly concerned, they clearly have doubt, and I thought last night in the third period in particular after [Daniel] Paille scored the second goal, they had fear. If you can accomplish those three characteristics in a playoff series, your chances of winning are really good. I think the Bruins have put themselves in that position right now.”
“Shawn is an emotional leader and he’s not going to burn you defensively,” McGuire said. “And he’s a tough guy. When they started challenging Marchand last night with Dorsett, you saw what happened on the offside faceoff: Marchand comes off, Thornton comes on, Dorsett gets stabilized, no more issues.”
That said, McGuire insisted Dorsett’s failure to respond physically doesn’t reflect badly on the Rangers winger.
“I don’t think he backed down,” McGuire said. “I just think at that point their team’s kind of lost some momentum. Thornton’s not going to fight him, but he’s going to tell him in his ear, whisper sweet nothings: Listen, dude, do you want to mess around? We will dance, and it won’t be fun for you. That’s all Shawn had to do.”
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to offer his take on Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over the Rangers that gave the Bruins a 3-0 series lead.
“I’m lucky to play with those two guys,” Thornton said. “They’re not fourth-liners on a lot of other teams. I’m fortunate to have them with me.”
Thornton noted that all three fourth-liners could have signed elsewhere last offseason, but the Bruins kept the trio together.
“You’ve got to give Peter [Chiarelli] credit for having faith in us, bringing all three of us back,” he said. “We were all free agents at the end of the last season. I think I was the only one that got re-upped during the season. They paid a little money to keep all three of us around.
“I haven’t looked at the other fourth lines in the league, but we’re compensated pretty well as far as fourth-liners go. We’re getting some notoriety right now in the playoffs, but the team believed in us before this.”
A key moment in Tuesday’s game came when Thornton replaced Brad Marchand on the ice and confronted Derek Dorsett after Dorsett had been harassing Marchand.
“He’s doing his job,” Thornton said of Dorsett. “He got Marchy off the ice in the first period [on a penalty]. They’re both agitators. If they’re matching him against Marchy, he’s going to try and get under his skin and keep him off the ice as much as possible. Marchy’s probably been our best player in this series so far. He’s doing his job. I had to go out there and politely say that I wasn’t a fan of him being all over our star left winger.”
Thornton said he was ready to fight, but either way he wanted to send a message.
“I didn’t know [if Dorsett would fight],” Thornton said. “If he had wanted to, then I definitely would have obliged. I joked about being polite; I wasn’t going out there to ask him what dinner was later.”
Added Thornton: “It’s a job. I’ve been doing it for a long time. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. I was happy we got to play after that, too, that it wasn’t our last shift.”