|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘played with the heart of a champion’||06.13.13 at 8:08 pm ET|
NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to discuss Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals and the ramifications of the Bruins’ marathon loss going forward.
Sure, the 4-3, triple-overtime loss was disappointing, McGuire said, but the Bruins don’t have much reason to be down on themselves going into Saturday’s Game 2.
‘Boston played with the heart of a champion, and I don’t expect it to be anything different [the rest of the series]. It could be a long, hard series,’ McGuire said. ‘I saw so many positive things from the Bruins. I saw a lot of positive things from the Blackhawks. These are the two best teams. There’s no Cinderella here. Both of these teams deserve to be in the Stanley Cup final.’
What will be interesting is when the series shifts back to Boston for Game 3 Monday and the Bruins get the last line change before the game time. McGuire suspects Claude Julien will match up Patrice Bergeron‘s line with that of Jonathan Toews, and David Krejci‘s unit with Michal Handzus.
Speaking of Bergeron’s line, McGuire also said Tyler Seguin is a likely candidate to play with Krejci and Milan Lucic should Nathan Horton be unable to play. Horton left Game 1 during the first overtime and did not return.
McGuire also expects Seguin, who has five points (one goal, four assists) and is a minus-2 in 17 playoff games, to break out soon.
‘He wants the puck. He wants to make a difference. His speed is very apparent, especially at ice level,’ McGuire said. ‘For those that weren’t at the morning skate [Wednesday], everything he shot went in. It was unbelievable watching him in practice. He was letter perfect with his passing and shooting. His skating is great. I just get the feeling he’s about the break out, I really do.”
McGuire gave much credit to goalies Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford, even calling Crawford ‘superhuman’ in the first overtime,’ and said while Torey Krug‘s crucial, third-period turnover was quite unfortunate, the defenseman can bounce back, just as the Bruins can.
‘It’s a tough situation for a young player, an undrafted player, to go into the Stanley Cup finals,’ McGuire said. ‘It was an egregious turnover. Obviously it ends up in the back of the net. Nobody wants to see that.
‘But I thought he got better as the game went along. I know they weren’t afraid to use him in overtime, and he had some good chances. They used him on the power play, too, with [Dennis] Seidenberg. He’s a young player. He’s going to grow. I think he’ll be better off with the experience. Was it his best game? No. Was it a terrible game? No. He just made one bad mistake.”
|David Krejci: ‘We might have the best team in the world’||06.07.13 at 11:58 pm ET|
“We don’t have the superstars on this team. We don’t have the best player in the world. But we might have the best team in the world,” said Krejci. “We play as a team.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Krejci talk about the “best players in the world.” After a 3-0 Game 1 victory, Krejci compared the Penguins to the Bruins.
‘Those guys, I think they’re the best players in the world at this moment. There’s no one like those guys. On the other hand, we don’t have guys like that. We have a team. We all play as a team,’ Krejci said at the time.
The Bruins forward is the team leader in points, goals, and assists this postseason, but has stressed a team-first mentality throughout.
“In the playoffs you need everyone to step up at one point,” answered Krejci. “Tuukka [Rask] has been doing it, defensemen have been doing it, and forwards have been doing it. If you want to go far in the playoffs you need more than just one or two lines to score goals.”
Fifteen different Bruins players have scored goals so far this playoffs.
Pittsburgh radio host Mark Madden, who earned the enmity of Bruins fans earlier in the week when he insisted that Tuukka Rask is a mediocre goalie, joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning and was asked if his opinion has changed now that the Bruins have a 3-0 series lead.
“God knows, he’s had trouble winning the fourth game in the past, so I’d rather reserve judgment,” Madden said of Rask. “He’s played very well, the goalposts have done very well, too.
“But to me, the story of this series has been [David] Krejci and the job Claude Julien has done outcoaching Dan Bylsma,” Madden continued. “Bylsma did a better job in the third game, but he waited 120 minutes to make adjustments he should have been making after 40. Whereas Claude Julien has been one step ahead all the time. He’s coached an excellent series. Gutsy lineup change yanking [Matt] Bartkowski and putting [Andrew] Ference back in, but Ference has played very well. Those are the guys I give primary credit to.
“The Penguins just have not had an answer for David Krejci. He plays such a quiet game, but I mean that in a good way. Before you know it he’s open, a split-second after that it’s in the net. He’s just been amazing.”
“I think Crosby’s played a bigger role in Crosby’s disappearance,” Madden said. “I’ve got to be honest, the Penguins as a team have not handled adversity well, which is a disturbing pattern in the last four playoff years. I thought that the stars played a bit better for the Penguins in Game 3. But still, a loss is a loss, there’s no moral victories. And Crosby, [Evgeni] Malkin and [Kris] Letang have no points between them and are a combined minus-12. Like Mario Lemieux always used to say, ‘When you make the most money, you’ve got to do the most.’ And those guys make the most money.”
Matt Cooke, already reviled in Boston, has not earned any new friends with his chippy play in this series. Madden said he expects Cooke to be playing elsewhere next season.
Said Madden: “Matt Cooke is perceived by a lot of people — and I bought into it at first — into having a good playoffs because he’s [doing] a good job on the penalty kill and he’s been a good forechecker. But he has zero goals in the playoffs. How can any forward on the top three lines be perceived to be having a good playoffs if he has zero goals? Plus, he’s taken a ton of penalties. The Penguins will be well rid of Matt Cooke. That’s not to say he won’t help another team. But they’re just tired of his act. That’s in the locker room, too. ‘¦ Guys are just tired of having to clean up his messes.”
|David Krejci: ‘We’ve got to stay in the moment’||06.04.13 at 8:06 pm ET|
He has eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points. He did it again on Monday night in Game 2 with the third goal of the contest. He knows full well that a 2-0 series lead means nothing. He also led the playoffs in scoring two years ago with 23 points.
Speaking of 2011, he knows that the Bruins were down 0-2 in the first round after losing the first two games at home. He knows the Bruins came back and won a pair of games in Montreal to tie the series.
“The past few years I think we’ve been up 2-0 in a series,” Krejci said. “We’ve been down 2-0, and it went either way, so I think we’ve learned from that and we’ve got to stay in the moment and just take it game by game.
“We’re going to have to play even better than we did because they’re going to be desperate. It’s a really important game. It’s a big difference if it’s 3-0 for us or 2-1 for us, so it’s going to be a big game. The game is going to start from 0-0 so we’ve got to be ready to get off [with] a good start.”
So far, the best forward in this series is Krejci, not Sidney Crosby, and it’s not close. Krejci has three goals with a plus-3 rating. Crosby has no points and is a minus-3.
“We’re just going on the faceoff and trying to win,” Krejci said. “It doesn’t matter who you go against [in faceoffs]. Obviously you know who you’re going against, but your mindset is to win and do whatever it takes to win the faceoff.”
|David Krejci: ‘We don’t have guys like [Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin], we have a team’||06.02.13 at 12:25 am ET|
The question was innocent enough. After scoring two more playoff goals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh Saturday, David Krejci was asked if he considers himself in the same class as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
“No. Those guys, I think they’re the best players in the world at this moment,” he answered after Saturday’s 3-0 Bruins’ win in Game 1. “There’s no one like those guys. On the other hand, we don’t have guys like that. We have a team. We all play as a team.”
Krejci, with seven goals and 12 assists, now leads all scorers in the Stanley Cup playoffs with 19 points. In yet another parallel with 2011, when the Bruins won it all, Krejci is leading the way. That year, Krejci had 12 goals and 11 assists in leading the Bruins to the Cup. The next three leading scorers in the playoffs are Penguins in Malkin (16 points), Kris Letang (16) and Crosby (15) and then another Bruin and Krejci line-mate in Nathan Horton, who scored the third and final goal of the night, and also has 15 points in the playoffs.
“I think Nathan played really well today,” Krejci said. “He set me up for my two goals. He scored a big one in the third. [Tuukka Rask] played pretty good, as well. I think it was pretty good effort by all the guys and a big win.”
Krejci was asked after his second goal that made it 2-0 whether it felt like the Bruins were playing with house money.
“I think so,” Krejci said. “You know, I think Tookes made some big saves in the third period. You know, that’s not our hockey, playing up and down. We want to play good defensively and play in their zone. They’re a good team, so it’s tough to do that. But the second goal was pretty big for our team. I think right after that we took over and kind of controlled the game from there.”
|Bruins Friday practice notes: David Krejci returns, all accounted for||05.31.13 at 11:05 am ET|
WILMINGTON — David Krejci returned Friday morning from his “minimal maintenance” day on Thursday, as Claude Julien termed it. The Bruins skated for just about an hour before packing up at Ristuccia Arena and leaving immediately for Pittsburgh and Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night at the Consol Energy Center. All Bruins were on the ice and accounted for as the team worked out in Wilmington for a fourth straight day.
After working almost exclusively on power-play and penalty-kill drills on Thursday, the Bruins returned to a more conventional practice on Friday.
The lines remained the same, but of note on the defensive pairing side, Zdeno Chara was paired with Johnny Boychuk while Dennis Seidenberg was teamed with Matt Bartkowski. Andrew Ference was still working with Aaron Johnson, an indication that Ference likely won’t be activated for Saturday’s game.
Adam McQuaid was with Torey Krug while Wade Redden was skating with Dougie Hamilton.
Another significant sign was the amount of drills in the corners as the coaching staff had the top four lines work on winning puck battles in the corners, an area that several players and Julien have said will be key if the Bruins are to have a chance of winning the series.
For more, including reports from DJ Bean in Pittsburgh, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins Thursday notes: ‘Minimal maintenance’ day for David Krejci||05.30.13 at 1:28 pm ET|
“Maintenance, minimal maintenance,” the Bruins coach said as Krejci was given the day off.
Krejci was the only player not spotted on the sheet at Ristuccia Arena as the Bruins worked at a fast pace for 20 minutes with their power play and penalty kill units.
Andrew Ference, one of the team’s leading penalty killers, was back on the ice again and was paired with Aaron Johnson on one penalty kill unit. Julien said toward the end of his media briefing after practice that Ference has not yet been medically cleared by team doctors to play in games.
“I haven’t heard from the medical staff so I’d say the answer is ‘no,'” Julien said when asked about Ference’s medical standing as the defenseman attempts to come back from a left foot injury that sidelined him since Game 5 of the first-round series against Toronto.
Tyler Seguin took Krejci’s spot on the power play with Zdeno Chara, Jaromir Jagr, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic but the units were mixed and matched throughout practice as the team worked more on power play and penalty kill drills than concentrating on specific special teams combinations.
The Bruins will practice one final time on Friday morning at 10:30 at Ristuccia before taking off for Pittsburgh afterward. The Bruins play the Penguins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night at 8 p.m. at the Consol Energy Center.
For more, including reports from Pittsburgh from DJ Bean, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.
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