|Bruins year in review: Unsung hero||06.24.11 at 3:45 am ET|
Each day this week, WEEI.com will be taking a look back at the Bruins’ historic 2010-11 Stanley Cup Championship season. So far, we’ve looked at the goal of the year, fight of the year, save of the year and top rookie. Up today is the Bruins’ rookie of the year, a no-brainer for anyone who followed the championship season.
Andrew Ference: 70 GP, 3 G, 12 A, 15 P, +22 (regular season)
25 GP, 4 G, 6 A, 10 P
‘He’s been very, very consistent, if not the most consistent defenseman we’ve had all season. He’s been solid every time he’s been on the ice. He never gives up any soft goals. He’s been unbelievable for us, and a real workhorse.’
- Dennis Seidenberg, May 19
There was no questioning who the Bruins’ most important player was during their Stanley Cup run, as Tim Thomas was outstanding for the B’s. Next on the list of key performers would probably be either Zdeno Chara or Dennis Seidenberg, as those two formed the shutdown pair that nobody could beat.
Yet while all of the praise rightfully went to the goaltender and the No. 1 pairing, Andrew Ference was continuing his solid season that saw him earn every dime of his $2.25 million cap hit.
Ference was never Chara-like, nor did he have to log the type of minutes Seidenberg did, but at the end of the day, what Ference brought was something the Bruins needed. It was hard to say with confidence going into the season who the Bruins’ No. 3 defenseman was, and just how good he’d be. Ference answered that by staying healthy (for the most part) and giving the Bruins a splendid No. 3 D man.
Were there low points with Ference? Absolutely. The game-winning play for the Canucks in overtime of Game 2 started with Ference, and him flipping off the Montreal crowd was an avoidable headache. At the end of the day, Ference was huge for the B’s, even if he didn’t get credit for it.
|Bruins year in review: Goal of the year||06.20.11 at 12:52 am ET|
Each day this week, WEEI.com will be taking a look back at the Bruins’ historic 2010-11 Stanley Cup Championship season. We start it off by looking at the goal of the year.
GOAL OF THE YEAR
Dennis Seidenberg, Dec. 2 vs. Tampa Bay
“I know he tried to do it more than once this year. That time it just worked. With Smith in there, I know he likes to play the puck, so he kind of faked him out.”
Dennis Seidenberg might be best known for making up one half of the Bruins’ impenetrable top defensive pairing in the playoffs, but teaming with Zdeno Chara was not the only way in which he left his mark on the Bruins’ championship season.
With the Bruins holding a 1-0 lead over the Lightning in the first period back in early December, Michael Ryder gave the puck to Seidenberg in the neutral zone. With just over 20 seconds left in the period, Seidenberg gained the red line and lowered his shoulder as he released the puck, seemingly into the corner. Given that he was going through all the motions of a dump-in (even David Krejci appeared ready to chase the puck toward the corner), Lightning goalie Mike Smith left his net to retrieve it.
The only problem was that Seidenberg was pulling hockey’s version of the hidden-ball trick. Despite throwing his shoulder as though he was dumping it in, Seidenberg fired a wrist shot on net. The puck reached Smith’s net just as he was leaving it, producing just about the most entertaining play that could come from such a routine scenario. The goal was Seidenberg’s first of the season. The B’s would go on to win the game, 8-1, and Smith would be yanked early in the third period.
For Smith, it was a lapse that only a goalie keen on handling the puck could make, and it’s one of the more embarrassing snafus a netminder could encounter. Seidenberg simply took advantage of the situation, and the game eventually got out of hand.
Did this goal have the pizazz of Tyler Seguin‘s first career goal in Prague or mean anywhere near what either of Nathan Horton‘s Game 7 gems? Not even close. Yet Seidenberg’s goal in that December blowout of the Lightning flashed a great combination of hockey smarts, guts and good ol’ fashioned trickery.
HONORABLE MENTION: Tyler Seguin Oct. 10 vs. Phoenix, Nathan Horton Game 7 vs. Montreal, Tyler Seguin Game 1 vs. Tampa Bay
|Plain and simple: Bruins win the Stanley Cup||06.15.11 at 10:45 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Stanley Cup never entered TD Garden when the Canucks had a chance to win it on Monday. Now, it’s safe to say it will be in plain sight in Boston for quite some time.
The Bruins knocked off the Canucks, 4-0, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night to win the Cup for the first time since 1972 and take the trophy for the sixth time in franchise history.
It was only fitting that the longest tenured Bruin, Patrice Bergeron, sure-fire Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas and top rookie Brad Marchand stole the show in Vancouver in providing Boston with the most coveted trophy in all of sports.
Both Bergeron and Marchand had a pair of goals on the night, factoring for all of the Bruins’ tallies. Marchand’s second was an empty-netter with just over two minutes remaining.
Bergeron opened the scoring for the Bruins at 14:37 of first period, taking a pass from Marchand in the slot and sending the puck past a pair of Canucks skaters and just past Roberto Luongo‘s right leg.
The goal marked one bookend of a telling issue for the Bruins, as they did not record another shot on Luongo until 7:40 into the second period. Marchand had another superb opportunity in that span, though he saw his backhanded bid in front of Luongo go off the crossbar.
Despite the lack of work provided for Luongo, Marchand made his presence felt by beating the Vancouver netminder on a wraparound at 12:13. The rookie finished the postseason with 11 goals, and the B’s won all nine games in which he scored.
If it’s possible for a dagger to come in the second period, Bergeron provided it with a shorthanded goal on a breakaway late in the period. The play was reviewed to determine whether Bergeron punched the puck into the net, though the goal stood, and so too did the Bruins’ lead.
Thomas’ performance capped a remarkable series for the anticipated Vezina winner, as he allowed just eight goals over the entire series and set the record for most games in a Stanley Cup finals series. His shutout was his fourth of the postseason and second of the finals.
Though first period yielded the Bruins’ first goal, though it was not the most encouraging 20 minutes. The B’s managed only five shots on goal, with the fourth line of Gregory Campbell between Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille. The line’s tireless work and aggression stood out for the Bruins, with each member getting a shot on Luongo. By the end of the period, the line had contributed 60 percent of the team’s shots on goal.
An injury scare occurred for the Bruins early on as well, as a hit from Chris Higgins at the blue line in the first period left captain Zdeno Chara down on the ice for a few moments. Chara got up and returned to the bench without any further issues.
The Canucks came out of the gate much stronger than the Bruins, and had quality opportunities throughout the night despite the Bruins’ attempts to push the play to the side. Vancouver’s best opportunity came a little over nine minutes into the second, when Chara was attempting to send the puck up the boards in his own zone, only to see the puck deflect off of Henrik Sedin and in front of the net to Alexandre Burrows. The controversial Vancouver winger had an empty net to work with, but Chara made up for his own miscue by getting in position to save the puck for Thomas.
A few odds and ends from the game:
- Dennis Seidenberg is now the second German to win the Stanley Cup, joining Uwe Krupp (1996).
- Both Henrik and Daniel Sedin were on the ice for the first three Bruins’ goals. Henrik was one of the players in front when Bergeron’s shot went past him on its way to Luongo on the first goal.
- The Canucks’ power play finished the Stanley Cup finals just 2-for-31.
- Tyler Seguin has gone from No. 2 overall pick to Stanley Cup champion in less than a year.
- Of the four major sports, the Patriots now have the longest Boston championship drought, as they las won the Super Bowl in February of 2005.
|Tony Amonte on M&M: Roberto Luongo ‘pumps his own tires enough’||06.13.11 at 12:55 pm ET|
CSNNE Bruins analyst Tony Amonte spoke with the Mut & Merloni show Monday morning. To hear the interview, go the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Amonte said the key to the Bruins winning Game 6 Monday night is to ‘ride [Zdeno] Chara and [Dennis] Seidenberg.’
‘I think that’s what they’ve done at home is been able to ride those two defensemen, their top D pair,’ Amonte said. ‘They don’t get scored on much, and they help you out, create a lot of offense for the Bruins.’
Amonte said that a key to the offense is getting Tyler Seguin more minutes, especially on the power play.
‘Seguin’s a guy that could break the game open,’ he said.
‘You have to play the odds. You have to put a guy out there you know is going to score a little bit more than another guy.’
While Gregory Campbell is good on faceoffs and penalty kills, Amonte said he lacks the puck control necessary to play in front of the net on power plays.
‘If you can’t get control of the puck and you can’t get it set up, you’re never going to see a net-front guy,’ Amonte said, adding: “That second unit just never had the ability to get the puck, settle it down, and establish a net-front presence.’
Pederson said he was surprised at the Bruins’ inability to match the Canucks’ intensity in Game 5 Friday night.
“Momentum has been funny this series,” Pederson said. “The Bruins had momentum going out to Vancouver and I thought let Vancouver off the hook. They didn’t make [Roberto] Luongo‘s life very difficult. They had four power plays, and all they needed was just even one to get some momentum. Vancouver, to me, was the far more desperate hockey club, outhitting and taking the play to the Bruins.”
Asked about Luongo’s comments regarding Tim Thomas, Pederson said Luongo may have been affected by all the pressure he faced going back to Vancouver and felt a little smug after posting a shutout following two routs in Boston.
“Tim Thomas has played spectacular this entire series, every game,” Pederson said. “Win, lose or draw, I think Tim Thomas is going to be your Conn Smythe winner anyway. To me, it was more of [Luongo] was just relieved they had won the game.”
Pederson talked about the Bruins’ matchups ‘ specifically how they try to get defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg on the ice against the Canucks’ first line ‘ and how it’s affected the attack.
“I think they work so hard at trying to get that, I think sometimes it takes away from your offense,” Pederson said. “If they’re able to win tonight, which I expect, then I would think maybe they may try to change things up a little bit [for Game 7] and maybe split Chara and Seidenberg so that one of two of those are on the ice every time.”
Pederson picked Milan Lucic as the key to the Bruins’ offensive success.
“I think that’s going to be the key for the Bruins, is attacking, five-man attack, get the forechecking game going and get the Garden crowd into this thing early on,” he said. “We said it all season long, obviously Thomas is the key in goal, but to me, the key person up front is Milan Lucic. He’s the key that sets the pace for this hockey club. He’s the guy that gets that puck dumped softly into the corner, making the defenseman turn around, and that’s defenseman knows ‘ he can hear him coming ‘ he knows it’s going to be a big hit. And as soon as that big hit happens, the Garden crowd goes crazy, momentum happens and the Bruins can get a team on the run.”
|Green Men on D&C: ‘We’re two grown idiots in spandex’||06.06.11 at 9:15 am ET|
Vancouver’s Green Men, Force and Sully, stopped by the WEEI studio for a visit with Dennis & Callahan Monday morning while in Boston for Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup finals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The two Canucks fans clad in spandex bodysuits made a name for themselves by annoying opposing players in the penalty box at Rogers Arena, but the NHL restricted their behavior after they became cult favorites.
“The NHL directly told us: ‘No more handstands, you can’t touch the glass.’ We were told we were not allowed to agitate the players,” Sully explained. “So, we just have to step up our game and be more creative. It seems to be working. We’re getting under a few people’s skin.”
Diminutive Bruins forward Brad Marchand engaged in a feud with the pair last week. “Marchand gave us a couple of chirps, I got doused with some water,” Sully explained. “You get that when you ask if he’s sitting on phone books.”
Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, on the other hand, enjoyed the Green Men’s tribute to Bruins legend Cam Neely‘s acting career. “We had the Cam Neely ‘Sea Bass’ from ‘Dumb and Dumber’ reference ‘ the trucker caps,” Force explained. “Seidenberg appreciated that. He said he’d pass that along to Cam Neely.”
Added Force: “I think Cam Neely upstairs is either laughing or wanting to fight us. I’m not sure.”
|Dennis Seidenberg doesn’t feel disrespected by Dirk Nowitzki, hopes to be second German to win Cup||06.03.11 at 8:35 pm ET|
VANCOUVER ‘ The Bruins and Canucks were scoreless during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals when an interesting video was played on the video board at Rogers Arena. It was Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, who had two messages, the first of which was ‘Go Canucks.’ From there, he gave a shout-out to defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, whom he called ‘my boy ‘Hoff.’
The connection was easy to make right off the bat. Both Nowitzki and Ehrhoff hail from Germany, and with both playing in the finals of their respective sports, it is an exciting time. Yet in endorsing one side of this matchup, Nowitzki may have slighted another German player in Bruins’ defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.
‘I talked to a German reporter, I talked to Dirk,’ Seidenberg said Friday at the University of Vancouver. ‘The Dallas Mavericks’ trainer is either a Vancouver fan or from Vancouver, I’m not sure. He always keeps him up to date, tells him stories. I guess that’s the reason he’s cheering for them.’
If Nowitzki is a fan of German hockey players, he’s in a win-win scenario. Because both Ehrhoff and Seidenberg are in the series, one will become the second German player in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup. Prior to this series, only defenseman Uwe Krupp has won the Cup, which he did in 1996 as a member of the Avalanche. In that series, Krupp scored the Cup-clinching goal in triple overtime of Game 4 against the Panthers.
‘There’s going to be a second German Stanley Cup champion after Uwe Krupp,’ Ehrhoff said with a smile earlier this week. ‘That’s definitely very special for German hockey. Hopefully it’s going to be me.’
Ehrhoff and Seidenberg know both each other and Krupp very well. The two have played together on national teams since they were 17, and they were defensive partners in the Olympics last year under Krupp, the head coach of the national team.
Seidenberg said Krupp had wished him and Ehrhoff luck prior to the series. No. 44 has been perhaps the Bruins’ best defenseman throughout the playoffs, though it would take a lot for him to be able to top Krupp’s game-winner against John Vanbiesbrouck. Seidenberg remembers when Krupp became the first German player to win the Cup, even if he didn’t catch it live.
‘I was sleeping, but I watched it the next day, and I remember histshot from the point,’ Seidenberg said with a laugh. ‘I remember the goal. It was pretty big back then, so it was exciting.’
Though Ehrhoff and Seidenberg haven’t been in much contact with one another as they battle for the Stanley Cup, they are close with one another and have tried to see one another for dinner or coffee when their teams have met in past regular seasons.
‘We’ve known each other since the Under-18 national team,’ Ehrhoff said. ‘We like each other, we understand each other well off the ice, but right now we’re not really talking. It has to wait until after.’
Both players noted that there is a heightened interest in North American sports in Germany at the moment given that Nowitzki, Seidenberg and Ehrhoff all have a shot at a title. Ehrhoff said he’s spent plenty of time in interviews with radio stations back in Germany, and relatives of both defenseman have travelled or will travel to see it in person.
Either way, Germany will get its second Stanley Cup champion, but don’t expect either player to be happy with seeing the other guy do it.
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