|Andy Brickley on M&M: Dennis Seidenberg should not supplant Kevan Miller||04.09.14 at 1:30 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about Dennis Seidenberg, the injuries to Jarome Iginla and Kevan Miller, where Andrej Meszaros fits on the depth chart, the play of Matt Bartkowski and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
With momentum picking up on Seidenberg playing in the postseason at some point, fans have started to wonder where the defenseman would be on the depth chart. Brickley said he didn’t think that the 32-year-old should be slotted back on the top pairing at the expense of Miller, who’s played well in his absence.
“I just find it so difficult to put a guy that’s not a hundred percent, or depending on what percent he is, in front of say, Kevan Miller, who’s been getting the job done, who’s in top form, who’s game-ready and ready to go and proven that they have trust in this guy,” Brickley said.
Miller and Iginla both missed Tuesday’s matchup with Minnesota, despite making the trip. Brickley is confident both will be ready to go for the playoffs.
“If this was playoff hockey right now, I’m convinced both would be able to play,” Brickley said. “It’s all about maintenance, it’s all about rest, it’s all about precautionary, those are the terms you’re going to hear right now. Because the Bruins put themselves in this position, they have the options to really focus on the middle of April and not so much on the results and having guys play right now.”
Seidenberg was ruled out for the season after tearing his ACL/MCL on Dec. 27 against the Senators, but he is well ahead in his recovery from surgery and the possibility exists that he could return late in the playoffs.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli had told the Boston Globe last month that Seidenberg might begin skating later in the postseason, but Steve Conroy of the Herald reported that the veteran defenseman skated for 15 minutes and that “it’s not known just how well his knee held up.” It is also unclear when he will skate again.
“My guess is, if we go deep, he’ll start skating at some point and we’ll just see how he is,’ Chiarelli told the Globe on March 21. ‘We’ve been very cautious in the past with the injuries and coming back.’
McQuaid, meanwhile, has been out since Jan. 19 with a quad strain. The team decided to shut him down in early March after he suffered a setback in his attempted return. Conroy reported there is no timetable for either player’s return to the lineup.
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|Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘I’m not that concerned’ about Bruins heading into postseason||04.04.14 at 1:43 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Bruins’ mindset heading into the postseason. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Since the Bruins clinched a playoff spot on March 21, they have gone 4-3 with two consecutive losses to the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs this week.
“They understand it,” McGuire said of the team’s focus heading into the postseason. “They’ve been to the finals in 2011 and had to win three Game 7s — they had to beat Montreal in Game 7, they had to beat Tampa in Game 7 and they had to beat Vancouver on the road in a Game 7. That takes a lot of focus and determination and good portions of that team are back, so they understand that commitment.
“They also lost a heartbreaking Game 6 last year — everybody in Boston, with about three minutes to go, everybody thought there was going to be a Game 7. Obviously there wasn’t because of the offensive explosion of the Blackhawks. I think Boston learned from that.”
The Bruins spent the majority of March on a 12-game winning streak.
“I don’t think there are a lot of hockey lessons that these guys have to learn,” McGuire said. “I’m not that concerned about them, and, again, I throw this out because of the experience I had — I went through this twice in Pittsburgh where we had real good teams and we clinched early — we never had a problem keeping our guys focused and taking them in and out of the lineup. I see Claude [Julien] doing that, and I think he’s doing some really good things with that group.”
|Bruins not expecting, but not ruling out, a postseason Dennis Seidenberg return||03.21.14 at 4:30 pm ET|
The last couple of days have seen speculation regarding a possible early return from a torn ACL/MCL from Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, with Pierre McGuire hinting Friday that a possibility exists that Seidenberg could return late in the playoffs if the B’s are still playing.
“I was talking with some of their people around the team who are really tight with Seidenberg, and he was actually telling them that there’s a chance that he might be back for the playoffs,” McGuire said on Mut & Merloni.
Seidenberg was projected to have a six-to-eight month recovery time from surgery he got in early January. At the time, the team considered Seidenberg out for the season, but Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told the Boston Globe Friday that the team doesn’t expect Seidenberg to play again before next season, though he wouldn’t definitely say he won’t.
“I’m not counting on this,” Chiarelli told Amalie Benjamin. “He’s ahead of schedule. I don’t like to say, ‘Hey, if we’re in the Finals and we’re in Game 4,’ but that’s the type of scenario. He’s ahead of schedule and you can’t rule anything out, but I’m not counting on it.”
Chiarelli told the Globe that he isn’t surprised that Seidenberg is ahead of schedule given how well-conditioned the 32-year-old is. Seidenberg could be seen working out Monday before the team’s morning skate.
“My guess is, if we go deep, he’ll start skating at some point and we’ll just see how he is,” Chiarelli told the Globe. “We’ve been very cautious in the past with the injuries and coming back.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
NBC sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Bruins’ winning streak and the potential for league expansion. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“I was talking with some of their people around the team who are really tight with Seidenberg, and he was actually telling them that there’s a chance that he might be back for the playoffs,” McGuire said.
Seidenberg suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee in late December and had surgery for the injury in January. He was expected to miss the rest of the season.
“With him I don’t think there’d be a lot of issues,” McGuire said of Seidenberg returning for the playoffs. “He’s a tremendous athlete — extremely fit. He’s very strong — everybody knows that. I don’t think there’d be that big of an adjustment for him.”
The news comes as the Bruins look to extend their winning streak to 11 games Friday night against the Avalanche.
“You see the level of consistency and when they need to defend a lead, they know how,” McGuire said of the B’s recent success. “When they need to generate some enthusiasm in the building, they know how by being physical. Their cycle game is excellent. They’re four lines deep.”
|Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins ‘should have put two points in their pockets’ vs. Maple Leafs||01.15.14 at 1:54 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, following the Bruins’ 4-3 loss to the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“I’m a little disappointed that the Bruins didn’t get the two points that they should have gotten last night,” Brickley said. “It’s the only game at home that separates five games on the road against some tough teams. A game that should have put two points in their pockets.”
The penalty kill — or lack thereof — was blamed as a big reason for the loss.
“You can’t just single out one aspect of your penalty killing that’s letting the Bruins down right now,” Brickley said. “I think it all starts with decision making, when you’re not making the right decision there’s a drag in your decision making, in other words you’re making it too late, a stride, a stride and a half too late.
“You’re playing against the top players on the other team, guys that make up the power plays, and your decision making is not there or there’s a drag, you’re going to give up quality scoring chances, and if you don’t get the saves you’re going to give up goals, and that’s where they’re at right now. This is not ebb and flow, this is a bad bad stretch of allowing far too many goals. You can win with a power play in the lower third of the National Hockey League, but you can’t win consistently when you’re only killing from the same place.”
One factor that appears to be hurting the penalty kill is the absence of Dennis Seidenberg, who tore his ACL and MCL on Dec. 27.
“The loss of Seidenberg definitely affects your penalty killing, but a little more importantly it affects the makeup of your entire team,” Brickley said. “That is the single most important issue that the Bruins are going to have to address right now. If you talk about, ‘How do the Bruins win more consistently?’ you say, well, you need more production from the [David] Krejci line. They carried the offense for the first 2 1/2, three months, but they’ve been quiet lately. They had unbelievable opportunities last night, didn’t finish. It was only the Bergeron line that was scoring goals, basically.
“They need to settle or figure out how they’re going to answer the loss of Seidenberg. When [Johnny] Boychuk is your number three, [Dougie] Hamilton, [Torey] Krug, [Adam] McQuaid make up your four, five six, [Matt] Bartkowski, [Kevan] Miller are your depth guys, now you’ve got a real good group. But you’ve lost a guy who’s playing 24-25 minutes who is an absolute horse back there, he’s physical, smart, experience, versatile, strong, well conditioned, understands his role, relishes his role. When you lose a guy like that, in the system that the Bruins play, as good as the other guys are, your team takes a big hit unless you can bring in a guy that’s not exactly like a Seidenberg, but someone that allows you to do some of the things he can do.”
|Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins ‘have to replace Dennis Seidenberg with a guy from outside the organization’||01.08.14 at 1:00 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, following the Bruins’ 5-2 loss to the Ducks on Tuesday night in the first of three games on the West Coast this week. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“I was actually impressed with the way the Bruins played in the first period, when you talk about how good is Anaheim and how good in Boston,” Brickley said. “But their penalty-killing just totally let them down last night. It will be another stern test on Thursday [vs. the Kings], and probably even a tougher one on Saturday [vs. the Sharks].”
The Bruins appear to struggling to adjust since the loss of defenseman Dennis Seidenberg on Dec. 27 to a torn MCL and ACL in his right knee.
“The biggest void on this team right now is clearly the loss of Dennis Seidenberg,” Brickley said. “They’re going to try in the short term to continue to win games and put some points on the board in his absence within the organization to make up for his loss. But long term, and if they think they have a chance to win another Stanley Cup or get to a Stanley Cup final, there’s no question they’re going to have to replace Dennis Seidenberg with a guy from outside the organization.”
The Bruins have had a dip defensively and most notably on the penalty kill since Seidenberg went down.
“I think [Seidenberg's absence] has a lot to do with it,” Brickley said. “I don’t know if it’s a one-to-one correlation with that kind of lack of getting the job done when it comes to killing penalties in his absence, but yeah, he’s one of those guys that’s got real good gaps, he’s able to hold that defensive blue line better than most defenseman, he wins way more than his share of one-on-one battles when the puck’s up for grabs, he’s a good decision-maker, when to be aggressive, when not to be, when to hold your position, he’s real good with stick position, he blocks a ton of shots when killing penalties, he gets to the loose puck so there’s no second and third opportunities when the rebound’s are there. So he does all the stuff that you need a quality penalty-killer on the defensive side [to do].
“In his absence, you still have other guys that can do the job, but he’s one of your premier penalty-killers. He’s just an awesome player in this system, with this group, in his role. When you lose a guy like that, you still have guys like [Johnny] Boychuck and [Adam] McQuaid that are pretty good in that area but not as good as a Dennis Seidenberg.”
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