|Matt Bartkowski: ‘Hopefully I play well enough so they can’t take me out’||11.21.13 at 12:40 pm ET|
Matt Bartkowski had no intention of coming out of Tuesday’s game against the Rangers when, with Dennis Seidenberg already done for the game, he crashed into the boards and hurt his left leg. He also has no plans on coming out of the Bruins’ lineup.
After getting banged up, Bartkowski missed the remainder of the second period Monday, as he likened it to hitting one’s funny bone and said he “couldn’t really move.” He returned to play the third period and appeared hampered, though he said Thursday that he wasn’t dealing with anything more than a little tightness. He still managed to log over 21 minutes in the game.
“It would have had to be something that the trainers would have had to tell me I couldn’t play,” Bartkowski said Thursday. “There’s five D; you’ve got to play.”
Thursday’s game will be the sixth consecutive contest in which Bartkowski has played for the Bruins, which will double the three games in a row he got last month when Claude Julien did some shuffling on the back end to get him some ice time. With Seidenberg out at least a week, it doesn’t look like Bartkowski will be exiting the lineup in the immediate future.
Obviously, Bartkowski finds himself in a position where he should be extremely motivated. He’s been given games here and there this season, but he has been the team’s seventh defenseman, and this stretch of games provides him as good a chance as any to earn a full-time job on the B’s blue line.
“Of course,” Bartkowski said. “Whenever I do get into games, especially this longer stretch, hopefully I play well enough so they can’t take me out.”
Bartkowski has played the last five games on a pairing with Johnny Boychuk. He’s generally been fifth among defensemen in time on ice (Torey Krug has played less), with Tuesday’s 21:13 the most he’s played in an NHL regular-season game (he played more in overtime games last postseason against the Maple Leafs and Rangers).
|Dennis Seidenberg out for a week, Adam McQuaid getting closer, Kevan Miller to make NHL debut vs. Blues||at 11:53 am ET|
McQuaid hopes to return this weekend or early next week, while Claude Julien estimated that Seidenberg will miss somewhere in the neighborhood of seven days. Seidenberg left Tuesday’s game against the Rangers after his first shift and did not return. McQuaid has missed the Bruins’ last five games.
With Seidenberg out and Miller in, the Bruins used a number of different pairings in morning skate, though these seemed to be consistent:
Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Boychuk
Krug – Miller
“He was a big, strong, solid defenseman,” Julien said of what he saw from Miller in training camp. “Moved the puck fairly well, simple play. Again, probably his strength, his battle along the walls and in front of the net, he’s a big strong individual. So I thought he played a steady game, I thought he got better as camp went on, more confident from playing some games at this level. So he’s got an opportunity tonight to step in and show that he can play against one of the best teams in the league, actually.”
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|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘We’re working our [butts] off, but we’re not working that smart’||11.06.13 at 10:29 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to discuss the team’s shootout loss to the Stars on Tuesday, and their recent slump.
Dallas knocked off Boston, 3-2, at TD Garden thanks to the shootout heroics of a pair of former Bruins, Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley. Seguin scored the first shootout goal, and Peverley ensured the victory with the second, as the pair played Boston for the first time since being traded from the Bruins this summer.
‘Losing sucks, period, right now, but we didn’t put too much stock into the fact that [Peverley] and [Seguin] were on the other sideline, it was just the Dallas Stars,’ Thornton said.
Seguin and Peverley were shipped to the Stars in exchange for Loui Eriksson and three Dallas prospects on July 4. Seguin has thrived in the new environment, scoring six goals and assisting on nine in the Stars’ first 15 games, while Peverley has chipped in with two goals and five assists.
‘[Seguin] played pretty hard last night. He’s at center, so when he was on the wing with us he had to win a lot of those war battles in our zone, and I think he’d probably say the same thing, I think he’s more suited to use his speed in their system up the middle,’ Thornton said.
The crucial play in Tuesday’s game came with Boston leading 2-1 with less than three minutes remaining in the game. Stars forward Vernon Fiddler streaked unabated to the goal on a breakaway, and Bruins defender Dennis Seidenberg opted to hook Fiddler and bring him to the ground. The violation lead to a penalty shot, which Fiddler buried to tie the score at two and send the game into overtime.
‘I know [Seidenberg] was coming on the ice and tried his best to get there and do what he could to negate a goal and unfortunately there was a penalty shot called,’ Thornton said. ‘But that’s just one play that ended up in a goal, the whole game doesn’t come down to that. ‘¦ I think there’s a lot of stuff that went wrong during that game that we’re going to have to work on.’
The Bruins entered Tuesday’s bout with Dallas desperate for a win after losing three of their last four games. The overtime loss dropped them to a tie for four place in the Atlantic Division with Montreal.
‘Sometimes it’s not the effort maybe, but the way we’re working, too,’ Thornton said. ‘I can speak for our line I guess that we’re working our [butts] off, but we’re not working that smart, we’re not reading off of each other properly. It’s almost like you get frustrated and you want to do too much, and that’s counterproductive sometimes.’
|Peter Chiarelli: Defensemen like Dennis Seidenberg ‘are hard to find’||10.03.13 at 10:18 pm ET|
|Peter Chiarelli: Extending Dennis Seidenberg ‘pretty high’ priority for Bruins||10.02.13 at 2:38 pm ET|
With defenseman Dennis Seidenberg entering the last season of his contract, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Wednesday that getting a deal done to keep him in Boston is a high priority and that he’s been in contact with agent J.P. Barry.
“It’s pretty high,” Chiarelli said when asked how he’s prioritizing re-signing Seidenberg. “We’ve had discussions and we’ll figure something out there.”
The Bruins have often re-signed their players during the season (Rich Peverley, David Krejci, Shawn Thornton among others), and Chiarelli has often tried to get players’ new deals done before they even enter the final season of their contract, as he did three years ago when he inked Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron to new deals right before the start of the season.
Seidenberg, 32, is in the final year of a four-year, $13 million deal.
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|Barry Pederson on D&C: Tuukka Rask ‘making it look easy’||06.18.13 at 11:33 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to talk about the Bruins’ win in Game 3, the value of team defense and Tuukka Rask‘s technically sound play in goal.
Pederson said that the Bruins team defense has played consistently well throughout the playoffs and has been key in winning not only the physical battle but the mental battle.
‘We have seen it whether it was Toronto, the Rangers, Chicago in here or Pittsburgh,’ Pederson said. ‘It is the fact that they’re breaking the will of the opponent. It is so frustrating to go out there and every time you get the puck, [Zdeno] Chara is taking away your space, he is running you through the boards, you think you’ve got an open lane and you go to throw it across and all of a sudden [Dennis] Seidenberg is in there with his stick, with his feet. They just don’t give you an inch.
‘After a while it is almost like when you have a horse and you saddle-break him. Once his shoulders roll on you, you know you have the horse’s spirit broken and you have a chance of breaking him and getting him saddle-broken. Here’s the situation to me where you can see it on the ice where guys are going, ‘OK, we are ready, Chicago. Here comes our energy.’ And it’s like, ‘Oh, this just ain’t happening.’ They’re just frustrating them.’
That strong team defense is a testament to Claude Julien sticking with his defensive system and having his players buy into it. It is also the result of general manager Peter Chiarelli bringing in players that fit Julien’s system well and are willing to play hard on the defensive end every night.
Pederson said that one thing that makes Chiarelli successful is that he is willing to pay players for their contributions on the defensive end — not just the offensive end.
‘What happens a lot of times is somebody says, ‘OK, we want to play a certain style and we want to reward these guys for being successful, but yet they’re playing team defense,’ ‘ Pederson said. ‘A lot of times throughout the season when things aren’t going well it’s like, ‘We just don’t have enough offense. We don’t have those stars like [Evgeni] Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby who can generate a lot of goals.’ But champions, as we know, are known for both sides of the puck. Not only the offense, but it’s that great, smothering team defense and the structure and the layers they have defensively.
‘It has been very important also for Peter Chiarelli to reward these players for not only their offense that they show us by being maybe a point-a-game guy, but they are capable on other teams of probably being 80- or 90-point seasons, but they’re not. They are giving it up for the team and they are doing it the right way.’
Tuukka Rask was the beneficiary of the strong team defense in the Bruins’ win in Game 3, as he was protected well in his 28-save shutout Monday. However, Pederson said he thinks Rask may not be getting the credit he deserves because he is making it look easier than it is.
‘I think one of the things that we are getting ourselves maybe into a bad habit of, is because Tuukka is so sound technically and is so much in control of his emotions right now, he is making it look easy,’ Pederson said. ‘It’s not as easy as it looks. He is just attacking the shooters correctly. When he goes down he is taking up space, his belly is not touching the ice, he is standing up straight with his chest, he is controlling his rebounds.
‘A couple of times last night you could see the shifts were getting long and the Bruins needed a whistle. They are coming down the right side and they shoot the puck. He is able to control the rebound and throw it outside of the rink to get yourself a stop or a whistle. He has done a great job. He will be the first to tell you that his team in front of him is playing very well defensively, but I also think his teammates will tell you, ‘Hey, listen, he is playing so well right now and he is so locked in, he is making it look easier than it actually is.’ ‘
No more Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from these Bruins, at least not in the eyes of their coach.
After the Bruins dominated Game 3 in nearly every aspect, including a 40-16 edge on faceoffs, Claude Julien heaped praise on the effort level of his team after the 2-0 win that leaves them two victories shy of their second Stanley Cup in three years and seventh in franchise history.
“I think it’s the energy in the game, the effort,” Julien said. “You see our guys, like I said, they’re backchecking, having layers, so when somebody makes a mistake, you have somebody covering up.”
Even several stitches above the eye of Zdeno Chara wasn’t going to keep the commitment level down for the Bruins. Chara said he “lost an edge” during pregame skate Monday night.
“All he did is he slipped, had a little gash over his eye,” Julien said. “I haven’t even seen it. Just by slipping, he got hit just above the eye. Nothing serious.”
The Bruins blocked another 17 shots Monday — to seven for Chicago. Dennis Seidenberg had six by himself.
“We’re blocking a lot of shots,” Julien continued. “The commitment is totally there. Throughout a whole season, it’s not easy to have that full commitment. But I think when you get to this stage, players start feeling it. They go above and beyond. That’s what you’re seeing from our team right now.”
Julien famously lashed out at his team in the first-round series with Toronto, calling the B’s a “Jekyll and Hyde” team when they blew a 3-1 series lead only to grab a dramatic Game 7 win to extend their playoff season.
But that certainly hasn’t been the case since. After the Game 6 loss to the Leafs, the Bruins are 11-2 in these playoffs. And the penalty kill — another area of effort and execution — is a big reason why. With five more kills on Monday, the Bruins have killed off 27 straight penalties.
“It’s our backcheck,” Julien explained. “Our guys are understanding one thing: This is a team, when it attacks, it attacks with four, never three. They’ve got such great skaters back there on the fence that if we don’t do what we’re doing right now, we don’t stand a chance. Our guys, like I’ve said, they’ve committed to that. They realize how important it is to come back. We’re trying to support each other that way and trying to keep it as tight as possible.”
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