|Bruins can only hope home ice is advantage it was in ’11||06.17.13 at 1:04 pm ET|
Two years ago, home-ice advantage was the second-biggest factor in the Stanley Cup finals, just behind having a sane goaltender.
After the Canucks took the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals with wins that were decided in the final seconds, the Bruins came back to Boston and blew Vancouver out by a combined score of 12-1. They won all three home games that series by a combined score of 17-3 before finally winning a road game in Vancouver in Game 7. Dennis Seidenberg remembers the atmosphere of the Garden being “crazy” for those games.
It obviously won’t be that way this time around. For starters, the first two games were split, although they did come down to the wire, just like Games 1 and 2 in Vancouver. The idea of the Bruins torching the Blackhawks in blowout wins like they did the Canucks now that they’re at home? You shouldn’t bet on that either. The Blackhawks are far too defensively sound a team for that to happen, so the Bruins should expect these games to remain close. Maybe they won’t go into overtime every night, but this series has been something of a stalemate.
“Who knows?” Seidenberg said of games being closer in this series than the last time they were in the Cup finals. “It’s tough to predict what’s going to happen tonight, but we have to focus on our game. We have to come out a little better than we did and we’ll see what happens.”
The argument can be made that it took Aaron Rome‘s hit on Nathan Horton to fire up the Bruins with them trailing by two games, as Game 3 was scoreless in the first period. Then Horton went down, and after the Bruins lifelessly struggled to get anything going on their five-minute power play, they came out after the intermission and scored 11 seconds into the second period.
The B’s can only hope that they don’t need an injury to get them into this game, as they were fortunate to escape Saturday’s Game 2 against the Blackhawks with a victory given that they weren’t into it early on.
|Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara finish fifth in respective awards||06.15.13 at 7:54 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Everyone knew Tuukka Rask and Zdeno Chara weren’t going to win their positions’ awards this season when neither of them were announced as finalists after the regular season, but it was interesting to see where they finished.
Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban was the winner of the Norris Trophy for the league’s top defenseman, getting 66 first-place votes (one more than runner-up Ryan Suter) from the Pro Hockey Writers Association and finishing with 1266 points to Suter’s 1230. Kris Letang (914) and Francois Beauchemin (290) also finished ahead of Chara, who was fifth with 289 points. Chara, who won the Norris in 2009, received 10 first-place votes. Also represented in Norris voting was Dennis Seidenberg, who was 21st in voting with four points (one fourth-place vote and a fifth-place vote).
Rask, meanwhile, was a rather surprising fifth-place finisher for the Vezina Trophy, which is voted on by general managers and given to the league’s top goalie. Rask received no first-place votes, getting three second place votes and three third-place votes. Blue Jackets’ net minder Sergei Bobrovsky won the Vezina with 110 points. Hernik Lundqvist, Antti Niemi and Craig Anderson also finished ahead for Rask.
Alexander Ovechkin took home the Hart Trophy for the most valuable player. Patrice Bergeron was the only Bruin to receive a vote, as he got a fourth-place vote and finished 17th in voting. Bergeron was named the winner of the King Clancy Trophy as the player who “best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.”
|Morning skate report: Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg together, Andrew Ference hopes to return||06.01.13 at 12:53 pm ET|
PITTSBURGH — The Bruins will play a hockey game for the first time in a week when they finally open the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center. From the looks of it, there will be no changes to their lineup, although Andrew Ference could be a possibility to return.
Both Ference and Matt Bartkowski took rushes with Johnny Boychuk on Boston’s second pairing in the morning skate, with Bartkowski taking the majority of them. After the skate, Claude Julien declined to tip his hand regarding Ference’s status for the game, with Ference saying he wants to play but that the decision is up to the coaches.
Another notable takeaway from the morning skate was that it appears the Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg pairing will be kept together, presumably to play against the Penguins’ top line of Evgeni Malkin between James Neal and Jarome Iginla.
The Bruins’ lineup looked as follows in the morning skate:
Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Jaromir Jagr
Rich Peverley – Chris Kelly – Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara – Dennis Seidenberg
Matt Bartkowski/Andrew Ference – Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Claude Julien on Andrew Ference decision: ‘We’re not there yet’||05.28.13 at 5:50 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Andrew Ference skated for a fifth day on Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena, but for the first time with this teammates as he looks to come back from a left foot injury.
Ference was spotted walking with a walking boot on his left foot last Saturday during Game 5 of the series against the Rangers. But according to Ference, he had already been testing the health of the foot on the ice before then.
Ference injured the foot in Game 5 of the opening round against the Maple Leafs on May 10. He has not played in a game since.
“There’s no schedule,” Ference said after Tuesday’s skate, in which he was paired with defenseman Aaron Johnson. “It’s just a matter of go when you can go. I don’t think everything was ever put on a calendar. I think it was day-to-day the whole time, wasn’t it? That’s the way I’ve always viewed it.
“The last couple of days I had great skates. Today was the fifth day on the ice so it’s been really good. Obviously, it’s different when you get other guys on the ice and can actually practice. But to have four days completely on your own to do ‘Hockey School’, it’s nice, it really is. It’s kind of actually rare to get that kind of ice time to do exactly what you need. It’s beneficial.”
Ference said he’s been in a good position since he hasn’t felt rushed to return to a situation where he might not be 100 percent.
“You have help from other people when you’re dealing with something but at the end of the day, nobody knows who you feel except you. You’re not going to put yourself in a position you’re not ready for,” Ference said.
As for coach Claude Julien, he sidestepped questions about whether Ference, a leading penalty-killer for the Bruins, would earn his spot back when declared healthy and ready to go. Ference would likely nab the spot of Matt Bartkowski at this point, with Dennis Seidenberg already supplanting Dougie Hamilton last Saturday in Game 5 against the Rangers.
“You know what? We’re not there yet and until we’re there, I’m not answering those questions,” Julien said Tuesday. “It’s like we’re trying to get ahead of everything here. We’re not even close to starting a series. We’ll let him skate a little bit with us and see how he does. When the times comes, I’ll be more than happy to make that tough decision.
“It’s a good sign that he’s practicing with us. I don’t know. Again, it’s a medical issue that unless the trainers say it’s a go – sometimes he may be ready, but could be a risky kind of ready. We’ll wait and see what our trainers say and how Andrew [Ference] feels, as well, before we make any decision on him.”
|Dennis Seidenberg returns for Game 5, Dougie Hamilton out||05.25.13 at 5:30 pm ET|
Dennis Seidenberg is back in the Bruins’ lineup for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals after being out since the first period of Game 7 of the first round with a lower-body injury.
With Seidenberg back, Dougie Hamilton is out. Seidenberg was paired with Zdeno Chara in warmups, while the other pairings were Matt Bartkowski-Johnny Boychuk and Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid.
|Dennis Seidenberg a game-time decision for Game 5||at 4:32 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien said Saturday afternoon that Dennis Seidenberg will dress for warmups prior to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Rangers. The team will decide after the warmup whether Seidenberg will then play in the game.
Seidenberg has not played since Game 7 of the first round against the Maple Leafs, as he suffered a lower-body injury on his first shift and skated only one more shift in the contest.
If Seidenberg is to play, Dougie Hamilton would be the most likely player to come out of the lineup.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins notes from Friday: Up-tempo practice as Dennis Seidenberg, Wade Redden pick it up||05.24.13 at 5:43 pm ET|
The Bruins took to the TD Garden ice for a 30-minute up-tempo, intense practice after coach Claude Julien and players admitted that their effort was there on Thursday night but not their execution.
Friday was an effort, even after a tough overtime loss, to pick up the intensity level for Saturday afternoon’s 5:30 start against the Rangers, with yet another chance to close out the series in Game 5.
“It was just a good flow, good practice,” David Krejci said. “Hard and short. We don’t know what’s going to happen [Saturday] morning but it’s kind of an odd time for the game, 5:30. We’re just taking it day-by-day and we felt that, and the coaches felt the same way, that we needed to go out there for a short, hard practice. And we did that. Now, we’re just going to focus on [Saturday].”
Krejci wasn’t overly critical of his teammates and their well-documented mistakes in Game 4 that caused them to blow a 2-0 lead and lose the game in overtime.
“It was an OK game,” he said. “There were chances on both sides but the game is behind us now. They won in OT. [Saturday] is a new game and we’re going to do everything we can to get over it.”
All Bruins were accounted for except defenseman Andrew Ference, out with a lower body injury. Dennis Seidenberg (lower body) and Wade Redden (unspecified) skated together as a D-pair Friday and have been skating all week with the team. There’s a sense that Seidenberg could return on Saturday in place of Dougie Hamilton or Matt Bartkowski. Seidenberg hasn’t played since injuring himself on the second shift of Game 7 against Toronto on May 13.
“I felt comfortable out there today,” Seidenberg said. “But again it’s a decision where I have to talk to them first. We’ll see. They’re going to ask me a couple of a questions and go from there.
Seidenberg said he is itching to get back on the ice.
“Really bad,” Seidenberg said of his desire to return. “No one likes watching hockey games, especially around this time of year, so hopefully I get back in there soon, and hopefully can help.”
Seidenberg watched from upstairs Thursday night as the Bruins failed to close out Game 4.
“We know we played a good game,” Seidenberg said. “A couple of hiccups there but for the most part, we put a lot of pucks on the nets, had quite a few chances, especially on the power play so we know we could’ve won it. We just have to stick in the moment and try to win the next one.
“Every game we want to finish with the win, especially being up 3-1, it would be nice to finish it off but again, we have to play a good game first because they have the momentum now.”
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