|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.”
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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.”
|Fun while it lasted: Niklas Svedberg solid in first NHL start before return to Providence||01.02.14 at 11:49 pm ET|
It’s been a roller-coaster ride over the last few weeks for Bruins goaltender Niklas Svedberg.
After posting a 50-13-5 record in 70 games for Providence over the last two seasons and capturing the 2012-13 Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s top goaltender, Svedberg was finally called up to the Bruins on Dec. 27 and was expected to start in net for the Black and Gold on Dec. 29 against the Senators.
However, Svedberg’s tenure with Boston was short lived, as the Bruins had to send the 24-year-old netminder back down to Providence on Dec. 28 after a knee injury to defenseman Dennis Seidenberg forced the team to recall defenseman Zach Trotman on an emergency basis.
“That’s how it works,” Svedberg said earlier Thursday. “You just move on and go back to Providence, play there and wait to get another chance.”
Svedberg would get his chance five days later, as the Bruins once again called him up on Thursday morning before announcing that he would get the start in net against the Predators later that night.
Playing in his first NHL game, Svedberg was impressive between the pipes, turning aside 33 of 35 shots on the way to a 3-2 overtime victory for the Bruins.
“I’m real happy with this win,” Svedberg said. “It’s just one game, but it’s real fun to get a win in a close game.”
Despite a solid first period that saw the Swedish goaltender hold Nashville scoreless over the first 20 minutes, the Predators finally were able to get on the board with 1:56 remaining in the second stanza, as Viktor Stalberg scored off a rebound shot from Mike Fisher to give Nashville a 1-0 lead.
Despite the fact that the Bruins trailed 1-0 at the end of the second period, it could have been much worse for Boston, as Nashville outshot the Bruins by a 16-3 margin in the period, with Svedberg staying steady in net despite the barrage of pucks.
“I didn’t see him [playing] much different from the first to the third, but I thought in the second, when they did throw a lot of pucks at him, he stood tall and made some good saves,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the game.
Despite giving up a goal to Predators captain Shea Weber at the 14:35 mark of the third period, knotting the game at 2-2, Svedberg would eventually earn the win, as Brad Marchand scored 56 seconds into overtime to give Boston the dramatic victory.
Svedberg was quick to deflect any talk of what his future is up in Boston going forward, instead focusing on continuing to improve his game.
“I haven’t even thought about it. All my focus was on the game right now,” Svedberg said. “Obviously, I want to play more here, but we’ll see what happens. I just got to keep working.”
Julien announced after the game that Svedberg is going to be sent back down to Providence Friday, but was quick to state that based on what he showed tonight, it won’t take long for the young goalie to once again make a return to the Garden ice.
“I liked his game tonight. I really thought he was good and he just showed us that he’s a guy that we need to look at and keep an eye on and consider,” Julien said. He’s going to head back to Providence tomorrow, but I think there’s a good chance you’re going to see him here again very soon.”
|Zdeno Chara: Dennis Seidenberg ‘such a big loss’ for Bruins||12.30.13 at 7:23 pm ET|
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is working his way back from an undisclosed injury, but that isn’t the biggest concern on Boston’s blue line.
That would be the season-ending ACL/MCL tear to Dennis Seidenberg, who will have surgery on his knee and should be ready to go for the start of next season. In the meantime, the B’s are down their second-best defenseman and runner-up in time on ice.
“It’s very unfortunate,” Chara told WEEI.com. “I was on the bench when it happened, and we all saw what happened, and right there I kind of knew it was a very unlucky collision. He’s such a big loss for us. He’s a [guy] who’s playing in all situations, logging a lot of minutes. He’s a true warrior. To lose a guy like that always hurts, but it’s something that we’re going to have to play through. Obviously it’s going to be a chance for other guys to step up and fill that role.”
Seidenberg’s injury means that Chara will have a new postseason defense partner for the first time in a long time. Paired together from Game 3 of the 2011 Eastern Conference quarterfinals and onward, Chara and Seidenberg have teamed to make up a formidable top pairing that has shut down the top lines of some of the most offensively loaded teams in the NHL on the way to two Stanley Cup finals appearances.
Likely candidates to replace Seidenberg as Chara’s postseason partner would appear to be Dougie Hamilton and Johnny Boychuk, both of whom have played plenty alongside Chara during the regular season. Yet Chara isn’t looking that far ahead. After all, Chara himself and Hamilton both need to get healthy before the Bruins’ back end can begin to look like its usual self.
“I mean, we’ll see,” Chara said. “We’re far from the playoffs this time of the year. Right now we’re just really trying to focus on getting guys back, which will hopefully be soon. When we get a full lineup, then we’re going to be feeling what the ice times and positions are going to be like. But we’re obviously trying to get through tougher times right now with the injuries we have.”
Chara practiced for part of Monday’s session, with Claude Julien telling reporters on hand that his status for Tuesday’s game against the Islanders has yet to be determined.
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