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Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins say they ‘have another gear’ to their game 03.19.14 at 1:41 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ 10-game win streak, Brad Marchand, Carl Soderberg and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

The Bruins have been on a tear recently, winning 10 straight games and outscoring opponents 41-15 in that span. Despite all their success, the team still is looking to improve.

“They’ve been able to do a lot of things really during this streak,”€ Brickley said. “But it’s amazing when you talk to the coaching staff and even to the players to a man, they say, ‘We’€™re not peaking, we haven’t hit our stride. Yes, we’€™re winning games because we’€™re playing team hockey, and we’€™re getting some good results, but we definitely have another gear.’ ”

Marchand has been quiet during the streak, only recording two goals and three assists. Brickley admits that while the 25-year-old winger has struggled at times, he has had a successful season.

“€œHe’€™s having a terrific season really, on the whole, when you take a look at it,” Brickley said. “Certainly there were times, maybe, at different points in the season where it wasn’t going his way and he was kind of fighting it or searching for that balance.”

The B’s third line compares favorably to many of the third lines across the NHL. One guy in that line that has improved, according to Brickley, is Soderberg.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand, Carl Soderberg, Dougie Hamilton
Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘really becoming a well-oiled machine’ 03.14.14 at 1:24 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss how the Bruins are playing after the trade deadline. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

After defeating the Coyotes, 2-1, Thursday night, the Bruins are on a seven-game winning streak.

“They’€™re strong,” McGuire said. “They really are tight as a group. They haven’€™t messed with the integrity of their roster. Their defensive-zone posture’€™s getting better and better all the time. I think Andrej Meszaros is going to fill in well with Zdeno Chara. He’€™s going to help the power play as well.

“They’ve done a lot of things well there in Boston for a long period of time now, and when you watch them play you get the sense that this is a group that’s really becoming a well-oiled machine.”

During that span of time, Carl Soderberg has played at center while Chris Kelly has made the move to wing.

“The way Chris Kelly has been able to move over to wing rather than being center so Carl Soderberg, who is much more comfortable playing center, can play center — I think you’ve seen Soderberg really start to rise, and Kelly’€™s been a great trooper handling the assignment moving from center to wing,” McGuire said.

“People always want to talk about the young star, they don’€™t want to talk about the old guy that’€™s moved over to accommodate this, and obviously the extra ice helps Soderberg a lot, and not having to play on the boards helps him a lot, but Chris Kelly deserves a lot of credit for this. He really does. I think he’€™s done valiant work.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more on the Bruins, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

On Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug sitting out: “I think there’s a lot that goes into it. I don’t think it’€™s about one person or two persons. … I think it’€™s about the way the team needs to play. One of the things you try to do too is keep your roster competitive at this time of year and have guys fighting for ice so that everybody stays fresh but everybody stays focused. I like the way the Bruins are handling things. Is it easy to watch Dougie Hamilton sit out back-to-back games? No, because I think Dougie’s starting to make significant progress in his career. Is it easy to see Krug sit out? No, it’s not. But, again, this is part of having a competitive, deep roster, and that’s one of the things I admire so much about the Bruins.”

Read More: Carl Soderberg, Chris Kelly, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug
Andy Brickley on M&M: Andrej Meszaros ‘gives you options’ 03.12.14 at 2:57 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about Andrej Meszaros, the B’s defense and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

While Brickley still has doubts about the Bruins depth at wing, he sees the Meszaros trade as one that will help the Bruins figure out their best defensive combination.

“I’m not sure I’€™m convinced that if there are injuries to the four lines, as currently constituted, that they have enough in the wings waiting to step in,” Brickley said. “The organization, obviously, believes they probably do, but ”the emphasis was to definitely go get a defenseman, and now bringing in Meszaros, that gives you options.”

Added Brickley: “And it gives you — ’cause he can play left or right — and it gives you competition for ice time and actually be in uniform. You see Dougie Hamilton, the first casualty. They’re trying to figure out guys. Who’s going to play with [Zdeno] Chara in the playoffs? They want that shutdown pair and they’€™re not sure where it’€™s at right now and that was the whole reason to go get a guy like Meszaros.”

While the Bruins like what they see from Meszaros so far, the real test starts Wednesday night against Montreal, according to Brickley.

“I think the competition has started,” Brickley said. “It started the other night in Florida with Meszaros going to the lineup. They really like what he brought on that power play, being a left shot, being able to work the overload on the one side with other left shots on the half wall, whether it’s [Carl] Soderberg or [Loui] Eriksson, whoever it might be. They like that look.”

Added Brickley: “Now keep in mind that’s the Florida Panthers. That’s a pretty easy matchup for your first game as a player. Tonight you’€™ll probably get some different results and I’ll be curious to see how the defensemen in the lineup tonight handle a team like Montreal and the intensity and the speed.”

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Read More: Andrej Meszaros, Boston Bruins, Dougie Hamilton, Jordan Caron
Dougie Hamilton a healthy scratch vs. Canadiens as Andrej Meszaros stays in Bruins lineup; Daniel Paille skates at 12:20 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

MONTREAL — Dougie Hamilton will be a health scratch for the second straight game Wednesday night, as Claude Julien will use the same six defensemen vs. the Canadiens that he used Sunday against the Panthers.

“Dougie’s going to be out again,” Julien said. “I’m going with the same D core as I had the other night.”

With Hamilton and Corey Potter both sitting, it is likely that Julien will keep Zdeno Chara with newcomer Andrej Meszaros. The Bruins’ deadline day acquisition had a goal and a team-high six shots on goal in his Bruins debut Sunday.

Wednesday will mark Hamilton’s fourth healthy scratch of the season, as he sat out two games in October. He has also missed 13 games due to injury. Julien had said on Tuesday that Meszaros’ presence didn’t mean Hamilton would be a regular healthy scratch.

‘€œDougie’€™€™s not going to sit long,’€ Julien said. ‘€œDougie has played good hockey and he’€™€™s been good for us, so Dougie is not going to be the guy that is going to be singled out here. Dougie is going to be back in our lineup, and it’€™€™s just a matter of me making those tough decisions.

In other lineup news, Jordan Caron will play on the fourth line in place of Daniel Paille, who is out with a concussion. Paille took part in Wednesday’s morning skate, though he is not expected to play until Saturday at the earliest.

“We felt it was a real minor concussion, but protocol is what it is,” Julien said. “You have to respect that, and right now he’s gone through the stages and is doing very well. Today he skated without contact and hopefully we move on to the next level by tomorrow.”

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Andrej Meszaros, Dougie Hamilton,
Claude Julien: Dougie Hamilton is ‘not going to sit long’ for Bruins 03.11.14 at 6:06 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

MONTREAL — Healthy scratches aren’t expected to be a regular thing for Dougie Hamilton, so it was rather surprising in the team’s first practice since Hamilton was benched for Andrej Meszaros that Hamilton was skating on the team’s fourth pairing with Corey Potter.

However, Claude Julien cautioned against reading into the pairings in Tuesday’s practice at the Bell Centre, which were as follows:

Zdeno Chara – Andrej Meszaros
Matt Bartkowski – Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug – Kevan Miller
Dougie Hamilton – Corey Potter

“No, no, don’€™t read into that guys, I didn’€™t even make pairs today,” Julien said at the mention of Hamilton skating with Potter. “They just kind of paired themselves, believe it or not. We were just doing a practice here at moving pucks and so on and so forth. There was nothing; don’€™t read anything into what you saw today as far as who’€™s with who. Like I said, I didn’€™t even make pairs today.”

Though he did not say whether Hamilton will be back in the lineup Wednesday against the Canadiens, Julien stressed that Meszaros wasn’t acquired to take Hamilton’s job.

“Dougie’€™s not going to sit long,” Julien said. “Dougie has played good hockey and he’€™s been good for us, so Dougie is not going to be the guy that is going to be singled out here. Dougie is going to be back in our lineup, and it’€™s just a matter of me making those tough decisions.

“We hadn’€™t lost a game and we put Mez in; we played fairly well. Now we won again, [but it] doesn’€™t mean my lineup’€™s not going to change. So I’€™ve got to make some tough decisions here as we move forward, but the good part is we’€™ve got a lot of games in a short span of time, so there’€™s lots of room for everybody to get in there.”

As for Meszaros, Julien said that the team is trying out the left-shooting Meszaros on the right side — as it did Sunday when he played with Chara — to make sure he is comfortable playing both sides.

“He’€™s played left all year. He’€™s played right most of his career, but right now we know he can play left,” Julien said. “The toughest part is for a guy to play on his off-side, so we’€™ve got him playing right in practice right now just to make sure, because he hasn’€™t played the right side this year. He’€™s played for about 10 years on the right side, but this year he hadn’€™t played there, so we’€™re just giving him an opportunity here to get comfortable there as well because we’€™re going to need him to play both sides.”

Read More: Andrej Meszaros, Claude Julien, Dougie Hamilton,
Canadiens chase Tuukka Rask, beat Bruins 01.30.14 at 9:39 pm ET
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The Canadiens interrupted the Bruins’ recent hot streak Thursday, taking a 4-1 contest at TD Garden and improving to 2-0-0 against the B’s this season.

Tuukka Rask was pulled for the fourth time this season and dropped to 2-10-2 in his career against the Canadiens. He allowed three goals on 18 shots before being pulled a little over halfway through the second period. Chad Johnson allowed one goal in relief.

The Habs got on the board 2:16 into the game when an Alexei Emelin shot from the point went through plenty of traffic but didn’t appear to hit anything on its way past Rask. Max Pacioretty made it 2-0 later in the period when he took a feed from Brendan Gallagher off a Daniel Paille turnover, flew down the wing and held off Johnny Boychuk on his way to beating Rask five-hole.

Dougie Hamilton got the B’s on the board at 15:38 of the first when a shot from the point hit a Montreal body and got past Peter Budaj, but it would be Boston’s only goal of the night. A Brian Gionta power-play goal at 11:54 of the second chased Rask, and a Daniel Briere breakaway goal on Johnson made it a three-goal lead for the Habs.

The loss snapped the Bruins’ four-game winning streak. The B’s have four games left before the Olympic break and will host Andrew Ference and the Oilers on Saturday.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– Rask has now been pulled four times this season, all of which have come in the last month and a half. Rask was pulled Dec. 14 against the Canucks, Dec. 28 in Ottawa and Jan. 9 in Los Angeles. Though Gionta’s goal was the only particularly bad one he allowed, getting yanked at least four times in a season isn’t a great thing to have on a Vezina resume.

– The Bruins had scored six goals in three straight games (3-0-0) prior to Thursday’s game, but they were able to muster exactly one sixth of that mark Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Chad Johnson, Dougie Hamilton, Peter Budaj, Tuukka Rask
Dougie Hamilton: ‘I’m ready to play now’ 01.24.14 at 1:33 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

WILMINGTON — Both Chris Kelly and Dougie Hamilton will travel to Philadelphia for Saturday’s game against the Flyers, with Hamilton saying he is ready to return to the lineup.

Hamilton, who has missed the last four games with a concussion, practiced with his teammates for the second consecutive day Friday and said he was “finally” cleared for contact.

“I think I’ve been skating now for, I think this is my sixth day, so every day I’ve felt better and I’m ready to play now,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said he suffered the concussion, which was the first of his career, in the third period of the team’s loss to the Kings on Jan. 9 and played the next game against the Sharks.

The concussion is Hamilton’s second injury this season, as he missed 10 games from Dec. 10 to Jan. 2 with a knee injury. Hamilton is in his second season and said that the last couple of months have been frustrating given that they’ve halted the progress of a strong second season.

“I think I’m a lot more comfortable and a lot better defensively, and just feel a lot better on the ice,” Hamilton said. “It’s just been an unfortunate month or two months or whatever. Hopefully I can just get back into the lineup again and have fun and help the team out.”

Kelly also practiced with the team for the second straight day. He has not played since suffering a broken fibula on Dec. 7 against the Penguins. Claude Julien said that there is a chance one or both could return to the lineup Saturday, and noted that Hamilton is closer to returning than Kelly because he has missed less time and is in better game shape.

Adam McQuaid did not practice Friday and will not travel to Philadelphia as he remains out with a leg injury.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Chris Kelly, Dougie Hamilton,
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