|Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins-Leafs ‘should have all the elements of a playoff series [B’s] can win’||05.01.13 at 2:15 pm ET|
NESN’s Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ approach to the playoffs, some lineup decisions they’ve made, and how they match up with the Maple Leafs.
Brickley said he would have preferred to see the Bruins face the Islanders in the first round, but he thinks Toronto is a better matchup for them than Ottawa would have been.
“Toronto, they’re a little porous on defense,” Brickley said. “I’m still not sold on [James] Reimer being an elite guy. He’s got no experience, really, when it comes to NHL postseason play. So I think it’s a pretty good matchup. My preference would have been the Islanders, but be careful what you wish for. But it should have all the elements of a playoff series they can win, which is physical play, 5-on-5 hockey. If Toronto wants to initiate, the Bruins will oblige, but I’m looking for the Bruins to initiate.”
“I’m not surprised,” Brickley said of Chara and Seidenberg playing together. “I don’t know if it’s my preference. Toronto, one of their strengths this year is the fact that they have more than one scoring line. You put those guys together and you try to play them against Phil Kessel and his threesome, and they can still hurt you with [Joffrey] Lupul, [Nazem] Kadri. But that’s something they wanted to do. They were committed to it before the season ended. Now it’s up to the other four defensemen that are in the lineup to get the job done on the matchups.”
Brickley said that while Dougie Hamilton looks likely to sit in favor of Wade Redden in Game 1, Hamilton likely will crack the lineup at some point in the playoffs.
“I absolutely think we’ll see Dougie, whether it’s an adjustment or an injury or trying to get a little bit more on your power play,” Brickley said. “They want to get him some playoff experience, no doubt, but it’ll all be determined on how the Bruins play and how healthy they are on the back end.”
|Wade Redden making most of opportunity with Bruins||at 1:55 pm ET|
When the Bruins’ biggest deadline-day acquisition was Wade Redden, it appeared that the B’s were making a smaller move for depth, with Jaromir Jagr figuring to be the only acquisition to have a real impact down the road.
Fast forward to the beginning of the playoffs, and that is not the case. Redden has played his way into the Bruins’ lineup and figures to be Adam McQuaid‘s partner in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference, with Dougie Hamilton being a healthy scratch.
“This is what we all play for this time of year,” Redden said after Wednesday’s morning skate. “Everything is on the line, so it’s going to be fun. I’m going to try to enjoy as much as I can. It’s obviously an intense atmosphere. To try to go out there, play loose and play free. That’s the best way to approach it.”
It’s been a tough few years for Redden. The former second overall pick signed a six-year, $39 million deal with the Rangers prior to the 2008-09 season, and saw a fall from grace so great he spent the last two seasons in the AHL before being brought out prior to this season and signing a one-year deal with the Blues.
When he was traded to the B’s, he didn’t know if he’d be given the opportunity that he’s been given. He’s obviously happy with the way things have worked out.
“You never know what’s in store for you,” Redden said. “I went down, I approached the game I always have. That hasn’t changed today, so I’m use going to play my game, go out there and have some fun. I’m looking forward to it.”
In six games for the B’s, the 35-year-old has a goal and an assist for two points and an even rating.
“I think Wade feels pretty good about himself right now,” Claude Julien said. “He’s had some tough years, as far as where he was, whether how he’s been traded and everything else, but he’s come in here, and he’s got a fresh chance to prove himself. The games that he played, he moved the puck extremely well. His experience is invaluable, and his confidence right now is pretty good. When you have Wade in that zone, he becomes a pretty good player.”
One more note on Redden: The Bruins sent a conditional 2014 seventh-round pick to St. Louis in the deadline deal, with the condition being that the pick becomes a 2014 sixth-rounder if he plays at least one playoff game. That pick figures to vest Wednesday, making it a sixth-rounder for the defenseman.
|Bruins lines unchanged as Rich Peverley, Dougie Hamilton appear to be healthy scratches||at 12:26 pm ET|
Claude Julien insisted on Tuesday that his lineup for Game 1 wasn’t set, and after showing the same one in Wednesday’s morning skate said the same thing. Until different lines and defensive pairings take the ice, assume he’s fibbing.
The lineup Wednesday morning was as follows:
Julien said that Horton is a game-time decision after missing the last five games with an upper-body injury, but Horton said Tuesday that he expects to play and has practiced the last two days. The coach did admit that Dougie Hamilton will “probably” be a healthy scratch in favor of Redden.
It’s really unlikely that a coach whose lineup has been in flux would really change his lines last-minute before the playoffs start, so expect to see that lineup for Game 1. The one area where there could be a late change would be the left wing spot on the third line, where Rich Peverley could enter the lineup in favor of Daugavins. Peverley appears to be in Julien’s doghouse, but he’s versatile and just so happened to lead the Bruins with three goals and five points in their seven playoff games last season.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Dougie Hamilton wins Bruins’ Seventh Player Award||04.25.13 at 7:45 pm ET|
In what could be the first of many individual honors, Dougie Hamilton received his first Thursday night.
The Bruins announced that the 19-year-old defenseman is the winner of the NESN Seventh Player Award. Voted on by Bruins fans, the Seventh Player Award is an annual award presented to the Bruin who went above and beyond the call of duty and exceeded the expectations of Bruins fans during the season.
Ironically, Hamilton was a healthy scratch Thursday night against the Lightning as the team gives him a rest before the start of the playoffs next week.
In his first season with the Bruins, Hamilton has notched five goals and 11 assists in 42 games with a plus-6 rating. The rookie ranks second among Bruins defensemen in points (16) and goals (5).
Hamilton is tied for third in the NHL among rookie blueliners in points (16), third in assists (11) and tied for third in goals (5).
Hamilton started the season with the Niagra IceDogs (Ontario Hockey League), skating in 32 games, notching eight goals and 33 assists for 41 points. Last year, he was named the Canadian Major Junior Defenseman of the Year.
The 6-foot-5, 199-pound native of Toronto was drafted by the Bruins in the first round (9th overall) of the 2011 NHL draft.
In addition to the Seventh Player Award trophy, Hamilton will receive $5,000 to donate to the charity of his choice.
The Seventh Player Award sweepstakes winner was Scott Martioski of Orange, Mass. Martioski wins a three-year lease on a 2014 Kia Sorento courtesy of Central Auto Team of Norwood and Raynham.
|Milan Lucic a healthy scratch as Carl Soderberg makes NHL debut||04.20.13 at 12:18 pm ET|
Milan Lucic was made a healthy scratch for Saturday’s game against the Penguins and did not take warmups. The scratch comes two days after Lucic skated with the Bruins’ extra forwards in Thursday’s practice.
After scoring 30 goals two seasons ago and scoring 26 last season, Lucic has just six goals in 41 games this season. He has two goals over his last 27 games.
Prior to the lockout, the 24-year-old Lucic signed a three-year contract worth $18 million that will make him the Bruins’ highest-paid forward beginning next season.
With Lucic out, Carl Soderberg was in the lineup for his NHL debut. Dougie Hamilton was also absent from warmups, making he, Aaron Johnson and Wade Redden the healthy scratches on defense. The lines and pairings appeared as follows in warmups:
Daniel Paille ‘ David Krejci ‘ Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand ‘ Patrice Bergeron ‘ Tyler Seguin
Carl Soderberg ‘ Chris Kelly ‘ Jaromir Jagr
Gregory Campbell ‘ Rich Peverley ‘ Shawn Thornton
The Bruins took the ice for warmups wearing hats for the police departments of Massachusetts, Watertown and Boston.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Andrew Ference will be healthy scratch Monday vs. Senators as Dougie Hamilton returns||04.15.13 at 12:49 pm ET|
As the Bruins take turns resting their players leading up to the postseason, Andrew Ference will be a healthy scratch Monday.
“We’re going to rotate some players in and out here from here on in,” Claude Julien said. “We decide to make that decision no matter what, so Ference will be the one sitting out tonight.”
With Ference out, Dougie Hamilton will make his return to the lineup after sitting out the last two games. In addition to playing the entire NHL season leading up to Thursday’s loss to the Islanders, Hamilton had played in the Canada-Russia Junior Challenge series in August before playing in the OHL throughout the lockout.
“I give him a lot of credit for for how well he’s played through all of that. For a young player, to handle all of those minutes and games [is] unbelievable.”
Hamilton, 19, has four goals and 11 assists for 15 point in NHL games this season. Though he’s had some ups and downs, his rookie campaign has been largely impressive as he has been a top-four blueliner for the B’s from the get-go.
Hamilton had told Julien earlier in the season that if he wasn’t playing well enough and Julien wanted to scratch him, he’d understand. He said Monday that while he’d rather be playing, he thinks the rest could be good for him.
“Just playing so much, it feels like the end of the year, which it is, but I think just to get a rest I guess, mentally, and most of all just to get away from playing and to be able to come back, it kind of feels like junior a little bit when you get the week off and then you go back to playing the weekend,” he said. “Hopefully I didn’t get too rusty over that couple days, but I think I feel good.”
Added Hamilton: “Obviously it’s a lot more fun playing and being in the room and I guess being part of the team, but I thought it was good.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Opinion: Claude Julien needs to schedule rest time for weary Bruins||04.12.13 at 1:34 pm ET|
I’m sick of hearing that the Bruins are tired.
“We ran out of gas,” Claude Julien claimed after Thursday night’s loss to Islanders. “The effort and will was there. They were obviously a little fresher than we were.”
That quote came just two days after he said, “The schedule has been as tough as it could ever be on an athlete. We’ve got to be careful of how hard we push those guys, because they are tired.”
I don’t disagree.
The schedule obviously has been brutal. Yes, the Bruins face the same difficulties as every other team in the league, but they currently are in the worst of the gauntlet. Whereas they started the season with more days off than most other teams, they are paying the price for that now.
So I’m happy to concede that exhaustion is playing a role in their recent string of uninspired performances.
Normally, this is the time where I would remind athletes and coaches that if they avoid making an excuse out loud, someone will make it for them. We all know the schedule is tough; let us remind people and it will sound more like an explanation and less like an excuse.
And for Tyler Seguin, who said Thursday night that while he wasn’t making excuses, “we ran out of gas after three games in four nights,” I would repeat that message.
But to Julien, I would offer some additional advice.
If your team is so tired, do something about it!
Look, we all know the Bruins are going to make the playoffs and it’s a virtual certainty that they will fill either the second or fourth seed. So, what would be the harm in resting a few exhausted players for a game or two? If they are so desperate for some fresh legs, why not create them?