|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘We didn’t have any passengers’||05.17.13 at 10:03 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to talk about Thursday night’s 3-2 overtime victory over the Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The Bruins appeared to be in control for much of the game, but Thornton said there was no overconfidence heading into OT.
“I was actually thinking that we’ve hit a lot of posts tonight,” Thornton recalled. “I don’t know how many times you’ve seen it where you have that many chances to win and then all of a sudden they come down the other way and pop one. We talked about it, we wanted to come out in overtime and put the pedal down. They’re a good team, so you can’t give them any reason to get going.”
Added Thornton: “I thought it was pretty even until overtime. We stepped it up. I liked that pretty much all the guys were going last night. We didn’t have any passengers. It’s been a while since we’ve had everyone, all lines going. That was positive.”
Brad Marchand, who left the team’s morning skate with an apparent injury, bounced back with a strong game and scored the winner in overtime — something Thornton said he predicted.
“That was his best game last night of the playoffs,” Thornton said. “I told him it was such. I actually called him in between the third and overtime for scoring — I was very psychic, obviously. He played really well. He wants to do better. He’s a competitor, you can tell. His whole life, everyone has told him he’s too short, too whatever. He wants to win. It was good to see him get back to those ways last night, that’s for sure.”
The Bruins were playing without three injured defensemen, but young blueliners Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug came through with solid performances.
“They were really good,” Thornton said. “I thought maybe one of them out of the three might have had some jitters — no one in particular. I saw Bart and Dougie in Game 7, and they were both spectacular in Game 7, too. But Kruger’s first game in a while, he scores a huge goal. I think his first shift he had a couple of plays where he skated out of the zone, and I think that settled him down. I think all three of them were unbelievable back there last night. A little — I don’t want to say surprised, because I’ve seen them all play, and I know they’re very capable of playing in those games. But you’re right, when it’s your first playoff game or your second playoff game, you could have those jitters, and they didn’t. They were unbelievable.”
|John Tortorella: ‘We got spanked’ by Bruins in OT||at 2:24 am ET|
No one tells it like it is quite like John Tortorella, especially after a kick-in-the-gut loss like his Rangers experienced Thursday night at the hands of the Bruins in overtime.
The Bruins manhandled the Rangers in overtime, outshooting them 16-5, with the final shot coming off the stick of Brad Marchand 15:40 into overtime and delivering the Bruins a 3-2 win in Game 1. Six of those 16 shots came on one power play when the Bruins took complete charge and didn’t let go.
“In the overtime? We never regrouped,” Tortorella said. “It was a surge. We couldn't stop it.
Still, the Rangers had their chances. They scored on a Ryan McDonough slap shot with 1.3 seconds left in the second period to tie the game. They scored just 14 seconds into the third and had a lead. But Torey Krug scored his first career playoff goal in his first career playoff game two minutes later on the power play, tying the game, 2-2.
“We were OK,” Tortorella said. “We're going to need to be better. If we're going to win our next game here we need to be better.”
Before getting outshot in overtime, Tortorella felt his team was hanging in with the Bruins on the road in Game 1. But Tortorella, like he normally does, put everything in perspective.
“I thought it was pretty even going into the overtime,” Tortorella said. “But we got spanked in the overtime.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: With Bruins’ depth down middle, ‘I do think this is a team that can flip the switch’||05.15.13 at 12:11 pm ET|
NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire was a guest of the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to talk about the Stanley Cup playoffs.
McGuire said “only in youth hockey” has he seen a comeback like the Bruins’ miracle against the Maple Leafs in Monday night’s Game 7.
“I’ve never seen anything like that with 12 minutes or less to go in an NHL game — in a playoff game, a deciding Game 7,” McGuire said. “Never seen that before.”
McGuire said the tide started to turn in the Bruins’ favor when Tuukka Rask stopped Matt Frattin on a breakaway with 3:35 left in the third period and Toronto leading 4-2.
“Boston got urgent. Boston really felt better after Frattin missed the breakaway. You could see there was a huge surge after the save was made by Tuuka on Matt Frattin’s breakaway. And you could see the better players for the Bruins every other shift were starting to take over momentum,” McGuire said.
“So, it was a combination of Frattin misses the breakaway, Boston starts to amp it up, their star players really start to amp it up and they get the feel. Then all of a sudden they put the lunar eclipse in front of James Reimer, that is Zdeno Chara, and [Patrice] Bergeron with a seeing-eye shot makes it all equal. Then they go into overtime and win.”
Looking at the Bruins’ inconsistency, McGuire said some of it can be traced to the post-Marathon fallout.
“The thing that’s impressed me the most about this Bruins team: I think that this team was emotionally hurt, like most of the city of Boston was, after the Marathon tragedy,” McGuire said. “I really mean that. I was there to do their game following the Marathon tragedy, and you could sense the emotion, you could sense how these guys felt terrible for the families, for the victims, for the entire city. It was a huge blow. It took time for these guys to rebound.
“If you remember, the first game after was against the Buffalo Sabres, and they didn’t win the game. You could sense that guys were ready to cry after the game; they felt like they had let the city down. So, I think there’s been a lot of emotion that’s gone into the season for the Bruins. Let’s remember, it was a 48-game schedule, there was a lockout, a lot of players were saying stuff they probably shouldn’t have said or didn’t want to say but it was out of character, but emotion got involved. And I think this has been an emotional roller coaster for this team all year.
“Do I think they can flip the switch? Absolutely. I respectfully disagree with Peter Chiarelli — I do think this is a team that can flip the switch because of their depth down the middle. When you look at it with [David] Krejci, with Bergeron, with [Chris] Kelly, with [Gregory] Campbell. I truly believe, when you have that kind of depth down the middle, you can flip a switch.”
|Barry Pederson on D&C: Bruins ‘need to get their power play going’||02.12.13 at 11:32 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to talk about the team’s hot start to the season.
The Bruins are 8-1-1 and two points behind the Devils for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. However, there is one area of play where the B’s definitely can improve.
“A big concern, of course, I think is the power play,” Pederson said. “These games right now, even though they’re off to the best start in franchise history in 10 games at 8-1-1, their power play is right near the bottom again. They got away with it in the Stanley Cup run, but I don’t think you can do it two years in a row. They need to get their power play going. They’ve outplayed teams I think a lot more than the score shows.”
One of the Bruins’ most aggressive and controversial players is Brad Marchand. He is off to a great start, scoring six goals and recording one assist.
“Brad Marchand is an extraordinarily important part of this hockey team,” Pederson said. “He helps set a lot of the energy. He’s a good specialty team guy, he’s great with his speed, backs off the other team’s defense. As we all know, as Bruins fans, if he was on the other team I don’t think we’d like him quite as much.”
Another key part to the team’s success is Andrew Ference. While the defenseman doesn’t always get the deserved recognition, he clearly is a critical part to the team.
“I think he is one of the most underrated players on this team,” Pederson said. “He’s more gifted offensively than he’s given credit for. He’s not necessarily big in stature, but he’ll stick his nose in there. He and [Adam] McQuaid are a very, very steady tandem out there. I think one through six on team defense the Bruins are as good as anybody. … He’s a guy that’s a good leader.”
|Ugly CBA negotiations? The NHL? Get out of town||08.10.12 at 4:40 pm ET|
Negotiations for new collective bargaining agreements tend to get messy, and NHL CBA negotiations (at least recently), tend to result in lockouts. Unfortunately, the news is that there haven’t been any surprises thus far.
Earlier this week, NHL Players’ Association head Donald Fehr said that a counterproposal to the league’s first offer was forthcoming, with it later being determined that folks can expect it to be delivered next Tuesday. The counterproposal is highly anticipated, as the league’s first offer was shocking — it called for an 11-percent giveback of hockey-related revenue on the players’ part, the end of arbitration, and a five-year limit on contracts, among other stipulations. When the NHLPA asked for more financial particulars before countering, the league buried them with some 76,000 pages of documents from the various teams.
Games technically could have been played if a new agreement wasn’t reached by Sept. 15, the expiration of the current CBA, but on Thursday commissioner Gary Bettman crushed the dreams of any fans hoping for that.
“We reiterated to the union that the owners will not play another year under the current agreement,” Bettman told reporters Thursday. “I re-confirmed something that the union has been told multiple times over the last nine to 12 months. Namely, that the time is getting short and the owners are not prepared to operate under this collective bargaining agreement for another season so we need to get to making a deal and doing it soon. And we believe there’s ample time for the parties to get together and make a deal and that’s what we’re going to be working towards.”
The players didn’t exactly dig any of that chatter. Here’s Henrik Lundqvist‘s reaction, via twitter:
“The @NHL says they won't play past Sept 15th under current deal. Apparently they don't like the deal they designed. #CBA #nhlpa2012″
And Brandon Prust‘s:
“Disappointed the League is talking about a lockout before we even give our @NHLPA counterproposal”
The bottom line is that nothing — neither Bettman’s comments or players’ reactions — should be surprising. No CBA by Sept. 15 equals a lockout . The only thing learned thus far is that this will get messy. Unfortunately with the NHL, everyone should have already known that.
|Plenty to like about Sunday’s win over Rangers||04.02.12 at 12:26 am ET|
The Bruins became the first team in the Eastern Conference to clinch their division, wrapping up the Northeast with their 2-1 win over the Rangers Sunday evening. The division win means they will hold the No. 2 seed when they begin the playoffs on April 12.
For the Bruins, Sunday was obviously about way more than clinching the division. In fact, you could take your pick when it comes to the positives that emerged from their victory at Madison Square Garden.
They finally did what they have often been unable to do by beating Rangers goaltender and Vezina favorite Henrik Lundqvist. They only put two pucks past Lundqvist, but the win showed that when Tim Thomas is on, two can be enough.
Thomas made 33 saves in the victory, and both the numbers and the eyeball test are suggesting that he’s getting right where he needs to be for the postseason.
No. 30 was far from himself for a pretty lengthy stretch during the regular season. In an eight-game span from Dec. 31 to Jan. 22, he allowed four or more goals four times. In early March, he allowed four goals in four of seven games. The Bruins were struggling, and they didn’t have a dominant Thomas to bail them out. That seems to be in the past now for both the B’s and Thomas.
Over his last seven starts, Thomas has allowed two goals or less in each game, a span in which he’s gone 5-1-1. Though he was coming off a shootout loss to the Capitals Thursday (his first shootout loss of the season), Thomas had to have been feeling pretty good about the way he’d been playing.
Sunday’s win means Thomas has beaten the Rangers for the first time in three tries this season (Tuukka Rask got the other start). Thomas had allowed three goals in each of his two starts against the conference leaders this season (0-2-0), but on Sunday the reigning Vezina winner held Rangers to one goal on 34 shots.
|Bruins have something to prove vs. Rangers||03.31.12 at 8:13 pm ET|
Through the various highs and lows of the 2011-12 season, one thing has held true for the Bruins: They can’t beat the Rangers.
After losing their first three meetings (0-2-1) against New York — all of which have come in the second half of the season — the Bruins, who figure to hold the second seed in the East when the playoffs begin in about a week and a half, will have their final regular-season crack at the conference’s best team Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Tim Thomas will have to deal with the lighting that he despises so much. [Side note: Thomas got criticized unfairly for that postgame comment after the March 4 game, as it wasn't the first time he's brought up the difficulty he has with the lights there. He answered a question last season about the pre-game festivities at Canadiens games by mentioning he didn't like the lights at MSG.] And the Bruins will have to deal with a goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist (assuming he plays) who has dominated them (and many other teams) over the years.
This season, Lundqvist deserves not only the Vezina trophy but perhaps the Hart as well. That’s why the Bruins need to beat him Sunday. The B’s may not be considered a favorite to make it to the conference finals given how well the Penguins have played of late, but it wouldn’t come as a major shock to anyone if Boston and New York met later in the playoffs with a trip to the Cup finals on the line.
The B’s are a confident bunch either way, but they could use that piece of mind of knowing that Lundqvist, who is 3-0-0 with a 1.61 goals-against average and one shutout against Boston this season, doesn’t completely own them. Considering they’ve only beaten him once over the last two seasons, they could stand to remind themselves and everyone else that King Henrik can be defeated.
Both teams are clearly trying to make sure they’re playing their best hockey by the time the postseason starts. The B’s enter Sunday’s game with points in five straight games (4-0-1), while the Rangers, who lead the Bruins by 11 points, are winners of four straight. Though New York has beaten Boston three times and doesn’t have much to worry about as far as the standings go, the Rangers still have something to gain Sunday. They can officially clinch the Eastern Conference, and a win could give them a mental edge over the B’s should they meet later on down the road.