|James van Riemsdyk hopes to be part of another big comeback vs. Bruins||05.10.13 at 1:07 pm ET|
Though the Maple Leafs are in their first postseason in eight seasons, they are at least a little prepared for the daunting task they face entering Game 5 of their series against the Bruins thanks to one player who is proof that series aren’t over until a team wins four games.
James van Riemsdyk has been in a 3-1 hole against the Bruins before. He’s also been in a 3-0 hole against them, and, two games later, a 3-2 hole. He’s been in a series that was tied, 3-3, against the Bruins, and he’s helped put them away in Game 7.
With the Leafs facing elimination on Friday night at TD Garden, van Riemsdyk is using his 2010 postseason experience with the Flyers as he and his team try to come back in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the B’s.
“You’ve just got to not look at the whole task as getting back to that point,” van Riemsdyk said Friday. “You’ve just got to take it one game at a time and just kind of start chipping away. We know, obviously, it’s not an ideal position we’re in, but you’ve got to take it one game at a time. You win one game and you never know what can happen.”
Folks around these parts know what happened back in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals. As a rookie, van Riemsdyk scored the Flyers’ first goal of Game 7 after Boston jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. The Flyers came back in that game, just as they had in the series, and eliminated the B’s in shocking fashion.
Now, three years, a Bruins Stanley Cup run in which the B’s swept the Flyers, and one trade later, the now-24-year-old Maple Leafs winger recalls being the rookie on a team that believed it could come back in a series that looked all but over. He remembered the players buying into the concept of only looking at what was directly in front of them, and not farther ahead of them. They broke their task into shifts rather than games or pages of history books.
“You can kind of psyche yourself out a bit if you worry too much about being down 3-1 vs. just focusing on, ‘We need to win a hockey game,’ ” van Riemsdyk said.
The Bruins have had a hard time finishing teams off when the pressure hasn’t been at its greatest. Under Claude Julien, the B’s are 3-6 when they can eliminate a team in a non-Game 7 situation. Going back to that 2010 season, the B’s had three chances against the Flyers and lost all three. The next year, they had 3-2 leads against both the Canadiens and Lightning and lost Game 6, though they swept the Flyers and came back to force Game 7 against the Canucks. They hope this series doesn’t last any longer than it has to for them.
“We’ve learned both sides of the coin,” Andrew Ference said. “When you don’t close out a series and give a team life, it can be a pretty dangerous fire to play with.
“It gets tossed around a lot that the fourth win’s the hardest, but I don’t think it’s any harder than the first, second or third. Every win is tough. In the playoffs, the victories are earned. There’s no freebies.”
Despite the score of the series and the fact that three of the first four games were determined by two or more goals, the games have been played tighter than many expected. There’s a reason that Game 4 went down to the wire when both teams were playing strong, fast-paced hockey. The Leafs, who many wrote off entering the postseason, believe they can hang with the Bruins.
“We’ve responded to adversity pretty well throughout the whole season, so that’s what we’re going to continue to do,” van Riemsdyk said. “We’ll find out a lot about our team by our effort tonight.”
|James van Riemsdyk hopes to dazzle vs. Bruins in postseason again||05.01.13 at 2:29 pm ET|
The Maple Leafs don’t have as much playoff experience, but they do have one guy who has seen their current opponent plenty in the postseason. And he’s 23.
James van Riemsdyk, who was traded to Toronto from Philadelphia in the offseason, is now facing the Bruins in the postseason for the third time in his career. Additionally, the UNH product knows the Garden well from his college days. He played in the double-overtime loss to BC in Hockey East tournament in 2008 and a year later was responsible for getting the ball rolling on the Flyers’ Game 7 comeback from a 3-0 defecit.
“It seems like every year in the playoffs it’s against the Bruins,” van Riemsdyk said Wednesday. “Obviously, they’re a strong team and it’s a fun building to play in here, but you’re going to have to bring a strong game if you want to be successful.”
As a rookie, van Riemsdyk got the Flyers on the board late in the first period with Boston up, 3-0. The Flyers came back to win the game, capping off a four-game comeback after the B’s took the first three games of the season.
A year later, the Flyers and B’s met in the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second consecutive year, with van Riemsdyk turning in one of the best single-game performances of that postseason from someone not named Tim Thomas in Game 2. He scored on his first shift and added another tally at 9:31 to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead in the first 10 minutes. The B’s came back to win the game in overtime, but that game should be remembered for being a showdown of van Riemsdyk vs. Thomas, the B’s goalie had to deal with eight shots from the young scorer.
While those two performances make for some major highlights of the 23-year-old’s career, JVR is hardly a Bruins killer. He has four goals in 11 playoff games against the B’s, but he hopes to add significantly to that total this year. After a successful season in which he scored 18 goals in his first campaign for the Leafs, he knows from experience that he’ll need to reach an even higher level this month and hopefully beyond.
“Obviously [the Bruins’] level of play kind of raises a bit in the playoffs, but these guys have had quite a bit of success the last few years,” van Riemsdyk said. “So you know you’re in for a tough game every time.”
The situation in which van Riemsdyk finds himself is an interesting one. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound winger went from being a kid on a team used to making the playoffs to someone with more postseason experience with most of his teammates on a team that is in the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
“Maybe those teams had a little more playoff experience, but obviously when you make the playoffs you know you’re doing something right,” he said when asked to compare the Flyers squads that faced the B’s to this Maple Leafs club. “We obviously have a lot of skill in this room. We’re capable of doing good things. It’s just a matter of us going out there and taking it one shift at a time and focusing on the details of the game.”
|Thoughts from after the NHL draft||06.23.12 at 11:32 pm ET|
Unlike the NFL or NBA draft, many fans won’t be familiar with the name they hear when their team make a pick. It’s safe to say that every Bruins fan knew the name well when Boston chose 24th overall Friday night.
The Bruins opted for goaltender Malcolm Subban, brother of Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, in the first round to the surprise of many. The pick means that the Bruins and Canadiens could have brothers starring on each side of the rivalry down the road, but that’s all years away.
‘We draft on best player available, fit, need and then rivalries,’ Peter Chiarelli said with a laugh when asked about the pick. ‘That was on top for this one.’
While fans’ initial reactions may have been to the fact that the Bruins drafted a Subban, the far more intriguing aspect is that they drafted such a highly rated goalie. The organization could have stood to add another netminder in this year’s draft, but adding Subban immediately makes him Boston’s brightest goaltending prospect.
Like many goaltenders in their draft years, Subban is years away from being NHL ready. Zane Gothberg and Lars Volden, who were sixth round picks of the team in 2010 and 2011, respectively, are similarly far off from having an impact at the NHL level.
Last season while playing for Bellville (OHL), Subban had a 2.50 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. He stands at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds and was the second goalie off the board this year behind Russian goaltender Andrey Vasilevskiy, whom the Lightning chose 19th overall.
In addition to NHL netminders Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin, the Bruins also have Niklas Svedberg, Adam Courchaine, Michael Hutchinson and Adam Morrison under contract. Gothberg is expected to attend the University of North Dakota in the fall, while Volden is playing in the SM-liiga in Finland.
Here are some more thoughts following the 2012 NHL draft.
IS IT CARON’S TIME?
Perhaps the happiest member of the Bruins this draft weekend was their 2009 first-round pick in Jordan Caron. By dealing away restricted free agent Benoit Pouliot‘s rights to the Lightning, the Bruins opened up a spot for Caron to potentially step in and stay in the lineup for good.
Free agency and the trade market can change that, of course, as the Bruins could bring in a veteran forward (something Chiarelli has said he’d like to do), but Caron’s emergence down the stretch last season indicated he’s finally ready for a full NHL season. The Bruins would be wise to give him that opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »
|Brad Marchand not thinking about camp or James van Riemsdyk’s money||09.12.11 at 12:19 pm ET|
BOLTON — We have a Brad Marchand update, and it’s that it doesn’t seem anything has changed.
Marchand, a restricted free agent who has yet to sign, was at the Bruins’ annual golf tournament Monday, which to his credit is the latest sign of him doing everything he can to remain involved despite the uncertainty surround when his deal will get done.
He’s been at captains’ practices, the golf tournament, and was at the team’s DVD premier over the summer, but the biggest two questions remain unanswered: will he be signed before training camp opens Friday, and, if not, would he really show up for camp without a contract? Marchand was once again noncommittal in answering the latter.
“I’m not looking that far ahead right now,” he said. “It’s just day to day.”
With Friday just four days away, he doesn’t need to look too far ahead. The clock is ticking for Wade Arnott, Marchand’s agent, and Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli to get something done.
[UPDATE: 8:30 pm] Chiarelli weighed in — barely — on the matter after the team’s annual State of the Bruins meeting with season-ticket holders.
“He’s obviously a good player, and he’s a god kid, and we want to get him signed,” Chiarelli said. “I’ll leave it at that.”
Asked whether he would expect Marchand to show up for camp without a contract, the general manager didn’t say.
“It’s something that I’d have to discuss with the agent and the player,” Chiarelli said. “We’re not at that point yet.”
One thing that may have shaken up the market a bit is the contract that agent Alec Schall was able to get for Flyers forward and former second overall pick James van Riemsdyk. The winger got a six-year, $25.5 million deal, and his regular season production last year (21 goals, 19 assists) was right on par with what Marchand did (21 goals, 20 assists). It’s hard to imagine the Bruins giving Marchand that kind of money or such a lengthy deal.
“No, not at all,” Marchand said when asked whether he felt he was worth more than JvR. “Everyone’s in a different place, with a different team and different dynamic. He’s a great player, and he’s going to have a great future. It’s a great deal for him, but that isn’t really any of my business.”
|Tyler Seguin gets his power play work, Claude Julien still cautious with the rookie||05.16.11 at 1:54 pm ET|
When a lineup spot opened for Tyler Seguin to make his long-awaited playoff debut, one didn’t have to be a Seguin apologist to feel the rookie would be on one of the Bruins’ power play units. Yet in a 5-2 Game 1 loss the Lightning Saturday in the Eastern Conference finals, Seguin stayed on the bench as the B’s went 0-for-4 on the man advantage.
On Monday, coach Claude Julien had Seguin skate with the No. 2 power play unit in practice.
‘I guess it’s exciting,” Seguin said in his classic understated style. “I’m pretty sure I’m not starting on the power play but it’s just in case if we have a couple and we want to try something new, getting me out there so I’m ready and prepared for that. I think I move the puck around pretty well, I have good speed so I’m going to bring that to my game and a lot of times, that helps on the power play.
“I think it’s just about being ready and I think that’s why they threw me out there this morning. It’s the first time I’ve skated with the power play in over a month and a half. It’s definitely nice being out there, and moving the puck around and getting my feet wet.’
Julien explained Sunday that he gave thought to using Seguin out there after a couple of ugly man advantages in the second period, but that he liked what he saw from the power play going forward. He showed Monday that he’s still at least entertaining the idea, as Seguin saw time working with the second unit prior to Monday’s practice.
“We want to make the power play work,” Julien said after practice. “And it’s never a bad thing to have those guys go through it and if at one point you need him, you need him. And what I said yesterday was exactly what we wanted to do with Tyler.”
Julien also has pointed to Seguin’s development as a reason why he hasn’t given the rookie major minutes or opportunities. He noted that it’s not uncommon for big-name players to be held back here and there as youngsters, choosing against the obvious Steven Stamkos comparison and instead likening Seguin’s development to that of a player who shined against the B’s in the second round.
“He’s a young player that we care about and want to make sure that we develop him properly,” Julien said. “That’s part of the decision we’ve made as an organization is not to rush him through anything. The example is probably [James] van Riemsdyk from Philly, how good he’s been this year, yet he was a healthy scratch a lot of time last year and he’s turned out to be a pretty good player.
“Everybody has an opportunity to develop their players the way they want, and we’re doing that. And we understand the quality of player we’ve got and what he’s going to, what he can bring and what he’s going to bring in the future. And those are part of the things we keep doing with him and we’ve done with him all year is make him participate in all those areas where he’s going to be hopefully a big factor for us in the future.”
In addition to working the power play, Seguin was working with a new center on Monday at practice – Chris Kelly, who was dropped to the third line so Rich Peverley could be moved up to the No. 2 line with Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi.
The main reason – as Seguin acknowledged – was the fact that Seguin’s line was on the ice for the first two goals in a 19-second span Saturday night.
‘He’s definitely a great all-around forward, especially his D-zone so I think he’s with us because we had two goals scored on our line there in the first period so I think he’s going to help bring a good D-zone to our line,’ Seguin said of Kelly.
|How Zdeno Chara shut down Flyers and why it matters against Lightning||05.07.11 at 3:08 pm ET|
Before their Eastern Conference semifinal series, there was lots written and said about how much trouble the Bruins would have stopping the high-powered Philadelphia offense.
After all, the Flyers led the East in the regular season with 259 goals, behind only Vancouver and Detroit in the entire NHL. Against Buffalo in the first round, Philly scored five goals in three of its four wins and four in the other, all against Ryan Miller, one of the elite goalies in the sport.
But the Bruins didn’t blink, after allowing three goals ‘ two in garbage time ‘ in Game 1, the Flyers scored just four the rest of the way in getting outscored 20-7 in the Bruins sweep.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said every Bruins player understood what was expected in “the system.”
“It was big,” Chara said. “I thought eventually in Games 3 and 4 they started to find a way of creating speed through the neutral zone. But I thought the first two games, we completely took that away from them.”
Danny Briere, Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk scored in Game 1. Van Riemsdyk accounted for both Philly tallies in Game 2. Andrej Meszaros scored a harmless goal in Game 3 and Kris Versteeg scored in Game 4.
|Bruins/Flyers: Everything you need to know for Game 4||05.06.11 at 2:38 am ET|
The Bruins can bust out the brooms and prepare for the Eastern Conference finals by eliminating the Flyers Friday night at TD Garden. Of course, given that the B’s could get only the first three wins of the series last year, four is the only number on anyone’s mind. With that being said, here’s a preview based around the number.
Four things the Bruins have to do:
– Don’t even think about letting up. If the B’s have any doubt as to whether the Flyers can bring it, all they have to do is think back to Game 2. The Flyers dominated them in that contest, and the B’s were bailed out by Tim Thomas. In Game 3, it looked like the Bruins feared a 2-1 series even more than the Flyers feared 3-0, and the result was a contest in which Philadelphia was clearly outmatched.
– Keep on hitting. The Flyers won’t be able to come out and make an early statement if the B’s are as physical as they were in Game 3. Brad Marchand racked up seven hits through the first two periods, including a big hit on Ville Leino with the Flyers on the power play in the first.
– Continue to play like it’s scoreless at all times. One thing that hasn’t gotten much attention with these Bruins this postseason is that the scoreboard hasn’t impacted them much. They fell behind by a pair of goals on the road in both Game 4 of the quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens and in Game 2 this series and came back to win both games. Also, the Bruins didn’t seem to slow down at all throughout Wednesday’s Game 3 despite leading in semi-blowout fashion.
– Stay healthy. One way or another, the Bruins are going to win this series, so when they face Tampa Bay in the conference finals, they’ll need to do so with all of their stars. Losing David Krejci last year was disastrous.
– If you’re happy with how Thomas has played against the Flyers thus far, consider that he fared better vs. the Lightning (1.67 goals against average, .950 save percentage) than he did against Philadelphia (1.96 GAA, .942 save percentage) in the regular season. His .935 save percentage this postseason is second only to Dwayne Roloson, who has a .941 mark for the Lightning.
– Nathan Horton‘s Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist, fight) Wednesday was the first of his career. His five playoff goals puts him in a tie with Krejci for the team lead.
– The Bruins won 43 of 55 face-offs in Game 3, including a perfect 8-for-8 from Krejci and and a 17-for-19 showing from Patrice Bergeron.
– While Wednesday marked the first game this postseason that the B’s scored a power play goal, it also marked the first contest this series in which the Flyers didn’t score on the man advantage. Philadelphia went 0-for-2 on the power play.
Four key players:
– Whichever Flyers goaltender gets the start: Rhode Island native Brian Boucher has lost all three games this series and has been yanked in two of them (not including briefly leaving Game 2 with an injury). Sergei Bobrovsky has allowed three goals to the B’s in 55:15 this series.
– David Krejci: The dominance continues. Including the playoffs, Krejci has had at least one point in his last 12 games against the Flyers, totaling five goals and 12 assists for 17 points. The B’s are 11-0-1 in those games.
– Tim Thomas: The Vezina nominee allowed three goals in Game 1, two in Game 2, and one in Game 3. The numbers are trending in the right direction, and he’s really stepped it up since his human start to the Montreal series.
– James van Riemsdyk: The former No. 2 overall pick has come a long way since his college days at New Hampshire, and he’s a guy the Bruins rightfully focused on Wednesday due to his two-goal, eight shot performance in Game 2. Van Riemsdyk has been the Flyers’ best player in a series in which they’ve had few candidates, leading them in shots on goal in each of the first three games (his eight tied Mike Richards in Game 1).